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About U.Porto

The University of Porto from 1911 to the Present

Faculty of Sciences (1911)
Faculty of Medicine (1911)
Faculty of Arts (1919 - 1928, 1961)
Faculty of Pharmacy (1921)
Faculty of Engineering (1926)
Faculty of Economics (1953)
Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar (1975)
Faculty of Architecture (1979)
Faculty of Psychology and Education Science (1980)
Faculty of Sport (1989)
Faculty of Dental Medicine (1989)
Faculty of Fine Arts (1992)
Faculty of Law (1994)
Faculty of Nutrition and Food Science (1999)

Faculty of Sciences (1911)

When the Faculty of Sciences was created in 1911, its organisational structure followed that of similar institutions in Portugal. It did have a particularity however, that of also being a School of Engineering, due to the fact that it offered associated special courses in civil engineering, lectured at the former Polytechnic Academy.
The Faculty of Sciences’ associated establishments were instituted by Decree nº. 226 on 30th June 1914, namely: physics laboratory, mineralogy and geology museum and laboratory, botanical garden, museum and laboratory, and marine zoology museum, laboratory and station.
The Faculty was housed in the building which had been previously occupied by the Polytechnic Academy, even though the space offered was immediately considered highly insufficient for its needs.

Faculty of Medicine (1911)

The Medical-Surgical School was raised to Faculty by Decree on 22nd February 1911, and it was with this new status that it was incorporated into the University of Porto.
Three months later, by diploma passed on 1st May, the Government established the terms by which the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto was to associate the institutes and hospitals that were considered essential to compliance with the recent reform of medical education. A Commission was appointed to study the matter, which was also charged with the responsibility of defining a general plan for the organisation of medical assistance in the city of Porto.

Faculty of Arts (1919 - 1928, 1961)

The University’s expansion began in 1919 with the creation of the Faculty of Arts. The first proposal for establishing this school dated from 1915, prepared by the Minister of Public Instruction, Doctor João Lopes Martins, full professor of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto. However, four years were to go by before the bill was passed creating the Faculty, in a controversial context that came to be known as the "academic question".
The Faculty of Arts of Porto emerged as a consequence of a conflict between the Minister of Instruction, Domingos Pereira, and the University of Coimbra, whose outcome in legal terms led to the closing of the Faculty of Arts at that University and its institution at the University of Porto. Law nº. 861 of 27th August 1919, under Article 11, established the new Faculty in Porto, which opened its doors in the 1919-1920 academic year.
Threatening to close down in 1923 for alleged financial reasons, the Faculty of Arts of Porto was not to last very long. It was officially closed down by Decree nº. 15.365 on 12th April 1928, signed by the Minister Alfredo de Magalhães. The students enrolled, though, obtained permission to conclude their degrees and classes were run until 31st July 1931, date on which the last exam took place.
Biographical notes of some of the students and teachers of the 1st Faculty of Arts of the University of Porto are available in this Information System.

The closing of the Faculty of Arts in 1928 left a deep breach in the domain of the Humanities, a fact that led many personalities to campaign for its reinstatement, both within the University, and in other arenas, such as the Parliament, where several members called for its reopening. These efforts were finally rewarded upon the University of Porto’s 50th anniversary in 1961, year in which the Faculty of Arts was legally restored. Two degrees were offered, in History and Philosophy, as well as "educational sciences", although the law did provide for the possibility of creating new degrees.
The Faculty reopened its doors on the 26th October 1962, lecturing the above-mentioned courses until 1968. New degrees and postgraduate courses were gradually introduced from that time on.

Faculty of Pharmacy (1921)

A short time following the creation of the first Faculty of Arts (1919), another Faculty appeared in the University of Porto: the Faculty of Pharmacy. It was not a new institution but rather a "promotion" of an old school that achieved Faculty status on 18th January 1921 in the Decree nº. 7.238. In fact, the Higher Institute of Pharmacy already offered an undergraduate degree since 1919, but from the moment it acquired Faculty status, it also acquired new aims: "to minister professional education in pharmacy and chemistry, the culture and advancement of all branches of pharmacy and related sciences".

In 1923, like the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Pharmacy threatened to close down due to financial reasons, but this did not come to occur. It operated normally until 1926, when the first restructuring took place.
Another reform was operated in 1931, this time to last for decades, outliving furthermore the administration of the Estado Novo, until 1978, when the degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences was created and substantial curricular changes were introduced. The Faculty’s very organisational structure was also altered at the time.

