The University of Zagreb, founded in 1669, is the oldest and most distinguished institution of higher learning in South-East Europe. Its Medical School, founded in 1917, has a long tradition of educating foreign students, so far over 700 foreign citizens have earned their
medical degree in Zagreb.

The founders of the ZSM have studied medicine in various international medical centers in Europe between the two World Wars, and the first year of the School of Medicine in Zagreb was characterized by the work of international faculty who have very successfully integrated into the existing educational space (Mayerhofer, Saltykow, Prašek, etc.) and significantly improved medical education and practice in the territory of the former state.

Based on positive experiences and traditions of training foreign doctors in Croatia in postgraduate clinical and public health studies, in early 2002, the initiative for the establishment of a medical school in the English language originated. With the help of international partners, a proposal for the study was developed, which was adopted by the University Senate in Zagreb in 2002. It was the first accepted proposal of a teaching program of study as a comprehensive study in English at the University of Zagreb and the first medical studies in English in Croatia. The University of Zagreb School of Medicine obtained the permit for the study in 2005 as full time study for personal use. The total class obligation of students has been harmonized with the EU requirements, and the study bears 360 ECTS credits.

The first class of 21 students was enrolled in the academic year 2003-04 and 11 of them graduated in July 2009 and received their Doctor of Medicine degree. To this day, 124 international students graduated from the MSE and 265 students coming from 27 countries are currently attending the program. Today, there is a growing interest in this study, in which 50 students enroll annually. The entrance exam is organized not only in Zagreb, but also in Israel, Sweden and Germany and Spain.