The University of Zagreb is the oldest university in Croatia (established in 1669) and among the older universities in Europe. Since 1874 more than 200,000 students have graduated from the University of Zagreb, more than 18,000 candidates have been awarded their Master’s degrees and more than 8,000 their Doctoral degrees.
The University of Zagreb consists nowadays of the Rector’s Offices, 29 faculties, three academies of arts, University centre of Croatian Studies, the University Computing Centre (SRCE), University Student Centre in Zagreb and Varaždin and of the International Centre of Croatian Universities, located in Istria, and the Postgraduate Centre in Dubrovnik. Teaching and research activity of the University of Zagreb cover the fields of natural sciences, engineering, biomedicine, biotechnology, social sciences, humanities, arts and theology. The Faculty of Kinesiology (established as the High School of Physical Culture in 1959; in 1973 established as the Faculty of Physical Culture/Education) was incorporated into the University of Zagreb in 1967.
The Faculty of Kinesiology is an academic, educational and research institution of higher education in the Republic of Croatia, one of the younger members of the University of Zagreb. The subject-matter core content of the “old” undergraduate baccalaureate and postgraduate Master’s and Doctoral degrees, as well as of the new integral (undergraduate and graduate) university Master’s and the postgraduate Doctoral studies is kinesiology, a relatively young science (the name is derived from the Greek word kinesis – motion, movement). It is an empirical transdisciplinar general science field that uses primarily experimental approach in its comprehensive investigation of the principles and regularities of human movement or physical activities and exercise, whereby humans are observed as integral bio-psycho-social beings. Kinesiology also investigates the regularities of the management of the systematic, goal-oriented exercise and training processes. These processes include systematic motor learning, exercising and mastering of motor skills and knowledge, in the domains of physical education, sport, physical recreation and kinesitherapy. One of the focal issues in kinesiology is the determination and modelling of the influence of the programmed exercise and sporting activities on any consequent, expected and planned, changes in the human psychosomatic and social status.
From the very beginning the Faculty has accepted, encouraged and advocated for the orientation that the mission of the higher education institutions is manifested in the symbiosis of educational (professional training) and elite research work. Graduated kinesiologists, with the professional title of teachers of PE, and future masters of kinesiology, with the professional title of Master of Kinesiology in Education, actualize their knowledge and skills by performing all forms of teaching in the educational system of the Republic of Croatia, from the pre-school level to the higher education level. Within the area of competitive sports they manage sports activities for selected groups of children, teenagers and adult athletes. They also organize physical recreation for youngsters and adults and implement kinesitherapeutic procedures as well as sports programmes for disabled persons. They are qualified to establish scientifically the process of exercising and to assess the expected kinesiological effects produced in physical education teaching, as well as the training effects reflected in improvements of sport performance and achievements. They are also qualified to discuss the health-related issues with regard to the underpinning well-being benefits in the participants of kinesiological (sporting) activities.
Modern research methodology and sophisticated technology, utilized in the analyses, design and evaluation of the exercise processes, are the foundations of research and scientific work, which makes the Faculty the central and leading Croatian institution in the domain of kinesiology. Research interests are focused on the enrichment of the kinesiological body of knowledge and insights into the numerous factors influencing the management of the exercise programmes in schools, sport, recreation and rehabilitation. Identification, assessment and evaluation of changes in the space of human characteristics, abilities and motor knowledge and skills, induced by the managed, goal-oriented processes of exercising, are executed from the versatile biological, psychological, social, educational, philosophic, ethical, economical, and cultural aspects. These changes are induced, observed and analysed from the cellular level to the widest socio - cultural levels.