University: Meaning, Definition, Origin, History & Interesting Facts

University Definition & Origin

Meaning of University: The root of the word university is “universitas magistrorum et scholarium,” which means “society of teachers and scholars.” While Aristotle is regarded as a ” Walking University” for his scholarship there is more to know about universities in general.

A university refers to an institute of higher education that has the authority to offer and grant undergraduate, post-graduate, professional, research, and doctoral degrees to students. 

Worldwide Universities

There are over 25000+ universities worldwide, with India and the U.S. having the highest concentration of universities.       

First University 

The first Western university was a prominent medical institution established in the ninth century in Salerno, Italy, and attracted students from all around Europe. However, it stayed only a medical school. Later in the 11th century, Bologna established the first genuine university in the Western world.

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Types of universities:

  • Public University: These universities have their origins attached to a parliament or government act. They primarily run using public funds. Examples: IITs, IIMs, etc.
  • Private University: The government-run recognizes private individuals or secret societies at these universities. We can further classify them under the “for-profit” & ‘nonprofit’ categories. Example: BITS Pilani, Ashoka University in India.
  • Deemed Universities: These are not comprehensive universities but have the granted status of the university for excellence in a particular field or discipline.
  • Virtual University: These coming-of-age universities offer students virtual, distant, and online U.G. & P.G. degrees. Though they don’t have a physical presence, they provide valid degrees to students with various needs.
  • Open University: These universities have an open academic policy and admission with minimum restrictions. They also offer online and distance learning programs. Example Britain’s Open University(1969), IGNOU( Indira Gandhi National Open University)
  • Ivy League Schools: These are northeastern U.S.-based universities and are also American collegiate athletic conferences. The top eight Ivy League schools are Brown University, Harvard University, Princeton University, Dartmouth University, Columbia University, Cornell University, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University. They are known for social elitism, admission selectivity, and academic excellence.
  • Research universities: These universities have cores for research opportunities and doctoral research degrees.

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Different universities:

  • International Space University: In France, this university aims to shift its campus outside the Earth’s atmosphere. It offers courses in both scientific and managerial roles in space exploration.
  • Deep Springs College: This university is one of the most remote institutions in the U.S. It accepts only 15 students a year in its fully funded 2-year program.
  • Pyongyang University of Science and Technology: It is a private university in North Korea that produces qualified graduates in science & technology.
  • The University of Arctic: It is a cooperative network of northern institutions spanning 24 time zones. It focuses on international education.
  • University of South Pacific: This unique college has 14 campuses spread across 12 islands and is also involved in research on the Pacific.

Bermuda College: This college involves traveling across the Bermuda Triangle with cost-effective courses for students. The college maintains around 1200 students and a class size of 15 for a better campus experience for students.