List of oldest universities in continuous operation
||The neutrality of this article's introduction is disputed. (August 2013)|
This is a list of the oldest existent universities in the world. To be included in this table, an educational institution must satisfy a traditional definition of university[Note 1] at the time of its founding. Chronologically, it must have been founded before 1500 in Europe or be the oldest university derived from the medieval European model in a region. It must also be still in operation, with institutional continuity retained throughout its history, and so some early universities, most notably the University of Paris (which was suspended from 1793 to 1896), the University of Salerno and the University of Montpellier are excluded (see map).
The word university is derived from the Latin: universitas magistrorum et scholarium, roughly meaning "community of teachers and scholars". The term was coined by the Italian University of Bologna, which, with a traditional founding date of 1088, is considered the first university. The origin of many medieval universities can be traced to the Christian cathedral schools or monastic schools which appear as early as the 6th century and were run for hundreds of years as such before their formal establishment as university in the high medieval period.
Other institutions of higher learning, like those of ancient Greece, ancient Persia, ancient Rome, Byzantium, ancient China, ancient India and the Muslim world,[Note 2] are not included in this list due to their cultural, historical, structural and juristic dissimilarities from the medieval European university from which the modern university evolved.[Note 3][Note 4]
The word university is derived from the Latin universitas magistrorum et scholarium, roughly meaning "community of teachers and scholars". The term was coined by the Italian University of Bologna, which, with a traditional founding date of 1088, is considered the first university. The origin of many medieval universities can be traced to the Christian cathedral schools or monastic schools which appear as early as the 6th century and were run for hundreds of years as such before their formal establishment as university in the high medieval period.
The university as an institution was historically rooted in that medieval society which it in turn influenced and shaped:
The university is a European institution; indeed, it is the European institution par excellence. There are various reasons for this assertion. As a community of teachers and taught, accorded certain rights, such as administrative autonomy and the determination and realization of curricula (courses of study) and of the objectives of research as well as the award of publicly recognized degrees, it is a creation of medieval Europe, which was the Europe of papal Christianity...
No other European institution has spread over the entire world in the way in which the traditional form of the European university has done. The degrees awarded by European universities – the bachelor's degree, the licentiate, the master's degree, and the doctorate – have been adopted in the most diverse societies throughout the world. The four medieval faculties of artes variously called philosophy, letters, arts, arts and sciences, and humanities – law, medicine, and theology have survived and have been supplemented by numerous disciplines, particularly the social sciences and technological studies, but they remain none the less at the heart of universities throughout the world...
Moreover, the university is a European institution because it has, in its social role, performed certain functions for all European societies. It has developed and transmitted scientific and scholarly knowledge and the methods of cultivating that knowledge which has arisen from and formed part of the common European intellectual tradition.
From the early modern period onwards, the university gradually spread from the medieval Latin west across the globe, eventually replacing all other higher-learning institutions and becoming the preeminent institution for higher education everywhere. This process occurred in the following chronological order:
- Western Europe (since 11th/12th century)
- Eastern Europe (since 14th/15th century)
- Americas (since 16th century)
- Australia (since 19th century)
- Asia and Africa (since 19th/20th century), except in the Philippines where the University of Santo Tomas was established in the 17th century.
Founded before 1500
The earliest and only universities before the colonization of the Americas were established and run in medieval Europe.
