The University of Bologna

The University of Bologna

The oldest university

The University of Bologna is one of the oldest and most famous universities in Europe founded in the Italian city of Bologna in the 11 th century. In the 12 th and 13 th centuries it became the principal centre for studies in civil and canon law and attracted students from all over Europe. In that time the university had no fixed site student housing and scholars of like nationality formed free associations, or guilds, to secure protections that they could not claim as citizens. The organizations formed at Bologna became models for modern universities.


In 1158 Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa granted privileges to scholars of Bologna that were eventually extended to all Italian universities. The students at Bologna were mostly mature men. As the civil law and canon law were at first the only branches of study, they attracted men already filling office in some department of the church or state—archdeacons, heads of schools, canons of cathedrals, and like functionaries. About the year 1200 the faculties of medicine and philosophy (or liberal arts) were formed. The medical faculty became famous in the 13th century for reviving the practice of human dissection, which had not been used in Europe since Roman times. The faculty of science was developed in the 17th century, and in the 18th century women were admitted as students and teachers.

The University of BolognaFaculties

Theology had long been taught in the monastic schools but the faculty of theology in the University of Bologna was established by Innocent VI in 1360. Its chancellor was the Bishop of Bologna, and its doctors depended upon him rather than upon the student body. The faculty received many privileges from Urban V, Boniface IX, and their successors. The popes, in fact, favoured the university in every possible way.

After a period of decline, Bologna was reorganized in 1860 and resumed its place among Italy’s foremost universities. The contemporary university includes faculties of jurisprudence, political science, letters and philosophy, medicine, and engineering.


Location: Largo Trombetti, 1 40126 Bologna

Faculties: Architecture, Agricultural sciences, Economics, Law, Education studies, History and cultures, Management Mathematics, Psychology, The arts

Official website:

Tuition fees: Vary according to chosen faculty and programme

Tel.: +39.051.2099349

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