Top 10 Oldest Universities in the World – Still Functioning Universities

 The oldest university in the world is Al-Quaraouiyine University, which was established in Morocco in 859 AD. Education is a necessary thing for everyone in the world and a good educational institute makes your personality better and stronger. In today’s world, there are many outstanding universities taught the students different courses. But we discuss some oldest universities in the world which are still operating and delivering education. These are established in the Middle Ages and initially offered some minor subjects, but with the passage of time, these universities improved their standard for high-quality education. Students took admitted to these universities from all over the world and many intelligent scholars are produced from these universities still. Here is the list of the top 10 oldest universities in the world that are considered the best universities in the world and these are Still Functioning.

Read Also: 10 Oldest Cities of the World in History

10. University Of Siena – Italy
Established – 1240

Siena University is at number 10th on our list. This publicly funded university was started in 1240 in Tuscany, Italy, and is still in operation. The original name of the university is StudiumSenese. Siena university campus comprises almost half the population of the city. This strong global standing university is famous for its School of medicine, the School of Law. 20,000 students are enrolled in the university. This city also has historic importance and annually 160,000 tourists visit this city and university. It is also declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

9. University Of Naples, Frederico II – Italy
Established – 1224

The University of Naples or UniversitàDegliStudi DI Napoli is located in the largest city in Italy. It was established by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II IN 1224 to complete the role played by Bologna University in the region. Today it serves as a state university and is ranked in the world’s top 50 universities. Unlike other universities, the emperor forced all not to attend any other university that runs under him in Naples. The university offered a wide range of subjects to around 100,000 students from all over the world. The most famous alumni of the university are philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas.

8. University Of Padua – Italy
Established – 1222

The University of Padua was started in 1222 by 1000 students which are transferred from The University of Bologna. The interesting thing about the university is that initially, it is a “student-monitored university”, they elected the professors and fixed their salaries. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the university rose to become one of the highest-ranking universities in Europe. Padua University is included in the list of those medical universities that are still operating in Italy.

It is ranked 338th in the world rankings and is notable for research in medicine, philosophy, and astronomy. 65,000 students are admitted to the university at present time and many prominent scholars are produced like Galileo. The oldest academic garden was established by this university in 1545 known as the Botanical garden of Padua. It also runs nine museums.

7. University Of Salamanca – Spain
Established -1218

The University of Salamanca is Europe’s oldest university founded in 1134 but given the Royal charter in 1218 by King Alfonso IX. Actually, it is Spain’s second-largest university when The University of Palencia shut down due to the unavailability of funds. It is located in Salamanca at the west of Madrid and has a UNESCO World Heritage site which enhanced its charm. Christopher Columbus presented his case to this university to achieve royal support for his Indies expedition in the 15th century. It has renowned in the world because of the Humanities Department, area of language studies and education in the Spanish language

6. University Of Cambridge – United Kingdom
Established – 1209

The University of Cambridge is the most prestigious university in the world. It was established by a group of scholars of Oxford University after the dispute with the local people in 1209. However, these two universities share a long history of rivalry and cooperation in the athletic spheres and education. Commonly these two are referred Oxbridge. It has the best educational system in the world which is extremely rich and produced notable scholars throughout the year. Academically Cambridge does not lose its position in the world ranking of universities, recently it secured 4th position in the world universities ranking. It has produced 82 Nobel Laureates.

5. University Of Paris – France
Established – 1160

The University of Paris was established in the Capital City of France in 1160 and was an important factor in the recognition of Paris. It was the first established university in the world and is also known as “La Sorbonne”. During the French revolution between 1793- 1896, the university stopped working. Today it is scattered all over the city and it was divided in 1970 into 13 institutions that maintain the University’s high reputation. The main subjects taught at the university are Theology, medicine, liberal arts, and canon law. In the 13 century, it starts many privileges for students and teachers French monarchs. The University of Paris is one of the premier cultural and scientific centers in Europe.