|Year||Name||Contemporaneous location||Current location||Notes|
|1088||University of Bologna||Bologna, Italy||The first university in the sense of a higher-learning, degree-awarding institute, the word university having been coined at its foundation.|
|1167 (1254)||University of Oxford||Kingdom of England||Oxford, United Kingdom||"Claimed to be the oldest university in the English speaking world, there is no clear date of foundation of Oxford University, but teaching existed at Oxford in some form in 1096 and developed rapidly from 1167, when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris." Teaching suspended in 1209 (due to town execution of two scholars) and 1355 (due to the St. Scholastica Day riot), but was continuous during the English Civil War (1642–1651) - the University was Royalist. All Souls College and University College have repeatedly claimed that they own documents proving that teaching in Oxford started in the year 825, but these documents have never seen the public light (allegedly, John Speed dated his famous 1605 Oxford maps based on these documents). However, it was not until 1254 that Pope Innocent IV granted to Oxford the University charter by papal bull ("Querentes in agro").|
|1209 (1231)||University of Cambridge||Kingdom of England||Cambridge, United Kingdom||Founded by scholars leaving Oxford after a dispute caused by the execution of two scholars in 1209, and royal charter was granted in 1231. The university takes 1209 as its official anniversary. Through one of Cambridge alumni, John Harvard, it inspired the establishment of Cambridge in Massachusetts, United States with the first college in America, Harvard University.|
|1218||University of Salamanca||Kingdom of León||Salamanca, Spain||It is the oldest university in operation in Spain. Although there are records of the University granting degrees many years before (James Trager's People's Chronology sets its foundation date in 1134), it only received the Royal chart of foundation as "Estudio General" in 1218, making it possibly the fourth or even the third oldest European university in continuous operation. However, it was the first European university to receive the title of "University" as such, granted by king of Castile and León Alfonso X and the Pope in 1254. Having been excluded from the University in 1852 by the Spanish government, the Faculties of Theology and Canon Law became the Pontifical University of Salamanca in 1940.|
|1222 (probably older)||University of Padua||Padua, Italy||Founded by scholars and professors after leaving Bologna.|
|1224||University of Naples Federico II||Kingdom of Sicily||Naples, Italy||The first public university, founded by Frederick II, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.|
|1240||University of Siena||Republic of Siena||Siena, Italy||Originally called Studium Senese, was founded by Commune of Siena in 1240. In 1321, the studium was able to attract a larger number or pupils due to a mass exodus from the prestigious neighbouring University of Bologna. Closed temporarily in 1808–1815 when Napoleonic forces occupied Tuscany. On November 7, 1990 the university celebrated its 750th anniversary.|
|1241||University of Valladolid||Kingdom of Castile, Crown of Castile||Valladolid, Spain||One hypothesis is that its foundation is the result of the transfer of Palencia General Survey between 1208 and 1241 by Alfonso VIII, king of Castile, and Bishop Tello Téllez de Meneses.|
|1272||University of Murcia||Kingdom of Castile, Crown of Castile||Murcia, Spain||The University of Murcia was founded in 1272 by the King Alfonso X of Castile.|
|1290||University of Macerata||Papal States||Macerata, Italy||The University of Macerata (Italian: Università degli Studi di Macerata) is a university located in Macerata, Marche, Italy. It was founded in 1290 and is organized into 7 faculties.|
|1290||University of Coimbra|| Kingdom of Portugal
|Coimbra, Portugal||Begun its existence in Lisbon with the name Studium Generale (Estudo Geral). Scientiae thesaurus mirabilis, the royal charter announcing the institution of the University, was dated 1 March of that year, although efforts had been made at least since 1288 to create this first university in Portugal. The papal confirmation was also given in 1290 (on 9 August of that year), during the papacy of Pope Nicholas IV.|
|1293||University of Alcalá||Crown of Castile||Alcalá de Henares, Spain||The University of Alcalá was founded by King Sancho IV of Castile as Studium Generale in 1293 in Alcalá de Henares. It was granted Papal Bull in 1499, and quickly gained international fame thanks to the patronage of Cardinal Cisneros and the production of the Complutensian Polyglot Bible in 1517, which is the basis for most of the current translations. The University moved to Madrid in 1836 by Royal Decree. The Moyano Law of 1857 established Complutense as the sole university in Spain authorized to confer the title of Doctor on any scholar. This law remained in effect until 1969.|
|1303||La Sapienza University of Rome||Papal States||Rome, Italy||Founded by Pope Boniface VIII, but became a state university in 1935. According to the Catholic Encyclopaedia, the university "remained closed during the entire pontificate of Clement VII".|
