List of rectors of the University of Oslo

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The rector of the University of Oslo is the university's highest officer, who serves as both its chief executive, its ceremonial head and as chairperson of the university board. The rector is directly elected among the academic employees by all the members of the university community, that is academic employees, students and technical-administrative staff, who received the right to vote in this order. Until 1989, only professors were eligible to stand for election, although so far all rectors have been professors at the university. The rector's deputy and the university's second highest official, the pro-rector, is also directly elected at the same time. Both the rector and the pro-rector are elected for four-year terms and may stand for reelection to the same office once. The rectorate may also include one or more appointed vice-rectors, who rank below both the rector and the pro-rector. The rectorate forms the university's senior leadership and has the overall responsibility for the management of the university; they are assisted by the director of the university, who heads the technical-administrative staff, but who is subordinate to the rectorate (the rector, pro-rector and vice-rectors).

The office of rector was instituted by law in 1905, and made effective in 1907. From 1845 to 1907, the Collegium academicum, the highest body of the university, elected a chairman among its members to serve for one year. From 1814 to 1845, the university had a Chancellor, which was only a ceremonial office held by the Lord Lieutenant (stattholder), and a Pro-Chancellor, who was the deputy of the Chancellor and ex officio chairman of the Collegium academicum.

Chancellors, 1814–1844[edit]

Term Chancellor
1814–1816 Count Hans Henric von Essen
1816–1818 Count Carl Mörner
1818–1824 Count Johan August Sandels
1818–1824 Crown Prince Oscar

Pro-Chancellors, 1814–1845[edit]

Term Pro-Chancellor
1814–1822 Bishop Frederik Julius Bech
1823–1828 Professor Niels Treschow
1828–1840 Count Herman Wedel-Jarlsberg
1840–1845 Bishop Christian Sørenssen

Chairmen of the Collegium academicum, 1845–1907[edit]

Term Chairman of the Collegium academicum Field of study
 ?  ?  ?

Rectors, 1907–present[edit]

Term Rector Field of study
1907–1911 Waldemar Christofer Brøgger Mineralogy and geology
1912–1918 Bredo Henrik von Munthe af Morgenstierne Jurisprudence, economics, and statistics
1919–1921 Fridtjof Nansen1 Zoology and oceanography
1919–1921 Axel Holst Medicine
1921–1927 Fredrik Stang Jurisprudence
1928–1936 Sem Sæland Physics
1937–1941 Didrik Arup Seip North Germanic languages
1941–1945 Adolf Hoel2 Geology
1946–1951 Otto Lous Mohr Medicine
1952–1957 Frede Castberg Jurisprudence
1958–1963 Johan Tidemann Ruud Marine biology
1964–1969 Hans Vogt Romance languages
1970–1972 Johs. Andenæs Jurisprudence
1973–1976 Otto Bastiansen Chemistry
1977–1984 Bjarne A. Waaler Medicine
1985–1992 Inge Lønning Theology
1993–1998 Lucy Smith Jurisprudence
1999–2001 Kaare R. Norum Nutritional science
2002–2005 Arild Underdal Political science
2006–2009 Geir Ellingsrud Mathematics
2009–Present Ole Petter Ottersen Medicine
1: Fridtjof Nansen was elected rector of the university for the term 1919–1921, but never assumed office.
2: Following the arrest of Didrik Arup Seip during the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany, the occupying powers appointed the polar researcher Adolf Hoel as rector of the university.


1: Following the arrest of Didrik Arup Seip during the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany, the occupying powers appointed the polar researcher Adolf Hoel as prorector, and later rector of the university.
2: Ruth Vatvedt Fjeld resigned from her position in 2014.