Jagiellonian University

Jagiellonian University
Jagiellonian University
Uniwersytet Jagielloński
Latin: Universitas Jagellonica Cracoviensis
Motto Plus ratio quam vis
(Let reason prevail over force)
Established 1364
Type Public
Rector Professor Karol Musioł
Students 49,379 (2010)
Undergraduates 43,762
Postgraduates 3,212
Doctoral students 2,405
Location Kraków, Poland
Coordinates: 50°3′39″N 19°55′58″E / 50.06083°N 19.93278°E / 50.06083; 19.93278
Campus urban
Affiliations EUA, Coimbra Group, Europaeum, Utrecht Network, EAIE, IRUN
Website http://www.uj.edu.pl/
Logo UJ.png
University rankings (overall)
ARWU[1] 301–400
QS[2] 301–350
Times[3] 301–350
For several academies alternatively called "Krakow Academy" or "Cracow University", see Education in Kraków.

The Jagiellonian University (Polish: Uniwersytet Jagielloński, often shortened to UJ; historical names: Latin: Studium Generale, University of Krakow, Kraków Academy, The Main Crown School, Main School of Kraków) was established in 1364 by Casimir III the Great in Kazimierz (district of Kraków). It is the oldest university in Poland, the second oldest university in Central Europe and one of the oldest universities in the world.

The university fell upon hard times when the occupation of Kraków by Austria-Hungary during the Partitions of Poland threatened its existence. In 1817, soon after the creation of the Duchy of Warsaw the university was renamed as Jagiellonian University to commemorate Poland's Jagiellonian dynasty, which first revived the Kraków University in the past.[4] In 2006, The Times Higher Education Supplement ranked Jagiellonian University as Poland's top university.[5]



In the mid-14th century, King Casimir III of Poland realized that the nation needed a class of educated people, especially lawyers, who could codify the country's laws and administer the courts and offices. His efforts to found an institution of higher learning in Poland were rewarded when Pope Urban V granted him permission to set up an academy in Krakow. A royal charter of foundation was issued on 12 May 1364, and a simultaneous document was issued by the City Council granting privileges to the Studium Generale. The King provided funding for one chair in liberal arts, two in Medicine, three in Canon Law and five in Roman Law, funded by a quarterly payment taken from the proceeds of the royal monopoly on the salt mines at Wieliczka.[6] The Cracow Academy's development stalled upon the death of King Casimir, but the institution was re-founded in 1400 by King Władysław Jagiełło and his wife Saint Jadwiga, the daughter of the King Louis of Hungary and Poland. The queen donated all of her personal jewelry to the academy, allowing it to enrol 203 students. The faculties of astronomy, law and theology attracted eminent scholars: for example, Stanisław of Skarbimierz, Paweł Włodkowic, Jan of Głogów, and Albert Brudzewski, who from 1491 to 1495 was one of Nicolaus Copernicus's teachers. The university was the first university in Europe to establish independent chairs in Mathematics and Astronomy.

The founding of the University, painted by Jan Matejko (1838-1893).

Throughout the history of the University, thousands of students from all over Poland, Lithuania, Russia, Hungary, Bohemia, Germany, and Spain have studied there. In the second half of the 15th century, over 40% of students came from outside the Kingdom of Poland. For several centuries, virtually the entire intellectual elite of Poland was educated at the university.

The first chancellor of the University was Piotr Wysz, and the first professors were Czechs, Germans and Poles, many of them trained at the Charles University in Prague in Bohemia. By 1520 Greek philology was introduced by Constanzo Claretti and Wenzel von Hirschberg; Hebrew was also taught. The golden era of the University of Krakow took place during the Polish Renaissance, between 1500 and 1535, when it was attended by 3,215 students in the first decade of the 16th century. As the university's popularity declined in later centuries, this record was not surpassed until the late 18th century.

The Collegium Novum of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow Old Town District.
The Collegium Novum's assembly hall.
Courtyard of the Collegium Maius.
The assembly hall of the Collegium Maius.
Damage suffered by Jagiellonian University during World War 2.
Monument to Nicolaus Copernicus next to Jagiellonian University's Collegium Novum.
Przegorzały Castle, the seat of the Institute of European Studies.
The Campus of the 600th Anniversary of the Jagiellonian University Revival.

