Basel University: 550 years of learning in the service of humanity
2010 was a special year for Basel University. Switzerland’s oldest university celebrated its 550th anniversary – and is well equipped for a successful future.
Founded in the year 1460, the university has made a significant contribution to Basel’s development. As an advanced university offering attractive courses to students, internationally networked research and a broad range of services, it has become an important pillar of the region’s economy.
Teaching and research without interruption
Now in its 550th year, Basel University is one of the 100 oldest universities in the world, and helped anchor the university system in Europe between the 12th and the 15th century. On 4 April 1460 it launched its teaching programme with an inaugural ceremony in the Minster, and welcomed 277 students in the same year. Since then it has been dedicated to academic teaching and research without interruption.
Global profile and increasing popularity
Today Basel University is a dynamic academic institution with a worldwide reputation. The sciences are nurtured, as are culture and the humanities, medicine, law, business studies and theology. In comparison to other universities, it has recorded an impressive rise in the number of students since 2004.
Universal and high-profile
Basel University is a classic universal university covering almost all subjects from A for archaeology to Z for zoology. It has a particular focus on “culture” and life sciences”, which thrive on exchanges between specialist subjects and faculties.
Small is beautiful
Basel University is a relatively small university by European standards, having slightly over 11,000 students. Around 320 professors and 1300 lecturers ensure excellent teaching and promote independent thinking and responsible actions. Female students account for 55 per cent of the total – and the trend is rising. Every fifth student comes from abroad.
Basel University strives to achieve top performances in research, teaching and service. It has been included amongst the world’s top 100 universities for many years – and is in the top ten within the German-speaking region.
Autonomous administration with broad support
Since 1996 Basel University has enjoyed the status of an autonomously-administered university, backed by the Cantons of Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft.. It offers an attractive place to study, to conduct research and to work to motivated and committed academics from Switzerland and around the world. With an annual budget of CHF 550 million, it employs 3,500 people.
New strategy for the future
With its “Strategy 2007”, the university set out the direction it wishes to go, and outlined future key fields of research and investment priorities during the years up to 2013. Measures to make structures more flexible and to interlink disciplines as well as to promote teaching and research on an increasingly performance-related basis are designed to strengthen Basel University still further vis-à-vis other universities, and are intended to extend its reputation as one of the best universities in Europe.