Top Ten Oldest Universities in the World

1.University of Al Karaouine, Morocco (founded 859 AD)

The university made it into Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest university in the world which is still operating. Located in Morocco, the university is also known as Al Quaraouyine University. The foundation stone of the university was laid by Fatima al-Fihri in 859 in Fes, Morocco as a mosque with a school.

2.University of Bologna, 1088

The university’s origin can be traced back to 1088 when the non-native students got together and wished that the natives should treat them better. The union and organization of those students resulted in the form of a university known as the University of Bologna. The university was ranked first in Italy for five years running by the Italian newspaper the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

3.University of Oxford, 1096

Oldest university in the English speaking world, University of Oxford was founded in 1096 in England. The university is one of the most prestigious and admired universities in the world today. The university gained a high number of students in 1167 when the English students were banned to take admission in the University of Paris by Henry II of England.

4.University of Salamanca, 1164

The University of Salamanca is located in Spain. The origin of the university is a bit unclear and disputed, the process of teaching took place in the university is dated back to 1094 and it was officially recognized in 1164 by King Leon.


5.University of Cambridge

The university was founded when a number of scholars broke up with an already established university known as Oxford. The university is among the top universities offering scholarships and aid to the students in the world. The plus point which this university possesses is due to its amazingly beautiful campus.


6.University of Padua, 1222

Just like the Cambridge-Oxford pattern, a lot of students and teachers broke up with the University of Bologna because they felt themselves bound and restricted to just one university. In result, the University of Padua was founded in order to achieve more intellectual liberty and freedom.  Galileo and Copernicus are among its most notable alumni which represent the university’s high quality of education.


7.University of Naples Federico II, 1224

Italy is the birthplace of the university which was the center of the Renaissance era leading to the revival of everything. It is 6th oldest university in the world and third oldest in Italy. It is the only oldest university in the world which had been publically funded without having any connection to church.


8.University of Siena, 1240 (Italy)

Located in the small town named Siena, the university 20,000 students make almost half of the population of the town. The university started with only 10 teachers and the number of students which could be handled by these 10 teachers. The university was benefited by the major protests in the University of Bologna when the students moved to this university.


9.University of Valladolid, 1241

Located in the east of Spain, University of Valladolid is the 9th oldest university in the world. The University has now seven campuses across the region. As Spain was not an entity as it is today, the region went through many changes which are included in the history of the university.


10.University of Coimbra, 1290

Originally founded in the capital city of Lisbon, the university moved around before laying its foundation in the city of Coimbra. The university holds a large number of international students as well. The university’s campus made it into UNESCO World Heritage list in 2013.

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