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The University of West Bohemia (UWB) was established by the decree of the Czech National Council in 1991 when the Institute of Technology in Pilsen and the College of Education were merged.

The Institute of Technology was founded in 1949 as a branch of the Czech Technical University in Prague. In 1953 it became an independent institution and began to grow rapidly. In 1960 it was divided into two faculties - the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering. For the greater part of its existence the Institute provided courses for students preparing for careers in mechanical and electrical engineering. Two new faculties - the Faculty of Applied Sciences and the Faculty of Economics - were established in 1990, a few months after the Velvet Revolution.

The College of Education was founded in 1948 as a part of the Faculty of Education of Charles University, Prague. For some time it operated as an independent Higher School of Education, then as an Institute of Education and since 1964 as an independent College of Education training teachers for both primary and secondary schools. Since 1991 Faculty of Education has been a part of the University of West Bohemia.

In 1993, two years after the University of West Bohemia was founded, a sixth faculty - the Faculty of Law - was established in order to meet the increased demand for legal education arising from the changes in the Czech economic, social and legal systems after 1989.

After the introduction of the Higher Education Act, the University of West Bohemia became officially the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen in 1999.

Ten years after the Revolution, a seventh faculty - the Faculty of Humanities - was established, after having existed as the Centre for the Humanities at the Faculty of Law since 1998. Since 3 January 2005 Faculty of Humanities has been renamed to Faculty of Philosophy and Arts.

New Technologies - Research Centre was established as an independent institute of higher education in 2000. Faculty of Health Care Studies was established in 2008 and Institute of Language Studies in the same year too.

Ladislav Sutnar Faculty of Design and Art (FDA) was established on 1 September 2013 through transformation of the Institute of Art and Design (IAD).

Together with the Faculty of Medicine, which is a part of Charles University, Prague, the University of West Bohemia is able to provide higher education in most of the major areas. Although it attracts students from all over the country and also from abroad, its main focus is on students from West Bohemia. It is the only institution of higher education in that part of the country which prepares students for careers in engineering (electrical and mechanical), science (computer science, applied mathematics, physics, mechanics), education (for both primary and secondary school teachers in a wide range of subjects), fine arts, economics, humanities (philosophy, sociology, foreign languages, social and cultural anthropology, archaeology), law and public administration and health.