University of Veterinary Medicine – Budapest, Hungary

A Brief History of Veterinary Education in Hungary


In 1787, shortly after the foundation of the world’s first veterinary school (1762, Lyons) a “Chair for Animal Healing” was established at the Faculty of Medicine in the town of Pest (now an area of the city of Budapest) to provide students of medicine and surgery with basic knowledge of animal diseases and their management, an integral part of a general practitioner’s activity at that time.
In the early 19th century, the rapid expansion of the traditional horse and cattle breeding on the Hungarian plains called for adequate institutional development. Accordingly, in 1851 the Chair for Animal Healing became independent from the Medical Faculty as the “Royal Institute of Veterinary Medicine”. In 1899, its status was changed to that of a Royal College with the right to issue the D.V.M. diploma (Doctor Veterinariae Medicinae). As an independent College, this school earned an international reputation in the first half of the 20th century. From 1960 it obtained the status of an independent University.
As a part of the countrywide reorganization of higher education in 2000, the university became the Faculty of Veterinary Science, Budapest of the newly founded Szent István University. From summer 2016 our school regained its independence, thus the former name University of Veterinary Medicine applies. It is further on a state university and the program has been continually supervised and accredited by the Hungarian Accreditation Board.

The English-Language Program

The English-language program at the University of Veterinary Science was instituted in 1992 for students with a working knowledge of English. The English-language program begins in early September each year. The curriculum for veterinary medicine takes five and a half years and parallels the standard curriculum found in most European veterinary programs. During the first two (preclinical) years students study Anatomy, Histology, Embryology, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Zoology, Physiology, Biochemistry, Ethology, Agrareconomics, Botany, Biomathematics and Computer Application. English, Latin and Hungarian languages can be chosen as optional courses. During the next three (clinical + paraclinical) years, the curriculum includes Animal Breeding, Pathology, Pharmacology, Toxicology, Microbiology, Pathophysiology, Parasitology, Animal Nutrition, Veterinary Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics, Food Hygiene, Forensic Veterinary Medicine, Animal Hygiene, Epizoology and State Veterinary Medicine. The 11th (practical) semester includes practical work at the University Clinics and university-associated institutions. Practical work at the school’s Field Stations and State Farms as well as with practitioner veterinarians is part of the curriculum. After the clinical rotation students have some time to prepare for the state exams. The diploma-issuing ceremony is held late Spring.
The entire curriculum (divided into core subjects and electives) consists of more than 5000 hours, a curriculum standard for the European Community. Before the conclusion of the degree program the students must submit a thesis and take a state examination.
Hungary is a full member of the European Union. The degree received at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Budapest is accepted automatically by the member countries of the Union and in several countries of the world. The graduates of our English-language program – coming mainly from Europe but also from all around the world– report on equal chances with graduates in their home countries.

International Accreditation

In 1995 the veterinary school was internationally accredited by the European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education (E.A.E.V.E.). The follow-up visitation took place in 2004 and 2015 with a positive outcome. The accreditation of the Budapest veterinary school was reinforced by the E.A.E.V.E. and the F.V.E. (Federation of Veterinarians of Europe). The Accreditation Report concludes: “…the University of Veterinary Science can claim a proud position among its European counterparts. Its young graduates need not be afraid to compete with their European colleagues for their knowledge and practical skills.” Since 2004 Hungary is a full member of the European Union which means acceptance of degrees within the EU and their equivalence with degrees from other EU-countries. The Budapest-diploma is accepted – in addition to EU-countries – in several others as well. After the completion of a board exam in Canada or the US, the graduates are entitled for a residency and to practise in North America.

Facts and Figures

The University of Veterinary Medicine is, as appropriate for a country with a population of 10.5 million, the only veterinary school in Hungary. Current enrolment is about 100, 120 and 120 students for the Hungarian, German and English programs, respectively. This means that we have a total of 1,000 students at the veterinary school. As in the case of all state universities in the country the school is officially supervised by the Ministry of Education and its teaching and research programs are also sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture and Regional Development and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Library and Internet

The Veterinary Science Library, Archives and Museum has a rich collection. Its historic library with 16th–19th century books, the university archives and the museum of veterinary history are particularly valuable. Besides, it is a modern information centre with current journals and books in veterinary science and biology in printed or electronic format, an online catalogue, a digital library, large international databases (such as CAB Abstracts, FSTA, Zoological record, Web of Science etc.) and a dynamic homepage. A computer room, printing, copying facilities and WIFI are also available.