|1308||University of Perugia||Perugia, Italy||Attested by the Bull of Pope Clement V.|
|1321||University of Florence||Republic of Florence||Florence, Italy||The University of Florence evolved from the Studium Generale, which was established by the Florentine Republic in 1321. The Studium was recognized by Pope Clement VI in 1349.|
|1336||University of Camerino||Papal States||Camerino, Italy||The great literate and jurist Cino from Pistoia, living in Marche in the years 1319-21, and in Camerino in the spring of 1321, remembers the territory blooming with juridical schools. Camerino has been a center of learning since no later than 1200, offering degrees in civil law, canonical law, medicine, and literary studies. Gregory XI took the decision upon the request of Gentile III da Varano with the papal edict of 29 January 1377, directed to the commune and to the people, authorizing Camerino to confer (after appropriate examination) bachelor and doctoral degrees with apostolic authority.|
|1343||University of Pisa||Republic of Pisa||Pisa, Italy||It was formally founded on September 3, 1343 by an edict of Pope Clement VI, although there had been lectures on law in Pisa since the 11th century. Nowadays is one of the most important universities in Italy.|
|1348||Charles University of Prague||Kingdom of Bohemia||Prague, Czech Republic||Three of four faculties closed in 1419, joined with Jesuit university and renamed Charles-Ferdinand University in 1652, split into German and Czech part in 1882, Czech branch closed during Nazi occupation (1939–1945), German branch closed in 1945.|
|1361||University of Pavia||House of Visconti||Pavia, Italy||Closed for short periods during the Italian Wars, Napoleonic wars, and Revolutions of 1848.|
|1364||Jagiellonian University||Kingdom of Poland||Kraków, Poland||Founded by Casimir the Great under the name Studium Generale, and was commonly referred to as the Krakow Academy. The institution's development stalled upon the king's death in 1370; primarily due to a lack of funding. Without a permanent location; lectures were held across the city at various churches and in the Krakow Cathedral School. Further development again resumed in the 1390s, by the initiative of King Władysław Jagiełło and his wife Jadwiga of Poland; at which point the school became a fully functioning university with a permanent location. The university was forcibly shut down during the German Occupation of Poland (1939–1945). The staff was deported to Nazi concentration camps, and many of its collections were deliberately destroyed by the occupying German authorities. Within a month after the citie's liberation, the university again re-opened; with some of the original pre-war staff who survived the occupation.|
|1365||University of Vienna||Holy Roman Empire||Vienna, Austria||Modelled on the University of Paris.|
|1386||Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg||Holy Roman Empire||Heidelberg, Germany||Founded by Rupert I, Elector Palatine. The oldest in Germany.|
|1391||University of Ferrara||House of Este||Ferrara, Italy||Founded by Marquis Alberto d'Este.|
|1404||University of Turin||Duchy of Savoy||Turin, Italy||Founded by the prince "Louis of Piedmont" during the reign of Amadeus VIII.|
|1409||University of Leipzig||Holy Roman Empire||Leipzig, Germany||Founded when German-speaking staff left Prague due to the Jan Hus crisis.|
|1413||University of St. Andrews||Kingdom of Scotland||St. Andrews, United Kingdom||A school of higher studies was founded in 1410 and became a full university by the issue of a Papal bull in 1413.|
|1419||University of Rostock||Holy Roman Empire||Rostock, Germany||During the Reformation, "the Catholic university of Rostock closed altogether and the closure was long enough to make the refounded body feel a new institution".|
|1434||University of Catania||Kingdom of Sicily||Catania, Italy||The oldest in Sicily. Founded by Alfonso V of Aragon.|
|1450||University of Barcelona||Crown of Aragon||Barcelona, Spain||Founded by Alfonso V of Aragon as Estudi general de Barcelona after the unification of all university education. For forty-nine years prior to that foundation, however, the city had had a fledgling medical school founded by King Martin of Aragon, and in the 13th century Barcelona already possessed several civil and ecclesiastical schools.|
|1451||University of Glasgow||Kingdom of Scotland||Glasgow, United Kingdom||Founded by a Papal bull.|
|1456||University of Greifswald||Holy Roman Empire||Greifswald, Germany||Teaching had started by 1436. Founded by initiative of Heinrich Rubenow, Lord Mayor of Greifswald (and first rector), with approval of Pope Callixtus III and Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor, under the protection of Wartislaw IX, Duke of Pomerania. Teaching paused temporarily during the Protestant Reformation (1527–39).|
|1457||Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg||Holy Roman Empire||Freiburg, Germany||Temporarily transferred to Constance in 1686–98 and 1713–15.|
