University of Oslo

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University of Oslo
(The Royal Frederick University)
Universitetet i Oslo
(Det Kongelige Frederiks Universitet)
University of Oslo logo.png
Latin: Universitas Osloensis
(Universitas Regia Fredericiana)
Established 1811
Type Public university
Rector Ole Petter Ottersen (2009-)
Academic staff 3,212 (2010)
Admin. staff 2,598 (2010)
Students 27,628 (2010)
Location Oslo, Norway
Affiliations EUA
Website www.uio.no
Ruth Vatvedt Fjeld has been elected as the Pro-Rector for the term 2013–2017, but resigned in 2014.

The University of Oslo (Norwegian: Universitetet i Oslo), formerly The Royal Frederick University (Norwegian: Det Kongelige Frederiks Universitet), is the oldest and largest university in Norway, located in the Norwegian capital of Oslo. The university is recognized as one of Northern Europe's most prestigious universities. The Academic Ranking of World Universities has ranked it the 67th best university in the world.[1]

The university has approximately 27,700 students and employs around 6,000 people. Its faculties include (Lutheran) Theology (Norway's state religion since 1536), Law, Medicine, Humanities, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Dentistry, and Education. The university's original neoclassical campus is located in the centre of Oslo; it is currently occupied by the Faculty of Law. Most of the university's other faculties are located at the newer Blindern campus in the suburban West End. The Faculty of Medicine is split between several university hospitals in the Oslo area.

The university was founded in 1811 and was modelled after the University of Copenhagen and the recently established University of Berlin. It was originally named for King Frederick VI of Denmark and Norway, and received its current name in 1939. The university is informally also known as Universitetet ("the university"), having been the only university in Norway until 1946, and was commonly referred to as "The Royal Frederick's" (Det Kgl. Frederiks) prior to the name change.

The University of Oslo is home to five Nobel Prize winners.[2] The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded in the university's Atrium from 1947 to 1989.[3] Since 2003, the Abel Prize is awarded in the Atrium.

History[edit]

Early history[edit]

In 1811, a decision was made to establish the first university in the Dano-Norwegian Union, after a successful campaign which resulted in an agreement with King Fredrik VI. Fredrick agreed to the establishment of an institution that he had earlier believed might encourage political-separatist tendencies. In 1813, The Royal Fredrik's University was founded in Christiania, a small city during that time. Circumstances then changed dramatically one year into the commencement of the university, as Norway proclaimed independence and adopted its own constitution. However, independence was somewhat restricted, as Norway was obliged to enter into a legislative union with Sweden based on the outcome of the War of 1814. Norway retained its own constitution and independent state institutions, whilst royal power and foreign affairs were shared with Sweden. At a time when Norwegians feared political domination by the Swedes, the new university became a key institution that contributed to Norwegian political and cultural independence.

The main function of The Royal Frederick University was to educate a new class of (higher) civil servants. Although Norway was in a legislative union with Sweden, it was a sovereign state, and needed educated people to run it. Civil servants were needed, as well as parliamentary representatives and ministers. The university also became the centre for a survey of the country—a survey of national culture, language, history and folk traditions. The staff of the university strove to undertake a wide range of practical tasks necessary for developing the infrastructure critical to a modern society. When the union with Sweden was dissolved in 1905, the university became important for producing highly educated men and women who could serve as experts in a society which placed increasing emphasis on ensuring that all its citizens enjoy a life of dignity and security. Education, health services and public administration were among those fields that recruited personnel from among the university’s graduates. In 1939, the university was renamed the University of Oslo and it remained Norway’s only university until 1946. .

Throughout the 1800s, the university’s academic disciplines became more specialised. One of the major changes in the university came during the 1870s when a greater emphasis became placed upon research. The management of the university became more professional, academic subjects were reformed and the forms of teaching evolved. Disciplines became more specialized and classical education came under increasing pressure.

1900–1945[edit]

Research changed qualitatively around the turn of the century as new methods, scientific theories and forms of practice changed the nature of research. It was decided that teachers should arrive at their posts as highly qualified academics and continue academic research alongside their role as teachers. Scientific research—whether to launch or test out new theories, to innovate or to pave the way for discoveries across a wide range of disciplines—became part of the increased expectations placed on the university. Developments in society created a need for more and more specialised and practical knowledge, not merely competence in theology or law, for example. The university strove to meet these expectations through increasing academic specialisation.

