University of Bologna

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University of Bologna
motto Alma mater studiorum and
Petrus ubique pater legum Bononia mater
founding 1088
Sponsorship MIUR (state)
place Bologna , Italy
Magnifico Rettore Francesco Ubertini
Students 87,785 (2018/19)
Employee 5,733 (2019)
including professors 1085
Networks Coimbra Group , IAU

The University of Bologna ( Italian : since 2000 Università di Bologna - Alma mater studiorum , previously Università degli studi di Bologna ; Latin Universitas Bononiensis ) is a state university in Bologna and is considered the oldest university in Europe. The University of Bologna is also the third largest university in Italy after the Sapienza University of Rome and the University of Naples Federico II .

87,785 students are enrolled at the 32 faculties (2018/19). Since 1989 the university has had departments in Cesena , Forlì , Ravenna and Rimini in addition to its headquarters in Bologna, and in 1998 a branch was set up in Buenos Aires .


First university in Europe

The University of Bologna describes itself as perhaps the oldest university in the world - but its founding cannot be precisely dated. University-like educational institutions existed before in Salerno ( Salerno Medical School ) and in the Arab world.

Founding and Law

Spanish College

The approximate period in which the University of Bologna was founded is at the end of the 11th century, when there is evidence that there was a kind of school of law in Bologna. The inaccuracy of the exact founding dating is due to a step-by-step founding process. In the 19th century, a commission of historians led by Giosuè Carducci dated the establishment of the university to 1088 . This was mainly pinned to Pepo, a famous Bolognese legal scholar. However, at this point in time, the corporate structures that are now recognized in research as specific to universities did not exist. Today we are moving towards establishing the university between 1130 and 1140. All university foundations at that time required a founding document from the pope or emperor , the representatives of spiritual or secular rule. Only after the granting of papal and princely foundation deeds were the universities able to begin regular teaching and award academic titles .

The University of Bologna was famous for law from the start . In the early Middle Ages, the sciences of late antiquity and Roman law were almost forgotten, and only church legal doctrine was passed on. This was partly very contradictory, and so the Bolognese Magister Gratian systematized the ecclesiastical legal texts in a uniform collection of laws, the Decretum Gratiani . Through this work, the interest in the learned secular law awoke in Bologna. In addition, excerpts from the Justinian digests were found at this time , which were later kept in Florence under the name " Littera Florentina ", which means that late ancient Roman law has now been re-read and commented on. From this the school of law developed, which can be seen as the forerunner of the university.

In 1158 the University of Friedrich Barbarossa received a certain degree of autonomy through the so-called scholar privilege ( authentica habita ). Among other things, the dominus of the university was responsible for protecting lecturers and students; the university had its own academic jurisdiction . This was to prevent the municipality of Bologna from taking control of the university. After several disputes, an agreement was reached with the city in the middle of the 13th century.

The first verifiable award of a doctoral degree took place in Bologna in 1219 after the doctoral regulations were confirmed by Pope Honorius III. instead of.

Around 1350 the city began to pay the professors. Before that, they had been paid by the students. The students, who were organized in associations, also elected the rector and certain parts of the teaching. At the end of the 16th century the university became a state institution under the direction of a cardinal envoy appointed by the Pope . Napoleon reversed this change in 1800. From now on the post of rector was filled by a professor.

Other teaching areas

In the 14th century, in addition to the law school, another teaching area was introduced: Artes . Music , mathematics , astronomy , rhetoric , grammar and dialectics were taught according to ancient models . Philosophy and medicine were also part of it. The latter was included in the teaching of Artes from 1219 by a papal bull. In 1569 teaching began in theology. In 1712 the La Specola University Observatory was built . In 1826 the philological faculty was opened.

Admission of a student to the "Natio Germanica Bononiae", the German nation at the University of Bologna, around the 15th century

This division into schools leads to the following problem: There was no University of Bologna in this sense. Rather, the students were organized in different universities:

  1. The “universitates” of law students.
    The law students joined together in two universities, one for Italian students ( universitas citramontanorum ) and one for non-Italian ( universitas ulramontanorum (divided latter was even further into individual nationes = Country Teams) to be able to better represent) to the various specific interests of each group . Both were organized "in mirror image", as is expressed in the statutes of 1317/47. The type of foundation is of particular importance: if the course was founded by the magistri about 100 years earlier, the students are now organized in initiatives that should ensure the students' right of self-determination (less dependence on the teachers) and at the same time ensure education. This new model of the “universitates scholarium” was to find expression throughout Europe in the course of the 13th century.
    In addition, the teaching canon was renewed and adapted to the needs of Italy at that time: New (or old, Roman legal tradition) concepts were particularly necessary in succession, family and inheritance law and in contracting.
  2. The “universitates” of the artists:
    At the beginning of the 14th century, the artists followed the example of the lawyers and formed their own university, which was not further subdivided according to origin and attended students of rhetoric, medicine, physics, mathematics, ars notariae etc. . united, which, like the two jur. Universities, was headed by its own rector.

As a result, the faculty organized itself into various colleges, which, in contrast to the student conjurationes, were aimed solely at professional purposes and less aimed at representing the interests of their members.

The biographical index "German Students in Bologna" by Gustav C. Knod, published in 1899, offers a directory for the period from 1289 to 1562. Knod developed it from 1888 on behalf of the Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences .

