Girl Genius
Girl Genius

The TPU achievement of arms

Transylvania Polygnostic University, located in Beetleburg, is an old and respected institution, and the school where our heroine studied. It was run by Dr. Tarsus Beetle until his death; afterward, Silas Merlot was placed in charge as punishment. Subsequent to his appointment, he made an unspecified mistake, and so as promised by Baron Klaus Wulfenbach, he has been shipped to Castle Heterodyne (it was later revealed that his "mistake" involved destroying valuable property and committing several murders in a failed attempt to cover up the fact that he'd let the last surviving Heterodyne slip through his fingers). The current administrator is unknown, although Professor Hugo Glassvitch, Head of Research, is the likely candidate.

Other members of staff have included Professors Phil Foglio and Kaja Foglio.

The school's motto is, "Know enough to be afraid".



The institutional walls


Aftermath of the Baron's invasion.

Transylvania Polygnostic University was most likely founded by a previous Tyrant of Beetleburg, probably an ancestor of Dr. Tarsus Beetle. Traditionally, the Master of the University was also the Tyrant of Beetleburg, and the surrounding lands belonging to the city-state.

The University is one of an elite number of institutions of higher learning referred to as the "Grand Old European Schools," along with Oxford College of Non-Intuitive Mechanics, Wittenburg University, and the Paris Institute of the Extraordinary.[1]

An institution that defines the city that surrounds it, the University is known for several attractions: the massive clocktower/security guard/warmachine Mr. Tock (now sadly destroyed), the large glass jars in the main quad of the University in which convicted criminals are starved to death and baked in the sun (they're tough on crime), as well as a number of mortarboard-wearing clank guards, "The Watch", who serve as a security force.

In recent years, the University's normal pattern was disrupted when the University was invaded and conquered by the Baron Wulfenbach, following alleged possession of Other technology. The death of Dr. Beetle and his replacement by Dr. Merlot was a dramatic event, accompanied by the destruction of Mr. Tock. It also catalyzed a number of events just as dramatic, as it triggered Agatha's by-then-inevitable breakthrough....




It's not clear if the following are or were TPU staff per se, but they have been mentioned[8] as assistants (past or, at the time, present) of the Professors Foglio:

  • Rose Johnson
  • Fave Howell

Tora Dzenis


A good number of famous Sparks from the previous generation attended Transylvania Polygnostic University. The most prominent alumnus still around is Klaus Wulfenbach, who studied at TPU under the late Dr. Beetle. While a student, Klaus made the acquaintance of classmates Bill and Barry, and Lucrezia Mongfish.

In more recent times, a little-known young woman by the name of Agatha Clay was summarily expelled from TPU for annoying the new Master, following the rapid transition from Dr. Beetle's tenure to Dr. Merlot's.

Fight song[]

Dr. Smith is the writer of TPU's rousing and inspiring fight song, commissioned by the University. He has kindly allowed the reproduction of the lyrics, including the cheer chant, herein :

Cheer, cheer for Trans Poly U,
Rise, our creations, here's what to do,
Show their folly, watch them fry, as
We call the lightning from the sky.

What tho' the odds be great or be small,
Trans Poly U will rule over all,
This entire world will fall, and
Worship Trans Poly U.

2, 4, 6, 8,
You can't beat what we create!
It's all right, it's all good,
Those blind fools never understood.
That's okay, they won't score,
That's what this new Death Ray's for.
Punch 'em inna head, kick 'em inna ditch,
Forget the Hail Mary -- throw the switch!

Cheer, cheer for Trans Poly U,
This is a day that their team will rue,
They run plays, but we've got plans, we'll
Make them give in to our demands!

All of them laughed, but soon they will see,
Ruling the world is our destiny,
Starting with this game will do, so

Fight on, Trans Poly U!

The recording may be found in his archives.

See also[]


  1. From the Secret Blueprints.
  2. Dr. Smith is the writer of TPU's rousing and inspiring fight song.
  3. Professor Moxylotyl appearing with Dr. Kaja Foglio in Paris.
  4. Identified in Agatha H. and the Voice of the Castle.
  5. Professor Venruth mentioned in a conversation.
  6. Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess, Ch. 8
  7. Evidently no longer on staff
  8. For instance, in their acceptance speech for the Hugo award for Best Graphic Story of 2008