Hawler Medical University: A Culture of Excellence Improving the Health of the Communities
Hawler Medical University | the education magazine

Based in the city of Erbil, Hawler Medical University (HMU) is a public university set up by the Council of Ministers of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government in the year 2005. The university was established to include the medical group colleges that beloged to the University of Salahaddin-Erbil. The overall aim of the development of HMU was to improve the medical education in the Kurdistan region as well as to have better and more effective management of the colleges.

Being the first medical group of a university in Iraq, HMU offers undergraduate and postgraduate studies in different Medical & Health Sciences. The university currently encompasses of five colleges – College of Medicine, College of Dentistry, College of Pharmacy, College of Nursing, and College of Health Sciences. It has two main campuses which are located in Erbil city.

With the endorsement by the Council of Iraqi Federal government in March 2006, HMU has progressed to establish itself as a modern and successful center for medical and health education and research. It is backed up by the efforts of committed and talented staff and the support of Iraqi Kurdistan regional government. HMU’s success is intended to increase its service to the community in Kurdistan region as a whole.

About the President

Helming affairs at the University as its President is Dr. Dara O. Meran. He holds a BSc from the University of Mosul, an MSc and a Ph.D. from Poznan Academy Poland. In his illustrious career, Dr. Meran has played diverse roles in the education sector and has an extensive experience in higher education management and administration. He previously held positions of Vice President for Administration and Financial Affairs at the University of Salahaddin (1998-2004) and the Dean of the Colleges of Science (2000), Physical Education (1998 and 2004-2008), and Pharmacy (2010). He has taken part in different management and educational training courses in and outside the country.

During his tenure at HMU, at first, he was University’s Vice President for Admin and Finance Affairs (2008-2015) and later in 2005 he was selected as the University’s President. Under his leadership, the university has advanced well in changing and developing the medical programs toward the spiral integrated medical curriculum model and in many other role developments, digitalization of the learning process, and research.

Dr. Meran has been instrumental in the conception of new departments and increasing the enrollment rate of undergraduate and postgraduate students. When it comes to his contribution in addition and accreditation of study programs, his efforts have led to a rise the ranking of the university in the local and world university rankings. Overall, he has uplifted the whole university and as a result, HMU is now in the top group of universities in Kurdistan region.

Delivering Distinction

HMU is committed to academic freedom and the principles of equal opportunity with no discrimination in delivering its services and applying knowledge with ambitious standards of intellectual, educational, and research productivity. It is intended to become a learning institution that provides education and research services in all fields of health and education like a modern medical university in a well-developed country. The University delivers this through the following goals:

Clinical Competence

Acquire enough skills that enable students to diagnose and manage clinical presentations including medical emergencies in a safe, effective, and efficient manner. Show enough skills in dealing with medical information including data gathering, entry, interpretation, and decision making.

The Science and Practice of Medicine

Apply the obtained knowledge from basic biomedical sciences and research in the field of medicine (including community-based researches and foundations of epidemiology) in the best management of patients and disease prevention.

The Social Contest of Medicine

Understand and respond effectively to factors that influence the psychological, social, and economic aspects in health, disease prevalence, and medical care.


Behave and communicate with patients, families, and the medical community in an ethical, compassionate, and legal manner, using proper interpersonal communication skills, and considering the prevailing rules and regulations.

Lifelong learning

Establish the foundations for lifelong learning to keep up with changes and continuous professional development, recognize own personal and professional limits, function effectively as a mentor, and teacher when possible. Learn and work effectively within a multi-professional team.

More than Just Education

The university caters to student education and overall development with utmost dedication and in the same regards, likes to conduct complete review and revisions of the curriculum and learning methodologies in different colleges.

Within the College of Medicine, it has been successful in shifting from the classical medical curriculum towards the spiral integrated medical curriculum model. According to the university, there has been a focus on applying small group teaching and problem-based learning. The important topics of communication skills, scientific debate, critical thinking, professionalism, and ethics have been incorporated into the study program. All the colleges in the university started to apply these changes in their study programs. Some of the colleges are working to shift the study program toward a credit-based system based on the Bologna process.

Additionally, keeping keen eyes on new trends and technology advancements, the university has taken important steps toward digitalization of the learning and management systems. Its new Moodle System has been installed successfully and is used as an online learning platform. The University has successfully achieved digitalizing of the professional development and faculty portfolio systems. Moreover, a new and contemporary website has been launched for the university.

In terms of scientific research, the university includes an advanced and well-equipped scientific research center, and the university encourages the staff to conduct research and publish their papers in internationally reputed journals. Training and Capacity development programs are continuously provided to the faculty staff and postgraduate students.

The Center for Research and Education in Women’s Health has been established at HMU to promote research on women’s health and gender differences related to health. The center supports a network of faculty members in multiple disciplines who are interested in research collaborations to study various aspects of women’s health and women’s rights to health.

When it comes to ranking, the University has seen rapid advancement in the ranking process at the national and international level. It is currently ranked in the first groups of universities in the National University Ranking in Iraqi Kurdistan Region. Round University Ranking ranks HMU at 5th place in Iraq and it has been bestowed with highest ranking in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region in the faculty staff ranking domain.

On teaching level, the University has an excellent teacher-to-student ratio. The academic staff is experienced in both clinical and research aspects and the ratio of those with full professorship and assistant professors is remarkably high compared to the other universities in the region and Iraq as a whole. This feature has helped in applying small group teaching.

The University also has a well-equipped and advanced medical research center with experienced researchers working in different medical fields. It also includies the Center for Research, Education in Women Health, and the Psychosocial Support Center that provides essential services to the students and the community.

Accomplished Alumni

The university has a career development center, which is administered by experienced and well-trained staff and organizes regular activities and job fairs. All the graduates of the different colleges of HMU are recruited by the Iraqi Kurdistan Ministry of Health to serve in the public health sector. Graduates also work in the private health sector in private hospitals, clinics, laboratories, and pharmaceutical companies. The graduates who opt to work outside of the country and move to Europe of the US, are successful in obtaining jobs, equalizing their degrees, and pursue postgraduate studies.

Education for Tomorrow

The University keeps itself in line with the future to be ready for the ever-evolving medical field. For this, it regularly conducts complete review of the syllabi and academic programs. The University is moving forward toward the application of spiral integrated medical curriculum model, small group teaching, expanding the clinical skills labs, and application of the Bologna process and credit transfer system in some colleges.

Objecive: To be a national leader in providing excellent medical education, health care, and research

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