History of the University

Kossuth // KLTE



Brief history

  • 1235. First reference to Debrecen in ancient charters.

  • 1538. Establishment of the College of Reformed Church in Debrecen.

  • 1567. Higher education starts in the College.

  • 1693. Declaration of Debrecen as a free royal town.

  • 1849. Debrecen is the capital of Hungary.

  • 1912. Establishment of the State University of Debrecen with Faculties of Arts, Law, Medicine and Theology.

  • 1914. Some parts of the university are functioning in the building of the College.

  • 1918. Inaugurating the Main Building of the Medical Faculty by King Charles IV. of Hungary.

  • 1921. Medical Faculty is functioning.

  • 1932. Building of the campus is finished.

  • 1944. During the war the town is the capital again but the university was abandoned for a while.

  • 1949. The only year when the university has five faculties.

  • 1950. Faculty of Law idles, Faculty of Science is established.

  • 1951. The university is divided into three parts (Academy of Theology, Medical School, Lajos Kossuth University of Arts and Science).

  • 1991. Debrecen Universitas Association is established.

  • 1998. Federation of Debrecen Universities is founded.

  • 2000. The federation have been transformed into the unified Debrecen University with all the customary faculties and 20 thousand students.

Debrecen is the traditional economic and cultural center of Eastern Hungary. In the 16th century Debrecen became the center of the Reformed Church in Hungary and later it was called the "Calvinist Rome". The 17th century was the golden age of the city because it was the mediator between the three parts of the country: the part under Turkish occupation, the Kingdom of Hungary and the Principality of Transylvania. For short periods of time, it served twice as the capital of the country. Nowadays, with its population approximately a quarter of million, it is the second largest city in Hungary.

Debrecen is a unique city without mountains and rivers but its natural environment is very interesting. One of the main attractions and places of natural uniqueness in Hungary is the Hortobágy National Park, known as the "puszta", which lies just in the outskirts of Debrecen. This is the real Hungarian Plain without any height difference, with its unique flora and fauna (e.g., a lot of birds), natural phenomena (e.g., Fata Morgana), and with ancient animal husbandry traditions. The region is unmatched in Europe whether we consider its natural endowments or its historic and ethnographic traditions. A very lovely part of Debrecen is known as a holiday resort with its majestic ‘’Great Forest’’ (Nagyerdő), its many cultural and tourist establishments and its luxurious thermal baths and spas. The university campus is located here, too.

The history of higher education in Debrecen goes back to the 16th century when the College of the Reformed Church was established. The University Medical School is rooted in this spiritual heritage. It was in the year of the millennium (1896) of the country's birth that the establishment of the present University was decided. The University of Debrecen was established in 1912 with four faculties (Arts, Law, Medicine and Theology). Constructive work itself began only in the early 1910's, and the University was officially inaugurated by Charles IV. of Hungary, on October 23, 1918.

Educational work in the University started in 1924 and the construction works of the whole university finished only in 1932. In 1951 the Faculty of Medicine became a self-contained, independent Medical University for training medical doctors.

Special training of dentists started in 1976. The Medical School established the Health College of Nyíregyháza in 1991. In 1993, as a part of a nationwide program the University was given the rights to issue scientific qualifications and new Ph.D. programs have been launched. Several new programs (e.g., training of molecular biologists, pharmacists, family doctors) were started in the '90s. A new faculty, the School of Public Health was established in 1999.

The architectural and instrumental development of the University Medical School of Debrecen (UMSD) was completed in stages. In the 70s the Theoretical Building and the new building of Dentistry were completed. The second development phase was the establishment of the new Dialysis Center and the Cardiac Surgery Unit in the early '90s. The next stage was the construction of the 3rd Department of Medicine and various radiological units (PET, linear accelerator, etc.) in the second part of this decade. Recently, we are planning a Life Sciences Building and a new Library (with lecture halls, reading rooms and 200 computer terminals for students) and also the Debrecen Building of the Health College.

The University of Debrecen Medical and Health Science celebrated the 80th anniversary of its foundation in October last year with an international scientific conference.


Education at the University of Debrecen Medical and Health Science Center

Debrecen, the second largest city of Hungary can be found in the great Hungarian plain, in East-Hungary. Students of General Medicine, Dentistry, Molecular Biology can study on a nice campus situated in the area called great forest in Debrecen. College students are educated in Nyíregyháza and Debrecen.

The college is being organized to establish two independent faculties at present. Three years ago new diploma courses were introduced, e.g., Pharmaceutics (university level), Clinical Diagnostic Analytics (college and university level), Public Health (postgraduate level). We have established new college level branches (e.g., physiotherapy, emergency assistance, etc.).

The Hungarian Government gives major priorities to health science higher education in its higher education policy. One of these priorities is to increase the ratio of college level training forms within the Hungarian higher education. The governmental policy thinks the aims realizable on condition that whole health science education system is built vertically from the post-secondary (certificate) level to the PhD-training. This is the reason for the establishment of a new Health Science Education Center at the Federation of Debrecen Universities (DESZ) based partially on the intellectual resources of University of Debrecen Medical and Health Science Center (UDMHSC). The new programs – with specialized training several paramedics – will help to set the balance of the Hungarian labor-market that was unsettled in the last decades.

The Act of Higher Education (1993) has restored the right of the medical universities to postgraduate and further education, residence and permission (license) procedures. This kind of training requires a new structure as well as a new administrative apparatus and the organization a training center. The new residency programs have been started in 1999.