The position of rector was established by Parliament in 1905 following the Dissolution of the Union. Waldemar Christofer Brøgger was Professor of Geology and became the university's first rector. Brøgger vacillated between a certain pessimism and a powerfully energetic attitude regarding how to procure finances for research and fulfill his more general funding objectives. With the establishment of the national research council after World War II, Brøgger's vision was largely fulfilled; research received funding independent of teaching. This coincided with a massive rise in student enrollment during the 1960s, which again made it difficult to balance research with the demands for teaching. In the years leading up to 1940, research was more strongly linked with the growth of the nation, with progress and self-assertion; research was also seen to contribute to Norway’s commitment to international academic and cultural development.

During the period after World War I, research among Norwegian researchers resulted in two Nobel prizes. The Nobel prize in Economics was awarded to Ragnar Frisch. The Nobel prize in Chemistry was awarded to Odd Hassel. In the field of linguistics, several Norwegian researchers distinguished themselves internationally. Increased research activity during the first half of the 1900s was part of an international development that also included Norway. Student enrollment doubled between 1911 and 1940, and students were recruited from increasingly broad geographical, gender and social bases. The working class was still largely left behind, however.

During the German occupation, which lasted from 1940–1945, the university rector, Didrik Arup Seip, was imprisoned. The university was then placed under the management of Adolf Hoel, a NS (Norwegian Nazi Party) appointee. A number of students participated in the Norwegian resistance movement; after fire was set in the university auditorium, Reich Commissar Terboven ordered the university closed and the students arrested. A number of students and teachers were detained by the Germans nearly until the end of the war.

1945–2000[edit]

After WWII, public authorities made loans available to students whose families were unable to provide financial assistance; the State Educational Loan Fund for Young Students was established in 1947. As a result, the post-war years saw a record increase in student numbers. Many of these students had been unable to begin their studies or had seen their studies interrupted because of the war; they could now enroll. For the 1945 autumn semester, 5951 students registered at the university. This represented the highest student enrollment at UiO up to that time. In 1947, the number had risen to more than 6000 students. This represented a 50 per cent increase in the number of students compared to the number enrolled prior to the war.

In no previous period had a single decade brought so many changes for the university as the 1960s. The decade represented an unparalleled period of growth. From 1960 to 1970, student enrollment tripled, rising from 5,600 to 16,800. This tremendous influx would have been enough in itself to transform the way the university was perceived, from both the inside and the outside. As it turned out, the changes were even more comprehensive. The university campus at Blindern was expanded, and the number of academic and administrative employees rose. The number of academic positions doubled, from fewer than 500 to around 1,200. The increase in the number of students and staff transformed traditional forms of work and organisation. The expansion of the Blindern complex allowed the accommodation of 7,000 students. The explosive rise in student numbers during the 1960s impacted the Blindern campus in particular. The faculties situated in central Oslo—Law and Medicine—experienced only a doubling in student enrollment during the 1960s, while the number of students in the humanities and social sciences tripled.

By 1968, revolutionary political ideas had taken root in earnest among university students. The "Student Uprising" became a turning point in the history of universities throughout the western world. Often, the outlook for students in the 1960s was bleak. More than ever before came from non-academic backgrounds and had few role models. The "University of the Masses" was unable to lift all its students to the "lofty, elite positions" enjoyed by previous generations of academics. Many students dissociated themselves, therefore, from the so-called "establishment" and the way the establishment functioned. Many were impatient and wanted to use their knowledge to change society. It was thought that academics should stand in solidarity with the underprivileged.

The most fundamental change in the student population was the increasing proportion of women students. Throughout the 1970s, the number of women increased until it made up the majority of students. At the same time, the university became a centre for the organised women's liberation movement, which emerged in the 1970s.

Up until the millennium, the number of students enrolled at the university rose exponentially. In 1992, UiO implemented a restriction on admissions for all of its faculties for the first time. A large part of the explanation for the high student numbers was thought to be found in the poor job market. In 1996, there were 38,265 students enrolled at UiO. This level was approximately 75 per cent above the average during the 1970s and 1980s. The strong rise in student numbers during the 1990s was attributed partially to the poor labour market.

