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7 Universities Older than the United States and Canada

by Delarno
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These Universities are over 1000 years old

Education is a business as others; failure and success walk hand in hand. Some universities survive for a few years; others have survived years and centuries. Below are the oldest academic institutions in the world that are still receiving students.

7 Oldest Universities in the World

university1 – University of Al-Karaouine, Morocco, Founded in 859
Also known as the University of al-Qarawiyyin, the Al Quaraouiyine or AlKaraouin was founded in 859 AD, in Fes, Morocco, by Fatima al-Fihri.

Its construction was begun during the reign of the dynasty Idrisid. It has taught many great men including the major Arab philosophers like Averroes (Ibn Rushd) and Avempace (Ibn Baja).

Many other universities come behind it but already closed their doors, but University of al-Qarawiyyin is still active, educating students. It is considered the oldest in the world by UNESCO, the Guinness World Records, and many historians.


Al-Azhar University2 – AlAzhar, University, Egypt, Founded in 988

Located in Cairo, the capital and largest city of Egypt, AlAzhar University is one of the oldest operating universities in the world. It is today the best-known Arab university in the world.

It was founded in October 975 AD by Al-Mu’izz li-Din Allahm, after the construction of the mosque which as the same name, Al-Azhar (meaning the magnificent in English). Although offers other courses such as literature and language, AlAzhar mainly specializes in the study of Islam.

Universities3 – University of Bologna, Italy, Founded in 1088

The University of Bologna is the oldest academic institution in the Western world. It was founded in 1088 AD, in Bologna, Italy, by Irnerius. With more than 30 departments, the school is now part of the largest Italian universities.

Originally dedicated to the exegesis of Roman law, The University of Bologna becomes an independent research center since 1158, thanks to the Authentica habita (or Privilegium Scholasticum) of Emperor Barbarossa, a document in which the emperor set out certain rules, rights and privileges of Universities.

oxford university4 – University of Oxford, UK, Founded in 1167

The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the United Kingdom, and British Overseas Territories. In addition to age, it is well known for its motto “Dominus Illuminatio Mea”, meaning The Lord is my light.

The name of the founder is not well known; the oldest traces date back to year 1116, with the arrival of the schoolmaster Thibaud d’Etampes. But the university has really started to grow from 1167, when Henry II banned English students to take courses at the University of Paris.

Universities 5 – University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy, Founded in 1175

The University of Modena and Reggio Emilia was founded in 1175, both in Modena (headquarters) and Reggio Emilia. It is one of the oldest universities in the world.

It has some famous former students, such as the historian Ludovico Antonio Muratori and dramatist Carlo Goldoni. As of today, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia has nearly 18,000 students in its faculties of economics, literature and philosophy, law and mathematics.

University of Paris6 – University of Paris, France, Founded in 1200

University of French (French: Université de Paris) was founded around 1150 by Robert de Sorbon. It is well known internationally for its academic performance in humanities, notably in theology and philosophy, literature, art, ancient and modern languages, and musicology.

Nicknamed “The Sorbonne”, the University of Paris has four faculties: law, arts, medicine, and theology. Today It is one of the best universities worldwide having students coming from different parts of the world.

cambridge university7 – University of Cambridge, UK, founded in 1209
Cambridge is the second oldest British university. It was founded in 1209 by students and academics fleeing Oxford after a dispute with local leaders. But the university would wait until in 1318 to obtain from Pope John XXII the right to deliver diplomas.

Today the school is one of the best known universities in the world. Three alumni were recently awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics for their new ideas and methods in the field of condensed matter physics.

David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz, discovering unanticipated behaviors of solid materials, devised a mathematical framework in order to elucidate their properties. Their discoveries have led to new materials with a variety of unique properties.


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