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.
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.