Hierarchy[edit]

The highest position at the university is Professor, i.e. "full Professor." In Norway, the title "Professor," which is protected by law, is only used for full professors. Prior to 1990, all professors were appointed for life to their chairs by the King-in-Council, i.e. by the King upon the advice of the Cabinet. The position below Professor was historically Docent (translated as Reader in a UK context and Professor in an American context). In 1985, all Docents became full professors. The most common positions below that are førsteamanuensis (translated as Associate Professor), and amanuensis or universitetslektor (translated as Lecturer or Assistant Professor). At the University of Oslo, almost all new permanent positions are announced at the Associate Professor level; an associate professor may apply for promotion to full professor if he or she holds the necessary competence.

Additionally, there are temporary, qualifying positions such as stipendiat (Research Fellow) and postdoktor (Postdoctoral Fellow).

A small number of employees, usually without any teaching obligations and whose qualifications may vary from the assistant professor level to the full professor level, may hold the title forsker (Researcher).

Several other less common academic positions also exist. Historically, only professors had the right to vote and be represented in the governing bodies of the university. Originally, all professors were automatically members of the Collegium Academicum, the highest governing body of the university, but soon afterwards its membership was limited. Docents were granted the right to vote and be represented in 1939 and other academics and students in 1955. In 1975, the technical-administrative support staff was also granted the right to vote and be represented in certain bodies, as the last group. Formerly by law, and now by tradition, the highest positions, such as Rector or Dean, are only held by professors. They are elected by the academic community (academics and students) and by the technical-administrative support staff, but the votes of the academics carry significantly more weight.

Faculties and units[edit]

The university's old campus, strongly influenced by Prussian architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel's neoclassical style, is located in the centre of Oslo near the National Theatre, the Royal Palace and the Parliament. The old campus was then occupied by the Faculty of Law and most of the other faculties have been transferred to the Blindern campus in the suburban West End, erected in the 1930s. The Faculty of Medicine is split between several university hospitals in the Oslo area.

King Frederick VI of Denmark and Norway was the founder of the university

Theology[edit]

The Faculty of Theology conducts research and teaching within theology, Christian studies, inter-religious studies and diaconal studies.

Law[edit]

  • Centre for European Law
  • Department of Criminology and the Sociology of Law
  • Department of Private Law
  • Norwegian Research Center for Computers and Law (NRCCL)
  • Department of Public and International Law
  • Norwegian Centre for Human Rights
  • Scandinavian Institute of Maritime Law
The Faculty of Law. The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded in this building until 1989.
Central campus of the university, where today only the faculty of law is located. These buildings were inspired by the famous buildings of Prussian architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel in Berlin.
The library building at the Blindern campus, houses the Library of Arts and Social Sciences.

Medicine[edit]

  • Institute of Health and Society
  • Institute of Basic Medical Sciences
  • Institute of Clinical Medicine
  • Institute of Forensic Medicine
  • Faculty Division Oslo University Hospital

Centres of Excellence:

  • Centre for Molecular Biology and Neuroscience
  • Centre for Immune Regulation
  • Centre for Cancer Biomedicine

Humanities[edit]

  • Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History
  • Department of Cultural Studies and Oriental Languages
  • Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas
  • Department of Literature, Area Studies and European Languages
  • Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies
  • Department of Media and Communication
  • Department of Musicology
  • Centre for Ibsen Studies
  • Centre for the Study of Mind in Nature
  • The Norwegian University Centre in St. Petersburg
  • The Norwegian Institute in Rome
  • Centre for French-Norwegian research cooperation within the social sciences and the humanities
  • Center for Development and Environmanet

Mathematics and Natural Sciences[edit]

  • Department of Biology
  • Department of Chemistry
  • Department of Geosciences
  • Department of Informatics
  • Department of Mathematics
  • Department of Molecular Biosciences
  • Department of Physics
  • Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics
  • School of Pharmacy
  • Centre for Entrepreneurship
  • Centre for Material sciences and Nanotechnology (SMN)
  • Centre for Physics of Geological Processes (PGP)
  • Centre of Mathematics for Applications (CMA)
  • Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES)
  • Centre for Theoretical and Computational Chemistry (CTCC)
  • Centre for Innovative Natural Gass Processes and Products (inGAP)
  • Centre for Accelerator Based Research and Energy Physics (SAFE)

Dentistry[edit]

Social Sciences[edit]