Faculty of Engineering (1926)

When the University of Porto was founded in March 1911, it comprises only three faculties, Sciences, Medicine, and Trade. However, the University Constitution of 19th April that same year included a provision for the university to expand "progressively and in due time with the creation of faculties of applied sciences or technical Schools, for the different branches of engineering, trade and industry (…)". Upon the approval of the general study plan for the faculties of Sciences, implemented in the 1911-1912 academic year, it was stipulated that "until such a time when the Faculty of applied sciences was organised, the special subjects of engineering of the Polytechnic Academy of Porto would be associated to the Faculty of Sciences". Thus, the seed of the future Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto was sown.
The Engineering courses became a section of the Faculty of Sciences until 1915, when the Technical Faculty was created. It absorbed the courses in Civil Engineering, Mining Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrotechnical Engineering, and Chemical-Industrial Engineering.

In November 1926, the Technical Faculty was renamed the Faculty of Engineering, the inevitable outcome to a long process which, in 1921, led to the legal acknowledgement of its status as an establishment of higher vocational education and scientific research. This latter dimension would lead to its integration in the university and comprised an essential factor in its ultimate designation and corresponding change in organisational profile.
The new Faculty of Engineering’s organic law was approved on 26th July 1930 and, five years later, its corresponding regulations. These changes were followed by relocation: the Faculty moved out of the building of the Faculty of Sciences to its own facilities, in the Rua dos Bragas. However, the first three years of the Engineering degrees continued to be lectured at the Faculty of Sciences until 1975, since its curricular plans stipulated a common core with those of the Faculty of Sciences, which was moreover the case of degrees from other schools.

Faculty of Economics (1953)

Following almost three decades of stagnation, a new faculty was founded within the University of Porto in 1953, a claim that dated back to the period in which the first Faculty of Arts was closed down in 1928. The Faculty of Economics was instated following a long process which largely corresponded in fact to the revival of one of the University’s initial goals which had never been fulfilled: the creation of the Faculty of Trade. In 1931, by ministerial proposal, the University Senate discussed the possibility of creating a Faculty of Economic and Trade Sciences, having voted in favour, although reinstating the Faculty of Arts, closed three years earlier, was considered a priority. No concrete measures were taken, though, and only in 1948 did the matter come to the fore again. Nevertheless, it was to take an additional five years to see the Faculty established, whose purpose it was to train "an elite of economists, capable of managing situations of the highest responsibility in vast and complex organisations, given their scientific preparation".
The Faculty of Economics occupied part of the building of the Faculty of Sciences, in the Praça de Gomes Teixeira, until it moved to its own facilities in 1974, built specifically for the purpose in the University’s Campus 2.

Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar (1975)

Following the revolution of April 1974, the Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar was established in August 1975, next to the University of Porto’s Rectory. It trains students to follow medical and paramedical careers, and also offers degrees in Veterinary Medicine, Agronomy, and Biology. The Institute has developed and diversified its areas of intervention, not only through its teaching dimension but also through cooperation, establishing agreements with different hospitals, particularly the Santo António General Hospital, which is also a teaching hospital.

Faculty of Architecture (1979)

The Faculty of Architecture was created in 1979, whose most recent predecessor had been the Architecture Course offered by the 1st Section of the Higher Institute of Fine Arts of Porto, instituted in 1950. Its origins though date back to the 18th century, more precisely, 1779, when a diploma passed by Queen Maria I created the School of Drafting and Drawing.

The Faculty’s was first housed in facilities in the Avenida Rodrigues de Freitas.

Faculty of Psychology and Education Science (1980)

The Faculty of Psychology and Education Science of the University of Porto was instituted in 1980, following the creation of the Degree in Psychology three years earlier. The Faculty’s aims, as stated in its founding diploma, comprise teaching, scientific research, and cultural activities in the fields of Psychology and Education.
The Degree in Psychology was first lectured at the Faculty of Arts in Campo Alegre, a situation which lasted for a few months. It moved to a building belonging to the University in Rua das Taipas, which had previously been a part of the Oliveira Martins School.

