The history of Dramaturgy Department is deeply entwined with the development of the Academy of Drama Art, whose constitutive part it forms, as one of seven departments, since the end of 1970s.

The seeds of its foundation have been planted already in 1896, when Croatian Dramaturgy School was founded, according to the concept of the intendant of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb Stjepan Miletić. It was the first acting high school based on contemporary pedagogical principles.

With Miletić leaving the position of intendant, only two years later, the School is discontinued, leading to a delay in organized education, terminated by Branko Gavella. He founded the State Acting School at the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb in 1920. Together with Gavella, many leading artists of the time were engaged as teachers; from Tito Strozzi and Milka Trnina, to Milan Begović and Josip Kosor. As this institution was of high school level, the question of opening a similar but undergraduate institution within the University is simultaneously posed. Despite numerous initiatives in the coming decades, only the one by Drago Ivanišević, in collaboration with Gavella, Ranko Marinković, Tomislav Tanhofer, Josip Škavić, Marijan Matković and Vladimir Filipović will result in opening of the Academy for Theatre Arts on 1 December 1950.

In 1979, the Academy joins the University of Zagreb, and a year earlier, in 1978, on the initiative of writer and playwright Ranko Marinković, and theatre director and theoretician Dr Vladan Švacov, Dramaturgy Studies are founded. Dramaturgy Studies have been conceived as both theoretical and practical studies dealing with the research of “drama phenomena” in theatre and film, as well as with writing plays and scripts, which envisions it as a certain link between theatre and film departments.

From its foundation in 1978, many prominent scholars and artists have been actively involved with the Department, such as members of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts Nikola Batušić, Vlatko Pavletić and Nedjeljko Fabrio, writers Ivan Kušan and Ranko Marinković, theatre scholar and director Vladan Švacov, writer Martina Aničić.