UCP is recognized by the Portuguese State as a free, autonomous university institution of public utility.UCP was founded in 1967 and gained official recognition in 1971.It was the first modern Portuguese university not to be founded by the State, but is instead the result of the Concordat between the Portuguese government and the Vatican, which established the university under the tutelage of the Catholic Church. Since its foundation, it has made a significant contribution to the development of higher education in Portugal, as recognized in the legal framework (Decree-Law 128/90) for the university, published in 1990. Teaching at UCP – which has awarded degrees to around 20,000 students over the past 45 years – aims to combine academic excellence and education in human values. UCP has a regional structure. Although it is just one university, it is made up of four major regional centres, Beiras, Braga, Lisbon (the headquarters) and Oporto.