Faculty of Medicine
The Faculty of Medicine of University of Tartu has been the springboard for Estonian doctors and medical researchers since the founding of the alma mater. The start of many significant discoveries and clinical specialisations is closely related to the university. The development of embryology, opening of the world’s first pharmacology lab, the modern blood coagulation theory and the use of sterile rubber gloves and surgical instruments all have their roots in Tartu. The Institute of Sport Sciences and Physiotherapy, which is part of the Faculty of Medicine, has over the years become an important centre for exercise and sport sciences in Estonia as well as Europe.
UT alumni make up 99% of Estonian doctors, dentists and pharmacists and the majority of renowned exercise and sport scientists, physiotherapists and sports coaches. A great number of graduates of the faculty also work in various health care institutions in Europe and the USA. Owing to its internationally prominent academic reputation, the Faculty of Medicine continues to attract the largest number of international students of any Tartu faculty.
During their first semesters, students of the Faculty of Medicine study in the most modern academic buildings of the university—Biomedicum, Institute of Technology and Chemicum. In addition, the students can use the modern gyms and track and field hall at the UT Academic Sports Club and the only climate lab in the Baltic States, which researches the human organism’s resistance and adaptation in different climate conditions (e.g. desert heat), and the lab of recreational sports, which focuses on the activity level of the population, incl. school students, and developing options to improve it.
The clinical studies of medicine students from third to fifth year take place in the only university hospital in Estonia, Tartu University Hospital, where studies and research are closely related to high-level treatment. In their sixth year, medicine students need to complete clinical practice, during which the future doctors spend a whole year in different health care institutions in Estonia. Therefore, studies in the Faculty of Medicine are not limited to Tartu! UT cooperation agreements with the North Estonia Medical Centre, East–Tallinn Central Hospital and Tallinn Children’s Hospital provide students with a wide range of practice, treatment and research options.
The studies and research at the Institute of Sport Science and Physiotherapy vary greatly, ranging from the subtleties of sport psychology to the treatment of molecular mechanisms of muscle contraction. Theoretical base knowledge as well as gaining various practical experience are an integral part of the studies. The physiotherapy and fitness and health counselling specialisations taught at the institute provide students extensive and multifaceted knowledge on the structure and functioning of the human organism and principles of adaptation to motor performance and physical activity.
Many students decide to do part of their studies or clinical practice as an exchange student in one of our partner universities abroad. Students of the English-taught curriculum of Medicine contribute to an international environment in Tartu.
In addition to pre-diploma studies, UT Faculty of Medicine also offers high-quality doctoral studies. Each year nearly 20 doctoral students defend their doctor of philosophy degree.
In addition to studies, our students actively contribute to improving society and promoting a healthy lifestyle. There are the Estonian Dentistry Students Association, the Pharmaceutical Society of the University of Tartu, Tarton Suomalaiset Lääketieteen Opiskelijat, Estonian Physiotherapy Students Society and Estonian Medical Students’ Association. The latter is an organisation uniting students of medicine whose members give lectures to basic school students about nutrition, the students have organised fashion shows and public events to raise people’s awareness about anorexia, bulimia and sexual health. The sport scientists have founded the active Baltic Sport Science Society which is the initiator of exercise and sport science events in Estonia and internationally. In addition to academic activity, our students and lecturers successfully represent UT and Estonia in international sports competitions.
The faculty publishes the journal Curare, which covers the actions of medicine students and topics important to them, and Acta Kinesiologiae Universitatis Tartuensis, which focuses on sport science research.
Our faculty’s employees are renowned experts in medicine and acknowledged exercise and sport scientist, such as, cardiologist Professor Jaan Eha, pioneers of organ transplantation in Estonia Dr Tanel Laisaar, Dr Toomas Väli and Professor Hele Everaus, discoverer of the AIRE gene that causes autoimmunity Professor Pärt Peterson, HIV researcher Professor Irja Lutsar, medical biochemist and nutritionist Professor Mihkel Zilmer, winner of the bronze medal in rowing at the World University Championships Jarek Mäestu, Olympic athlete beach volleyball player Kristjan Kais, medal-winner at the World Powerlifting Championships Peep Päll, Estonian top basketball player Toomas Kandimaa and many others. Professors at the faculty are academicians of the Estonian Academy of Sciences: neurosurgeon Professor Toomas Asser, immunologist Professor Raivo Uibo and physiologist and neuroscientist Professor Eero Vasar. The Estonian Genome Centre and its director Academician Professor Andres Metspalu work more and more closely with the faculty.
UT medical researchers are acknowledged leaders in their field—thanks to them UT is among the 1% of the world’s most influential research institutions in the field of clinical medicine. Our research groups are engaged in research on nervous and mental diseases, heart diseases, cancer and various infectious diseases but they are also engaged in numerous other exciting fields. Special attention is given to research in translational medicine where research groups have gathered to centres of excellence for translational medicine. For example, Professor Irja Lutsar leads the research on the affects and dosage of antibiotics for children.
Graduates of sport sciences are today’s acknowledged exercise scientists, physiotherapists, school directors, project managers in sport federations and local governments, physical education teachers and sport coaches. Alumni include sport scientists Vahur Ööpik, Jaak Jürimäe and Mati Pääsuke, football coach Tarmo Rüütli, skiing coach Mati Alaver, sports commentator Anu Säärits, General Lieutenant and adviser to the Ministry of Defence Johannes Kert, sport physiotherapists Lauri Rannamaa and Indrek Tustit, and many others. Among the top athletes from our faculty are gymnast Janika Mölder, rower Tõnu Endrekson, skier Priit Narusk, ballroom dancer Kaisa Oja and others.
UT Faculty of Medicine guarantees an education which is highly valued in Estonia and elsewhere and which opens opportunities and doors to the labour market around the world. In addition to strong theoretical knowledge and practical skills you will get a great social network and most importantly—a profession for life!