Palacký University Olomouc is the oldest university in Moravia and the second-oldest in the Czech Republic. It was established in 1573 as a public university led by the Jesuit order in Olomouc, which was at that time the capital of Moravia. At first it taught only theology, but soon the fields of philosophy, law and medicine were added.
After the Bohemian King Joseph II's reforms in the 1770s the university became increasingly state-directed, while today it is a public university. During the Revolution of 1848 university students and professors played a very active role on the side of democratization.
The conservative king Francis Joseph II closed most of its faculties during the 1850s, but they were reopened by an act of the Interim National Assembly passed on 21 February 1946.
This act also extended the name from University of Olomouc to Palacký University Olomouc, naming it for František Palacký, a 19th-century Moravian historian and politician.
Today the university is an example of an old university in a town, like Yale University in New Haven (USA).
The Palacký University has eight faculties. These faculties are theology, philosophy, law, medicine and dentistry, education, science, physical culture, and health science (in historical order). As of 2011, four of the faculties have female deans (theology, law, education and health sciences).
There is no faculty of technology, as there are three technological universities within about hour's drive from Olomouc (Technical University in Ostrava to the North, University of Technology in Brno to the South and Tomáš Baťa University in Zlín to the East).
Saints Cyril and Methodius Faculty of Theology
The Faculty of Theology is the oldest one, being there already in 1573 when the Olomouc College was promoted to the university.
The Faculty of Philosophy (Faculty of Liberal Arts in the traditional sense) was established three years after the Olomouc College got University rights. Englishman George Warr professed the first lecture on logics on 3 October 1576.
In 2011 the faculty had 5,837 students. In 2010 about 9,500 people registered for the entrance examinations.
The Faculty also provides courses for international students. The Summer School of Slavic Languages has a long tradition and a very good reputation.
Although there were attempts in the 1580s to establish also Faculties of Law and Medicine, they failed due to lack of financing. While Canon law was read at the Faculty of Theology since 1667, it was especially the Moravian Nobility, which pursued establishment of secular Professorate of Law in 1679 by a decree of Emperor Leopold I.
The first Olomouc professor of law was Karel Ferdinand Irmler. The secular legal studies faced very strong opposition from the Jesuits: initially the professors taught at private premises, while later the lectures were held at the Olomouc Court of Law. Large number of Emperors' interventions was needed to secure continuation of legal studies in following decades.
Medicine and dentistry
Medical lectures started in 1753 at the Faculty of Philosophy. As the university was relocated to Brno in 1778, the Department of Surgery was established by the Faculty of Philosophy. This department in 1782 became the university's Department of Surgery. The Department of Medicine and Surgery was disaffiliated in 1849 and continued operation independently until it was closed later in 1873.
The Faculty was reestablished in 1946. With the Faculty of Law not being actually reopened in the 1950s, the Faculty of Theology being suppressed by the communists in 1950 and with Faculty of Philosophy being closed in 1954, it was the sole faculty of the university from year 1954 to year 1958, in which the Faculty of Philosophy was reestablished while the new Faculty of Science opened.
The Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry offers six-year-long Masters Programs of General Medicine and five-year-long programs of Dentistry. Both programs may be studied completely either in Czech or English. The faculty also offers 23 doctoral programs in Czech and English.
Practical education is carried out mostly at the Olomouc Faculty Hospital. The hospital is with its 1407 beds and 49 departments and clinics (year 2010) the largest one in Olomouc Region. It was established in 1892 and opened four years later.
Its Eye Clinic was the place of the world's first successful tissue transplantation in 1905 (performed by Eduard Konrad Zirm). During the years 1992–2004 it was enlarged and modernised and today it is one of the most modern Czech hospitals.
A construction of a new department called BIOMEDREG has started in 2010. It will focus on cancer and infectious diseases research and treatment and is open since 2013. The faculty's long-term research and development focuses on four fields: oncology, heart disease and vein disorders, experimental toxicology and pharmacology, and organ transplants. The research teams focus on molecular biology, immunology and epidemiology.
In the academic year 2008/2009 there were 1,280 students of General Medicine (180 of them studying in English), 450 students of dentistry, and 360 doctoral students.