World Oldest Universities: Top 13

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The oldest universities in the world started far back as late Latin era, where it was called Universus.

Up until today, some universities has stood the test of time, and this article is about them, world oldest universities.

Oldest Universities

Most Oldest Universities in the World

Although the earliest universities looked far different from the modern ones especially as they typically only accepted men, they marked the beginnings of education as we now realize it.

Been researching the oldest universities in the world? We have a list of them you can work on below.

Some of us attempt to hide our ages as we grow old, but this is often not the case with these universities, who display them proudly at every opportunity, and for a nice reason.  Here is a list of the oldest universities in the world.

1. University of Bologna

This university is found within the city of Bologna in Italy, the University of Bologna is among the oldest universities in the world. Founded by an organised guild of scholars in 1088, it’s one of the foremost popular universities in Europe today.

According to the QS World University Rankings 2022, the University of Bologna’s ranking stands at the 160th position.

The university currently offers around 232-degree programs within the areas of Agricultural and Food Sciences, Education, Law, Medicine, Humanities, Engineering and Architecture, Sociology, medicine, Psychology, etc.

The University of Bologna also runs some specialisation schools within the areas of drugs, Cultural Heritage, Psychology, Health and Law and medicine.


2. University of Cambridge

Founded in 1209, the University of Cambridge is that the second oldest university in England. it’s located within the shire town of Cambridge, it also houses the Cambridge University Press, which is that the second-largest university press within the world.

Ranking 7th within the QS World University Rankings 2022, the University of Cambridge is one of the simplest universities in the world today.

The university is formed from 31 autonomous colleges and 6 schools, alongside multiple faculties and departments.

The six schools within the University of Cambridge include the humanities and Humanities, Physical Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences, Clinical Medicine, Biological Sciences, and Technology.


3. University of Oxford

Ranking 5th within the QS World University Rankings 2022, the University of Oxford is the oldest in England and, therefore, the second oldest university in constant operation. consistent with the evidence, the university was operational from as early as 1096.

The university comprises 39 autonomous colleges and 6 permanent private halls presently. There are around 100 major academic departments divided between the four academic divisions of Social Sciences, Humanities, Medical Sciences and arithmetic, Physical and Life Sciences.

Around 43 per cent of the entire students studying within the University of Oxford are international students.


4. University of Padua

Founded in 1222 within the northern Italian city of Padua, the University of Padua is that the second oldest university in Italy and therefore the fifth oldest university in the world.

The university is split into 8 major schools, namely the varsity of Agricultural Sciences and Medicine, School of Economics and politics, School of Engineering, School of Human and Social Sciences and Cultural Heritage, school of law, School of Drugs, School of Psychology and therefore the School of Science which together have a complete of 32 departments under them.

The University of Padua holds the 234th rank within the QS World University Rankings 2021.


5. University of Siena

One of the oldest public-funded universities in Italy, the University of Siena is found within the city of Siena in central Italy. The university currently ranks between the 651st to 700th position consistent with the QS World University Rankings 2021.

The University of Siena features a total of 15 departments divided into the four major divisions of Biomedical and Medical Sciences, Economics, Law and Political Sciences, Experimental Sciences and Literature, History, Philosophy and therefore the Arts, alongside various inter-university and inter-departmental research centres.

It’s best known for its courses on law, economics, management and medicine.


6. University of Florence

The University of Florence was established in 1321 by the republic of Florence in Italy. At its inception, the themes taught within the university included Civil and ecclesiastical law, Literature and Medicine.

The University of Florence currently holds the 432 ranks consistent with the QS World University Rankings 2021. The university features a total of 10 schools comprising 21 departments that supply undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

The 10 schools are the Agricultural School, School of Architecture, School of Economics and Management, School of Law, School of Engineering, School of Psychology, Sciences School of Human Health, School of Mathematical Sciences, Physical and Natural Sciences, School of Political Sciences and therefore the School of Humanities and Education.


7. University of Paris

Founded in 1150, the University of Paris is that the second oldest university in Europe. The university was packed up for a quick period between 1793 and 1806 during the French Revolution.

The university was divided into 13 autonomous units in 1970. It offers undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral courses to students around the world.

The University of Paris features a total of 26 departments which are divided between the three broad faculties of Sciences (5 departments), Health (9 departments) and Humanities and Social Sciences (12 departments).


