History of the Faculty of Geography and History at Complutense University


During the 19th century, research in History and the increasing number of professional   played an essential role in articulating the Spanish nation state; this was quickly assimilated by the Central University as it became a reference to validate  a unified past which supported the identity of the nation.

The Faculty of Philosophy and Arts was created in 1857, and included all History programs until 1975. Almost a hundred years earlier, in 1875, the Faculty had divided its studies into four sections, two of which focused on History:“Historical Geography and History of Spain” and “Metaphysics and Universal History”. At the turn of the century, in 1898, all history programs were combined into one single “History” section; however, it was not until 1928 that a bachelor´s degree in history could be awarded. Four years later, the  history section was  divided into two specializations: Ancient History and The Middle Ages, and Modern History, promoting a specialization trend which followed chronological criteria.

From 1939 to 1972, history studies were classified as common courses within the Faculty of Philosophy and Arts. The specialization process led to a modification of the curriculum in 1972 in order to update both the institution and its degrees. One of the results was  the subsequent foundation of the Faculty of Geography and History (opened in 1975), and the creation of a degree under the same name (Geography and History) with four sections: Geography, History, American History and Art History. 

In 1965, other Complutense faculties began dividing themselves into departments as research and teaching units. The Faculty of Geography and History embarked on this process in 1975, creating its own departments based on its specializations,   to reach the current fourteen units, eight of which pertained to history: Prehistory, Ancient History, Medieval History, Modern History, Contemporary History, Historiographical Science and Techniques and Archaeology, Art History I (Medieval Art), Art History II (Modern Art), Art History III (Contemporary Art), American History I, American History II (American Anthropology), Regional Analysis and Physical Geography, Human Geography, and Musicology.  Once recognized as independent departments, each unit required its own degree.

 The First and Second Cycle curricula designed in 1977 under the degree of Geography and History, and grouped within the four sections mentioned above, were maintained until 1990. That year, new curricula were developed distinguishing three bachelor of arts degrees: History, Geography and Art History; to which Music Sciences was added in 1995. The 1993 curricula, subsequently revised in 1996 and 2000, continued this specialization trend in each of the departments of the Faculty. After the implementation of the European Higher Education Area in 2009, the Faculty of Geography and History at Complutense University has created five new bachelor´s degrees: Archaeology, History, Art History, Musicology, and Geography and Land Management, in addition to thirteen new specialized academic-scientific and professional masters degrees: Prehistoric Archaeology, Archaeology of the Mediterranean in Ancient Times, History and Science of Ancient Times, Medieval Studies, History of the Hispanic Monarchy, Contemporary History, American History and Anthropology, Museums and Historical-Artistic Heritage, Spanish Art History, Contemporary Art History and Visual Culture, Spanish and Latin-American Music, Territorial Dynamics and Development, and Geographical Information Technologies. Thus, the Faculty of Geography and History at Complutense University currently offers the widest selection of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in the country.

 The extensive teaching staff (268 members, the comprehensive curricula, the more than 40 research teams and 14 scientific publications, in addition to a library with  its more than 400,000 volumes, make the Faculty of Geography and History a centre of national and international reference for the different areas of knowledge it encompasses, as evidenced  both in domestic and international rankings. Indeed, according to the QS World University Ranking, the Faculty of  Geography and History at the Complutense University of Madrid is currently among the top one hundred in the world, is the leading faculty among the Spanish-speaking institutions worldwide.