20 Oldest Universities Of The World

20 Oldest Universities Of The World

The word ‘university’ has the Latin origin which generally means ‘community of teachers and scholars’. It is an ancient word since history has shown how the oldest of the generations sought after education and learning.
It is said that this term was originated in an Italian University Of Bologna which was established in 1088 and is perhaps one of the oldest university in the world. Some of the oldest universities in the world which still exist today and have played a huge role in the educational enlightening of the modern man are the following.

READ ALSO: Top 10 Globally-Ranked Oldest Universities In the World

The University of Al-Karaouine

Located in Fes, Morocco was founded in 859. Originally it was established by a woman named Fatima al Fihri as a mosque. It later developed into one of the leading educational centers for natural sciences. Guinness Book of World Records has declared this university as the oldest continuously operating university, which has been granting degrees since its formation, in the entire world.

Al-Azhar University

2. On 2nd there is the Al-Azhar University which is located in Egypt and is known to be the second oldest extant institution in the world. It was established in 970 and still, today serves as the hub of Arabic literature and Islamic learning of the Sunni sect. It’s an Islamic university and majorly focuses on Quranic sciences and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad while also teaching other modern sciences.

Al-Nizamiyya of Baghdad

3. The 3rd oldest university is perhaps the series of learning centers founded by Khwaja Nizam ul Mulk in the eleventh century in different cities of the Islamic world. The most famous if the Al-Nizamiyya of Baghdad which was founded in 1065 and is still operational today.

University of Bologna

4. 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 system of education and also bringing about the tremendous innovations and creations in the world.

University of Paris

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

The University of Oxford in England

6. On 6th there is the famous University of Oxford in England, which was formally founded in 1096. Today it ranks in the top universities of the world and is perhaps the oldest English speaking universities and also most well established continuously running university.

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University of Montpelier

7. The University of Montpelier which is located in France falls in the seventh position as it was founded in 1150. Although it has been suppressed various times it was re-established in 1810 and later in 1969 with the focus being on science and technology.

University of Cambridge

8. The University of Cambridge is known as the 8th oldest university in the world and also the second oldest university in the English speaking world. It was established by scholars who abandoned University of Oxford over a dispute in 1209.
This has been the cause of historic rivalry between the two universities. Today the University of Cambridge falls in the top five leading universities of the world.

University of Salamanca

9. On number, 9th is the University of Salamanca in Spain which was established in 1218. The fact that Columbus consulted the western route to Indies with this university’s scholars has given its historic importance. Today it still remains the University of Choice for Spanish students who want to pursue humanities and language studies.

University of Padua

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

University of Naples Federico II

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

University of Siena

12. The University of Siena which is the 12th oldest university of the world was founded in 1240 in Italy.

University of Valladolid

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

University of Murcia

14. The 14th oldest university of the world is the University of Murcia which was 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


The University of Macerata.

16. The 16th 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.

University of Coimbra

17. In 1290 the 17th oldest University was established at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. The University stands as Portuguese greatest University of all times. It has graduated many presidents, senators, and top officials in Portugal.

University of Alcala

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

La Sapienza University of Rome

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

University of Perugia

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


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