Centers of higher education have been around for hundreds of years, and even millennia in some cases, but not all withstand the test of time. Over the centuries, many of the world’s oldest universities have disbanded, split into autonomous colleges or become modernized beyond all recognition.
The ancient institutions that have stuck around are significant not only for their historic legacies but also for proving their ability to adapt to modern contexts and remain relevant in a globalized world in spite of intense competition.
Here are the oldest Universities In The World
5.UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE, 1209
One of the most storied universities in the world, the University of Cambridge was founded when a number of scholars decided to break away from the University of Oxford. Now, over 800 years later,
Cambridge ranks among the top universities in the world for scholarship and funding (it has the largest endowment of any university outside of the U.S.), as well as having a stunningly beautiful campus.
4.UNIVERSITY OF SALAMANCA, 1164
The University of Salamanca was the first university founded in what would eventually become Spain, and like the aforementioned University of Valladolid, it is also located in Castile and León.
While its origins are a bit hazy, teaching began here sometime around 1094, and it was officially recognized by the king of León in 1164. One particularly notable discussion to have taken place within the walls of the University of Salamanca revolved around Christopher Columbus—first about whether his proposed trip west from Spain would be feasible, and second about how he and his men should have treated the Native Americas.
3.UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD, 1096
While there is some dispute among the oldest universities about their earliest founding dates, it is at least clear that the University of Oxford was the first university in the English-speaking world although lessons likely would have taken place in Latin.
It gained a significant boost in terms of numbers and importance in 1167 when Henry II banned English students from studying at the University of Paris.
2.UNIVERSITY OF BOLOGNA, 1088
Although Frederick I granted the university a royal charter in 1158, the origins of the University of Bologna can be traced back to 1088. For many years, students could only study canon and civil law.
It can count Dante as one of its former professors, and the university has seemingly managed to keep its quality fairly consistent, with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica often ranking it first academically in Italy.
1.UNIVERSITY OF AL-KARAOUINE, 859
Guinness World Records names this university the “oldest existing, and continually operating educational institution in the world.” The University of Al-Karaouine,
also known as Al-Quaraouiyine University, was founded by Fatima al-Fihri in 859 in Fes, Morocco, as a community mosque with an associated school. The university still exists today, offering studies in Islamic studies, legal sciences, comparative jurisprudence, and more.