List of oldest universities in continuous operation

From Academic Kids

This is a list of the oldest extant universities in the world. To be listed on this page, an educational institution must satisfy the definition of a university at the time of founding; it must have been founded before 1500; and it must have been operational without a significant interruption ever since.

Note that because the awarding of academic degrees for advanced studies was historically a European custom, and the modern definition of a university includes the ability to grant degrees, the oldest institutions of higher learning that have always satisfied the modern definition of a university were in Europe. If, however, the definition is broadened to include ancient institutions that did not originally grant degrees but now do, then some non-European institutes predate the early European ones (for example, Nanjing University founded in 258 in China, and Al-Azhar University founded in 988 in Egypt).


Oldest Universities by Region (post 1500)

Many European countries had universities by 1500. After 1500, universities began to spread to other countries all over the world:

See also: Medieval university


The actual date a University started to function is often rather hazy and differs a good deal from legend, or from the date its ancestor-institution was founded. For example, it is generally admitted today that Oxford's foundation can't be precisely dated, but must lie somewhere in the mid-to-late 12th century.

Likewise, hair-splitting is pointless: the notion that a college could be empowered to give the bachelor's degree is a modern American one; by European terms, Harvard College had already adopted the powers (if not the style) of a University in 1642. Pennsylvania was simply the first American institution to call itself a university; but neither it nor Harvard nor any of the four other American colleges at the time was nearly big or diverse enough to be like a true European University. And despite its name, Harvard is in fact presently a university.

es:Lista de las universidades más antiguas existentes en la actualidad it:Lista delle piů antiche universitŕ tuttora in attivitŕ hu:A legrégebbi, jelenleg is működő egyetemek listája


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools