The history of higher education in Debrecen goes back to the 16th century. The city established the Calvinist College of Debrecen in 1538. The College became soon the most important cultural center of the whole country, where a great number of writers, scientists and politicians received their education.
In the 18th century the schools of Law and Theology were founded and although no separate School of Medicine existed, physicians were also trained in the College.
Today's University Medical School is rooted in this spiritual heritage. The present day Debrecen is also famous for its schools and higher educational establishments. The Medical School of the University of Debrecen is Central Europe's first campus medical school. It was in the year of the millennium (1896) of Hungary's foundation when the establishment of a modern University was decided upon in Debrecen. The University was officially inaugurated on October 23, 1918 and at that time consisted of four faculties: Arts, Science, Theology and Medicine. The Faculty of Medicine became an independent University Medical School under the supervision of the Ministry of Health in 1951.
The Medical School has 22 departments of basic sciences and 25 clinical departments specializing in various fields e.g. clinical chemistry, internal medicine, surgery, orthopedics, radiology, neurology, neurosurgery, psychiatry, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, cardiology and pulmonology, oto-rhino-laryngology, dermatology, ophthalmology, stomatology and urology. The Medical School serves as the city hospital for Debrecen therefore students of upper terms may also obtain their clinical training here.
The University of Debrecen is recognized throughout the world, including Canada and the United States. Education at Debrecen Medical School is accredited by the World Health Organization, US Department of Education, The State Education Department (NY, USA), Medical Board of California, the General Medicine Council of United Kingdom, Medical Councils of Israel, Ireland, Iran and Norway. In most European countries - not listed above - and also in India the diploma of the University of Debrecen, Medical and Health Science Center is accepted for registration purposes; however a qualifying exam is compulsory.
The University of Debrecen Medical School is listed in the International Medical Education Directory (IMED), which means that graduates are able to attend the Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination (MCCEE). The University's recognition includes but not limited to the following:
■ World Health Organization (who.int)
■ International Medical Education Directory (faimer.org)
■ Provincial Student Assistance Program of Canada (all provinces i.e. OSAP for Ontario)
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.