History of the emergence of the Faculty of Arts in the city of Košice reaches as far back as mid-17th century. On 12th February 1657, Benedict Kisdy, the Bishop of Eger, issued in his seat in Jasov the Founding Charter of Universitas Cassoviensis. The Emperor Leopold I. confirmed the University by his Golden Bull in Graz on 7th August 1660, who acknowledged to the University any privileges and rights, whereby he promoted it to the level of universities in Vienna, Prague, Olomouc, Graz, and Trnava. The structure of the University corresponded to the structure of other European universities managed by Jesuits. The Faculty of Arts with its 3-year study programme was one of its two faculties, alongside with the Faculty of Theology. Various subjects in classical philology, history, and literature were lectured there by renowned pedagogues, such as Martin Palkovič, Samuel Timon, Štefan Karpinai, Karol Wagner, Juraj Sklenár, Andrej Bernolák, and some others.
The Jesuit Order was cancelled in the year 1773. The University became a state-run branch of the only Historic-Hungarian university in Buda. It also changed its name to Academia Regia. The Faculty of Arts became its part, however, after the adoption of educational reform, Ratio Educationis, in the year 1776, teaching there became more secular. In the year 1850, the Royal Academy was transformed into the Academy of law. This meant the interruption of university studies of humanities in Košice for a long period of time.
Humanities were indirectly resumed as late as in the year 1959, when Pavol Jozef Šafárik University was set up by the merger of the Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University in Bratislava and the Faculty of Arts created out of the Faculty of Philology of the Higher College of Education in Prešov.
Social and political developments of the 1990s intervened into the destiny of Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice. By virtue of Law Act No. 361/1996 Coll. on the split of Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice, the University was split into two independent legal entities effective as of 1st January 1997: Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice and Prešov University in Prešov. This political act meant for Košice having lost even indirect contacts with university education in humanities.
It only was a question of time for a higher-education institution of humanities in the second largest economic, social, cultural educational artistic, philosophical-spiritual and mass media-communication centre of Slovakia to emerge, for the emergence of a strong humanitarian source of cultivating the quality of spiritual life and a natural counter-balancing corrective to the orientation in Košice toward technology, medicine, and natural sciences in academic life.
Šafárik University management chaired by its Rector, Prof. h. c. Prof. JUDr. Vladimír Babčák, CSc. and the Vice-rector for development of Šafárik University, doc. RNDr. Ján Sabo, CSc., made a decisive step toward establishing in Košice a faculty of humanities, who presented to Šafárik University Academic Board a document on 9th June 2006 entitled Amendment to Long-term Prospects of Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice for the Years 2004 to 2010. The above document contained an unambiguous intention of the University management to set up a faculty of arts at Šafárik University.
The rise of the Faculty of Arts at Šafárik University was preceded by the establishment of the Institute of Philological and Social Scholarship at Šafárik University as a research and educational establishment of university-wide scope of performance. This happened on 1st June 2005 by Šafárik University Rector´s Decree No. 13/2005. Doc. PhDr. František Šimon, CSc. was commissioned the director of the new Institute. Prof. PhDr. Vladimír Leško, CSc. was appointed the Institute Director by Šafárik University Rector on 1st March 2006. The Institute management consisted of Prof. PhDr. Ladislav Lováš, CSc. and Doc. PhDr. Oľga Orosová, CSc. In its beginning, the Institute was formed by five departments and their number grew to 8 as of 1st September 2006: Department of British and US Studies, Department of Non-Slavonic Languages, Department of Slovak Studies, Slavonic Philologies, and Communication, Department of Psychology, Department of Economy and Human Resources Management, Department of Philosophy and History of Philosophy, Department of Educational Psychology and Psychology of Health, and the Department of Pedagogy.
38 study programmes were accredited as on 1st September 2006, out of which 4 Bc study programmes of single subject of study with a possibility to continue in MA study programmes, 15 Bc study programmes of inter-subject lines of study with a possibility to continue in MA study programmes, 3 MA single-subject study programmes, 14 MA teacher-oriented study programmes, and 2 PhD study programmes (Social Psychology and Psychology of Work, History of Philosophy). Three study programmes were submitted for accreditation in the year 2006: British and American Studies (PhD level), English Language for European Institutions and Economy (Bc level) and German Language and Literature – Slovak Language and Literature (Bc level).
The Institute of Philological and Social Scholarship at Šafárik University cooperated with the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Šafárik University in the implementation of inter-subject study programmes of natural science subjects, psychology, and philosophy. 511 students enrolled in the Bc level of university education in the academic year 2006/2007, out of which number 287 students were enrolled in the first two years of single-subject study programmes and 224 students started to study inter-subject study programmes in he first year. Toward the end of the year 2006, the Institute had 4 internal and 7 external PhD students.
The staff at the Institute of Philological and Social Scholarship at Šafárik University developed cooperation with universities abroad, in the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, France (long-year close cooperation with the University in Groningen, the Netherlands, in the implementation of bilateral research projects, with the ZČU in Pilsen in the implementation of 1 SOCRATES contract, with the Marc Bloch University in Strasbourg, which is the coordinator of the National Programme of Teaching Translation and Interpretation at universities in the Slovak Republic in post-graduate form under the auspices of the European Commission). The staff have also been actively engaged in international organisations, EUPHA (European Public Health Association), UNIPREV (United Prevention Association), ESSE (European Society for the Study of English), and International Society for Engineering Education. They were members of research teams of 15 international projects. The Institute´s research potential consisted toward the end of the year 2006 of 8 professors, 4 extraordinary professors, 8 docents (associate professors), 25 senior assistants, 7 assistants, 2 lectors, 11 research workers, and 4 internal PhD students and 6 external PhD students.
Šafárik University Institute of Philological and Social Scholarship management, alongside with the department chairs, prepared between March and August 2006 any materials required for the accreditation of the new faculty. In September 2006, the Rector´s Advisory Board gave their opinion on the documents submitted, having approved the same with recommendations. After amendments, Šafárik University Rector submitted the material to the Accreditation Board of the Slovak Republic. Dynamism of judging the Application for Setting up the Faculty of Arts at Šafárik University was extraordinarily favourable. On 13th December 2006, the Accreditation Commission of the Government of the Slovak Republic gave their positive statement on the rise of the Faculty of Arts at Šafárik University. On 14th December 2006, Šafárik University Rector presented the motion to Šafárik University Academic Senate for approving the setting up of the Faculty of Arts at Šafárik University. Šafárik University Academic Senate approved the setting up of the new faculty by the majority vote. Šafárik University Rector, Prof. h. c. Prof. JUDr. Vladimír Babčák, CSc., set up the Faculty of Arts by the Founding Charter as of 1st January 2007. Pursuant to Section 22 Paragraph 5 Law Act No. 131/2002 Coll. On universities and on the changes of and/or amendments to some of the law acts as amended, appointed Prof. PhDr. Ján Gbúr, CSc. to perform the capacity of the dean of the newly set up faculty effective 1st January 2007.
The Faculty of Arts once again appeared in the system of faculties of this University after ten years from the time of split of Šafárik University in Košice into Šafárik University in Košice and Prešov University in Prešov. The Faculty of Arts has once again been established in the history of the city of Košice after almost three centuries from the time of Universitas Cassoviensis. Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice stabilised its structure into a fully functional classical model and may thus become an acceptable alternative to Comenius University in Bratislava for the eastern part of the territory of Slovakia.