The history of the Department of British and American Studies´ forerunner, the Department of Languages UPJS in Kosice, dates back to 1952, when a Cabinet of Russian Language was established within the Faculty of Medicine and was supervised by the Department of Russian Language operating under the Rector´s Office of the Comenius University in Bratislava. The first Head of the Cabinet was Doc. Dr. Stefan Dobos who was succeeded by JUDr. Jaroslav Savulak in 1953. In 1959 the Cabinet was incorporated into the Department of Foreign Languages operating within the former Faculty of Arts UPJS. From then on, basically after the establishment of the UPJS, the Department of Languages began to develop.
In 1963, after the establishment of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, a separate Department of Languages came into existence offering its courses to the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Natural Sciences, and a decade later, in 1973, also to the Faculty of Law. In that period the Department was headed by JUDr. Jaroslav Savulak (till 1970) and PhDr. Ivan Kimak, CSc. (till r. 1982). After 1982 the Department was chaired by doc. PhDr. Vasil Jabur, CSc. (1982–1986), prof. PhDr. Julius Rybak, CSc. (1986–1994), in 1991–1992 vice-chaired by doc. PhDr. Frantisek Simon, CSc., and PhDr. Olga Farkasova, CSc. (1994–1998). From 1998 it was again chaired by doc. PhDr. Frantisek Simon, CSc.
The Department of Languages UPJS was ranked high among the scientific-educational workplaces conducting language courses in English, German, French, Latin, Russian and Slovak at all four of the UPJS faculties within the general humanities framework. Foreign language courses were provided as either mandatory or elective/optional studies on all three levels of academic education, Bachelor´s, Master´s and Doctoral (PhD).
The Department of Languages UPJS became the basis of the Institute of Philologies and Social Sciences UPJS, the establishment of which was approved by the Academic Senate UPJS on 19th May 2005. This Institute incorporates also the Department of British and American Studies first chaired by prof. PhDr. Pavol Stekauer, CSc in 2005.
The Department´s current staff marks it as being among the top linguistic workplaces by combining experienced domestic and international educational-research linguists and by balancing the dynamic expertise of established mid-career scholars with the international zeal and energy of younger staff members. The Department seeks primarily to blend the high professional erudition of its members, grounded in intensive scholarly research performed within the framework of international and national projects, with quality teaching of new scholars and researchers capable of asserting themselves in the labour market and of addressing the growing demands not only in Slovakia, but also in other EU Member States.
The market-oriented approach also pre-determined the selection and specialisation of the study programmes which the Department offers to its potential students. A thorough analysis of market needs supported the introduction of the programme English for the European Institutions and Economics. This program is designed to produce top-quality translators and interpreters capable of satisfying the demands of EU institutions as well as business entities and organisations. The programme reflects the growing demands in respect to the education and training of professional translators and interpreters in a wide range of specialisations, especially in Law and Economics.
Graduates of the English for the European Institutions and Economics study programme shall acquire the C2 level of English knowledge, crucial for professional translation skills in both European and domestic institutions. They shall become acquainted with the methods, skills and techniques both of practical translation and of consecutive and simultaneous interpretation. They shall also achieve the B1 level in their acquired second language.
Since practical experience shows that even high-level foreign language acquisition does not suffice for quality translation and interpretation, if it is not grounded in the necessary standard field expertise, graduates of the English for the European Institutions and Economics study programme are taught the foundations of Jurisprudence, Company Law, Financial and Tax Law, Civil Law, Contract Law, Family Law and Intellectual Property Law, as well as the basics of Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, Company Economics and Public Finance. During their studies students obtain fundamental grounding in the field of Translation Theory. They are provided not only with the foundations of the Slovak language, but examine the contrast between the Morphology, Syntax, Lexicology and Stylistics of the English and the language. Top-quality translation and interpretation skills inevitably require that the graduates be equipped with extensive knowledge of the institutions, culture and history of the European Union, Great Britain and the USA. They are also provided with a brief survey of the literature of the studied regions. They are capable of translating texts of various genres, of coping with a computer-supported translation and of using a variety of other tools relevant to both the source and target languages.
The core of the British and American Studies Programme, a single-specialisation study programme, rests in three areas: 1. British and American studies in a narrow sense, i.e. History, Geography, Institutions, Politics and Culture of Great Britain and the United States; 2. History of British and American Literature; and 3. English Linguistics, including foundations of translation and interpretation. Graduates of this programme are experts in the field of British and American Studies which increases both their value in the labour market and enables them to specialise in British and American Studies, Literature, and Linguistics when attempting to pursue doctoral studies.
A reduced version of this study programme takes a traditional form of double-specialisation and inter-specialisation studies resulting in a Master of Arts degree which concentrates on teacher training. There is a wide range of options available enabling programme participants to combine various other specialisations with British and American Studies. They not only include Humanities (Philosophy, Slovak language and Literature, German language and Literature), but also Sciences (Mathematics, Computer Science, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Geography.)