The history of the Montanuniversitaet Leoben is marked by a continuous development of the academic range of studies.
Due to an initiative of Archduke Johann the "Styrian Corporate School of Mining" was established in Vordernberg on November 4, 1840. The inaugural address of Peter Tunner demonstrates the intention of keeping the instruction on an academic level and of developing his school to a center for all experts in mining and metallurgy from the alpine region.
The revolutionary year 1848 put an end to extremely successful years in Vordernberg and led to a significant change. Peter Tunner initiated the nationalization of his school and the transfer to the near town of Leoben. On November 1, 1849, the "Imperial and Royal School of Mining" could be inaugurated in Leoben with 48 students initially enrolled.
On December 15, 1874, the "Imperial and Royal School of Mining" received a new statute which guaranteed a sound and steady development. The status of the teachers was ranked equal to the status of professors at technical universities.
University of Mining
An imperial decree of July 31, 1904, changed the name of the mining academy to "University of Mining". Equal status to technical universities was finally gained when the academy was entitled to bestow doctoral degrees. In fall 1910 the university could move into new quarters which were extremely spacious for those days. Due to the rapid development of mining engineering the fields of studies Mining Engineering and Metallurgy were separated in the interval between World War I and II and a new study program was developed. In 1934 the administration of the University of Mining and of the Technical University of Graz was united and the two preparatory years of studies were transferred to Graz. This meant a serious decrease of enrolment which was followed by severe lack of a young generation of academics for the Austrian mining industry. The reinstallation of the independent University of Mining by the federal law of April 3, 1937, is due to the joint efforts of industry, professors and all residents of Leoben.
An era of steady development was interrupted again by the annexation of Austria to the Third Reich in 1938. World War II brought serious interferences in studying. These problems could be mastered by a decisive rector after 1945 and an urgently necessary extension for laboratories was built. The rapid stabilization after the war can also be seen in the increasing enrolment. After 1955 new fields of studies were added continuously, which in addition to the core subjects encompass a broad range of subject areas from raw materials to materials. In 1970/71 the fields of studies Polymer Engineering and Science and Materials Science were added. In 1990 the planning of two new fields of studies, Applied Geosciences and Industrial Environmental Protection was begun, they were installed in 1992. The construction of a new building, opened in 1970, also demonstrates the extension. Since October 1, 1975, the university is called "Montanuniversität Leoben" according to the University Organization Act.
Due to the Universities Act, 2002 big changes in the organization of the universities took place. The supreme management body of the university consists of the University Council, the Rectorate, and the Senate.
In the past years, several new buildings were added to the university campus:
2006: Roh- und Werkstoffzentrum (RWZ)
2007: Impulszentrum Werkstoffe (IZW). The competence centers MCL (Materials Center Leoben) and PCCL (Polymer Competence Center Leoben) are situated in these two buildings.
2009: Opening of the newly renovated Erzherzog Johann Trakt (Lecture Wing)
2010: Zentrum für Kunststofftechnik Leoben
2011: Impulszentrum Rohstoffe (IZR)