History and future

First democratically founded university in Europe

The University of Zurich was founded in 1833. It was the first university in Europe that was founded independently of the Church or a sovereign. Initially, it had four faculties: theology, law and political science, medicine and philosophy.

With two chairs and four associate professorships, the Medical Faculty was considered to be one of the best equipped faculties. The subjects taught included anatomy, physiology, pathology and treatment, surgery, obstetrics, pharmacology and ophthalmology.

Beginning in the 1860s, individual disciplines were divided, split off or introduced, which led to increasing specialization. The number of medical professorships doubled to 12 in the first 50 years after the founding of the Faculty. Another dozen were added in the following half-century. By 1962, the Medical and Dental Faculties had 41 Faculty members; In 1970, the Faculty appointed Hedi Fritz-Niggli as its first woman professor. Today, we have 200 professional staff members.

During the first century of its existence, the number of students quadrupled at the Medical Faculty of the University of Zurich to more than 400. During the same period, just under 3,000 dissertations were completed. With more than 2,000 students, the University of Zurich has the largest medical faculty in Switzerland.

In contingency with the urban planning strategy for the Zurich University District and the construction of several new hospital buildings, the recent decision to create the center University Medicine Zurich offers a unique op¬portunity to consolidate interdisciplinary efforts and col¬laboration between basic research, engineering sciences, and clinical work.