Campus and Field Station

The campus is located in the central area of Budapest, near to one of the main railway and subway stations, easily accessible by public transport. The main Field Station of the school is located in Üllő, ca. 10 km from the boundary of the city. It comprises an Experimental Institute for biotechnology, a living gene-bank for preservation of old Hungarian breeds of farm animals, horse stables with a riding-school and hippodrome, and a Large Animal Clinic – opened in Summer 2001. Beside the daily routine work, the Clinic is used for practical training. The University operates a shuttle-service between the Campus and the Field Station. In 2006 a new up-to-date Small Animal Clinic was opened to provide students, staff and clients with 21st century facilities for diagnostics and treatment.


School Facilities
The central campus

Comparing the splendid neogothic House of Parliament and the utilitarian buildings of the veterinary campus, one may be surprised to learn that they are the works of the same architect: Imre Steindl. Upon a closer look, however, it turns out that in spite of their utilitarian approach, 19th century builders could not dispense with decorating elements of extremely fine craftsmanship. The proportionate, moderately ornamented buildings make an architectural entity exemplifying university-building of the age. For this reason the Veterinary Campus stands under the protection of the Board of National Heritage.

The old buildings

Old buildings All the 19th century buildings were erected in the "red-brick" style typical for schools of that age. Under the eaves, each building was decorated with a strip of renaissance-style ceramic tiles from the Zsolnay manufacture. Unfortunately, World War II and subsequent neglect ruined many of the tiles, so that the decorative strip can be seen in its original form only on some of the buildings. From the same manufacturer, several decorative elements, however, remained intact throughout the campus. The old central building (now the Central Library) originally contained the Assembly Hall and the Rector's private apartments. At its sides the Anatomy/Pathology and the Physiology Chemistry Blocks form a square with the Clinic of Internal Medicine. This square contains the finest part of the garden. Next to the square, the Phamacology Building, and the Clinic for Surgery are found. The latter was the first building on the campus to receive patients. Of the old buildings, the Library and the Clinic of Internal Medicine have remained in their original form, while new wings or floors were added to others. Nevertheless, all reconstruction was carried out under the supervision of the Board of National Heritage, thus the uniform style of the old buildings has been preserved. In the place of the former Large Animal clinic a well equipped Small Animal Clinic was opened.

The garden and the bull

The statue of the indigenous Hungarian grey cattle Amidst large block-houses and busy streets in one of the most densely built districts of the city, the campus garden is an oasis with its old trees, green bushes and colourful flower beds. The garden is surrounded by an iron fence with ornamented supporting columns, 37 of which are capped by cast-iron animal heads. At the entrance stands the statue of the indigenous Hungarian grey cattle, a breed found now only in national parks. The statue is a life-size reproduction of the famous bull "Csatlós," once upon a time the pride of his owner, and a winner of dozens of exhibition medals. This sculpture has become the school's emblem.

The new buildings

New buildings In spite of enlargements and internal modernizations, the old buildings could not accommodate the increasing number of students, staff, and equipment so in 1976, a new complex (architect: László Elekes) was completed on the north-eastern side of the campus. This comprises the Central Administration Building, three clinical and departmental buildings, an Aula Maxima where 500 people can be seated, a gymnasium, the canteen, and workshops. The builders of the modern block did their best to live up to the standard of their 19th century predecessors. For example, the walls of the Aula, the office of the dean and two minor conference rooms are covered with wooden plates, and the canteen-wall is decorated with reliefs. The floor of the entrance hall, the Aula, and the staircase of the central building are covered with red marble from the Danube-bend area, a material used for 1000 years in the region.

External sites

In spite of substantial enlargements, the campus cannot accommodate all the departments, many of which were recently organized in response to the rapid advances in veterinary sciences. The Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases is separated from the campus owing to the fact that its laboratories work with infectious materials. Another fine old building close to the campus houses the Centre for Zoology and two more Faculty departments.
The most distant external site, the Faculty Field Station is a huge, 1300-hectare area, 30 km from the city. The landscape is typical of the Hungarian plains, the "puszta," so that it immediately acquaints the student with the environment of the local agriculture. Around an old manor house which serves as the central office, the station comprises a reservation of old Hungarian breeds of farm animals, horse stables with a riding school and hippodrome, and the Large Animal Clinic. The clinic is an impressive building designed by Imre Makovecz, a leading figure of contemporary organic architecture.
Large Animal Hospital, Üllő