State University of Medan was originally established in 1956 as the Teachers Training College (Indonesian: Perguruan Tinggi Pendidikan Guru) in Medan. On 27 August 1957, the college was absorbed by the University of North Sumatra to become the university's Faculty for Teachers Training and Education (Indonesian: Fakultas Keguruan dan Ilmu Pendidikan).
On 23 June 1963, the faculty gained autonomy as the Medan branch campus of the Institute for Teachers Training and Education (Indonesian: Institut Keguruan dan Ilmu Pendidikan or IKIP). In 1964, the Physical Education faculty was separated from the institute and became the Sports Institute (Indonesian: Sekolah Tinggi Olahraga) only to be reintegrated back into IKIP Medan in 1977.
IKIP Medan was granted university status on October 7, 1999 and re-opened as State University of Medan in February 2000.
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