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.
The world's top universities
The ancient institutions that are here today are ificant for their historic legacies and for proving their ability to adapt to modern contexts and remain relevant in a globalized world in spite of intense competition. Here we cover some of the oldest universities in the world, all of which feature in one of the QS rankings.
This is not intended to be a list of the 10 oldest universities in order of establishment, but instead highlights 10 of the oldest universities which also have a high international ranking. Location: Italy. Until relatively modern times, the university only taught doctorate studies, but today it has a diverse range of programs at all levels.
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Located in Bologna, Italy, it has an enrolment of around 87, students, of which 6, are international students. Famous alumni include three popes, numerous businessmen and several Italian politicians. Location: United Kingdom.
Currently fifth in the world rankings, the University of Oxford is truly one of the highest-ranked and oldest universities in the world, catering to a student community of nearly 24, and operating the largest university press in the world. Location: Spain. Located to the west of Madrid, it was the institution where Christopher Columbus made a case to obtain royal support for his Indies expedition in the late 15 th century.
Location: France. Today, the University of Paris is scattered throughout the city, having been divided into 13 autonomous institutions inall of which maintain the high reputation of the original university. Discover more of the top universities in Paris here.
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Established in by a group of scholars leaving the University of Oxford due to political conflicts, the University of Cambridge is now ranked seventh in the world. Sharing many common traditions, Oxford and Cambridge maintain a healthy sense of rivalry, which comes to a head in the famous annual Boat Race event.
Cambridge has around 23, students, of which 5, come from outside the EU. It also runs nine museums.
The University of Naples Federico II is placed t nd in the world rankings up 32 places inteaching a wide range of programs to a student community of around 80, Among its most famous historic alumni is the philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas. Located in the small city of Siena in the Tuscany region, the University of Siena is another of the oldest universities in the world with a strong global standing, currently ranked in the world down from in The city center itself, also of historic importance, has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is visited annually by overtourists who come for the food, the art, the museums and the medieval heritage.
With a student community of just over 24, the University of Coimbra has been through many radical reforms, and for decades in the 18 th century it was the only operating university in Portugal. Location: Egypt. Despite not gaining university status untilAl-Azhar University deserves a mention in this list as it was originally established as early as AD in Cairo, Egypt.
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Through its time, the school has seen much political instability, most notably in the 12 th century when a new dynasty took power and destroyed overtexts. In addition to traditional studies, the school also offers programs in business, economics, science, medicine, engineering and agriculture.
Did you know…? The oldest university in Asia was founded in University of Santo Tomasthe Philippinesthe oldest university in the US was established in Harvard UniversityMassachusettsand the oldest university in Australia was established in University of SydneyNew South Wales. This article was originally published in July Want more content like this? Register for free site membership to get regular updates and your own personal content feed.
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This article was originally published in June It was last updated in April Want more content like this Register for free site membership to get regular updates and your own personal content feed. Laura is a former staff writer for TopUniversities. University of Cambridge Location: UK Established in: Established in by a group of scholars leaving the University of Oxford due to political conflicts, the University of Cambridge is now ranked seventh in the world. University of Siena Location: Italy Established in: Located in the small city of Siena in the Tuscany region, the University of Siena is another of the oldest universities in the world with a strong global standing, currently ranked in the world down from in Top 10 beautiful historic universities in the UK.
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10 of the oldest universities in the world
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