|1460||University of Basel||Holy Roman Empire||Basel, Switzerland||Founded in 1460 (Schola Basiliensis), the University of Basel is the oldest university in Switzerland.|
|1472||Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich||Holy Roman Empire||Munich, Germany||Founded in Ingolstadt in 1459, transferred to Landshut in 1800, moved to Munich in 1826.|
|1477||Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen||Holy Roman Empire||Tübingen, Germany|
|1477||Uppsala University|| Kingdom of Sweden within the
|Uppsala, Sweden||Uppsala's bull, which granted the university its corporate rights, was issued by Pope Sixtus IV in 1477, and established a number of provisions. Among the most important of these was that the university was officially given the same freedoms and privileges as the University of Bologna.|
|1479||University of Copenhagen|| Kingdom of Denmark within the
|1481||University of Genoa||Republic of Genoa||Genoa, Italy||Founded in 1481 (Genuense Athenaeum).|
|1495||University of Aberdeen||Kingdom of Scotland||Aberdeen, United Kingdom||King's College was founded by a Papal bull in 1495 and then Marischal College in 1593; they merged in 1860.|
|1495||University of Santiago de Compostela||Galicia, Crown of Castile||Santiago de Compostela, Spain||The university traces its roots to 1495, when a school was opened in Santiago. In 1504, Pope Julius II approved the foundation of a university in Santiago, and the bull for its creation was granted by Clement VII in 1526.|
|1499||University of Valencia||Crown of Aragon||Valencia, Spain|
Oldest universities by country or region after 1500 still in operation
The majority of European countries had universities by 1500. After 1500, universities began to spread to other countries all over the world:
- Ghent University, 1817.
- University of Liège, 1817.
- Catholic University of Mechlin, 1834, then called Catholic University of Louvain,[Note 5] 1835, and then split into Dutch-speaking Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and French-speaking Université catholique de Louvain, 1968
- Free University of Brussels, 1834
- Bosnia and Herzegovina: University of Sarajevo, 1949
- Croatia: University of Zagreb, 1669
- Czech Republic (apart from the Charles University 1348, see above)
- Denmark: Technical University of Denmark, 1829
- England: with the exception of the short-lived University of Northampton, Oliver Cromwell's grant of letters patent to found Durham College and the failed attempt to found a university at Stamford, Lincolnshire, no new universities were created in England until the nineteenth century.
- Estonia: University of Tartu, 1632, the university was closed from 1710 to 1802
- France: All French universities were suspended in 1793, and so do not meet the criteria for inclusion in the pre-1500 list above. However many modern French universities trace their origins to earlier foundations, including
- Georgia: Tbilisi State University, 1918
- Iceland: University of Iceland, 1911
- University of Dublin, 1592
- Latvia: Riga Technical University, 1862
- Liechtenstein: Hochschule Liechtenstein, 1992, successory to the Abendtechnikum Vaduz established in 1961
- Lithuania: University of Vilnius, 1579, successory to the Vilnius Academy 1570, although its operation was not continuous: the university was closed from 1832 to 1919 and again in 1943-44
- Luxembourg: University of Luxembourg, 2003
- Malta: University of Malta, 1768, first established as the Collegium Melitense by the Jesuits 1592
- Northern Ireland: Queen's University Belfast, 1845
- Norway: University of Oslo, 1811
- Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, 1872/1918; teaching existed in Cluj-Napoca since the Jesuits College, 1581, and the Jesuits Academy, 1688
- Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Iaşi, 1860; successor to Vasilian College, 1640, Princely Academy, 1707, and Academia Mihăileană, 1834
- University of Bucharest, Bucharest, 1864; successor to the Princely Academy, 1694, and Saint Sava College, 1822
- University of Edinburgh, 1583
- Serbia: Belgrade University, founded in 1808 as the Belgrade Higher School, by 1838 it merged with the Kragujevac-based departments into a single university, under current name from 1905; Orthodox Christian Lyceum in 1794; Teacher's college in 1778
- Slovakia: Comenius University in Bratislava 1919
- Slovenia: University of Ljubljana, 1919
- University of Seville, 1505
- University of Granada, 1531
- University of Oviedo, 1574
- Sweden: Lund University, 1666
- Cantons University
- University of Zürich, origin 1525; est. 1525. Switzerland largest university (25'000 students)
- University of Lausanne, 1537
- University of Geneva 1559 Founded by John Calvin
- University of Fribourg origin 1582; est. 1889
- University of Bern, 1834
- University of Neuchâtel,1838
- University of Lucerne, 1851
- University of St. Gallen, 1898
- University of Lugano, 1996: Switzerland youngest university
- Federal Institutes of Technology
- Cantons University
- Istanbul University became a modern university in 1933, building on an earlier institution from 1846 and ultimately tracing its roots back to 1453.