Faculty of Sport (1989)

The origins of the Faculty of Sport date back to 1975, when the Higher Institute of Physical education was created. It was a higher education institution from the beginning, with administrative, pedagogical and scientific autonomy. In 1989, following the approval of the University of Porto’s Statutes, it was renamed Faculty of Sport Sciences and Physical Education. It recently altered its name once more to Faculty of Sport.

Faculty of Dental Medicine (1989)

The Porto Higher Institute of Dental Medicine opened its doors in November 1976, about six months after its establishment. However, it only became a part of the University of Porto on 6th January 1989, when it became a Faculty. The School was housed in prefabricated pavilions on the property of the São João Hospital, to the south, where it remained until 1997. The Faculty of Dental Medicine moved that year to new facilities, in Rua Dr. Manuel Pereira da Silva, in Paranhos, in the southern area of the University’s Campus 2.

Faculty of Fine Arts (1992)

The Porto Fine Arts School was incorporated in the University of Porto on 30th October 1992, renamed the Faculty of Fine Arts. Its origins, like those of the Faculty of Architecture, go back to the Sketching and Drawing Class, although strictly speaking, it is with the creation of the Porto Academy of Fine Arts, an outcome of the reforms conducted by Passos Manuel, that artistic education was first offered in Porto. This Academy, created by Decree on 22nd November 1836, with the purpose of "promoting the study of fine arts, and disseminate and apply their practice to Manufacturing Arts", was "also a centre for artistic education and an association of artists". To some extent, its institution absorbed functions that had been the responsibility of the Porto Museum, dating from 1833, which came to be used by teachers and students to develop their studies. The Decree of 22nd March 1881 reformed the academies of Fine Arts of Lisbon and Porto, separating the teaching function from the academic one. As a result, the Porto School of Fines Arts came to exist together with the Academy.
With the instauration of the Republic, the academies of Fine Arts were closed down, to be replaced by an administrative division into three circumscriptions, intended to collect and inventory works of art and archaeological artefacts, under the responsibility of Art and Archaeology Boards, one of which was located in Porto. The Porto School of Fine Arts stopped having any relation with the academic function, having been incorporated by the new Board, and its association with the Porto Museum was definitively severed. The latter became autonomous and was elevated to the category of National Museum, named Soares dos Reis National Museum in 1932.

In 1950, the School of Fine Arts became a higher education institution. Thus the Porto Institute of Fine Arts was created, offering courses in Architecture, Painting, and Sculpture. The Architecture course was removed from the Institute, and the Faculty of Architecture was created in 1979. The courses offered at the Institute of Fine Arts developed into higher education degrees, a fact which led to its integration in the University in 1992, under the name Faculty of Fine Arts.

Faculty of Law (1994)

The Faculty of Law, instituted in 1994 was the result of a protracted and troubled process, whose origin dated back to the first years of the Republic. In 1915, Professor Lopes Martins, lecturer of Hygiene at the Faculty of Medicine, presented the House of Representatives with a proposal to create a Faculty of Law at the University of Porto and five years later such a faculty was considered in the draft project of a university campus in Porto. The matter was "forgotten" for about fifty years, to come to the fore once more following the 1974 revolution. Between 1974 and 1991, the creation of a Faculty of Law was widely discussed by the committees appointed to implement the project. It would have been possible to accomplish this goal in 1987, had the government not fallen: the diploma was ready! During a University Senate session in 1991, a new proposal to create the Faculty of Law was unanimously approved. This motion, which obtained governmental endorsement, was only materialised three years later in 1994.

Faculty of Nutrition and Food Science (1999)

The origins of the Faculty of Nutrition and Food Science can be traced back to the Undergraduate Degree in Nutrition created in 1976 on an experimental basis for a limited number of years, under the direct dependency of the University of Porto’s Rectory. Initially, the course only awarded a Bachelor’s Degree, since the First Degree in Nutrition Sciences was only approved in 1987. In 1992, the Undergraduate Degree in Nutrition was incorporated in the Institute of Nutrition Sciences and, in 1996, was renamed Higher Institute of Nutrition and Food Sciences of the University of Porto. In 1999, it was awarded Faculty status, to be then known as the Faculty of Nutrition and Food Sciences of the University of Porto.


(Texts adapted from: FERNANDES, Maria Eugénia Matos; RIBEIRO, Fernanda - A Universidade do Porto: Estudo orgânico-funcional (modelo de análise para fundamentar o conhecimento do Sistema de Informação Arquivo). Porto, Reitoria da Universidade do Porto, 2001).

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