In 1846, after the Kraków Uprising, the city and its university became part of the Austrian Empire.[4] The threat of a closure of the University was dissipated in 1847 by the Austrian Emperor's decree to maintain it. New buildings were added, including the Collegium Novum, which opened in 1887.[4]

On November 6, 1939, following the Nazi invasion of Poland, 184 professors were arrested and deported to Sachsenhausen concentration camp during an operation codenamed Sonderaktion Krakau. The university, along with the rest of Poland's higher and secondary education, was shut down for the remainder of World War 2.[7] The faculty was later suppressed by the Communists in 1954.[7]

In 2000, a new complex of university buildings, the so-called Third Campus, began construction; completion is planned for 2015.[8] Public funds earmarked for the project amounted to 946.5 million zlotys, or 240 million euros.[9] The Third Campus borders the LifeScience Park managed by the Jagiellonian Centre of Innovation. In 2007, the university's administrative offices, including those of the Rector and Deans, were located in the historic Collegium Novum.

Notable alumni

Notable professors


As of 2008, the university has 52,445 students (including 1,612 degree students from abroad) and 3,657 academic staff. About 1,130 international non-degree students were enrolled in 2007. Programmes of study are offered in 48 disciplines and 93 specialisations.[10] The university has an exchange program with The Catholic University of America and its Columbus School of Law.[11] It also hosts a "semester-abroad" program with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and the University of Guelph.


The university's Jagiellonian Library (Biblioteka Jagiellońska) is one of Poland's largest, with almost 6.5 million volumes.[12] It has a large collection of medieval manuscripts,[13] including Copernicus' De Revolutionibus and the Balthasar Behem Codex.

The library also has an extensive collection of underground political literature (so-called drugi obieg or samizdat) from Poland's period of Communist rule between 1945 and 1989.


The university is divided into 15 faculties:

  • Law and Administration
  • Medicine
  • Pharmacy and Medical Analysis
  • Health Care
  • Philosophy
  • History
  • Philology
  • Polish Language and Literature
  • Physics, Astronomy and Applied Computer Science
  • Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Chemistry
  • Biology and Earth Sciences
  • Management and Social Communication
  • International and Political Studies
  • Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology

Student associations

In 1851, the university's first student scientific association was founded. Now, over 70 student scientific associations exist at the Jagiellonian University. Usually, their purpose is to promote students' scientific achievements by organizing lecture sessions, science excursions, and international student conferences, such as the International Workshop for Young Mathematicians, which is organized by the Zaremba Association of Mathematicians.

The links below provide further information on student activities at the Jagiellonian:

See also

Media related to Jagiellonian University at Wikimedia Commons


  1. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities: Global". Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. 2011. http://www.shanghairanking.com/ARWU2011.html. Retrieved August 30, 2011. 
  2. ^ "QS World University Rankings". QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2011. http://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/world-university-rankings/2011. Retrieved September 30, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Top 400 - The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2011-2012". The Times Higher Education. 2011. http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/2011-2012/top-400.html. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c Waltos, Stanisław. "History". Jagiellonian University. http://www.uj.edu.pl/uniwersytet/historia. Retrieved 2010-09-28.   (Polish)
  5. ^ Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) "Jagiellonian University ranking among world universities". http://web.archive.org/web/20071202104733/http://www.ui.ac.id/indonesia/extra/tabelqs.pdf. Retrieved August 1, 2011 from the Internet Archive.  See: rank 287 worldwide as the first listed Polish university among the top 500 in 2006.
  6. ^ Davies, Norman (1982). God's Playground; A History of Poland, Vol. I: The Origins to 1795. Columbia University Press. p. 98. ISBN 9780231053518. 
  7. ^ a b Weigel, George (2001). Witness of Hope – The Biography of Pope John Paul II. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780060187934. 
  8. ^ "Campus of the Sixcentenary". http://www.uj.edu.pl/en/rozwoj/kampus. Retrieved 2011-05-12. 
  9. ^ "Campus of the Sixcentenary". http://www.kampus.uj.edu.pl/. Retrieved 2010-09-28. 
  10. ^ Newsletter, web: UJ-News35-PDF.
  11. ^ "Annual Summer Law Program". The Catholic University of America. http://law.cua.edu/clinics/cracow/. Retrieved 2010-09-28. 
  12. ^ Bętkowska, Teresa (18 May 2008). "Jagiellonian University: Cracow's Alma Mater". Warsaw Voice. http://www.warsawvoice.pl/view/18320. Retrieved 2010-09-28. 
  13. ^ "BJ: Medieval manuscripts". Bj.uj.edu.pl. http://www.bj.uj.edu.pl/bjmanus/manus_e.html. Retrieved 2010-09-28. 

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