The history of the Department
The history of the Department dates back to 1964, when the Department of Economic Geography was founded. Although, it is advantageous to look back at somewhat earlier times when surveying the traditions of geography, or more precisely the traditions of social geography, at our university.

The University of Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca) was moved to Szeged in 1921, which was the final act of a more than 100-year-long period of a desire to found a university here. At that time geography and its two institutes (Institute of Geography and Institute of Mineralogy) belonged to the Faculty of Arts. Both of them were on the first floor of the university building at the Dugonics square (which is today the main building of the University). The head of the Institute of Geography became Sándor Márki, who has high merits both in geography and in history.

In the 1925/26 academic year the Institute of Geography was moved to the building of the Egyetem street, which houses the department still today. This era is hallmarked with the name of Károly Kogutowitz, who became the head of the department in 1923. In 1923 his Pocket Atlas was published, but his name is also coined with the preparation of the Ethnographic Map of Hungary (1927). His works on geographical relations of Szeged, and the urban development of Szeged were published in 1933-34.

In 1940 the University moved back to Cluj-Napoca, thus in the academic year of 1940-41 a new University was founded in Szeged. After the Nobel-prize winner Albert Szentgyörgyi, Károly Kogutowitz was elected as the rector in 1941-42 of the newly founded university, which was a big honor for geographers. In 1945 arrived to Szeged Gyula Prinz, who is mainly known as a physical geographer. Even though, he published numerous works in social geography as well, like his doctoral thesis with the title: The foundation of recording urban morphology (1954)

As it was already mentioned, the independent Department of Economic Geography was founded in 1964, under the leadership of Gyula Krajkó. The research programs of that time have delineated the profile of the department. Transport studies and the various questions of agricultural landscapes were in the focus of the research. Gyula Krajkó was writing books on the theoretical foundations of creating economic districts, and he held numerous presentations all over the world in this topic. The Department had already in that time extensive relations with other countries, mainly with the surrounding countries, but the geographers of Szeged visited conferences and had filed trips in many other countries in Europe as well.

In 1994 Rezső Mészáros took over the leadership of the Department. In 1995 he was also elected the rector, which title he was again awarded in 2000 when the unified University of Szeged was established. In 1993 a training program for geographers was launched with a possible specialization for urban and rural researcher (which specialization later turned into regional and urban planning). In 2001 a new specialization, namely the specialization of tourism was launched as well.

In 2000 on József Becsei became the head of the department. At this time the name of the department changes from the Department of Economic Geography to the Department of Economic and Social Geography. At this time the program of “Researching farms 2000” was launched.
In 2001 Rezső Mészáros was elected a corresponding member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. His inaugural was held in January 2002, where he gave a presentation under the title “From space paths to the cyber space” Between 2003 and 2007 he was the head of the Department again.

From 2007 Zoltán Kovács is the head of the department.

At the present the collective of the department consist of 27 members – 18 lecturers, 1 scientific assistants and 8 PhD-students. The research topics are diverse. Among them are the various aspects of urban and rural planning, the lagging behind regions and the role and effects of tourism. Our students are regularly successful at the Hungarian Scientific Student Conference. The lecturers of the Department hold courses and give lectures in the training programs of ecology, economics, political science and communication as well.

In 2014 The Department celebrates the 50th anniversary of its existence.