The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Εθνικόν και Καποδιστριακόν Πανεπιστήμιον Αθηνών), usually referred to simply as the University of Athens, is the oldest university in the region of the eastern Mediterranean and has been in continuous operation since its establishment in 1837. Today, it is the second-largest institution of higher learning in Greece (the largest is the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), with more than fifty thousand undergraduate students.
A major change in the structure of the University came about in 1904, when the Faculty of Arts was split into two separate Faculties: that of Arts and that of Sciences, the latter consisting of the departments of Physics and Mathematics and the School of Pharmacy. In 1919, a department of Chemistry was added, and in 1922 the School of Pharmacy was renamed a Department. A further change came about when the School of Dentistry was added to the Faculty of Medicine..
In this first and “heroic” period for Greek education, the University faculty made great efforts to fill the gap between their newly founded institution and older ones in other countries.
Between 1895 and 1911, an average of one thousand new students entered the Faculties each year, a figure which rose to two thousand at the end of World War I. This led to the decision to introduce entrance examinations for all the Faculties, beginning in the academic year 1927-28. Since 1954 the number of students admitted each year has been fixed by the Ministry of Education and Religion, on the proposal of the Faculties.
In the 1960’s construction work began on the University Campus in the suburb of Ilissia. The Ilissia campus now houses the Schools of Philosophy, Theology and Sciences.
The University of Athens is divided into schools, faculties and departments as follows. The naming isn't consistent in English for historical reasons, but in Greek the largest divisions are generally named “σχολές” (schools) and are divided in “τμήματα” (departments), furthermore subdivided in “τομείς” (divisions).
The main campus is in Ilissia (Zografou), where the schools of Science, Theology and Philosophy are located. Other smaller campuses are at Goudi, where the faculty of Health Sciences is located, and at Daphne, where the faculty of Physical Education and Sports Science is located. The faculties of Media, Education, Economics, Law and Public Administration are housed in buildings in the centre of Athens, along with various administration facilities. The historical administration building is also located there, on Panepistimiou avenue.
The history of the Geological Sciences at Athens University until the year 1982 and the institutional change of the law 1268, is identified with the history of the Chairs and the Professors that taught and is described further below.
Professor K. Mitsopoulos taught the lesson of Mineralogy till 1910, while in the year 1896 the Laboratory and the Museum of Mineralogy and Petrology are founded. In 1910 K.Ktenas is elected as professor for the homonymous Chair and he teaches until his death in 1935. In 1936 G. Georgalas is elected in his place and he stays in this position until 1946. After him, An. Georgiadis (1946-1965) and Gr. Marakis (1973-1994) are also elected as professors.
The Chair of Geology and Palaeontology as well as the homonymous Laboratory and Museum are founded by professor Th. Skoufos after his appointment in the chair mentioned in 1906.
He enriches the Laboratory and the Museum with fossils as training material for students and as material for the collection of the Museum exhibition, through many excavations realized in various places around Greece. After Professor Skoufos (1906-1936), Professor M. Mitsopoulos becomes Head of the Laboratory and the Museum and later on G. Marinos (1969-1974) after being called in from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Professor N. Symeonidis takes over in 1975 and stays head of the Laboratory until 1998.
The Chair of Physical Geography and the corresponding laboratory is founded in 1931 and is initially located at the Athens Observatory. Professor I. Trikkalinos is head of the Laboratory until 1958. Later on P. Psarianos is elected as Professor (1959-1974) and then Ath. Papapetrou-Zamani, initially as Associate professor and then as Professor (1975-1997).
In the year 1931 the Chair of Seismology and the corresponding laboratory is founded with Professor N. Kritikos (1930-1947) as head of the Laboratory, which is initially located at the Athens Observatory. Later on A. Galanopoulos (1949-1978) and I. Drakopoulos (1979-1999) were elected.
The Chair of Ore Geology and the corresponding Laboratory are founded in 1961 and the elected Professor G. Paraskevopoulos taught until his death in 1983.
According to the law 1268/82 the School of Sciences is founded, which also includes the Faculty of Geology. The previously mentioned Chairs were annulled and the following Departments were created and still exist to this day:
The following laboratories also exist:
Research in the University of Athens is intimately linked with that conducted in the hospitals and research institutes of the metropolitan area, including the National Research Center for Physical Sciences Demokritos, the National Research Foundation (EIE), the National Observatory of Athens, the Hellenic Pasteur Institute, the Alexander Fleming Biomedical Sciences Research Center, the Athens High Performance Computing Laboratory, the National Centre for Marine Research (NCMR) and the Foundation for Biomedical Research of the Academy of Athens (IBEAA). Research conducted in the institutes of the metropolitan area of Athens accounted for over 50% of the ISI-indexed scientific publications coming from Greece in 2004.