In 1921 the Faculty of Agronomy at the University of Sofia was officially founded. The admittance of 67 students marked the beginning of the higher agricultural education in Bulgaria. In 1945 the University of Plovdiv was inaugurated by a Decree of the Regents’ Council of August 4, promulgated in the State Gazette of August 20, structured in two Faculties: of Medicine and of Agriculture and Forestry. In 1905 the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry split as a separate higher education institution – “Vasil Kolarov” Higher Institute of Agriculture.
During the first decade of its history the Higher Institute of Agriculture gradually developed as an educational institution of authority and prestige, the staff gained competence. The teaching process improved and the areas of research broadened. The number of teachers holding an academic degree increased. In 1950 there were 7 professors, 9 associate professors, 26 assistant professors, 5 of the latter holding PhD degrees. The teaching staff included prominent scientists of world importance such as Hristo Daskalov, Pavel Popov, etc. The Institute had a clearly defined structure. Three Faculties have been formed: of Agronomy, Technology and of Horticulture with Viticulture. The Departments, laboratories, supporting units – field centre, library, etc. - had a well-established structure.
The building up of the Institute as a separate independent higher educational institution has led to significant qualitative changes in the educational area, research and administration. As early as 1960 specialized courses for post-graduate qualification were offered and for ten years only they were attended by over 1300 agricultural specialists. At the same time “Georgi Dimitrov” Higher Institute of Agriculture was also functioning in parallel with the Institute in Plovdiv. Decree No. 3 of the Council of Ministers of 1977 announced the Higher Institute of Agriculture in Plovdiv as the only one higher school preparing agriculturists in Bulgaria.
“Vasil Kolarov” Higher Institute of Agriculture entered a new stage of its development. Curricula and study programs were improved in compliance with the issues for training engineer-agriculturists in Agronomy, Horticulture with Viticulture, Plant Protection, Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture. Post-graduate qualification courses are further developed. The forms of study were enriched and diversified; the equipment and teaching aids were modernized. The teaching staff grew in number and improved the quality of education. For the period 1970 – 1989 about 104 PhD and 34 Doctor of Science theses were developed and defended. In 1984 the Institute had a staff of 58 professors, 69 associate professors and 118 younger teachers without an academic degree. At that time 23 persons of the teaching staff were holders of DSc degree and 138 – PhD degree. High scientific achievements have been reported in the area of biological, chemical, physical, mathematical and agricultural sciences.
The political changes after 1989 imposed a new structure of the Institute. After the successful institutional accreditation in November 2000 the Higher Institute of Agriculture was restructured in the Agricultural University – Plovdiv by a Decision of the 38th National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria, adopted on April 4, 2001.
More than 19000 Bulgarian and more than 1500 foreign students have graduated from the university.
University website: Agricultural University of Plovdiv