University of Bologna

University of Bologna
Università di Bologna
Latin: Universitas Bononiensis
Motto Petrus ubique pater legum Bononia mater[1] (Latin)
Motto in English
St. Peter is everywhere the father of the law, Bologna is its mother
Type Public
Established c. 1088 (1088)
Rector Francesco Ubertini
Academic staff
Students 82,363
Undergraduates 52,787
Postgraduates 29,576
Location Bologna, Italy
Campus Urban (University Town)
Sports teams CUSB
Colours      Red
Affiliations Coimbra Group, Utrecht Network, UNIMED

The University of Bologna (Italian: Università di Bologna, UNIBO), founded in 1088, is the oldest university in continuous operation,[2] as well as one of the leading academic institutions in Italy and Europe[3]. It is one of the most prestigious Italian universities, commonly ranking in the first places of national rankings.[4][5]

It was the first place of study to use the term universitas for the corporations of students and masters, which came to define the institution located in Bologna, Italy.[6] The University's crest carries the motto Alma mater studiorum and the date A.D. 1088, and it has about 85,500 students in its 11 schools.[7] It has campuses in Ravenna, Forlì, Cesena and Rimini and a branch center abroad in Buenos Aires.[8] It also has a school of excellence named Collegio Superiore di Bologna. An associate publisher of the University of Bologna is Bononia University Press S.p.A. (BUP).


The date of its founding is uncertain, but believed by most accounts to have been 1088.[6] The university received a charter from Frederick I Barbarossa in 1158, but in the 19th century, a committee of historians led by Giosuè Carducci traced the founding of the University back to 1088, which would make it the oldest continuously-operating university in the world.[9][10][11]

One of the earliest texts produced by the University and used by the rest of Europe in the Middle Ages was the "Chirurgia" of Roger Frugard, published in 1180.

The University arose around mutual aid societies of foreign students called "nations" (as they were grouped by nationality) for protection against city laws which imposed collective punishment on foreigners for the crimes and debts of their countrymen. These students then hired scholars from the city to teach them. In time the various "nations" decided to form a larger association, or universitas—thus, the university. The university grew to have a strong position of collective bargaining with the city, since by then it derived significant revenue through visiting foreign students, who would depart if they were not well treated. The foreign students in Bologna received greater rights, and collective punishment was ended. There was also collective bargaining with the scholars who served as professors at the university. By the initiation or threat of a student strike, the students could enforce their demands as to the content of courses and the pay professors would receive. University professors were hired, fired, and had their pay determined by an elected council of two representatives from every student "nation" which governed the institution, with the most important decisions requiring a majority vote from all the students to ratify. The professors could also be fined if they failed to finish classes on time, or complete course material by the end of the semester. A student committee, the "Denouncers of Professors", kept tabs on them and reported any misbehavior. Professors themselves were not powerless, however, forming a College of Teachers, and securing the rights to set examination fees and degree requirements. Eventually, the city ended this arrangement, paying professors from tax revenues and making it a chartered public university.[12]

The university is historically notable for its teaching of canon and civil law;[13] indeed, it was set up in large part with the aim of studying the Digest,[14] a central text in Roman law, which had been rediscovered in Italy in 1070, and the university was central in the development of medieval Roman law.[15] Until modern times, the only degree granted at that university was the doctorate.


Higher education processes are being harmonised across the European Community. Nowadays the University offers 101 different "Laurea" or "Laurea breve" first-level degrees (three years of courses), followed by 108 "Laurea specialistica" or "Laurea magistrale" second-level degrees (two years). However, other 11 courses have maintained preceding rules of "Laurea specialistica a ciclo unico" or "Laurea magistrale a ciclo unico", with only one cycle of study of five years, except for medicine and dentistry which requires six years of courses. After the "Laurea" one may attain 1st level Master (one-year diploma, similar to a Postgraduate diploma). After second-level degrees are attained, one may proceed to 2nd level Master, specialisation schools (residency), or doctorates of research (PhD).

The 11 Schools (which replace the preexisting 23 faculties) are:

The University is structured in 33 departments[16] (there were 66 until 2012), organized by homogeneous research domains that integrate activities related to one or more Faculty. A new department of Latin History was added in 2015.

The 33 departments are:

Affiliates and other institutions

In the early 1950s, some students of the University of Bologna were among the founders of the review "il Mulino". On 25 April 1951 the first issue of the review was published in Bologna. In a short time, "il Mulino" became one of the most interesting reference points in Italy for the political and cultural debate, and established important editorial relationships in Italy and abroad. Editorial activities evolved along with the review. In 1954, the il Mulino publishing house (Società editrice il Mulino) was founded, which today represents one of the most relevant Italian publishers. In addition to this were initiated research projects (focusing mostly on the educational institutions and the political system in Italy), that eventually led, in 1964, to the establishment of the Istituto Carlo Cattaneo.

Notable people


Faculty and staff

See: Serafino Mazzetti, Repertorio di tutti I professori antichi e moderni della famosa Università...di Bologna (Bologna 1848).  

Rankings and reputation

University rankings
ARWU World[17] 201-300
Times World[18] 201-250
QS World[19] 182

The 2017 QS World University Rankings ranked the University of Bologna 182nd in the world[20], with as many as 21 subjects in the top 100 of their respective areas. In the 2016–17 THE World University Rankings the University of Bologna was ranked in the world's top 250 universities.[21]

In 2017, the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, in collaboration with CENSIS, has awarded the University of Bologna the first place in its academic ranking of Italian universities with more than 40,000 students.[4]

Points of interest

See also


  1. Charters of foundation and early documents of the universities of the Coimbra Group, Hermans, Jos. M. M., ISBN 90-5867-474-6
  2. Nuria Sanz, Sjur Bergan: "The heritage of European universities", 2nd edition, Higher Education Series No. 7, Council of Europe, 2006, ISBN, p. 136
  3. "Censis, la classifica delle università: Bologna ancora prima".
  4. 1 2 Alma Mater superstar: stacca le concorrenti tra le mega università, by Ilaria Venturi.
  5. "Europe - Ranking Web of Universities".
  6. 1 2 Nove secoli di storia - Università di Bologna
  7. "Schools". University of Bologna. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  8. "Campuses and Structures". University of Bologna. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  9. Top Universities Archived 2008-01-15 at the Wayback Machine. World University Rankings Retrieved 2010-1-6
  10. Our History - Università di Bologna
  11. Paul L. Gaston (2012). The Challenge of Bologna: What United States Higher Education Has to Learn from Europe, and Why It Matters That We Learn It. Stylus Publishing, LLC. p. 18. ISBN 978-1-57922-502-5.
  12. A University Built by the Invisible Hand, by Roderick T. Long. This article was published in the Spring 1994 issue of Formulations, by the Free Nation Foundation.
  13. "University of Bologna | History & Development". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2017-08-21.
  14. Berman, Law and Revolution, ch. 3; Stein, Roman Law in European History, part 3.
  15. See Corpus Juris Civilis: Recovery in the West
  16. List of the Departments of the University of Bologna
  17. "ARWU World University Rankings 2017 - Academic Ranking of World Universities 2017 - Top 500 universities - Shanghai Ranking - 2017".
  18. "World University Rankings". 18 August 2017.
  19. "QS World University Rankings 2018". 5 June 2017.
  20. "QS World University Rankings 2017".
  21. "THE World University Rankings 2016".

Coordinates: 44°29′38″N 11°20′34″E / 44.49389°N 11.34278°E / 44.49389; 11.34278

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