More about University of Basel

The University of Basel was founded in 1460, making it the oldest university in Switzerland and one of the oldest higher education institutions in the world.

Originally, it was made up of just four faculties - arts, jurisprudence, medicine and theology. Today, it has seven faculties covering a huge range of academic disciplines, and is academic home to tens of thousands of students, including more than 2,500 doctoral candidates.

Basel University Library, meanwhile, contains more than 8 million items. This makes it one of the largest libraries in Switzerland.

In addition to this main library, there are two more specialised collections: the University Medical Library and the University Business and Economics Library/Swiss Economics Archive.

The university has experienced mixed fortunes during its 550 year history, and at one point in the 18th century had just 60 students enrolled. Around this time, there were discussions about dissolving the university altogether.

The institution rallied, however, and in the 20th century, despite the challenges of two world wars, it grew in size and strength.

In 1997, the University of Basel opened the University of Seniors, offering higher education to older people. It followed this in 2004 by establishing the Children’s University for eight to 12-year-olds, designed to introduce these youngsters to the world of science and give them a behind-the-scenes look at a modern university.

The university campus is located in the heart of the city centre, near to the River Basel.

Notable alumni of the University of Basel include the German scientist William Theilheimer, Swiss author and psychologist Alice Miller, the founder of analytical psychology Carl Gustav Jung, and the biochemist Emil Abderhalden.

Key statistics

  • 12,560
    Number of Students
  • 17.4
    Student to Staff Ratio
  • 24%
    Percentage of International Students
  • 54 : 46
    Student Ratio of Females to Males
Collected during World University Rankings on 28th Sep 2016

Where we are


1 Peter's Square
4001 Basel