- Istanbul Technical University became a university in 1928 but was originally founded in 1773 as a Naval Engineer's School
- Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University founded in 1882
- Yıldız Technical University founded in 1911
- University of Lviv, 1661
- Wales: St David's College, Lampeter now University of Wales, Trinity Saint David, 1822
- Argentina: National University of Córdoba, 1613
- Bolivia: Royal and Pontificial Major University of St. Francis Xavier of Chuquisaca, 1624
- Chile: Universidad de Chile, 1842 September 17
- Saint Thomas Aquinas University, 1580
- Colegio Mayor de Nuestra Señora del Rosario - Universidad del Rosario, 1653
- Cuba: Universidad de La Habana, 1728
- Dominica: Ross University, 1978
- Dominican Republic: Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, 1914; successor to the Universidad Santo Tomás de Aquino, 1538, which disappeared in 1823.
- Ecuador: Central University of Ecuador, 1622, 19 May, as Real y Pontificia Universidad de San Gregorio Magno
- Grenada: St. George's University, 1976
- Guatemala: Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, 1676
- Honduras: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras, 1847
- Jamaica: University of the West Indies, Mona 1948 and University of Technology, Jamaica 1958
- Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, founded in 1540 as Colegio de San Nicolás Obispo (St. Nicholas Bishop College) and later in 1543 was appointed Real Colegio de San Nicolás Obispo (Royal St. Nicholas Bishop College) by King Carlos I of Spain. It was renamed to its current name and was converted into a public university in October 15, 1917.
- National Autonomous University of Mexico, September 22, 1551, as Royal and Pontifical University of México (in 1920 changes its name to National Autonomous University of Mexico, when it was given the freedom to define its own curriculum and manage its own budget without interference from the government).
- Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, founded 1587 as Colegio del Espíritu Santo (it was sponsored by Jesuits until its conversion into a public college in 1825, and a public university in 1937).
- Universidad de Guadalajara, founded October 12, 1791; legally established October 12, 1925.
- Panama: Universidad de Panamá, 1935
- Paraguay: Universidad Nacional de Asunción, 1889
- National University of San Marcos, Lima, May 12, 1551, as the Royal and Pontifical University of San Marcos. Also known as the "dean university of America". The longest continuously operating university in America.
- National University of San Antonio Abad in Cuzco or Universidad Nacional de San Antonio Abad del Cusco - 1 June 1692
- Puerto Rico: University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras 1903
- Surinam: Anton de Kom University, 1968
- Uruguay: Universidad de la República, 1849
- Venezuela: Central University of Venezuela, 1721
- Université Laval, founded in 1663, chartered 1852 (oldest post-secondary institution in Canada; founded as Séminaire de Québec)
- University of New Brunswick, founded in 1785, chartered in 1827 (oldest English-language post-secondary institution in Canada; founded as College of New Brunswick)
- University of King's College, founded in 1789, chartered in 1802 (oldest chartered university in Canada; founded as King's College)
- United States:
- Sierra Leone: Fourah Bay College - University of Sierra Leone, 1827
- South Africa:
- Liberia: Liberia College – University of Liberia, 1951
- Libya : University of Libya, 1956; later divided to University of Benghazi and University of Tripoli, the names were changed again during Gaddafi's era, but now they have reinstated their original names.
- Sudan: University of Khartoum, 1902 (renamed from Gordon Memorial College in 1956).
