University of Basel

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University of Basel
Universität Basel
Uni basel logo.svg
Latin: Universitas Basiliensis
Type Public
Established April 4, 1460
Endowment CHF 753 million (2016)[1]
President Andrea Schenker-Wicki[2]
Academic staff
Students 12,852[3]
Location Basel, Basel-City, Switzerland
47°33′31″N 7°35′01″E / 47.55858°N 7.58360°E / 47.55858; 7.58360Coordinates: 47°33′31″N 7°35′01″E / 47.55858°N 7.58360°E / 47.55858; 7.58360
Affiliations Utrecht Network, EUCOR
Old University Basel

The University of Basel (German: Universität Basel) is located in Basel, Switzerland. Founded on 4 April 1460, it is Switzerland’s oldest university and is counted among the leading institutions of the country.

The associated University Library of Basel is the largest and among the most important libraries in the whole of the country. The university hosts the faculties of theology, law, medicine, humanities and social sciences, science, psychology, and business and economics, as well as numerous cross-disciplinary subjects and institutes, such as the Biozentrum for biomedical research and the Institute for European Global Studies. In 2016, the University boasted 12,852 students[3] and 377 professors.[3] International students accounted for 25 percent of the student body.


Inauguration ceremony of the University of Basel, 1460

The University of Basel was founded in connection with the Council of Basel. The deed of foundation given in the form of a Papal bull by Pope Pius II on November 12, 1459, and the official opening ceremony was held on April 4, 1460.[4] Originally the University of Basel was decreed to have four faculties—arts, medicine, theology, and jurisprudence. The faculty of arts served until 1818 as the foundation for the other three academic subjects. In the eighteenth century as Basel became more commercial, the university, one of the centers of learning in the Renaissance, slipped into insignificance. Enrollment which had been over a thousand around 1600, dropped to sixty in 1785 with eighteen professors. The professors themselves were mostly sons of the elite.[5]

Over the course of centuries as many scholars came to the city, Basel became an early center of book printing and humanism. Around the same time as the university itself, the Basel University Library was founded. Today it has over three million books and writings and is the largest library in Switzerland.

In 1830 the Canton of Basel split in two with the Federal Diet requiring that the canton's assets, including the books at the University library, be divided—two-thirds going to the new half canton of Basel-Landschaft. The city, Basel-Stadt, had to buy back this share and the university became so impoverished that it drastically reduced its course offerings. Students were expected to continue their education after two years or so at a German university.[5]

Reputation and rankings[edit]

Well-respected rankings attest to the University of Basel’s academic performance:

  • Times Higher Education World University Ranking (2016/2017): 98[6]
  • Leiden Ranking (2016): 45[7]
  • Academic Ranking of World Universities (2017): 95[8]



Interdisciplinary institutions[edit]

  • Europainstitut[16]
  • Jewish Studies [1]
  • Mensch-Gesellschaft-Umwelt (MGU)[17]
  • Centre for African Studies Basel (ZASB) [2]
  • Kulturmanagement [3]
  • Gender Studies [4]

Associated institutes[edit]

Notable alumni and faculty[edit]

Student life[edit]

The University hosts several formal institutions that are intended to serve the needs of its students. The Student Advice Center[19] provides advice on academic degree programs and career opportunities. The Student Administration Office[20] provides information on applications, grants, mobility, exchanges, and disability services.

Student organizations[edit]

There are also a variety of organizations that cater to international students, such as local chapters of Toastmasters and AIESEC, and associations that perform community services (Beraber, for instance, provides remedial lessons to immigrant youth). There is a foreign affairs association (Foraus), a Model United Nations team, and various choirs and orchestras. There are also various religious groups.

A number of other student groups exist out of formal venues. The most recognizable are the “Studentenverbindungen,” traditional student associations dating from the 19th century that organize social events, share common uniforms, and often focus on particular hobbies, such as sword fighting. Such associations include the Akademische Turnerschaft Alemannia zu Basel, AKW Raurica, Helvetia Basel, Jurassia Basiliensis, Schwizerhüsli, A.V. Froburger, and Zofingia. Membership in many is restricted to men, though A.V. Froburger also accepts women.

University Sports[edit]

University Sports[21] provides a gym, fitness classes, and sport and dance camps to students and employees of the University.

Student Union[edit]

The Studentische Körperschaft der Universität Basel (skuba) speaks on behalf of the students and represents their needs and interests. It acts as an official student representative and has no political or religious affiliations.

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c "Facts and Figures University of Basel". 
  4. ^ "History Basel".  External link in |journal= (help)
  5. ^ a b Grossman, Lionel, Basel in the age of Burckhardt (Chicago, 2000) p. 35, and note 20; p. 118
  6. ^ "THE ranking". 
  7. ^ "Leiden Ranking". 
  8. ^ "ARWU". 
  9. ^ "Theologische Fakultät". Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  10. ^ "Juristische Fakultät Universität Basel". Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  11. ^ "Webseite der Medizinischen Fakultät Basel". Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  12. ^ "Philosophisch-Historische Fakultät". Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  13. ^ "Philosophisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät". 29 July 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  14. ^ "WWZ: Home". 26 September 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  15. ^ "Fakultät für Psychologie". 28 September 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  16. ^ Europainstitut der Universitat Basel
  17. ^ "MGU - home". Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^

External links[edit]