Top 10 Oldest Universities in the World – Still Functioning Universities


Oldest Universities in the World The oldest university in the world is Al-Quaraouiyine University, which 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 the 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 delivered the 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 admission in these universities from all over the world and many intelligent scholars are produced from these universities still. Here is the list of top 10 oldest universities in the world that considered 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

university-of-siena-italyThe Siena University is at number 10th on our list. This publicly funded university was started in 1240 in Tuscany, Italy and 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 School of medicine, 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 the UNESCO World heritage site.

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

university-of-naples-frederico-ii-italyThe 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 ranked in the word top 50 universities. Unlike other universities, the emperor forced all not to attend any other university that runs under by 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

university-of-padua-italyThe 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 “student-monitored university”, they elected the professors and fixed their salaries. In the 15th and 16th century, the university rose to become one of the highest-ranking universities in the Europe. Padua University is including in the list of those medical universities that are still operating in the Italy.

It is ranked at 338th in the world rankings and notable for research in medicine, philosophy, and astronomy. 65,000 students are admitted in 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 Botanical garden of Padua. It also runs nine museums.

7. University Of Salamanca – Spain
Established -1218

university-of-salamanca-spainThe University of Salamanca is the Europe oldest university founded in 1134 but given the Royal charter in 1218 by King Alfonso IX. Actually, it is Spain second largest university when The University of Palencia shut down due to 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 the 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

university-of-cambridge-united-kingdomThe 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 universities, recently it secured 4th position in the world universities ranking. It has produced 82 Nobel Laureates.

5. University Of Paris – France
Established – 1160

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

4. University of Oxford – England
Established – 1096

university-of-oxford-englandThe Oxford is the oldest as well as the 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 and 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 the 22,600 students from all over the world. It produced a number of great people like physicist Robert Boyle, the astronomer Edmond Halley, writers as Lewis Carroll and C.S. Lewis, 26 British Prime Ministers, and 27 Nobel Prize winners. The world most prestigious publishers “The Oxford University Press” was established there in 1478.

3. University Of Bologna – Italy
Established – 1088

university-of-bologna-italyThe University of Bologna is the world third oldest university established in 1088 in the Italian city, Bologna. According to the Latin motto the Nourishing Mother of the Studies, Bologna University is the best university of 12th and 13th centuries. It served the students from all over the Europe and previously taught the doctorate degree. Canon law and Civil law are the popular discipline taught there. The faculty of medicine was introduced in the 13th century, which recovered the medical practices in Europe which 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 the male university until the 17th century and females took admission in university in the 18th century. This prestigious university alumnus includes many businessmen, three popes, and several Politicians. It got a 208th position in the world university rankings.

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

university-of-al-azhar-egyptThe second oldest university in the list is also a Muslim university. Most websites missed these two universities, but both universities deserve to be on this list. The Al-Azhar University was established in 970 in Cairo, Egypt. The Theological Faculty of university considered it 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 Arabic language and Islamic law. In 1961 the faculties of engineering and medicine were offered.

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

university-of-al-quaraouiyine-moroccoAl Quaraouiyine is the oldest university in the world which is still open. It is also known as Karueein or Al-Qarawiyyin, This University was found 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 which 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, languages. The university mostly used the traditional Islamic methods and focus on Maliki law. Today this university offer 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. No Oldest Universities Country Established year (AD)
1 University Of Al-Azhar Egypt 970
2 University Of Al-Quaraouiyine Morocco 859
3 University Of Bologna Italy 1088
4 University Of Oxford England 1096
5 University of Pairs France 1160
6 The University of Cambridge United Kingdom 1209
7 University Of Salamanca Spain 1218
8 University Of  Padua Italy 1222
9 University Of Naples, Frederico II Italy 1224
10 University Of Siena Italy 1240


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