The Federal University of Itajubá (UNIFEI) was founded in November 23, 1913, as the Electrotechnical and Mechanical Institute of Itajubá (Instituto Eletrotécnico e Mecânico de Itajubá – IEMI). A personal endeavor of lawyer Theodomiro Carneiro Santiago, it was the tenth Engineering School in Brasil. IEMI soon stood out for its formation of highly qualified professionals, specialized in electrical systems, mostly in generation, transmission and distribution of electricity.

The then Institute was officially recognized by the Federal Government in 5 January, 1917. Initially, the course lasted three years, going into four in 1923 and, in 1936, it was redesigned, becoming the Electrotechnical Institute of Itajubá (Instituto Eletrotécnico de Itajubá – IEI) on March 15 of that same year. In January 30, 1956, the Institute became a Federal institution.

The institute was then renamed to Escola Federal de Engenharia de Itajubá – EFEI (Federal Engineering School of Itajubá) in April 16, 1968.

The growth of UNIFEI’s reputation as a competent school in several core areas led to the expansion of its main course into independent Electrical and Mechanical Engineering undergraduate courses. In 1968, it started its graduate courses, offering Masters in Electrical, Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, the latter of which has been since discontinued.

Due to the technological evolution and expansion of engineering areas, UNIFEI widened its majors in 1980, adding Industrial Engineering under the Mechanical Engineering program and Electronic Engineering under the Electrical Engineering program.

Furthering its expansion policy, aiming to meet a broader and more diverse national and regional demand of professionals in the technological area, the institution began its attempt to become a specialized university in the technological area. This goal became closer to achievement in 1998, by more than tripling its number of undergraduate programs, going from two programs to nine.

Afterwards, two more undergraduate programs were implemented: Baccalaureate and Licentiate in Physics.  The Institute finally achieved University status in April 24, 2002.

Through a pioneering partnership between the local government (Municipal Government of Itabira), the private sector (Vale Company), the Ministry of Education – MEC and the Universidade Federal de Itajubá implemented a new Campus in Itabira, whose activities started in July 2008 with its first admission exam. The Technical and Financial Cooperation Agreement, signed between UNIFEI, Vale Company and the Municipal Government of Itabira, ensured the construction of the university campus and laboratories assembly.

Parallel to the consolidation of its Itabira Campus, the University kept on expanding its main campus in Itajubá, adding more undergraduate and graduate programs.

UNIFEI has always acted jointly with the country’s development, contributing for a jump from a predominantly agricultural Brazil, in 1913, to the current era of scientific and technological knowledge.