4. University of Oxford – England
Established – 1096

Oxford is the oldest as well as the most respected university in the world. It was established in Oxfordshire, England in 1096. Initially, it lacked its own building and conducts the lectures in churches, rented halls, and other such venues. The University of Oxford is the first university in the English-speaking world in 1167 significant importance when Henry II banned the English student at the University of Paris.

Theology is the main subject taught at the university in the 13th century. At the end of the 17th century, scientific studies became popular. Today it is considered the greatest university in the world and served 22,600 students from all over the world. It produced a number of great people like physicist Robert Boyle, the astronomer Edmond Halley, writers such as Lewis Carroll and C.S. Lewis, 26 British Prime Ministers, and 27 Nobel Prize winners. The world’s most prestigious publisher “The Oxford University Press” was established there in 1478.

3. University Of Bologna – Italy
Established – 1088

The University of Bologna is the world third oldest university established in 1088 in the Italian city, of Bologna. According to the Latin motto the Nourishing Mother of the Studies, Bologna University is the best university of the 12th and 13th centuries. It served students from all over Europe and previously taught the doctorate degree. Canon law and Civil law are the popular disciplines taught there. The faculty of medicine was introduced in the 13th century, which recovered the medical practices in Europe which were lost in the dark ages. Today it has a wide range of subjects and enrolled 85,000 students out of which 30,000 are postgraduates. Bologna University is a male university until the 17th century and females took admitted to the university in the 18th century. This prestigious university alumnus includes many businessmen, three popes, and several Politicians. It got the 208th position in the world university rankings.

2. University Of Al-Azhar – Egypt
Established – 970

The second oldest university on the list is also a Muslim university. Most websites missed these two universities, but both universities deserve to be on this list. Al-Azhar University was established in 970 in Cairo, Egypt. The Theological Faculty of the university is considered it the Ismaili Shia school established in 988 which later changed into a school based on Sunni doctrines. The university academics continue to offer the study of the Holy Quran and detailed Islamic law. Al- Azhar is considered the most prestigious university in the Islamic world because of the propagation of the Arabic language and Islamic law. In 1961 the faculties of engineering and medicine were offered.

1. University Of Al-Quaraouiyine – Morocco
Established – 859

Al Quaraouiyine is the oldest university in the world that is still open. It is also known as Karueein or Al-Qarawiyyin, This University was founded in 859 by Fatima al – Fihri in Fes, Morocco. That University is the leading university in the Muslim world and according to Guinness World Records and UNESCO; it is the oldest institution that is continuously operating in the world. Initially, it starts as a community mosque with an associated school and mostly concentrates on the education of Islamic religion, law, and languages. The university mostly used traditional Islamic methods and focus on Maliki law. Today this university offers courses in legal sciences, Islamic studies, and Comparative jurisprudence. In 1957 the subject of mathematics and foreign languages were added.

List of Top 10 Oldest Universities in the World That Are Still Operating

Sr. NoOldest UniversitiesCountryEstablished year (AD)
1University Of Al-AzharEgypt970
2University Of Al-QuaraouiyineMorocco859
3University Of BolognaItaly1088
4University Of OxfordEngland1096
5University of PairsFrance1160
6The University of CambridgeUnited Kingdom1209
7University Of SalamancaSpain1218
8University Of  PaduaItaly1222
9University Of Naples, Frederico IIItaly1224
10University Of SienaItaly1240


We conclude from this article these are the oldest but most respected universities in the world. These were established a long time ago but still delivered the best education to students all over the world. Even some universities like Oxford and Cambridge have ranked among the world 5 top best universities in the world and the students of these universities are extraordinary. The above-mentioned universities have amazing buildings and many of them have heritage sites and museums which attract tourists. Many notable people in history are produced by these universities whose names are shining like a star in history. If any one of you takes admitted to this university surely it will be a benefit because these are still functional and deliver quality education.

Mr. Yasir Asif at strongestinworld is team member who loves to write informational articles, find information and share the learning with the community.

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