ISMAI, Maia Institute of Higher Education, was officially recognised in 1991 in ordinance no. 1006/91, published in Diário da República in October 2.
ISMAI started its educational activity in Quinta da Gruta, a state property in Castelo da Maia, and moved in 1995 to its own settings: a building covering an area of more than five thousand square metres built on a 60000m2 property purchased from eight different land owners.
Starting with 117 students, by 1995 ISMAI had increased its student population to 1455 students, who could then enjoy the advantages of 22 large classrooms, 2 lecture theatres, 4 multimedia labs and 1 main auditorium with 312 seats. The students of Physical Education and Sports have also since that date been put forward the use of the excellent Maia Gymnastics Pavillion, considered one of the best in the Iberian Peninsula, the Municipal Swimming-pool of Gueifães, available for the swimming lessons, the sports pavilion of the Prof. Dr. José Vieira de Carvalho Stadium, as well as several other sports pavillions prepared for the practice of different sports.
In October 2004 ISMAI changed its image to one of a true ?University Campus?, thus receiving great visibility in the higher education scene of Porto Metropolitan Area and also great national prestige.
The original building has been extended and a visible number of new facilities have been attached, namely: new classrooms; numerous offices for organic units of support to laboratorial courses and research activities; a modern library; a large number of qualified offices and departments; and a canteen.
At present, ISMAI has more than 4,000 students and offers a wide range of 1st cycle and 2nd cycle courses, as well as technological specialization courses, postgraduate courses and open courses.