The Faculty of Earth Science and Engineering’s history and operation has roots that lead back to 1735, when the first mining school (Bergschule) was established in Selmecbánya (known as Schemnitz at the time, and now Banská Štiavnica). With this an imperial institution for training leading technical and legal experts in mining and metallurgy took form in the territory of the Hungarian Kingdom. Its first and most famous teacher was Sámuel Mikoviny, the greatest engineer and polyhistor of his time.
On October 22, 1762, Maria Theresa decreed the advancement of the institution to the status of an academy. In 1763 the Department of Mineralogical, Chemical and Metallurgical Studies was formed under the leadership of Nikolaus Joseph Jacquin. The structure and operation of the Mining Academy (Academia Montanistica, Bergakademie) was approved by Maria Theresa herself. The three-year course was taught in German.
After 1770 the Selmec academy became one of the European centers of mining and metallurgical sciences. Numerous experts and young people wishing to study sought out the academy from other nations, and spent various periods of time at the institution, attending lectures and working in the laboratories. In 1808 a forestry school was formed in Selmecbánya, led by Heinrich David Wilckens, which merged with the Mining Academy in 1846, leading to the new name of Mining and Forestry Academy (K. K. Berg- und Forstakademie).
Due to the ethnic oppositions arising among the students in 1848-1849 some students from Austria, Bohemia and Moravia left Selmec. Institutions were founded in Leoben for the native German-speaking students and in Pribram for the others; these institutions were later promoted to academies. With the Austro-Hungarian Compromise in 1867 the academy became a Hungarian state institution called the Hungarian Royal Academy of Mining and Forestry (Magyar Királyi Bányászati és Erdészeti Akadémia). Hungarian was gradually introduced as the language of instruction between 1868 and 1872.
Up to 1872 the ‘mining’ course – in the professional language of the time this covered mining, metallurgy and minting equally – was uniform, but in that year it was divided into four branches: mining, ferrous metallurgy, non-ferrous metallurgy, and machinery and civil engineering. Training in forestry included two branches: general forestry and forest engineering. From 1904 the academy operated under the name of the College of Mining and Forestry (Bányászati és Erdészeti Főiskola).
In 1919, after Selmecbánya became part of the newly formed Czechoslovakia, the College moved its equipment, staff and students to Sopron, led by the rector, the mining Professor Géza Réz. In 1922 the name became the College of Mining Engineering and Forest Engineering (Bányamérnöki és Erdőmérnöki Főiskola). The college lost its independence in 1934, joining the newly organized national József Nádor University of Engineering and Economics as its Faculty of Mining, Metallurgical and ForestryEngineering, with 27 departments.
In 1949 a new faculty of mechanical engineering was founded in Miskolc, together with the Mining and Metallurgy faculties in Sopron, to establish the Technical University for Heavy Industry (Nehézipari Műszaki Egyetem). Until 1959 the first two years were taught in Miskolc, while the upper years received their training in Sopron. Due to the changing needs in mining, the unified mining course was divided in 1948 into programs of mining, fluids mining, mine exploration (geology/geophysics) engineering, and later mine equipment engineering, while a survey engineering program also existed for a short time. With the ongoing technical and economic changes and yielding to professional and academic friction in the faculty, a revised curriculum was established in 1992, with new programs in environmental engineering, process engineering, and hydrogeology. Reflecting the transformation in its areas of teaching and research, the name of the faculty became the Faculty of Earth Science and Engineering (Műszaki Földtudományi Kar) from January 1, 2000.