Geology is a combination of three types of sciences – the sciences dealing with geological time (palaeontology, stratigraphy, etc.), with geological substance (mineralogy, petrology, geochemistry, etc.) and with geological space. Tectonics at a smaller scale, and the different branches of structural geology at a larger scale – microstructural analysis, geometric analysis, deformation analysis, strain analysis, etc. – study the geological space.

Tectonics studies the processes that control the structure and properties of the Earth crust and its evolution in time. More specifically, it describes the mountain formation processes, the growth and behaviour of the old continental cores known as cratons, and the way of interaction of the relatively rigid plates constituting the outer layer of the Earth. Tectonics also provides the framework for understanding the earthquakes and volcanic belts which directly concern the majority of the world population. The tectonic research is an important framework for the studies conducted by geologists who look for fossil fuels and ore deposits of metallic and non-metallic mineral resources. It is an important methodological source for engineering and geological research in favour of the construction and ecological engineering, etc. The understanding of the tectonic principles is especially important for the geomorphologists to explain the erosion models and soil formation as well as other characteristics of the Earth surface.

Depending on the processes which are studied, Tectonics is subdivided into Contraction Tectonics, Extensional Tectonics, Strike Slip Tectonics, Plate Tectonics, Salt Dome Tectonics, Neotectonics, Tectonic Physics, Seismotectonics, Planetary Tectonics, etc.

Since the subject of tectonics partly overlaps with that of structural geology, in a number of cases the two sciences are placed under one denominator and are considered to be synonymous. The historical development in Bulgaria is precisely of this type of geological research. However, it should be mentioned that structural geology deals mainly with the study of deformations at a larger scale, from submicroscopic to regional, while tectonics deals with global deformations, for example a whole region or a continent.

The doctoral programme in Geotectonics has been developed in line with the contemporary scientific achievements and the expected results are linked both to the solution of specific tasks and projects related to the prospecting and exploration of minerals and minimisation of the geological risk as well as to the solution of diverse, fundamental research issues related to seismics, paleoclimatology, plate tectonics, ecology and environmental protection.