Discover 10 Best Oldest Universities in the World 2022-2023

Discover 10 Best Oldest Universities in the World 2022-2023;Higher education institutions have existed for hundreds of years—and in some cases, for millennia—but not all of them have stood the test of time. Many of the oldest universities in the world have disintegrated, split into independent colleges, or undergone radical modernization over the years.

Ancient institutions that still exist today are noteworthy for their historical contributions as well as for showing that they can adapt to contemporary settings and continue to be relevant in a globalized society despite fierce competition.

Here, we discuss some of the world’s oldest universities, all of which are listed in a QS ranking. The majority are in Europe because of the region’s amazing concentration of illustrious and long-standing universities, but there are also an

1.University of Bologna

Location: Italy

Established in: 1088

The Institution of Bologna, whose Latin motto is “Nourishing Mother of the Studies,” was established in 1088 and currently retains the record for being the oldest university in the world. The university exclusively offered doctoral programs until quite recently, but it now offers a wide variety of programs at all academic levels.

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It is situated in Bologna, Italy, and enrolls roughly 87,760 students, 6,400 of them are from other countries. Three popes, countless businesses, and several Italian politicians are among the notable alumni. Check out the QS World University Rankings® to see where the University of Bologna stands.Discover 10 Best Oldest Universities in the World 2022-2023

2.Al-Azhar University

Location: Egypt

Established in: 970 AD

Al-Azhar University should be included in this list even though it was founded in Cairo, Egypt, in 970 AD and only received university status in 1961. Al-Azhar University, which was founded as a “madrasa” and educated students from primary to tertiary levels, was once renowned as a center of Islamic learning. However, it has subsequently adopted a modern curriculum that includes secular courses, guaranteeing its survival.

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The school has seen significant political unrest throughout the years, most notably in the 12th century when a new dynasty came to power and destroyed more than 100,000 books. In the QS Arab Region University Rankings 2021, Al-Azhar University is currently rated 51–60. The institution provides courses in business, economics, science, medicine, engineering, and agriculture in addition to typical academic fields.

3.University of Coimbra

Location: Portugal

Established in: 1290

The University of Coimbra, which was founded in 1290 in the Portuguese capital but is currently ranked 431 in the world, was repeatedly moved by obstinate rulers until settling in Coimbra, the third-largest city in the nation and the site of a significant amount of Roman-era history.

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The University of Coimbra, which has a student body of slightly over 24,000, has undergone numerous radical transformations, and for most of the 18th century, it was the only university in Portugal that was still in operation.

The University of Coimbra was recognized for its historical structures, open courtyard, cultural traditions, and breathtaking vistas of the entire city when it was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2013,Discover 10 Best Oldest Universities in the World 2022-2023

4.University of Siena

Location: Italy

Established in: 1240

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The University of Siena, another of the oldest universities in the world with a great international reputation, is situated in the little city of Siena in the Tuscany area. It is now ranked between 651 and 700 in the globe (down from 601-700 in 2020).

Over 20,000 students are enrolled at the University of Siena, which accounts for nearly half of the city’s total population. Over 163,000 people visit the city center each year, which is also historically significant and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They come for the cuisine, the culture, the museums, and the medieval history..Discover 10 Oldest Universities in the World 2022-2023

Also Read;Discover Top Universities Across the Globe 2022

5.University of Naples Federico II

Location: Italy

Established in: 1224 (1258)

The University of Naples – Federico II was established in 1224 by Frederick II, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Naples is the third-largest city in Italy and one of the oldest continuously inhabited towns in the world.

The University of Naples Federico II, which offers a variety of programs to a student body of almost 80,000, is ranked equal 392nd in the world (up 32 spots from 2021). Philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas is one of its most notable former students.

6.University of Padua

Location: Italy

Established in: 1222

A number of medieval institutions are still in operation in Italy, including the University of Padua, also known as Università di Padova or UNIPD, which was established in 1222 (although some evidence suggests it was created earlier).

The University of Padova is renowned for its groundbreaking early work in philosophy, law, medicine, and astronomy. Check out the QS World University Rankings® to see where the University of Padua stands.Discover 10 Oldest Universities in the World 2022-2023

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The city of Padua, which served as the backdrop for William Shakespeare’s well-known play The Taming of the Shrew, presently serves about 62,500 students. One of the oldest academic gardens in the world, the Padova Botanical Garden was founded in 1545 by the Università di Padova. Nine museums are also run by it.

7.University of Cambridge

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Location: UK

Established in: 1209

The University of Cambridge, which was founded in 1209 by a group of academics who left the University of Oxford because of political unrest, is currently rated seventh in the world.

Despite Oxford and Cambridge having many shared traditions, they also have a healthy feeling of competition, which is brought to a climax every year during the renowned Boat Race event. There are around 23,247 students at Cambridge, 5,340 of whom are international.

8.University of Paris

Location: France

Established in: 1160-1250

The University of Paris, also known as “la Sorbonne,” was founded in the French capital between 1160 and 1250, making it one of the continent’s first established universities. However, it was shut down between 1793 and 1896 as a result of the French Revolution.

After being split into 13 independent schools in 1970, the University of Paris is now dispersed throughout the city, all of which continue to uphold the original university’s stellar reputation. The two best-ranked institutions out of these 13 are Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and Sorbonne University (a recent union of Paris-Sorbonne University and Pierre and Marie Curie University, ranked 83rd in the world) (joint 287th).

9.University of Salamanca

Location: Spain

Established in: 1134

After the now-defunct University of Palencia, the University of Salamanca was founded in 1134 and granted a royal charter in 1218, making it the oldest university in Spain.

It was the institution where Christopher Columbus argued for royal approval for his Indies expedition in the late 15th century, and it was located to the west of Madrid.

On its nine campuses, the University of Salamanca serves over 26,746 students. Check out the QS World University Rankings® to see where the University of Salamanca standsDiscover 10 Oldest Universities in the World 2022-2023

10.University of Oxford

Location: United Kingdom

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Established in: 1096-1167

The University of Oxford is as prestigious as it is venerable, with a list of alumni that includes 28 UK Prime Ministers, 20 Archbishops of Canterbury, 12 saints, 27 Nobel laureates, 50 Nobel Prize winners, and one Sir Stephen Hawking.

Although the university’s actual founding year is still a little hazy, there is evidence of teaching going all the way back to 1096, and some people even assert that it was founded even earlier.

The University of Oxford, which is currently ranked fifth globally, is one of the oldest and best-known universities in the world, serving a student body of close to 24,300 and running the biggest university press in the world.Discover 10 Oldest Universities in the World 2022-2023

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who is the oldest university in the world?

The University of Al-Karaouine, founded in 859 AD in Fez, Morocco (also transcribed al-Quaraouiyine and al-Qarawiyyin), is regarded by Guinness World Records as the oldest or first university in the world (Guinness World Records, n.d.)

Fatima al-Fihri established a mosque in the Moroccan city of Fez, which later became the renowned al-Qarawiyyin university. It is acknowledged as the oldest university still in existence in the world today.


  • What is the 2nd oldest university in the world?

University of Oxford

Additionally, it is the second-oldest university still in existence. Some accounts claim that Oxford has been a center for education since 1096. When Henry II barred English students from enrolling at the University of Paris in 1167, the university swiftly grew in size.