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Studying at University of Bologna

A brief history of the University

The University of Bologna was probably the first University in the western world (in the nineteenth century a committee of historians, led by Giosuè Carducci, attributed the birth of the University to the year 1088). Its history is one of great thinkers in science and the humanities, making it an indispensable point of reference in the panorama of European culture. The institution that we today call the University began to take shape in Bologna at the end of the eleventh century, when masters of Grammar, Rhetoric and Logic began to devote themselves to the law. In 1158 Frederick I promulgated the Constitutio Habita, in which the University was legally declared a place where research could develop independently from any other power. Dante Alighieri, Francesco Petrarca, Nicolaus Copernicus, Paracelsus, Raymond of Penyafort, Albrecht Dürer, St. Charles Borromeo, Torquato Tasso, Carlo Goldoni, Luigi Galvani, Giosuè Carducci and Giovanni Pascoli, among the others, all spent time at the University of Bologna.

On 18 September 1988 in Bologna's main square (Piazza Maggiore), the Rectors of 430 universities signed the Magna Charta Universitatum Europaeum. The Magna Charta, which has since been signed by other 400 Rectors, affirmed the autonomy of the University, the essential link between teaching and research activities which transcend the limits imposed by "any geographical or political border". The signing took place as part of the ninth centennial of the University of Bologna, which was formally recognised as the Alma Mater of all universities.

Since 1989, the Alma Mater has carried out the largest decentralisation programme in the history of Italian universities, establishing new University Campuses in four towns of Romagna (Cesena, Forlì, Ravenna and Rimini). In 1998 the University also inaugurated a branch in Buenos Aires (Argentina).

On 19 June 1999 in the Aula Magna of the University of Bologna, 29 European Ministers of Higher Education signed the so-called Declaration of Bologna, which defines the "most relevant objectives for the creation of a European Area of higher education" and the promotion of this system in the world. To meet these objectives, European Union members have been restructuring their university systems following the guidelines known as the Bologna Process.

Today there are about 90,000 students enrolled at the University of Bologna, making our University one of the largest in Italy (with more than 3,000 professors and lecturers). In 2014/15, the 11 Schools offered 92 Bachelor degrees, 104 European Master degrees, 30 Professional Master programmes.

Attention to carrier opportunities for future graduates has led the University to stipulate over 3,500 agreements with businesses and public organisations, leading to some 13,000 students carrying out a period of internship every year.

According to a recent report by the National Committee for the Evaluation of the University System, the University of Bologna is today the most internationalised of all Italian universities. The number of foreign students regularly enrolled is 3,600, while another 1,500 arrive every year on international mobility programmes such as Erasmus and Overseas.

Also, the University of Bologna is ranked 2nd in Italy by the 2015 QS ranking of universities and 1st  by the 2015 Censis guide for courses of economics and statistics in Italy.

Recent years have seen a rapid expansion of computing services. There are 80,000 students linked to the university's e-mail service and more than 100,000 devices connected to the university network. Through the library service, users can access a catalogue of 2,000,000 books and 5,239 periodicals which garner 64 million contacts and offers 36 million pages of responses each year. The oldest Italian university is also one of the most technologically advanced. Each month there are 3,000,000 accesses to the University's Web Portal which makes it one of the most visited university sites in the world.