The origin of today’s Medical School at the University of Minnesota dates back to the formation of the University in 1851. The territorial act establishing the University provided for a Department of Medicine, however, it was not created until 1882.
The Department of Medicine was not a teaching department but rather a credentialing board that provided examinations and conferred MDs upon physicians who had learned to practice medicine by studying with a preceptor.
In April 1887, Percy Millard, Charles Hewitt, D. Hand, and President Cyrus Northrop presented to the Board of Regents their request to abolish the Department of Medicine and replace it with a new department that would consist of the College of Medicine and Surgery, the College of Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery, and the College of Dentistry. The Regents approved of the reorganization of the Department of Medicine in February 1888. The first class began in October 1888.
As part of the approval process, the Regents specified the admission requirements for the Department of Medicine. Students were evaluated by
1. Writing legibly and correctly an English composition of not less than two hundred words.
2. Translation of easy Latin prose, or, in lieu thereof, by passing an approved examination in any one of the following subjects: French, German, or one of the Scandinavian languages.
3. Passing an examination upon either of the elements of Algebra, Plane Geometry, or Botany.
4. Showing such a knowledge of Physics as may be obtained from the study of Balfour Stewart’s Elements of Physics.
However, examinations were not required for matriculated students or graduates of any reputable college, high school, or normal school, nor of persons holding a first-class teacher’s certificate or certificate of the State High School Board.
By contrast, today’s admission requirements are a little more demanding.
Select the image above to see the full page from the April 26, 1888 minutes.