The Medieval University was a system of higher education that emerged in western Europe during the late 11th and early 12th centuries. The creation of the university is a matter of debate – how much were they based on the Cathedral and monastic schools of the Early Middle Ages? How much influence did Islamic and Roman classical models have on the development? Or were they unique institutions, the result of medieval teachers and students thinking ‘outside the box’ and figuring out a new way of learning?
Whatever the reason, by the late 11th century groups of teachers and students started to get together in groups known as ‘universitas’ – in cities such as Salerno and Bologna in Italy, Paris in France and Oxford and Cambridge in England. The main curriculum was based on seven areas – grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy – all of which were important for a cleric in the Catholic church.
During the next couple of centuries many more universities would be created throughout Europe and this system of education would become more developed and diverse. This institution would be one of the most successful achievements of the Middle Ages, and is today the standard form of higher education throughout the world.
Articles on the Medieval University
The Shift of Medical Education into the Universities, by Thomas G. Benedek
Medieval Universities, Legal Institutions, and the Commercial Revolution, by Davide Cantoni and Noam Yuchtman
The Medieval University, by J.E. Healey
Why the Medieval Idea of a Community-Oriented University is Still Modern, by Achim Köddermann
The Study of Canon Law and the Eclipse of the Lincoln Schools, 1175–1225, by Frans Van Liere
Medical Education in the Middle Ages, by Loren C. MacKinney
Walter de Stapeldon, Bishop of Exeter and Founder of Exeter College, by John Maddicott
1367: The Founding of the Spanish College at Bologna, by Berthe M. Marti
Surgical Education in the Middle Ages, by Michael McVaugh
Learning Medieval Medicine: The Boundaries of University Teaching, by Cornelius O’Boyle
Sporting and Recreational Activities of Students in the Medieval Universities, by Steven J. Overman
Abelard the Scholar, by Helen Steele
Education and Curricula in Early Universities: Some Documentary Evidence, by Nicolay V. Tsarevsky
Classroom commentaries : teaching the Poetria nova across medieval and Renaissance Europe, by Marjorie Curry Woods