8. University of Vienna

Founded in 1365, the University of Vienna is one of the highest 10 oldest universities in the world. it’s a public university in Austria famous for studies in humanities.

Ranking 150th within the QS World University Rankings 2021, this university offers around 178 different degree programs.

The university offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs within the fields of Art, Culture & Media, Economics, Social Sciences & Law, Education, Philosophy & Religion, History Languages & Cultures, Mathematics, Computing & Technology, Natural Sciences, Psychology, Health & Sports and Society & Politics.

PhD programs are offered within the areas of Law/Interdisciplinary Legal Studies, Humanities, Philosophy and Education, Social Sciences, Business, Economics and Statistics, Natural Sciences and Life Sciences.


9. University of Salamanca

The oldest university in Spain and therefore the third oldest operational university within the world, the University of Salamanca was founded by King Alfonso IX in 1218.

It’s complete of 26 faculties and schools comprising various departments and offers around 81 courses at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

The university also has various university research institutes dedicated to research within the scientific, artistic and technical fields, alongside offering specialized teaching. The foremost popular courses during this university are within the field of social and legal sciences.

The university ranks between the 601 and 650th positions consistent with the QS World University Rankings 2021.


10. University of Al-Karaouine

Located in Fez, Morocco, it’s the oldest continuously operating higher institution (not to be confused with the oldest university) within the world. it had been founded by an Arab woman, Fatima al-Fihri in 859 along with an associated madrasa.

Initially, the themes taught at this institution included Islamic religious instruction, Arabic grammar, music, Sufism, medicine and astronomy.

In 1947, the institution was integrated within the education system of the state, and from 1957, subjects like physics, chemistry, and foreign languages were introduced.

The University of Al-Karaouine still follows a standard sort of instruction for its students, who come to review within the university from Morocco, Islamic West Africa and Muslim Central Asia.


11. University of Naples Federico II

The University of Naples Federico II may be a state-supported, public, non-religious university in Naples, a city sitting on the Bay of Naples and by Vesuvius, the still-active volcano liable for Pompeii.

The institution is organised today into 13 faculties under three semi-independent divisions: the Division of Science and Technology, the Division of Life Sciences and therefore the Division of Social and Human Sciences.

These are liable for the research and teaching of 13 schools and 82 different departments.

In 1224, the top of state Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Sicily, decided to make an academic institution that wasn’t significantly influenced by the Pope. The institution was renamed Frederico II in 1987 within the acknowledgement of its founder.

It was created to facilitate the cultural development of promising young students and students, avoiding any unnecessary and expensive trips abroad, and has since has been in stable operation in Naples.


12. University of Toulouse

The University of Toulouse was one of the earliest universities to emerge in Europe. It’s located within the large, modern city of Toulouse known for its art, history, and culture, but the town seems like a village.

Since the closing of the university in 1793 thanks to the French Revolution, the University of Toulouse not exists as one institution.

However, there are several independent “successor” universities inheriting the name under the association of universities and better education institutions called Université fédérale de Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées(UFTMP).

The institution was formed as a part of the Treaty of Paris in 1229, teaching theology. Law and medicine were added later.

The university was split in 1969 into three separate universities, and therefore the present-day University of Toulouse was founded in 2007.

It not represents one university but is institutions under UFTMP are related to the University of Toulouse, as the National polytechnic of Toulouse and Toulouse graduate school.


13. Al-Azhar University

Al-Azhar University is Egypt’s oldest degree-granting university and is renowned as “Sunni Islam’s most prestigious university.” The institution oversees a national network of faculties with approximately 2 million students.

Its main mission is to propagate Islam and Islamic culture, and trained Egyptian government-appointed preachers in proselytization. Its library is taken into account second in importance in Egypt only to the Egyptian National Library and Archives.

The university was founded as a centre of Islamic learning, and students studied the Qur’an and sharia alongside logic, grammar, and rhetoric.

Additional faculties, like those of drugs and engineering, were established during reforms within the early 1960s.


Universities that survived the test of time and still stands as leading education centres, have tons more to supply than simply a degree. They represent perseverance of culture, historic lineage and skill to adapt to changes that occurred over the years.



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Hello readers, you are welcome to your info connect. My name is Emmanuel, I am a graduate Mechanical Engineer, a blogger, and Digital Marketer. I share educational and career information and content to enable viewers who are aiming for success to attain it in their various fields. I hope you enjoy your tour here.

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