The Federal University of Ouro Preto (UFOP) was created on August 21, 1969, with the addition of the centennial and traditional academic activities of the Pharmacy School and Mines School. Over the years, the University grew and expanded its physical space, gaining new courses, professors, and collaborators.

The Pharmacy School was created in 1839. Built in the former seat of the Provincial Parliament, where the 1st Republican Constitution of Minas Gerais was sworn in, the School was the first college of Minas Gerais and is the oldest in America Latina in the pharmaceutical area. At the moment, the administrative sector, the school, and the directories are located in Morro do Cruzeiro campus, in Ouro Preto. The laboratories and classrooms operate at the school's headquarters in the center of the city and must be transferred to the campus.

In 1876, the scientist Henri Gorceix founded the Mines School, the first Brazilian institution dedicated to the teaching of mining, metallurgy, and geology. Headquartered in the former Governor's Palace, in the center of Ouro Preto, it was transferred in 1995 to Morro do Cruzeiro campus.

In 1978, the Nutrition course was implemented, but the Nutrition School was founded only in 1994. In 1979, in Mariana (MG), the Institute of Human and Social Sciences (ICHS) was founded. Located where the convent of “Our Blessed Lady of Good Death” worked. This campus hosts the courses of History, Literature, and Pedagogy.

With the interest of the community in the area of arts, the Institute of Philosophy, Arts, and Culture (IFAC) was created in 1981 in Ouro Preto, where the undergraduates in Performing Arts, Music and Philosophy are offered.

The following year, in 1982, the Institute of Exact and Biological Sciences (ICEB) was created, initially responsible for the disciplines of the basic cycles of the undergraduate courses in Mines School, Pharmacy, and Nutrition. At present, it covers the undergraduate courses in Biological Sciences, Mathematics, Computer Science, Statistics, Physics, Chemistry and Industrial Chemistry. It also offers the basic disciplines of courses in the health area, such as Medicine and Physical Education.

In the 1990s, two other important courses for UFOP emerged. The first is Law School, in 1993, which won the recommendation of the Brazilian Lawyer Association (OAB), through the granting of the OAB Seal. In 1999 the Tourism course was implemented, which in addition to strengthening the University's role in the region, promotes a vision-guided towards the integrated and sustainable development of the tourism market.

In 2000, through the former Core for Open and Distance Education (now Open and Distance Education Center - CEAD), the University implemented postgraduate courses in the distance education modality, covering 90 cities in the state of Minas Gerais, four in São Paulo and eight in Bahia. At present, the distance undergraduate courses offered are Public Administration, Geography, Pedagogy, and Mathematics.

In 2002 UFOP inaugurated the advanced campus of João Monlevade, offering the courses of Information System and Production Engineering. In 2009, with the creation of the courses of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering, the campus was elevated to the Institute of Exact and Applied Sciences (ICEA).

In 2008, by joining the federal support program called “Federal University Restructuring and Expansion Program” (Reuni), UFOP implemented another campus in the city of Mariana, where four courses were hosted: Economic Sciences, Management, Journalism and Social Service, composing ICSA (Institute of Social and Applied Sciences). This same Program of the Federal Government made possible the implementation of the Physical Education course in the Sports Center of the University (CEDUFOP), in Morro do Cruzeiro campus. Since 1970, the center has developed activities in association with several undergraduate courses.

Finally, in early 2013, the Medicine School was created, located in Morro do Cruzeiro campus. The Medicine course, which began in 2007, worked together with the Department of Pharmacy. Another achievement was the introduction of the undergraduate in Museology, the first in Minas Gerais.

According to the “UFOP’s Institutional Development Plan (2016-2025)”, UFOP is a reference institution in the country, constituting itself as one of the main Federal Institutions of Higher Education in Brazil. This projection is due to its singularity in the historical dimensions of teaching, research, innovation and community participation and, above all, to the valuation of its human heritage: students, teachers and administrative technicians in education.

As it has been presented, with a multicampus structure, formed by Ouro Preto, Mariana and João Monlevade campuses, the university is located in the mesoregion of Belo Horizonte, extending to João Monlevade, and the micro-region of Ouro Preto, which is composed of the cities of Itabirito, Ouro Preto, Mariana, Diogo de Vasconcelos and Acaiaca. This is the reason why, according to the 2015 census, a population of approximately 180 thousand inhabitants, 193 state and municipal school units, a university, a federal institute and 37 private schools, with an audience school of about 5 thousand education professionals and 52 thousand students, which demands of UFOP an important academic insertion and recognition in the region.

Currently, the university occupies an area of ​​approximately 151 thousand m2, with more than 150 classrooms and 140 teaching and research laboratories. It also has 848 effective teachers and 806 administrative technicians. UFOP offers 42 undergraduate courses, which 38 are face-to-face and 4 distance learning courses. According to the Pro-Rector for Research and Postgraduate Studies (PROPP/UFOP), in 2016 UFOP offered 41 stricto sensu postgraduate courses (21 academic master’s degrees, 13 doctorate and 7 professional master’s degrees) and 17 lato sensu postgraduate courses in specialization modality.

As for the students, there are 13.021 graduating students, which 1.409 of them is in the distance modality. In the postgraduate course, there are 357 students in doctoral programs; 1,118 in master's programs, of which 860 are in an academic master's degree and 258 in professional a master's degree; And approximately 3,500 enrollments in specialization programs (Presencial and distance). In total, there are more than 15 thousand students, about 800 administrative staff and approximately 800 teachers, between staff, and substitutes.

According to the institutional site, UFOP seeks to bring the 21st century to a city of more than 300 years. The preservation proposal is reaffirmed through projects such as the Cantaria Workshop, which recovers important historical monuments, and the Forum of Arts, which promotes reflection on arts and heritage. The Museum of Science and Technology, the Pharmacy Museum, and the Astronomical Observatory are important centers for the preservation of memory and culture that keep a legacy of knowledge for society.

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