The JKU Faculty of Medicine Celebrates First Graduates

Six years after the Faculty of Medicine was founded at the JKU, the Faculty is celebrating its first graduates who will start their career as qualified physicians at hospitals in Upper Austria.

New medical school graduates are now physicians. Photo credit: KUK
New medical school graduates are now physicians. Photo credit: KUK

The 12-semester medical degree program in Linz is Austria’s first program offered as part of a Bachelor’s-Master’s educational system. Established six years ago, the JKU’s Faculty of Medicine is now celebrating its first graduates. No less than 16 graduates have now started working at hospitals in Upper Austria: The young physicians have begun their careers at the Kepler University Hospital, the Ordensklinikum Barmherzige Schwestern, the Salzkammergut Klinikum, the Klinikum Wels-Grieskirchen, and the Pyhrn Eisenwurzen Klinikum. JKU Rector Meinhard Lukas remarked: "The fact that many of our graduates have decided to begin their professional careers in Upper Austria not only shows that creating the Faculty of Medicine in Linz was important and a step in the right direction, but also testifies to our program’s high educational quality. I would like to wish the young physicians a successful start to their careers and hope that they will remain in touch and associated with their alma mater."

Real-World Education and Personal
Having completed the program, the graduates will now embark on training in areas of specialization. Five graduates have selected the Kepler University Hospital: The five graduates, natives of Upper Austria, added: "We decided to pursue this part of our medical education here because we are familiar with this hospital, having completed our internships and clinical internship year here. We feel at home and look forward to practicing what we have learned during our studies as well as learning many new things."

Cutting-Edge Education and Research
The JKU Faculty of Medicine opened its doors in the fall of 2014 and was a milestone in the university’s development. Collaboration with the other three faculties at the JKU (Engineering & Natural Sciences, Business and Social Sciences, Law), the modern hospital landscape, and the strong cooperation with industry and the local business community created an enormous synergy potential for Upper Austria. Since opening its doors, the Faculty of Medicine has been at the cutting-edge of education and research in Upper Austria and beyond.

Governor Thomas Stelzer underscored, "Our joint commitment to supply our state with qualified physicians - at hospitals and in private practice - and secure the future is now bearing fruit. The Faculty of Medicine guarantees innovative, hands-on, needs-based and - above all - local education and research in Upper Austria. It is a central pillar for our healthcare system. I wish the young physicians every success in their careers and hope that they will remain loyal to our state."

Christine Haberlander, Deputy Governer, added: "Creating a Faculty of Medicine at the JKU was made possible by determined and consistent cooperation by all decision-makers and was an initial milestone. Since then, great strides have been made in many areas together with the Kepler University Hospital. Prospective students are highly interested in our program and this confirms we have chosen the right path. Students in the program have particularly appreciated the low student-to-faculty ratio and the hands-on educational program conducted on-site together with actual physicians. The new graduates now represent an additional milestone in the young medical school’s history. We are not only investing in an outstanding educational program, but also in our country’s medical future by ensuring the best possible long-term care. I am pleased that many young Upper Austrians appreciate the degree programs offered locally. I hope that many of them will remain in our state as fully trained medical professionals and practice in Upper Austria. In any case, we will continue to invest in further developing our range of degree programs and making Upper Austria an attractive location to study medicine. After all, in the interest of its patients, a well-developed healthcare system needs the best minds."

Elgin Drda, JKU Vice-Rector for Medicine, stated: "The process beginning with taking the entrance test to completing the basic hospital educational program involves many challenges and hardships along the way. Those who have achieved this initial part can look back on a great accomplishment and will no doubt be dedicated to their future profession. Our graduates have every right to be proud of successfully completing their studies. We, as the Faculty of Medicine, couldn’t be prouder of our prospective physicians. We are very pleased that so many Upper Austrians will continue their studies locally. As Vice-Rector and dean, it will be a special pleasure and honor to congratulate our graduates personally during the graduation ceremony."

Franz Harnoncourt, managing director of the Upper Austrian Health Holding, added: "As Managing Director, welcoming new, young colleagues to the Upper Austrian Health Holding is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. It shows me that Upper Austria is attractive both as an employer as well as as a place for further training, and that young people like the area. I am particularly pleased to welcome the first Faculty of Medicine graduates as this is the first time that the importance of this faculty becomes tangible for our clinics: Young, local people are trained to become competent, committed medical professionals, both at the faculty and in the educational departments at the clinics. And hopefully they will stay in the region after graduation and become actively involved in Upper Austria’s healthcare system and caring for Upper Austrians. This is an impressive success story. I wish the young colleagues a good start to their professional careers and hope that many more graduates will follow."