Oldest University in the world

Universities have existed for centuries, and in some cases, thousands of years, but not all of them have proven to be successful.

Many of the world’s oldest universities have collapsed, been divided into autonomous institutions, or been modernized beyond recognition throughout the ages.

The historical traditions of the old universities that still exist today are crucial in demonstrating their ability to adapt to current situations and stay relevant in a globalized society despite fierce competition.

We’ll look at some of the oldest universities in the world below:

University of Bologna

 University of Bologna

Date of establishment: 1088

Location: Bologna, Italy

The University of Bologna is an Italian university located in Bologna. It is the oldest university in the world that still exists today in continuous operation, and the first university in the manner of a higher-learning and degree-awarding establishment, since the term universitas was invented upon its founding. It was established in 1088 by a united group of scholars.

It is among Italy’s most renowned universities, frequently ranked first in national, Continental, and global rankings, both overall and for specific courses. It has drawn a large number of researchers, experts, and learners from across Italy and the globe since its inception, positioning itself as one of the most important worldwide learning centres.

University of Oxford


Date of establishment: 1096

Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

The University of Oxford is an English university located in the city of Oxford. Founded in 1096, Oxford University is the 2nd oldest university in existence today and the oldest among English-speaking countries. It flourished quickly when Henry II forbade English scholars from entering the University of Paris in 1167. Following a conflict between scholars and Oxford townfolk in 1209, some scholars fled to Cambridge, where they founded the University of Cambridge. The two historic English universities are regarded as Oxbridge because they have many similarities.

The university is divided into four sections and consists of 39 semi-autonomous colleges, six permanent residential dormitories, and a variety of scholarly specialties. Within the university, all of the colleges are quasi-independent bodies, one with its own enrollment, internal organisation, and operations. Every student is a part of a college. It lacks a central campus, and its offices and infrastructure are strewn around the town.

The oldest university museum in the world, the largest university press in the world, and the largest academic library system in the United Kingdom are all located in Oxford. The institution earned £2.45 billion in the financial year that ended on July 31, 2019, with £624.8 million coming from grant funding.

Oxford has produced a diverse group of prominent alumni, including 28 British prime ministers and numerous national leaders throughout the world.

University of Cambridge


Date of establishment: 1209

Location: Cambridge, United Kingdom

The University of Cambridge is the world ‘s 3rd oldest university and is rated among the five largest universities in the world. Furthermore, it is part of the so-called “Golden Triangle”, a geographic region that is home to many prestigious research institutions.

Cambridge is an unique collegiate university in that it has no campus. Instead, it is made up of 31 autonomous colleges that are united under the Cambridge flag. Each college is a part of Cambridge yet is mostly autonomous. They hire their own academic staff and fellow members in each course, choose which students to enroll, provide supervisory instruction for undergraduates, and are in charge of the students’ and faculty’s residential affairs and wellbeing.

Presently, Cambridge is affiliated with eighty nine Nobel laureates, which is more than any higher education institution. The University of Cambridge is the third-largest landowner in the United Kingdom, behind the Queen and the Church of England.

University of Salamanca

Date of establishment: 1218

Location: Salamanca, Spain

The University of Salamanca is a Spanish public university based in Salamanca, Castile and León’s free state. King Alfonso IX established it in 1218. It is the oldest college in the Spanish world, as well as one of the world’s oldest universities still in existence.

University of Padua

Date of establishment: 1224

Location: Padua, Italy

The University of Padua is an interdisciplinary university that attempts to give its students with both specialist knowledge and a robust intellectual base. It is among Europe’s oldest and most renowned centers of learning. A degree from the University of Padua is a mark of achieving a lofty goal, one that is respected and sought after by both learners and companies.

The University of Padua’s programs are revised on a regular basis to satisfy the evolving demands of the job market. Its medical programs, for example, include innovative courses like Pediatric Dentistry (Medical School) and Neurobiology and Neurobehavioral Therapy (Psychology). Geotechnical, Structural, Environment, Chemical, and Electronics are all available as engineering degree programmes.

University of Naples Federico II

Date of establishment: 1224

Location: Naples, Italy

The University of Naples was created in 1224 by Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor and Ruler of Sicily, who wanted to build an academic establishment that was not controlled by the Pope.

But it wasn’t until 1987 that the university was officially renamed Federico II, in honour of its founder.

