19 Oldest Universities in The World

The word ‘university has a Latin origin, which generally means ‘community of teachers and scholars. It is an ancient word since history has shown how the oldest generations sought education and learning.

It is said that this term originated in the Italian University Of Bologna, which was established in 1088 and is perhaps one of the oldest universities in the world.

This post provides you with information about the Oldest Universities in The World. You can check the table of content below to get an overview of all this post entails;

Check out Top 10 Globally-Ranked Oldest Universities In the World

19 Oldest Universities in The World

Some of the oldest universities in the world still exist today and have played a huge role in the educational enlightening of modern man are the following.

1. The University of Al-Karaouine

Located in Fes, Morocco was founded in 1859. Originally it was established by a woman named Fatima al Fihri as a mosque. It later developed into one of the leading educational centres for natural sciences. Guinness Book of World Records has declared this university the oldest continuously operating university, which has been granting degrees since its formation worldwide.

2. Al-Azhar University

Al-Azhar University is located in Egypt and is known to be the second oldest extant institution in the world. It was established in 970 and still serves as the hub of the Sunni sect’s Arabic literature and Islamic learning.

It’s an Islamic university that focuses on the Quranic sciences and the Prophet Muhammad traditions while teaching other modern sciences.

3. Al-Nizamiyya of Baghdad

The third oldest university is perhaps the series of learning centres founded by Khwaja Nizam ul Mulk in the eleventh century in different cities of the Islamic world. The most famous is the Al-Nizamiyya of Baghdad which was founded in 1065 and is still operational today.

4. University of Bologna

The oldest university of medieval Europe is perhaps the University of Bologna which was founded in 1088 in Italy. However, it ranks as the 4th oldest university in the world. With its formation, the word ‘university was born.

This ancient university has served the western world until today in developing an advanced education system and bringing about tremendous innovations and creations in the world.

5. University of Paris

The 5th oldest university in the world is the University of Paris, whose exact year of opening is still unclear, but history shows that teaching at this university has existed since 1096.

It was led to closure approximately thrice due to political upheavals or wars in the European world; however, it was never shut down for good but still exists today as the leading university of Paris.

6. The University of Oxford in England

On the sixth spot is the famous University of Oxford in England, formally founded in 1096. Today it ranks among the world’s top universities and is perhaps the oldest English-speaking university and the most well-established, continuously running university.

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7. University of Montpelier

The University of Montpelier, located in France, falls in seventh place as it was founded in 1150. Although it has been suppressed various times, it was re-established in 1810 and later in 1969, focusing on science and technology.

8. University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge is the 8th oldest university in the world and the second oldest university in the English speaking world. It was established by scholars who abandoned the University of Oxford over a dispute in 1209.

This has been the cause of the historic rivalry between the two universities. Today, the University of Cambridge is in the world’s top five leading universities.

9. University of Salamanca

On the ninth spot is the University of Salamanca in Spain, established in 1218. The fact that Columbus consulted the western route to the Indies with this university’s scholars has given its historic importance. Today it remains the University of Choice for Spanish students who want to pursue humanities and language studies.

10. University of Padua

The University of Padua, founded in 1222, is the 10th oldest university in the world and the second oldest university in Italy.

11. University of Naples Federico II

In 1224 University of Naples Federico II was established in Sicily, Italy, and is today the 11th oldest university in the world.

12. University of Siena

The University of Siena, which is the 12th oldest university in the world, was founded in 1240 in Italy. Nearly half of the population in the country attends this institution, as it boasts a population of 20,000 students.

13. University of Valladolid

On number 13 falls the University of Valladolid which was founded in 1241 in Spain. It formed a moment of Spanish pride as the university produced world leaders, Presidents, senators notable men of the Spanish country.

14. University of Murcia

The 14th oldest university in the world is the University of Murcia, established in 1272 by King Alfonso X. After that, in 1289. The University is situated at the Heart of the Spanish city.

READ ALSO: Top 10 Prestigious Scholarships for the Best International Students

15. The University of Macerata.

The fifteenth oldest university was founded in 1290 in Italy and is called the University of Macerata. The University has made a landmark in the city of Italy as it stands in the major City of Italy. It has graduated many tops and prominent Italian greats.

16.University of Coimbra

In 1290 the 16th oldest University was established at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. The University stands as the greatest Portuguese university of all time. It has graduated many presidents, senators, and top officials in Portugal.

17. University of Alcala

The University was established on the great soil of Spain. The number 18 is the University of Alcala in Spain, founded in 1293.

18. La Sapienza University of Rome

In 1303 the La Sapienza University of Rome was established as the 19th oldest university in the world in Italy.

19. University of Perugia

Later the 1308 University of Perugia was founded in Italy as the 20th oldest university in the world.



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