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The opening of Tartu University - Academia Gustaviana was a momentous event in the educational and cultural history of the Estonian nation. At the opening celebration of the University in 1632 Johan Skytte, a Swedish politician and the founder of the University wished that "... even the peasants of this country could get their share of the watering springs of educational wealth." This was the beginning of agricultural education in Estonia.
After the reopening of Tartu University in 1802 the Chair of Agriculture was founded under the supervision of Prof. J.W. Krause. Initially agronomy was taught in the Faculty of Philosophy, later in the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics.
Other possibilities of receiving agricultural education were also created: the first agricultural higher education establishment in Russia - Vana-Kuuste Institute of Agriculture - was founded in 1834, and higher veterinary education was first provided at the Tartu Veterinary Institute in 1848.
In 1919 the Faculty of Agriculture consisting of the Departments of Agronomy and Forestry, was founded at Tartu University. Experimental stations and trial plots, where students could undertake research work also belonged to the faculty.
The Faculty of Veterinary Science of Tartu University was founded from the Tartu Veterinary Institute.
In 1951 an independent university - the Estonian Academy of Agriculture - was founded comprising the University faculties of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Science.
The Estonian Agricultural Academy was directly subordinate to the Soviet Union Ministry of Agriculture and prepared specialists in different fields of agriculture from agronomists and animal breeders to experts in the electrification of large farms. Work continued in this way until the end of the 1980s. Changes in Estonian society necessitated alterations in the teaching of farmers. As a result, the structure of the University was reorganised and the system of teaching rearranged.
From 1991 our educational institution was called the Estonian Agricultural University. New specialities like Environmental Protection, Landscape Architecture, Production and Marketing of Agricultural Products, Landscape Protection and Preservation, Applied Hydrobiology, Environmental Economics and Natural Resources Management were adopted.
In 1996 the new
Till the end of 2004 the University had six faculties (Agronomy, Agricultural Engineering, Economics & Social Sciences, Forestry, Rural Engineering, and Veterinary Sciences) and eight institutes (Estonian Agribiocentre, Estonian Plant Biotechnology Research Institute EVIKA, Forest Research Institute, Institute of Animal Science, Institute of Environmental Protection, Institute of Experimental Biology, Institute of Zoology and Botany and Polli Institute of Horticulture).
Since 2005 the Estonian Agricultural University has a new structure. Teaching and research is carried out in five institutes: Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences, Institute of Forestry and Rural Engineering, Institute of Technology and Institute of Economics and Social Sciences.
Since November 2005 the Estonian Agricultural University has been called The Estonian University of Life Sciences.
Today teaching and research is carried out in five institutes:
Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences
Institute of Forestry and Rural Engineering
Institute of Technology
Institute of Economics and Social Sciences.