For a long time, the natural sciences were only represented by a few professorships. When the noble patron Luigi Ferdinando Marsigli (1658-1730) wanted to found an observatory , a contract was signed between him, the city and the Vatican to create an Academy of Sciences , the Istituto delle Scienze di Bologna . Palazzo Poggi was acquired for the academy just outside the city center, where the observatory tower ( La Specola ) was completed in 1726 . The city of Bologna provided the necessary funds for books, experiments and the salaries of the professors.

Women at the university

Student (2016)

Remarkably, women have been admitted to study since the university was founded.

  • Bettisia Gozzadini (1209–1261) completed her law studies in 1237 and held lectures at the university from 1239.
  • Novella D'Andrea (1333–?) Also gave lectures in law.
  • In the 15th century Dorotea Bucca held a chair in medicine.
  • Laura Bassi (1711–1778) was the first female university professor in the world and held a professorship for philosophy and later also for physics .


Academy of Sciences (Palazzo Poggi)
Headquarters of the Faculty of Agriculture in Reggio nell'Emilia
  • Faculty of Agricultural Sciences
  • Faculty of Architecture "Aldo Rossi"
  • Faculty of Interpreting and Translation (SSLMIT)
  • Faculty of Education
  • Faculty of Engineering
  • Faculty of Industrial Chemistry
  • Faculty of Arts and Humanities
  • Faculty of Education and Sports Science
  • Faculty of Foreign Languages ​​and Literature
  • Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Science
  • Faculty of Medicine
  • Faculty of Restoration of Cultural Property
  • Faculty of Pharmacy
  • Faculty of Political Science
  • Faculty of Political Science "Roberto Ruffilli"
  • Faculty of Psychology
  • Faculty of Law
  • Faculty of Statistics
  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
  • Faculty of Economics

Istituto di Studi Superiori

In 1998 the university founded a Collegio Superiore to promote particularly talented students . Together with the Istituto di Studi Avanzati , it forms the Istituto di Studi Superiori .

Famous professors

Famous teachers, sorted by surname:

Famous students

Famous students, sorted by surname (subject in brackets):

Bologna process

The agreement of the Council of Ministers of the European Union to harmonize the European higher education system is known as the Bologna Process , as the Bologna Declaration on which it is based was signed on June 19, 1999 in the Aula Magna of the University of Bologna. Bologna was chosen as the location because Italy held the EU Council Presidency in the first half of 1999 and because the Magna Charta Universitatum , the 388 university presidents and rectors from all over the world on the occasion of the celebrations for the 900th anniversary of the founding of the University of Bologna in Signed in 1988, had become one of the starting points for the Bologna Process.


  • Paolo Colliva: Bologna. Section C: Universitates . In: Lexicon of the Middle Ages (LexMA). Volume 2, Artemis & Winkler, Munich / Zurich 1983, ISBN 3-7608-8902-6 , Sp. 381-387.
  • Gastone Lambertini: The School of Salerno and the Universities of Bologna and Padua. In: Illustrated History of Medicine. German adaptation by Richard Toellner et al., Special edition Salzburg 1986, Volume II, pp. 726–729.
  • David A. Lines: The University and the City: Cultural Interactions. In: Sarah Rubin Blanshei (Ed.): A Companion to Medieval and Renaissance Bologna . Brill, Leiden 2017, pp. 436-473.
  • Walter Rüegg: History of the University in Europe. Volume 1. Munich 1993.
  • Jürg Schmutz: Jurists for the Reich: the German law students at the University of Bologna 1265–1425 (publications by the Society for the History of University and Science). Schwabe, Basel, ISBN 3-7965-1437-5 ( review ).

See also

Web links

Commons : University of Bologna  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ I numeri della storia. Le principali date della storia dell'Università di Bologna dalla nascita al Processo di Bologna on
  2. Rettore on
  3. ^ List of IAU Members. In: International Association of Universities, accessed August 3, 2019 .
  4. Martin Kintzinger: Knowledge becomes power: Education in the Middle Ages . Thorbecke, Ostfildern 2007, ISBN 978-3-7995-0192-7 , pp. 153–154 (unchanged reprint of the first edition from 2003).
  5. L'Università oggi: tra numeri e innovazione - Università di Bologna. Retrieved January 26, 2020 (Italian).
  6. ^ Walter Rüegg: Topics, Problems, Findings. In: Ders., History of the University in Europe. Volume 1. Munich 1993.
  7. Bernd Roeck: The morning of the world . 1st edition. CH Beck, 2017, ISBN 978-3-406-69876-7 , pp. 253 .
  8. all information: article in LexMA, see literature.
  9. a b Umberto Eco: Bettisia Gozzadini e Novella D'Andrea. In: (Italian), accessed on July 27, 2019.
  10. Monique Frize: The Bold and the Brave. A History of Women in Science and Engineering. University of Ottawa Press, Ottawa 2009, pp. 100-101.
  11. Internet presence of the Collegio Superiore at
  12. Internet presence of the Istituto di Studi Avanzati - ISA on
  13. Internet presence of the Istituto di Studi Superiori - ISS on
  14. ^ Marion Schmidt: Who is Mister Bologna? The Bachelor-Master system was adopted 15 years ago. In: The time. June 18, 2014, p. 69.