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Brief History of the University of Porto

With more than one hundred years, the University of Porto was formally founded on 22nd March 1911, immediately after the Portuguese Republic was established. The roots of the institution, however, date back to 1762, when the Nautical Class was created by D. José I. This school, along with subsequent schools which were created, (Sketching and Drawing Class, created in 1779; Royal Academy of Maritime and Trade Affairs, in 1803; Polytechnic Academy, in 1837) were to be responsible for training students in Porto over the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, providing a response to the need for qualified staff in the fields of naval affairs, trade, industry and the arts.

In 1825, the first medical school was founded in Porto, entitled the Royal School of Surgery, which was transformed in 1836 into the Medical-Surgical School, as another axis of training at the University of Porto.

In parallel, the Sketching and Drawing Class gave rise to other schools – the Porto Academy of Fine Arts (1836), later the Porto School of Fine Arts (1881), and finally the Porto Higher Institute of Fine Arts (1950). The latter transformed over the last quarter of the twentieth century, into the current faculties of architecture and fine arts at the University of Porto.

While the University of Porto was initially structured around two faculties (Science and Medicine), over the course of the twentieth century, a diversification of knowledge arose and schools gained autonomy. Even during the 1st Republic, in 1915, the Technical Faculty was born (renamed the Faculty of Engineering in 1926), along with the Faculty of Arts in 1919 and the Faculty of Pharmacy in 1921.

During the authoritarian regime, created after the military movement on 28th May 1926, growth at the University of Porto was conditioned: the Faculty of Arts was removed in 1928, and only restored in 1961; only the Faculty of Economics was truly created from scratch during this period, in 1953.

After the revolution in April 1974, and until the end of the century, the University of Porto finally began to expand. The six existing faculties at the time were completed by a further eight: the Abel Salazar Institute of Biomedical Sciences (1975), the Faculty of Sport (1975), the Faculty of Psychology and Education Science (1977), Faculty of Architecture (1979), Faculty of Dental Medicine (1989), Faculty of Nutritional and Food Science (1992), Faculty of Fine Arts (1992) and Faculty of Law (1994). Today, the University of Porto has fourteen faculties and one post-graduate school, the Porto Management School, created in 1988 and whose name changed to University of Porto Business School in 2008.

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