  • Department of Sociology and Human Geography
  • Department of Political Science
  • Department of Psychology
  • Department of Social Anthropology
  • Department of Economics
  • Centre for technology, innovation and culture
  • ARENA - Centre for European Studies
  • Centre of Equality, Social Organization, and Performance (ESOP)

Education[edit]

  • Department of Teacher Education and School Research
  • Department of Special Needs Education
  • Department for Educational Research
  • InterMedia

Library[edit]

Former University Library reading room
  • Library of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Library of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Faculty of Law Library
  • Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences Library

Units directly under The Senate[edit]

  • Centre for Gender Research
  • The Biotechnology Centre of Oslo
  • Molecular Life Science
  • International Summer School
Stairs leading from Faculty of Law's Domus Media to University Square on Karl Johan's Street

Museums[edit]

Cultural History[edit]

  • Historical Museum
  • Collection of Coins and Medals
  • Ethnographic Museum
  • Viking Ship Museum

Natural History[edit]

  • Mineralogical-geological Museum
  • Paleontological Museum
  • Zoological Museum
  • Botanical Garden
  • Botanical Museum

Notable academics and alumni[edit]

Fridtjof Nansen was Professor of Zoology and Rector-elect, and was also known as an explorer, humanitarian and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize
Johan Galtung, the founder of peace and conflict studies, held the world's first chair in that discipline at the University of Oslo 1969–1977

The University of Oslo has a long list of notable academics and alumni, spanning the fields of scholarship covered by the university. The university is home to five Nobel Prize winners and is institutionally tied to some of the most prestigious prizes in the world. The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded in the university's atrium between 1947 and 1989, thus making it the only university to host a Nobel Prize ceremony.[4] Since 2003, the Abel Prize is awarded in the university's atrium.

Academics[edit]

Some of the notable academics of the university are

Alumni[edit]

Rectors[edit]

Seal[edit]

An older version of The university seal

The seal of the University of Oslo features Apollo with the Lyre, and dates from 1835. The seal has been redesigned several times, most recently in 2009.

Fees[edit]

Like all public institutions of higher education in Norway, the university does not charge tuition fees. However, a small fee of NOK 550 (roughly US$70) per term goes to the student welfare organisation Foundation for Student Life in Oslo, to subsidise kindergartens, health services, housing and cultural initiatives, the weekly newspaper Universitas and the radio station Radio Nova.

In addition the students are charged a copy and paper fee of NOK 100[5] (roughly US$17) for full-time students and NOK 50 (roughly US$8.50) for part-time students. Lastly a voluntary sum of NOK 30 (roughly US$5) is donated to SAIH (Studentenes og Akademikernes Internasjonale Hjelpefond).

Rankings[edit]

University rankings
Global
ARWU[6] 67
Times[7] 201-225
QS[8] 73

In 2012, Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities ranked UiO 67th worldwide and best in Norway,[9] while the Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked UiO among the 201-225th best universities worldwide.[10]

Also in 2012, the QS World University Rankings[11] ranked UiO 111th worldwide, while the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities ranked UiO 73rd worldwide.[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Havnes, Heljar (17 August 2012). "Slik rangeres norske universiteter". Universitas (in Norwegian). Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  2. ^ "Nobel Prize Laureates". Retrieved 2013-06-14. 
  3. ^ "Prisutdelingen". Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  4. ^ "Prisutdelingen". Nobels Fredspris (in Norwegian). Det Norske Nobelinstitutt. Retrieved 22 September 2012. 
  5. ^ "Kopiavgiften" (in Norwegian). University of Oslo. 2010-09-03. Retrieved 2010-10-16. 
  6. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities: Global". Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. 2013. Retrieved October 3, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Top 400 – The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2013–2014". The Times Higher Education. 2013. Retrieved October 2, 2013. 
  8. ^ "QS World University Rankings (2013/14)". QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2013. Retrieved October 3, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Top 500 World Universities". Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Retrieved 2010-08-14. 
  10. ^ http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/2011-12/world-ranking
  11. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2010 Results". 
  12. ^ http://www.webometrics.info/top12000.asp?offset=50

Literature[edit]

  • John Peter Collett: Historien om Universitetet i Oslo, Universitetsforlaget 1999

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 59°56′23.77″N 10°43′19.43″E / 59.9399361°N 10.7220639°E / 59.9399361; 10.7220639