Matej Bel University (UMB) is a Slovakian public higher education institution in Banská Bystrica, a city located in a valley surrounded with the some of Europe's most magnificent mountain chains (the Low Tatras, the Veľká Fatra, and the Kremnica Mountains).
The institution is named after the Hungarian pastor and former rector of the university Matej Bel, who worked extensively for the development of Hungarian geography, ethnography and economy.
The university's origins date back to the beginning of 13th century when the first religious primary school opened its doors in the town. One of the early predecessors of the university was a catholic grammar school, which became a Faculty of Education in 1949. In 1992, after the establishment of a separate economics faculty, the schools joined forces to form what is known as Matej Bel University.
Today, UMB operates as a collegiate university, with its six different faculties independently deciding on their entry requirements and study programmes. Students can engage with degrees on all levels from bachelor's and master's to doctorates in subjects including law, pedagogy and political science. The strongest research fields at the UMB are international relations and economics, with a big focus on national security, European studies and diplomacy.
UMB regularly hosts events and conferences that become a meeting point for professionals from all sorts of background to engage with university research and scientific discussion. Much of the research and development initiatives on campus are directly funded by the European Structural Funds.
Cultural life in Banská Bystrica offers modern musical and drama performances, while local museums offer information about the region's history.