Department of Geography

Department of Geography A history

The Subdepartment of Geography at the University of Zagreb was founded in 1883 within the Faculty of Philosophy, therefore it is even older than the well-known geography departments in Heidelberg (founded in 1895) or Chicago (the oldest in North America, founded in 1903). Its founder and first professor was Dr Petar Matković. 


Today the Department is the most significant scientific and educational institution for geography in Croatia. Contemporary global issues, such as the restructuring of urban and rural areas, migrations and demographic ageing, climate and environmental change, and other natural and social processes are some of our research topics.

The divisions at the Department of Geography were established in 1997 as part of the reorganization of the Department, carried out on a professional basis. 

  1. Division of Physical Geography
  2. Division of Social Geography
  3. Division of Regional Geography and Methodic 

The Doctoral study in geography: space, region, environment, landscape is based primarily on research, and all the activities and obligations of the doctoral students are in the function of research work and attaining research competence. 

Doctoral study requires considerable investment in time and energy. It will significantly affect the professional and private life of the future doctoral student in a way that research and writing a thesis will be his/her main priorities.

The programme includes different forms of work such as: supervisor/mentor work that has a prominent role, workshops, research seminars, discussion groups, primarily in the form of internal annual conferences for the doctoral students, all of which are in the function of developing understanding and skills in research work and critical thinking, and the writing and publication of papers in journals. The share of classical lectures is minimal (two compulsory and three elective courses).

The programme is modular in structure and consists of 5 modules, which are based on and represent the main active research fields in Geography at the University of Zagreb and in Croatia as a whole, and the current research field of world Geography, as follows:

  1. Environmental Studies;
  2. Cultural Landscapes and Spatial Identity;
  3. Sustainable Development and Spatial Planning;
  4. Urban and Rural Studies;
  5. Population Studies


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