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History of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Freiburg

1457      Medicine was one of the four original faculties when the University of Freiburg was founded. Archduke Albrecht VI of Austria instructed Mattaeus Hummel of Villingen, a doctor, to establish the faculty, and appointed him as the first Rector.

1460      Teaching began. On 30 April Rector Hummel held the first medical lecture on the aphorisms of Hippocrates. He held the only professorship of Medicine for more than 15 years.

1751      The Freiburg faculty suggests to Outer Austria it could treat the poor in the city’s infirmaries - that is, by professors and free - instead of only in the “poor hospital.”

1780      Establishment of a general infirmary at the Kollegium Sapientiae, Herrenstrasse

1780er Jahre The Medical Faculty college consisted of seven professors and a prosector; the number of students was around 50 and rose to about 100 per year of studies in the 1790s.

1829      Opening of the Clinical Hospital on Albertstrasse

1868-1911           Establishment of the Women’s, Eye, Paediatrics, and Surgical Hospitals, and the Polyclinic in today’s Institutsviertel district.

1887      Opening of the Psychiatric Hospital on Hauptstrasse in the suburb of Herdern

1899      The women who enrolled at the University of Freiburg Medical Faculty for the winter semester were the first regularly enrolled female students in the German Empire and later became the first women to be licensed as doctors in Germany.

1922      The garrison military hospital in Herdern was turned into a dermatology hospital.

1926-1931           Construction of the Medical and Surgical Hospitals on Hugstetter Strasse

1931 Dermatologist Berta Ottenstein became the first woman to complete a habilitation at the University of Freiburg.

1933 Due to laws passed by the National Socialist regime and by order of the Rector’s Office, Jewish members of the faculty were dismissed.

27.11.1944          Destruction of nearly every institute and hospital in heavy bombardment of Freiburg

1948 – 1953        Reconstruction of the Surgical, Medical, and Women’s Hospitals

Post-1953           Strategic planning and construction of all further hospitals in the Hugstetter Strasse area.

1960s The number of medical students in Freiburg rose swiftly, leading to the first restrictions on admission to the Faculty of Medicine. By summer semester 1963 some 3000 students were enrolled.

From 1970 Restructuring of medical training due to new licensing regulations for doctors – among the changes: training was set at six years and the focus shifted to written exams.

1998 Due to new laws reforming medical teaching at universities, the Faculty Board and the Faculty Council were formed as Medical Faculty’s new management bodies.

Winter semester 2001-2002 Molecular Medicine degree program launched

2006 Foundation of the Spemann Graduate School of Biology and Medicine as part of the German government’s Excellence Initiative

2010 Nursing Science degree program launched

In winter semester 2016-17 the Medical Faculty had some 100 professors and 2500 scientific staff, who worked at approximately 70 institutes, hospitals, and other institutions. More than 3500 students were enrolled. 

Reference: Eduard Seidler/ Karl-Heinz Leven. Die Medizinische Fakultät der Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau. Grundlagen und Entwicklungen. Verlag Karl Alber. Freiburg/ München 2007.