U′niver′sity, a higher educational institution, having the right to give degrees in several departments of learning and with a body of teachers or faculty in each of the different schools or colleges connected with it. The modern university, dating back to the 12th or 13th century, is thought to be the outgrowth of the schools connected with the convents and monasteries throughout Europe. When some popular teacher, as Abelard or Peter Lombard, drew crowds of students, these usually formed themselves into a corporation to which was given the name of universitas. Some of the early universities, as that of Paris, were formed by a body of teachers, while others, as Bologna, were corporations of students. The faculties of a university are the teachers in particular departments, as the faculty of law, faculty of arts etc. The two highest officers of a university have usually been the rector and chancellor. A degree is given by the university when a student has passed through a certain part of the course of study. The degree of doctor or master at first entitled the person who received it to teach in the university giving the degree. Pope Nicholas I near the end of the 13th century granted the University of Paris the right to endow its graduates with the power to teach anywhere. The degree of bachelor, borrowed from the terms used in knighthood and indicating an imperfect or partial graduate, that is, one who had finished only the lowest stage of university work, was first introduced at the University of Paris in the i3th century. The colleges, as the different schools connected with a university are called, at first were mere boarding-halls, which were later appropriated to the faculties of different departments.

Europe has about 100 universities, the oldest being the University of Paris, which was organized in the 12th century but was not called a university until the 13th century. It had two chancellors, and gave degrees, those of doctor and master at first being the same, but afterward the degree of master was given to those who were qualified to teach the arts and that of doctor to those who could teach theology, law or medicine. The Sorbonne (q.v.) was the theological school of this university, which was suppressed by the convention in 1793, but was revived by Napoleon I as the University of France, which has charge of all public instruction. The “Academy” of Paris has five faculties: law, medicine, theology, science and letters. It usually has 4,000 students. The University of Bologna, with its charter given by Frederick Barbarossa in 1158, was especially celebrated for its law-schools; and that of Salerno, of the 12th century, for its instruction in medicine. Women were admitted to both, and graduates of Salerno practiced as “lady physicians” in the 12th and 13th centuries. Italy has twenty-one universities; Germany twenty-one; England ten; Ireland two; Scotland four; and there are about thirty in all the other countries of Europe. The oldest universities in Germany are Heidelberg, Leipsic, Tübingen, Jena and Halle. The German universities are governed by the professors, presided over by a rector or chancellor. There are three grades of professors, called ordinary professors, extraordinary professors and privats-docent. The ordinary professors are the highest class, and are elected by the government from candidates chosen by the faculty, and give lectures on the subject which they are selected to teach. The extraordinary professors have smaller salaries, and can lecture on any subject they please, as may also the privat-docent. The student attends any lectures he chooses, but cannot practice any profession without a certain course of university study. Göttingen University, founded in 1734 by Baron Munchausen under the auspices of George II, king of England and elector of Hannover, was one of the most famous in Europe, having over 3,000 students until that at Berlin was founded in 1810. The University of Tübingen, dating back to 1478, with seven faculties, is noted as having once been the seat of what is called the Tübingen school of theology. The Universities of Berlin and Bonn are among the most prominent in Germany, that at Berlin having about 6,570 students and 471 professors. Heidelberg University has a professorship of English literature, established in 1873, the first of the kind in Germany. The German universities are under the control of the government, and most of them are dependent upon state appropriations. The universities of Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Russia and Austria are on the German model. That of Prague, founded in 1348, is the oldest in central Europe. Louvain, founded in 1425, was once very famous, as was also the University of Leyden, founded by William of Orange. Spain has nine universities, and Portugal one. The University of Salamanca, established in 1415, had at one time 10,000 students and 28 colleges. The oldest Scandinavian university is at Upsala in Sweden, and there is one at Christiana in Norway, with another at Copenhagen in Denmark.

Of the four English universities, Oxford and Cambridge are the oldest, dating back to the 13th century. Those of Durham and London are modern, being founded in the 19th century. The University of London has no colleges directly connected with it, but confers degrees, upon examination, to students of nearly all the institutions of learning in the country. Oxford has twenty-three colleges and Cambridge eighteen. This college system distinguishes the universities of England from those of the continent. A student must connect himself with a college before he becomes a member of the university. The teaching in these colleges is done almost entirely by tutors, and the professors of the university only deliver lectures on special subjects once or twice a week. Degrees are dependent upon examinations, and fellowships are provided, by means of which promising students can continue their advanced studies for years. The Scottish universities are at Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and St. Andrews, that of St. Andrews being the oldest. They were patterned more after the German universities than those of England. The students were divided into four nations, named from the parts of Scotland from which they came. The University of Edinburgh has but one college, but this has all the powers of a university. The University of Dublin has only one college, Trinity College, but several faculties, including those of oriental and modern languages, mining and civil engineering. Queen's University has three colleges, at Belfast, Cork and Galway, each called Queen's College, and the governing body of the university holds its meetings at Dublin.

In the United States, the term university is loosely applied to many institutions which strictly are only colleges, just as the term college includes many academies and high schools. In its strictest sense it is limited to institutions having several schools, as those of law, theology, arts etc., in addition to the regular college course, where graduate work is carried on, that is, work done in the higher branches after graduation in a college. Harvard University, the oldest college in the country, now is one of the best equipped universities. It includes Harvard College, the Divinity School, the Law School, Lawrence Scientific School, Dental School (at Boston), the School of Agriculture, School of Veterinary Medicine and the graduate department. It has 597 instructors and about 4,128 students. There is also an institution for the instruction of women by the Harvard professors, called Radcliffe College. Agassiz Museum and the Peabody Museum hold its well-known collections. The finest building is Memorial Hall, built in honor of the alumni who fell in the Civil War. Harvard is at Cambridge, near Boston.

Yale University, known as Yale College until 1887, is at New Haven, Conn., and takes rank with Harvard as one of the best institutions in the country. It was founded in 1701, and in 1901 celebrated its bicentennial. It includes, besides the college or academical course, schools of law, theology, medicine, philosophy and arts. The school of fine arts, with its gallery of Italian pictures, and the Trumbull collection of 54 pictures, the Peabody Museum, the Sheffield Scientific School buildings, Marquand chapel, Osborn hall, Vanderbilt hall, the bicentennial buildings of 1901 and the library are among the noticeable structures. There are 377 instructors and about 3,282 students. Johns Hopkins University, founded in 1876, at Baltimore, Md., resembles the German universities in its methods. The work is largely graduate work, and the teaching is mainly by lectures. It was endowed by Johns Hopkins with a fund of $3,500,000. Higher mathematics and history are among the subjects in which special work is done. Clark University, at Worcester, Mass., founded in 1888, is an institution for graduate work only.

The state institutions are all called universities, but only in a few is the university system fully developed. The University of Michigan, at Ann Arbor, is one of the largest, with about 300 instructors, and over 5,000 students. It has departments of law and medicine. Chicago University, though opening only in 1892, already ranks among the great universities of the country. Its courses are so arranged that students can be admitted at any time, as there is instruction during the whole year. It has 334 instructors, selected from the best institutions in America and in Europe, and 3,035 students. Many institutions of learning bearing the name of university in the United States are founded and carried on by the different religious denominations, as the Wesleyan Universities at Delaware, O., and Middletown, Conn., and De Pauw University at Green Castle, Ind., all under the direction of the Methodists; while Brown University at Providence, R. I., belongs to the Baptist denomination, as do the University of Rochester and Dennison University. Most of the universities, both of Europe and of the United States, are mentioned under the name of the place where they are situated, but a full account of the numerous institutions called universities has not been attempted. See articles under titles as above and Colleges.