Admission requirements for Hungarian students are identical with the national standards. An important difference is the eligibility of chemistry as an option instead of physics in addition to the compulsory biology entrance examination. Exemption from the entrance examination is not possible; language proficiency exams are awarded with extra scores. International students have an entrance interview in physics, biology and chemistry and it is also possible for them to join higher year courses considering their previous studies completed in other countries. International students may choose between English and Hungarian as the language of their studies. Entrance for certain courses of the college is available by means of a special evaluation (scoring) and an entrance interview.

Syllabus and classes in both courses correspond to European standards. Total number of classes in medical education is over 5500, which can be divided into four main units: basic theoretical training (1st and 2nd years), pre-clinical subjects (3rd), and clinical subjects (4th, 5th) and internship (6th year). The rate of theoretical and practical classes is 30 to 70 %. The rate of students/instructors is 8:1. The first two years of dentistry education are identical with the education at the faculty of general medicine, which is followed by a three-year pre-clinical and clinical training. Education in molecular biology started in the third year considering credits gained in previous studies in medicine or basic sciences. Our various College courses are gradually extended by new courses.

We started medical education in English 11 years ago, and we start Dentistry Program for international students in the 2000-2001 academic year. The curriculum of the English language general medicine program meets all the requirements prescribed by the recommendation for a European medical curriculum outlined by the Association of Medical Schools in Europe in 1993. The most important differences as compared to the Hungarian program are:

  • Hungarian language is taught,

  • Tropical infection diseases are more emphasized (within Internal Medicine and Hygiene and Epidemiology).

Otherwise, the English language curriculum is identical with that taught in Hungarian language. The sixth year of our curriculum is internship including Internal Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Neurology, Psychiatry, Family Medicine - altogether 12 months - which is followed by a national board exam. The internship is again the same both in our Hungarian and English programs.

A one-year premedical (Basic Medicine) course is recommended for those not having good enough knowledge in biology, physics and chemistry from high school. In addition to these subjects, courses in English and Hungarian are also included.

After graduation many topics are offered for PhD-training that lasts three years. Outstanding graduates of our English MD-program can join these courses (English PhD-programs). Special education for family doctors has been started recently and we are preparing the new system of training for licensed physicians in Debrecen.

Our recently accredited PhD programs include the following topics:

  • Molecular and Cell Biology: Mechanism of Signal Transduction

  • Microbiology and Pharmacology

  • Biophysics

  • Physiology-Neurobiology

  • Experimental and Clinical Investigations in Hematology and Hemostasis

  • Epidemiological and clinical epidemiological studies

  • Cell- and Molecular Biology: Study of activity of cells and tissues in healthy and pathological conditions.

  • Immunology

  • Experimental and Clinical Oncology

  • Public Health

  • Dental Research

  • Preventive Medicine

The PhD-programs are run by more than 100 accredited highly qualified coordinators and tutors.


Medical activity at the University of Debrecen Medical and Health Science Center

The UDMHSC is also one of the largest hospitals in Hungary. There are 18 different clinical departments with more than 1800 beds serving 62,000 inpatients and 670,000 outpatients yearly. It is not only the best-equipped institution in the area but also represents the most important health care facility for day-by-day medical care in this region. This includes, beside other services, an adult haemodialysis center, open-heart surgery facilities and kidney transplantation unit.

The Kenézy Gyula county hospital (with approx. 1400 beds) is strongly affiliated with the UDMHSC and plays an important role in teaching the practical aspects of medicine. The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of UDMHSC has been an official reference center of WHO for many years. There is also a close contact between the University and other health institutions of its district. We have a Teaching Hospital Network of 10 hospitals in the nearby counties.

It is also of importance that the UDMHSC can rely upon the collaboration with the Nuclear Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Debrecen. They coordinate the work that is related to the use of their cyclotron with respect to diagnostic and therapeutic aspects (e.g., Positron Emission Tomography)


Research activity at the University of Debrecen Medical and Health Science Center

Scientific work is done at the departments for basic sciences and laboratories of clinical departments. The faculty members of this medical school publish about 600 scientific papers in international scientific journals per year. According to scientometric data the UDMHSC is among the 4 best ones of the more than 80 Hungarian research institutions and universities. Many of our scientists could reach international recognition exploiting the possibilities provided by internal and international collaborations. Internationally acknowledged research areas are cell biology, immunology, experimental and clinical oncology, hematology, neurobiology and neurology, physiology. The scientific exchange program involves numerous foreign universities and large proportion of our staff is actively involved in programs that make use of foreign connections (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the USA are the most important partners).


New facilities at the University of Debrecen Medical and Health Science Center

The development of the UDMHSC has been accelerated in recent years. The most important results are as follows:

  • New units were developed for medical care (Center for Nephrology, Building for Cardiology and Heart Surgery, Kidney Transplantation Unit, 3rd Department of Medicine).

  • Up-to-date tomography equipment is available for the purposes of research and diagnostic work: X-ray, NMR and PET. Recently a "baby"-cyclotron has been purchased to promote the production of radio-pharmacons.

  • New Hungarian-Japanese center for electron-microscopy was founded recently.

  • The university fiber optic cable computer network that is connected via the metropolitan FDDI network to the Internet world academic computer system. Students can use up to 30 terminals at the same time in the Education Center and in the Center for Educational Development. and others in various departments. There is a continuous development in this area with new 100 base Ethernet and ATM networks.

  • A new computer center will be established for students with 40 workstations connected to the Internet in the Students' Hostel No. II. The access will be free for all students of UDMHSC.

  • A new linear accelerator was built for radiological treatment of patients.

  • A new development is to be financed by the World Bank to establish a new Life Science Building and Library.

  • A similar project aims the construction of a new building for the Health College Faculty in Debrecen.


PS: The article was practically stolen from the official DEOEC website.