Teaching began at the Technical School of Helsinki in 1849. Actual technical vocational training began in Helsinki after a legislative reform in 1858. The technical trade departments of engineering, mechanical engineering, architecture, chemical technology and surveying were founded at the same time.
In 1872 the school was renamed the Polytechnic School and in 1879 the Polytechnic Institute. In 1877 the Polytechnic School moved to its own premises when the building next to Hietalahti Market was completed. The main extensions of the main building were completed in 1904 and 1927.
The Polytechnic Institute was made a university-level school in 1908 and renamed the Technological University of Finland. The first degree at the university was either one of an engineer, surveyor or architect. The title 'diploma engineer' – which corresponds to a M.Sc. degree – was adopted in the early 1940s in conjunction of a syllabus reform at the same time as the lower technical degrees were defined.
After the Second World War the city blocks available began to be much too small. The final decision to move the University out of the city was made in 1948. Next year, the State bought the lands of Otaniemi Manor in the eastern part of the rural municipality of Espoo to serve as the new campus.
Development began in Otaniemi with housing for students, called Teekkarikylä or student village. Its first residents were not students, however, but athletes taking part in 1952 Helsinki Summer Olympics. The first functions of the University moved to Espoo in 1955. The main part of the main building was completed in 1964 and the move from Hietalahti was finalised ten years later.
In the 1950s and '60s Otaniemi became one of the most interesting sites of Finnish architecture. Architect Alvar Aalto made the general plan of the campus and he was in charge of the main building and the Otahalli sports hall and of several other buildings. Reima Pietilä and Raili Paatelainen designed Dipoli, and the office of Heikki and Kaija Siren designed the oldest dormitories, the Servin Mökki restaurant and the Otaniemi chapel.
In 2010 the Aalto University was created from the merger of the Helsinki University of Technology, the Helsinki School of Economics, and The University of Art and Design Helsinki. Aalto University School of Science and Technology divided into four new schools 1st of January 2011. The new schools are formed of the former university faculties and their names are School of Engineering, School of Chemical Technology, School of Science and School of Electrical Engineering.
On 24 May 2011, exactly one century has passed since the first public examination of a doctoral dissertation in the field of technology. That doctoral dissertation was Sulo Hintikka's dissertation in the field of chemistry, titled “Kamfenilonitutkimuksia”. Hintikka worked in several positions prior to his appointment as the Professor of Organic Chemistry of Helsinki University of Technology in 1923.
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