- Egypt: Cairo University, 1908; The American University in Cairo, 1919 as a private university. Al-Azhar University became a university in 1961, but traces its origins as a religious madrasa back to 970.
- Algeria: University of Algiers, 1909
- Uganda: Makerere University, 1922
- Kenya: Egerton University, 1939 (as Egerton Farm School)
- Ghana: University of Ghana, 1948
- Nigeria: University of Ibadan, 1948
- Ethiopia: University of Addis Ababa, 1950
- Zimbabwe: University of Zimbabwe, 1952
- Somalia: Somali National University, 1954 Gaheyr
- Morocco: University of Rabat, 1957, University of Hassan II Casablanca Ain Chok, 1975. University of al-Karaouine became a university in 1963, but traces its origins as a religious madrasa back to 859.
- Angola: Agostinho Neto University (as Estudos Gerais Universitários de Angola), 1962
- Mozambique: Eduardo Mondlane University (as Estudos Gerais Universitários de Moçambique), 1962
- Cape Verde: Jean Piaget University of Cape Verde, 2001
- Tunisia: University of Ez-Zitouna 737
- Armenia: Yerevan State University, 1919
- Azerbaijan: Baku State University, 1919
- Bahrain: University of Bahrain. Founded in 1986.
- Bangladesh: University of Dhaka, 1921
- China:[Note 6]
- Peking University, founded in 1898 as Imperial University of Peking
- Tianjin University, established in 1895 as Peiyang Western Study School
- Jiaotong University, founded in 1896 as Nanyang Public School
- Nanjing University (National Central University), established as Sanjiang Normal College in 1902, the first Chinese university providing doctoral degree (in 1927)
- Saint John's University, Shanghai, founded in 1879 as "St. John's College", the first school granting bachelor's degree in China (in 1907). But it was not chartered by China government until 1947
- Hong Kong: The University of Hong Kong, 1911
- Serampore College, 1818, first institution with university status (although not a university) to grant degrees in theology.
- University of Calcutta, 1857, first full fledged multi-disciplinary university in South Asia in terms of foundation date although the University of Bombay and the University of Madras were subsequently established in the same year.
- Iraq: University of Baghdad, 1956 - Although the Iraqi Royal College of Medicine was established in 1928.
- Iran: University of Tehran, 1934, founded by Reza Shah
- University of Tokyo, Its origins include a private college of Confucian studies founded by Hayashi Razan in 1630, Tenmonkata (The Observatory, 1684) and Shutōsho (Smallpox Vaccination Centre, 1849). It was later organised in 1867 as the Imperial University.
- Keio University, 1858 as the oldest modern institute of higher education in Japan (To be noted, Japan's oldest academic institution is Ashikaga Gakko)
- Macau: University of Macau, established as University of East Asia in 1981, renamed 1991.
- Malaysia: University of Malaya, as Straits and Federated Malay States Government Medical School in 1905 in Singapore
- Myanmar: Rangoon University, 1878
- Nepal: Tribhuvan University, 1959
- Philippines: Although the University of San Carlos traces its origins back to 1595 it has only been a university since 1948.
- Saudi Arabia: King Saud University, 1957.
- Singapore: National University of Singapore, as Straits and Federated Malay States Government Medical School in 1905
- South Korea:
- Sri Lanka:
- Syria: University of Damascus was founded in 1923 through the merger of the School of Medicine (established 1903) and the Institute of Law (established 1913).
- University of Sydney, 1850 (oldest in Australia and Oceania)
- University of Melbourne, 1853 (oldest in Victoria)
- University of Adelaide, 1874 (oldest in South Australia)
- University of Tasmania, 1890 (oldest in Tasmania)
- University of Queensland, 1909 (oldest in Queensland)
- University of Western Australia, 1911 (oldest in Western Australia)
- Australian National University, 1946 (oldest in Australian Capital Territory)
- University of New England, 1954 (first established outside of a state capital)
- Northern Territory University, 1989 (amalgamated as part of Charles Darwin University in 2004)
- New Zealand
- "The statement that all universities are descended either directly or by migration from these three prototypes [Oxford, Paris, and Bologna] depends, of course, on one's definition of a university. And I must define a university very strictly here. A university is something more than a center of higher education and study. One must reserve the term university for—and I'm quoting Rashdall here—"a scholastic guild, whether of masters or students, engaged in higher education and study," which was later defined, after the emergence of universities, as studium generale."
