To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, Times Higher Education have ranked the 25 oldest universities in the world over 400 years old, with three UK institutions – Oxford, Cambridge and Edinburgh - sitting at the top of the table.
A total of 11 different countries feature, but it is the UK who dominated due in large part to its long and rich history of higher education. Learn more about the the oldest universities in the UK below and, if you want to apply, arrange a free consultation today.
Oldest universities in the UK
University of Oxford (Founded: 1096)
- It is the oldest university in the English-speaking world as well as the second-oldest continually running university, right after the University of Bologna.
- Teaching existed at Oxford in some form in 1096 and developed rapidly from 1167, when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris.
- Balliol College is Oxford oldest College, founded in 1263, and boasts five Nobel laureates and three former Prime Ministers.
University of Cambridge (Founded: 1209)
- The first College at Cambridge, Peterhouse, was not formed until 1284, despite the University forming in 1209. Today it is home to almost 400 undergraduate and postgraduate students.
- John Harvard, the founder of the oldest university in the US, Harvard University, was a graduate of Cambridge.
- The game of Football as we know it was originally played on Parker’s Piece, a public park in the middle of the city. The rules were dubbed ‘Cambridge Rules’ and first used in 1848.
University of Edinburgh (Founded: 1583)
- Home to the oldest Student Union in the world and the oldest student newspaper.
- Chrystal Macmillan, the first woman to graduate in science from the University in 1896, was a key figure in the suffragette movement.
- Charles Darwin, famous for his work on evolutionary theory, famously studied at Edinburgh.
Apply to study in the UK
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