Before University of Madeira initiated its services, there were other higher education institutions during the 20th Century: The University institute of Madeira (“Instituto Universitário da Madeira”), the Superior institute of Plastic Arts of Madeira (“Instituto Superior de Artes Plásticas da Madeira”) and the Music Conservatory of Madeira (“Conservatório de Música da Madeira”).
Establishment of support centres to the higher education institutions, and creation of the Higher School of Education of Madeira (“Escola Superior de Educação da Madeira”). In Funchal, there was also the extension of some degrees of the Science Faculty of the University of Lisbon, of the Portuguese Catholic University (“Universidade Católica Portuguesa”), as well as some of the University of Minho.
Establishment of the Post-Basic Nursing School of Madeira (“Escola de Enfermagem pós-básica da Madeira”), in dependence of the Regional Secretariat of Social Affaris and soon-to-be Higher School of Nursing of Madeira (“Escola Superior de Enfermagem da Madeira”), also integrated in the University of Madeira. The higher School of Education of Madeira is now allowed to minister the Bachelor Degree of Primary-School Teachers, starting in the academic year of 1986/1987.
The University of Madeira is established and has its first installation commission, having Raul Manuel Albuquerque Sardinha as its president. The remaining members of the team were José Luís de Morais Ferreira Mendes and Fernando Manuel Santos Ferreira Henriques. UMa’s (University of Madeira) first administrator was Professor Doctor Ana Isabel Portugal. (in Diário da República, II Serie, nr. 300, 20th December 1988).
The first Degree in University of Madeira starts operating: the Undergraduate Degree of Physical Education and Sports. The Integrated Centre of Training of Teachers is created, and thus extinguishing the Higher School of Education of Madeira. The Post-basic Nursing School of Madeira is now the Higher School of Nursing of Madeira, integrating the network of Nursing schools.
During 1991’s academic Year, other degrees started operating, such as Biology, Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, and Languages and Modern Literatures (these are variants of degrees like Portuguese Studies, French and Portuguese Studies, Portuguese and English Studies, German and Portuguese Studies, Spanish and Portuguese Studies, English and German Studies, and French and English Studies; all of them include the Scientific and the Teaching Branch).
The Undergraduate Degrees of Management and Engineering of Systems and Computers start operating in the academic year of 1992-1993. The Higher Institute of Plastic Arts of Madeira is integrated in the University, under the name “Higher Institute of Arts and Design of University of Madeira” (“Instituto Superior de Arte e Design, da Universidade da Madeira” - ISAD/UMa).
The first graduates in Physical Education and Sports emerge, and the first Pedagogical Aptitude and Scientific Capacity tests is carried out. In 1994, the first Doctorate Degree starts operating, as well as the first master's degree in University of Madeira: Master’s Degree in History. Following the Math Encounters, the Centre of Mathematical Sciences (“CCM – Centro de Ciências Matemáticas”) is created, for Maths’ research Purposes.
The first statutes of University of Madeira are approved in the University’s Assembly, homologated by the Minister of Education, Professor Dr. Eduardo Marçal Grilo. On the 28th of July of 1996, Professor Dr. José Manuel Castanheira da Costa becomes UMa’s First Rector. During the year of 1996, the first graduation ceremony takes place in “Largo do Colégio” and “Semana do Caruncho”.
Several Undergraduate and Master’s degrees, that up until that point have been carried out in Colégio dos Jesuítas, in Rua Bela de São Tiago and in other places, start operating in a new building, namely Penteada University Campus (Campus Universitário da Penteada). Organic Units are installed.
In the Master’s Degree in History, the first Master’s examinations take place. On the 19th of July of 2000. Professor Dr. Rúben Antunes Capela takes over as University of Madeira new rector.
With the retirement of Professor Dr. Rúben Capela and in the capacity of University’s dean, Professor Dr. José Manuel Cunha Leal Molarinho Carmo becomes the interim Recor until Professor Dr. Pedro Telhado Pereira takes office. The Higher School of Nursing of Madeira is integrated in University of Madeira.
The existing degrees are adapted to the Bologna Process (“Processo de Bolonha”), and new cycles of studies start operating under these metrics. The first external evaluation is conducted by the European University Association.
On the 15th of April of 2008. The President of the Republic, Professor Dr. Aníbal Cavaco Silva, visits university of Madeira. University of Madeira’s new statutes are approved according to the new Juridical Regime of Higher Education Institutions. Its Homologation takes place on the 9th of October of 2008 by the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Professor Dr. Mariano Gago.
The Nossa Senhora das Vitórias University’s Student Dorm starts operating on the 1st of February. Professor Dr. José Manuel Castanheira da Costa takes office, and the ceremony was held in Colégio dos Jesuítas a 17 de April de 2009. The University of Madeira, the Madeira Tecnopolo S.A., The university of Carnegie Mellon founded the M-ITI – Madeira interactive Technologies Institute.
Professor Doctor José Manuel Cunha Leal Molarinho Carmo takes office on the 18th of April of 2013, as UMa’s new rector. The university of Madeira completes 25 years of existence.