The university is now divided into three semi-independent divisions – the Division of Science and Technology, the Division of Life Sciences, and the Division of Social and Human Sciences – that are charged with the research and instruction of 13 schools and 82 departments. The University of Naples has had a number of locations throughout the years, but currently there are three main campuses: one in central Naples, one in the Fuorigrotta neighbourhood in the west, and one on the hillside of Camaldoli in the north, which also houses the School of Medicine.

There have been several highly notable alumni from the University of Naples Federico II throughout its lengthy history, including thinker and priest Saint Thomas Aquinas, who not only attended but lectured at the university. Former Italian heads of state Giovanni Leone, Enrico De Nicola, and Giorgio Napolitano, as well as Estee Lauder CEO Fabrizio Freda and astronauts Samantha Cristoforetti and Luca Parmitano, are among the most prominent alumni.

University of Coimbra


Date of establishment: 1290

Location: , Lisbon, Portugal

The University of Coimbra (UC) is the oldest academic institution in Portugal and among the oldest in the world. The university is also a cultural monument and one of the most popular and highly regarded universities. UC has 8 colleges, and over 40 academic divisions, and numerous other services that complement the institution’s main activities – production, analytical evaluation, transmission, and dissemination of culture, science, and technology – with a history spanning more than seven centuries.

Over 21000 undergraduates and 1500 teaching staff are housed on the university’s three campuses. UC promotes to financial and cultural progress, ecological sustainability, egalitarianism, civic education, and the strengthening of knowledge-based independence through scholarship, teaching, and community outreach.

University of Valladolid

Date of establishment: 1241

Location: Valladolid, Spain

The University of Valladolid is a research institution in Valladolid, Spain’s northwestern province.

The University of Valladolid is among Spain’s oldest universities, dating back to 1241. The university was an element of the tremendous artistic movement that evolved in European Countries in the 12th and 13th centuries, together with the Universities of Palencia, Salamanca, and Lérida.

The university is the biggest in Castile and Leon, with four campuses in Valladolid, Palencia, Segovia, and Soria. The four-sided monastery with a late Gothic chapel, built towards the late 15th century, is one of its most famous structures.

The university piazza, also called Plaza de Santa Mara (now called University Square), has a Baroque exterior built by the Franciscan Fray Pedro de la Visitación and built in 1715.

Valladolid and its environs are famous for their Spanish spoken word, which many regard to be the purest version of the language. Gaspar Nez de Arce, Miguel de Cervantes, José Zorrilla, Rosa Chacel, and Miguel Delibes are only a few of the poets and writers who were raised or lived in the area.


University of Perugia

Date of establishment: 1308

Location: Perugia, Italy.

Established in 1308, the University of Perugia (Università degli Studi di Perugia) is among Italy’s oldest institutions, offering a comprehensive range of courses in all areas of study.

The university now has 16 departments and a number of centres of excellence. There are approximately 23,000 students, 1,100 professors and researchers, and 1,100 workers.

The university’s mission is to deliver top-class degree courses and scholastic facilities to learners in a multicultural atmosphere.

The institution’s outstanding quality of research, teaching, and services was recognised in the 2018-19 CENSIS ranking (Italian Centre for Studies on Social Investments), with the university ranking #1 among all major Italian universities for the fifth time.

There is also a language centre where overseas students can take Italian classes, among other European language courses.

Former Canadian Governor General Michalle Jean and painter Suze Rotolo are just some of the notable alumni. Past lecturers include Luca Pacioli, the father of bookkeeping in the 1500s, and Pope Sixtus IV.

Charles University

Date of establishment: 1348

Location: Prague, Czechia

Charles University was established in 1348, making it among the world’s oldest universities. It is also known as a contemporary, vibrant, multicultural, and prominent higher learning institution. Charles University is one of the elite 2% of universities worldwide. The university is made up of 17 faculties that are largely self-governing and situated primarily in Prague.

The University of Siena was established in 1240 and is among Europe’s oldest universities.

From the Medieval Era to the present, its history has undergone a lot of changes with Tuscany’s rich heritage.

Siena lies in the centre of Tuscany, surrounded by beautiful sloping hills. It is a wonderful town, erected on 3 hilly terrain and surrounded by old walls, where students can spend a productive learning time filled with opportunities for self improvement.

University of Siena

Date of establishment: 1240

Location: Siena SI, Italy

The University of Siena has produced a wide range of research in many different sectors of culture during the course of its eight-century history.

The University of Siena has improved its internationalisation plan throughout time, with the goal of strengthening international academic partnerships and attracting students and researchers from all over the world.

Each year, the University of Siena establishes new international collaboration agreements and initiatives, increases the number of degrees and courses taught in English, and maintains a high ranking in national and worldwide rankings.

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