Southern Medical University (SMU), the former First Military Medical University, was founded in October 1951 and notarized as one of the premier medical universities in 1978. The university was handed over to the local government of Guangdong Province. At present, SMU has become one of the 8 prestigious universities authorized by the Ministry of Education to run the pilot 8-year medical education program.
In 2008, the university was included in the Guangdong provincial 211 Project, one for key and priority colleges and universities. At present, it becomes a candidate university jointly to be constructed by the Ministry of Education, the National Health and Family Planning Committee and Guangdong Provincial Government.
The university system comprises 7 affiliated hospitals and 16 schools or colleges such as school of basic medicine, school of clinical medicine, school of biomedical engineering, school of Chinese traditional medicine (TCM) and school of public health. Apart from offering 23 majors for undergraduates, the university grants M.M. degree in 55 subjects, M. D. degree in 36 subjects as well as in another 4 first-class subjects, even with 4 academic stations for postdoctoral research.
Besides, the university houses a group of state-level key subjects, key subjects by the State Management Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, state-level base of clinical pharmacology and state-level base of TCM pharmacology. The university has developed a superior subjects group, with medical science as a backbone and with combination of medicine and engineering, combination of Western and Chinese medicines, tropical medicine and bio-high-tech as supportive subjects.