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Oldest University in the World, List of Top-10

Universities are the bedrock of higher education, fostering intellectual growth, research, and cultural exchange. Delving into the rich tapestry of academic history, one can uncover the oldest universities that have stood the test of time, shaping generations of scholars. In this article, we will explore the top 10 oldest universities in the world, each with its unique legacy and contribution to the global academic landscape.

World’s Oldest Universities

The world’s oldest universities stand as bastions of academic tradition. The University of Bologna, founded in 1088, leads the list, followed by the University of Paris (1150), Oxford (1167), and Cambridge (1209). Other venerable institutions include the University of Salamanca (1218), University of Padua (1222), and University of Toulouse (1229). These institutions have not only witnessed centuries of intellectual evolution but have also played pivotal roles in shaping the global academic landscape.

World’s Oldest University

Established in 1088 and situated in Bologna, Italy, the University of Bologna proudly holds the title of the world’s oldest university. Aptly described as the ‘Nourishing Mother of the Studies’ in its Latin motto, it has continuously operated throughout its storied history. Originally focused on doctorate studies, the university now offers a diverse array of programs at all academic levels. Boasting an enrollment of approximately 87,760 students, with 6,400 international students, the institution has produced notable alumni, including three popes, numerous successful business figures, and several influential Italian politicians.

Top-10 Oldest Universities in the World

University of Bologna, located in Italy, is the oldest university in the world, followed by University of Oxford, University of Salamanca, University of Paris, and University of Cambridge.

Here is the list of top-10 oldest universities in the world:

OLDEST UNIVERSITIES IN THE WORLD
Rank University Country Establishment Notable Feature
1. University of Bologna Italy 1088 Oldest university globally, diverse programs
2. University of Oxford United Kingdom 1096-1167 Renowned alumni including prime ministers, Nobel laureates
3. University of Salamanca Spain 1134 Royal charter in 1218, Columbus’ royal support
4. University of Paris (Sorbonne) France 1160-1250 Divided into 13 institutions in 1970
5. University of Cambridge United Kingdom 1209 Founded due to political conflicts, intense rivalry with Oxford
6. University of Padua Italy 1222 Surviving medieval institution, early research in various fields
7. University of Naples Federico II Italy 1224 Founded by Emperor Federico II, over 100,000 students
8. University of Siena Italy 1240 UNESCO World Heritage Site, about 20,000 students
9. University of Coimbra Portugal   Moved locations, historical buildings, UNESCO World Heritage Site
10. Al-Azhar University Egypt 970 (as a center) / 1961 (as a university) Originally for Islamic teaching, now offers academic programs

Oldest University of the World – University of Bologna

Oldest University in the World, List of Top-10_40.1

Country: Italy

Establishment: 1088

Founded in 1088, the University of Bologna, known as the ‘Nourishing Mother of the Studies,’ stands as the world’s oldest university, never ceasing operation. Originally focused on doctoral studies, it now offers diverse programs at all levels. With an enrollment of 87,760 students, including 6,400 international students, it boasts a prestigious alumni list, including three popes, numerous businessmen, and Italian politicians.

Second Oldest University in the World – University of Oxford

Oldest University in the World, List of Top-10_50.1

Country: United Kingdom

Establishment: 1096-1167

Established between 1096 and 1167, the University of Oxford stands as the second oldest university globally, boasting an illustrious alumni list, including 28 UK Prime Ministers, 20 Archbishops of Canterbury, and 27 Nobel laureates. Though its foundation date is somewhat uncertain, its historical significance is undeniable. Currently ranked fifth worldwide, it accommodates nearly 24,300 students and operates the largest university press globally.

World’s Third Oldest University – University Salamanca

Oldest University in the World, List of Top-10_60.1

Country: Spain

Establishment: 1134

Established in 1134 and granted a Royal Charter in 1218, the University of Salamanca, Spain’s oldest institution after the defunct University of Palencia, holds the title of the world’s third oldest university. Christopher Columbus sought royal support for his Indies expedition at this institution in the late 15th century. Welcoming approximately 26,746 students across nine campuses, it has a rich historical legacy.

Oldest University in the World, List of Top-10_70.1

FAQs

Which is the oldest university in the world?

University of Bologna, located in Italy, is the oldest university in the world.

Which is the oldest university of India?

Senate of Serampore College (University), located in Serampore, Kolkata, is the oldest university in India,

Which is the second oldest university in the world?

Established between 1096 and 1167, the University of Oxford stands as the second oldest university globally, boasting an illustrious alumni list, including 28 UK Prime Ministers, 20 Archbishops of Canterbury, and 27 Nobel laureates.

Name the top-5 oldest universities in the world?

The top-5 oldest universities in the world are: University of Bologna, University of Oxford, University of Salamanca, University of Paris (Sorbonne), and University of Cambridge.