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The Federal University of Juiz de Fora was established on December 23rd, 1960, by an act of the President Juscelino Kubitschek. The University City was built in 1969, where it remains until the present day. The second federal university to be created not in a metropolitan area – just after the Santa Maria (RS) university – the institution was formed from the aggregation of recognized and federalized higher education establishments in Juiz de Fora.

Medicine, Engineering, Economics, Law, Pharmacy and Dentistry were the first courses. After them came Geography, Literature, Philosophy, Biological Sciences, Social Sciences and History. The courses offered in the undergraduate level were distributed among the various units of the campus.

The course of Journalism was created and became one of the departments of the Law School. In the 1970s, with the University Reform, UFJF was divided into three basic institutions: Institute of Mathematical Sciences (ICE), Institute of Biological Sciences (ICB) and the Institute for Human Sciences and Liberal Arts (ICHL).In 1999, a new unit was created: the Health Sciences Centre, where Nursing, Physiotherapy and Medicine started being taught. In 2006, the Institute of Arts and Design (IAD) and the School of Liberal Arts (FALE) were created.