In 1881, the 17th legislature passed an act stating "That there be established in this State, at such location as may be determined by a vote of the people, an institution of learning, which shall be called and known as The University of Texas. The medical department of the university shall be located, if so determined by a vote of the people, at a different point from the university proper, and as a branch thereof; and the question of the location of said department shall be submitted to the people and voted separately from the propositions for the location of the main university (1)." Texas voters selected locations for the main university (Austin) and the medical branch (Galveston).
The University of Texas Medical Department opened to its first class of medical students in October 1891 and has been in continuous operation ever since. The John Sealy Training School for Nurses, founded in 1890, was recognized as a component of the Medical Department in 1896. Today, this school is known as The University of Texas School of Nursing at Galveston. In 1919, a legislative amendment to the Texas constitution was approved changing the name from the Medical Department to The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, commonly referred to as UTMB. UTMB functioned as the state’s only medical school until 1949. Biomedical graduate programs were begun in 1952 and a separate graduate school was established in 1969. This became the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in 1972. The School of Allied Health Sciences, the first such school in the Southwest, opened in 1968.
The university offers degree-granting programs that include three bachelor's degree programs, 14 master's degree programs, 10 doctor of philosophy programs and one doctor of medicine program through its four schools: the Graduate School of Biomedical Science, the School of Allied Health Sciences, The School of Medicine and the School of Nursing (2).
The university reports student enrollment each semester to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board . In Fall Semester 2006, UTMB enrolled 2,255 students which included 900 graduate students, 861 professional students and 494 undergraduate students (3).
The university also reports the degrees conferred annually to the Coordinating Board for the entire preceding fiscal year. Is Fiscal Year 2006, UTMB conferred 628 degrees and certificates including 244 Baccalaureate, 154 Master's degrees, 35 Doctoral, and 183 Professional degrees and 11 certificates (4).