- In lists based on broader definitions, Al-Karaouine, founded in 859 as a madrasa and in 1963 as a university, is sometimes considered as the "oldest university".
- "No one today would dispute the fact that universities, in the sense in which the term is now generally understood, were a creation of the Middle Ages, appearing for the first time between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. It is no doubt true that other civilizations, prior to, or wholly alien to, the medieval West, such as the Roman Empire, Byzantium, Islam, or China, were familiar with forms of higher education which a number of historians, for the sake of convenience, have sometimes described as universities.Yet a closer look makes it plain that the institutional reality was altogether different and, no matter what has been said on the subject, there is no real link such as would justify us in associating them with medieval universities in the West. Until there is definite proof to the contrary, these latter must be regarded as the sole source of the model which gradually spread through the whole of Europe and then to the whole world. We are therefore concerned with what is indisputably an original institution, which can only be defined in terms of a historical analysis of its emrgence and its mode of operation in concrete circumstances."
- "Thus the university, as a form of social organization, was peculiar to medieval Europe. Later, it was exported to all parts of the world, including the Muslim East; and it has remained with us down to the present day. But back in the Middle Ages, outside of Europe, there was nothing anything quite like it anywhere."
- Note that the Court of Cassation of Belgium ruled 26 November 1846, that this new Catholic University of Louvain founded in Mechlin in 1834 don't have any links with the Old University of Louvain founded in 1425 and abolished in 1797 and can not be regarded as continuing it: "The Catholic University of Louvain can not be regarded as continuing the old University of Louvain", in, Table générale alphabétique et chronologique de la Pasicrisie Belge contenant la jurisprudence du Royaume de 1814 à 1850, Brussels, 1855, p. 585, column 1, alinea 2. See also: Bulletin Usuel des Lois et Arrêtés, 1861, p.166. To see also this rule of the Cour d'Appel of 1844: La Belgique Judiciaire, 28 july 1844 n° 69, p. 1 : "Cour d’Appel de Bruxelles. Deuxième chambre. L'université libre de Louvain ne représente pas légalement l’antique université de cette ville. Attendu que cette université (l’ancienne Université de Louvain), instituée par une bulle papale, de concert avec l'autorité souveraine, formait un corps reconnu dans l'État, ayant différentes attributions, dont plusieurs même lui étaient déléguées par le pouvoir civil; Attendu que ce corps a été supprimé par les lois de la république française; Attendu que l'université existant actuellement à Louvain ne peut être considérée comme continuant celle qui existait en 1457, ces deux établissemens ayant un caractère bien distinct, puisque l'université actuelle, non reconnue comme personne civile, n'est qu'un établissement tout-à-fait privé, résultat de la liberté d'enseignement , en dehors de toute action du pouvoir et sans autorité dans l'État...". Court of Appeal of Brussels. Second Chamber. The Free University of Louvain is not legally representend the old university in that city. Whereas this University (formerly University of Louvain), established by a papal bull, together with the sovereign authority, formed a body recognized by the State, with different functions, many of which even he was delegated by the civil power. And whereas this body was removed by the laws of the French Republic; Whereas the currently existing university in Leuven can not be regarded as continuing that which existed in 1457, these two establishments with a distinct character, since the currently university is not recognized as legal person, and is institution is entirely private, the result of academic freedom, apart from any action without authority and power in the state."
- Educational institutions were closed in China starting on June 13, 1966 due to the Cultural Revolution. They remained closed for a year, or longer in some cases. See .
- Hyde, J. K. (1991), "Universities and Cities in Medieval Italy", in Bender, Thomas, The university and the city: from medieval origins to the present, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 13–14, ISBN 978-0-19-506775-0
- Hunt Janin: "The university in medieval life, 1179–1499", McFarland, 2008, ISBN 0-7864-3462-7, p. 55f.
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