University of Bologna

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The University of Bologna (Template:Lang-it, UNIBO) is a university located in Bologna, Italy, founded in 1088.<ref name=unibo>Nove secoli di storia - Università di Bologna</ref> As of 2013 the University's crest carries the motto Alma mater studiorum and the date A.D. 1088. The University has about 85,000 students in its 23 schools. It has branch centres in Imola, Ravenna, Forlì, Cesena and Rimini and a branch center abroad in Buenos Aires. It also has a school of excellence named Collegio Superiore di Bologna. It is widely recognised as the oldest university in continuous operation, considering that it was the first to use the term universitas for the corporations of students and masters which came to define the institution.


File:Universität Bologna Deutsche Nation.jpg
The entry of some students in the Natio Germanica Bononiae, the nation of German students at Bologna; miniature of 1497.

The date of its founding is uncertain, but believed by most accounts to have been 1088.<ref name=unibo/> 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.

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, and formed a College of Teachers, and secured 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.

The university is historically notable for its teaching of canon and civil law; indeed, it was set up in large part with the aim of studying the Digest, 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. Until modern times, the only degree granted at that university was the doctorate.


Area above Bologna's old city center.
Interior view of the Porticum and Loggia of its oldest College, the Royal Spanish College.

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. 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:

  • School of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine
  • School of Economics, Management and Statistics
  • School of Engineering and Architecture
  • School of Foreign Languages and Literature, Interpretation and Translation
  • School of Law
  • School of Letters and Cultural Heritage
  • School of Medicine and Surgery
  • School of Pharmacy, Biotechnologies and Sport Sciences
  • School of Political Sciences
  • School of Psychology and Education Sciences
  • School of Sciences

The University is structured in 33 Departments (they were 66 until 2012), organized by homogeneous research domains that integrate activities related to one or more Faculty.

The 33 Departments are:

  • Architecture - DA
  • Cultural Heritage - DBC
  • Chemistry "Giacomo Ciamician" - CHIM
  • Industrial Chemistry "Toso Montanari" - CHIMIND
  • the Arts - DARvipem
  • Pharmacy and Biotechnology - FaBiT
  • Classical Philology and Italian Studies - FICLIT
  • Philosophy and Communication Studies - FILCOM
  • Physics and Astronomy - DIFA
  • Computer Science and Engineering - DISI
  • Civil, Chemical, Environmental, and Materials Engineering - DICAM
  • Electrical, Electronic, and Information Engineering "Guglielmo Marconi" - DEI
  • Industrial Engineering - DIN
  • Interpreting and Translation - DIT
  • Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures - LILEC
  • Mathematics - MAT
  • Experimental medicine, Diagnostic medicine and Specialty Medicine - DIMES
  • Psychology - PSI
  • Agricultural Sciences - DipSA
  • Management - DiSA
  • Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences - BiGeA
  • Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences - DIBINEM
  • Education Studies "Giovanni Maria Bertin" - EDU
  • Agricultural and Food Sciences - DISTAL
  • Economics - DSE
  • Legal Studies - DSG
  • Medical and Surgical Sciences - DIMEC
  • Veterinary Medical Sciences - DIMEVET
  • Department for Life Quality Studies - QUVI
  • Political and Social Sciences - SPS
  • Statistical Sciences "Paolo Fortunati" - STAT
  • Sociology and Business Law - SDE
  • History and Cultures - DiSCi

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 April 25, 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


Among the best-known people who have attended the University of Bologna are:

  • Popes Innocent IX, Alexander VI and Gregory XV
  • Italian political leader Pierluigi Bersani
  • art critic Mazen Asfour
  • businessman Lorenzo Sassoli de Bianchi
  • engineer Aldo Costa
  • managers Giovanni Consorte and Stefano Domenicali
  • mathematician Carlo Severini
  • 20px Guglielmo Marconi

Faculty and staff

  • 11th century
    • Irnerius
  • 12th century
    • Gratian
    • Patriarch Heraclius of Jerusalem
    • Bulgarus
    • Martinus Gosia
    • William of Tyre
  • 13th century
    • Rambertino Buvalelli
    • Paul, Dominican martyr
    • Bettisia Gozzadini
    • William of Saliceto
    • Sylvester Gozzolini
    • Guido Guinizelli
    • Benvenutus Scotivoli
  • 14th century
    • Dante Alighieri
    • Manuel Chrysoloras
    • Francesco Petrarca (aka Petrarch)
    • Coluccio Salutati
  • 15th century
    • Leon Battista Alberti
    • Nicolaus Copernicus
    • Albrecht Dürer
    • Yuriy Drohobych (aka Georgius de Drohobycz)
    • Giovanni Pico della Mirandola
  • 16th century
    • Girolamo Cardano
    • Giovanni Della Casa
    • Ignazio Danti
    • Girolamo Maggi
    • Giovanni Antonio Magini
    • Virgilio Malvezzi
    • Paracelsus
    • Ulisse Aldrovandi
    • Camillo Baldi
  • 17th century
    • Giovanni Cassini
    • Marcello Malpighi
    • Pietro Mengoli
  • 18th century
    • Laura Bassi
    • Maria Gaetana Agnesi
    • Luigi Galvani
    • Carlo Goldoni
  • 19th century
    • Giosuè Carducci
    • Giacomo Ciamician
    • Camillo Golgi
    • Giovanni Pascoli
    • Pellegrino Rossi
    • Augusto Righi
  • 20th century
    • Guglielmo Marconi
    • Umberto Eco
    • Pier Paolo Pasolini
    • Romano Prodi
  • 21st century
    • Pier Cesare Bori
    • Hamida Barmaki
    • Özalp Babao?lu

World rankings

In 2010 QS World University Rankings ranked the University of Bologna 176th in the world, and 32nd in the world for Law. On the 2009 THE–QS World University Rankings list (in 2010 Times Higher Education World University Rankings and QS World University Rankings parted ways to produce separate rankings), the University of Bologna was ranked inside the top 200 for the third consecutive year. An overview of the THE-QS Rankings up to 2011:

Year Rank (Change)
2005 159
2006 207 (Template:Decrease 48)
2007 173 (Template:Increase 34)
2008 192 (Template:Decrease 19)
2009 174 (Template:Increase 18)
2010 176 (Template:Decrease 2)
2011 183 (Template:Decrease 7)
2012 194 (Template:Decrease 11)
2013 188 (Template:Increase 6)

Points of interest

See also

Template:Commons category

  • Collegio Superiore di Bologna (school of excellence of the University of Bologna)
  • Coimbra Group (a network of leading European universities)
  • Utrecht Network
  • Bologna declaration
  • Bologna process
  • List of Italian universities
  • Medieval university
  • Bologna
  • List of medieval universities

Notes and references


External links

Template:Ita Uni Template:Argentine universities Template:Coimbra Group Template:Utrecht network Template:UNIMED Template:International Forum of Public Universities