The University of Iceland was founded in 1911 in honour of the 19th-century statesman Jón Sigurðsson, and is the oldest and largest institution of its kind in the country.
In its first academic year the university enrolled just 45 students, and for the first three decades, the institution was based at Parliament House in Austurvöllur.
Today, the University of Iceland has expanded its cohort to almost 14,000 – 65 per cent of whom are women, with almost 8 per cent international – and now has its base at Suðurgata, where it offers a variety of study programmes at undergraduate, graduate and doctoral level. It has 728 academic staff based at five academic schools in the fields of education, engineering and natural sciences, health sciences, humanities and social sciences.
The University of Iceland is a state-run university based in the centre of the capital, Reykjavík, on the nation’s south-west coast, where the National and Saga museums dedicated to its Viking heritage are based.
It has around 60 research institutes and runs seven rural research stations including the Institute of Earth Sciences and Nordic Volcanological Centre, and the Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Institute of Foreign Languages.
The University of Iceland also prides itself on taking a leading role in sustainable energy and environmental research. Some of its research resources are unique to Iceland, including important climatological and geothermal records, and censuses dating back to the 16th century, which are kept at the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies.
Notable University of Iceland alumni include the film producer Sigurjón Sighvatsson and writer Einar Pálsson.