The University of Perugia is one of the oldest universities in Italy. It was founded in 1308, when Pope Clement V issued a Bull granting the city of Perugia the right to engage in higher education.
The official seal of the university portrays Saint Herculan, a patron saint of Perugia, and a crowned griffin, the symbol of the city of Perugia. Together they represent the ecclesiastical and civil powers that gave rise to the university in the Middle Ages.
In the 14th century, the university offered degrees in just two fields: law and general arts. Today, it offers an array of degree programmes in 11 faculties, covering nearly all fields of study authorised by the National Ministry of Higher Education. There are about 31,000 students and 1,200 full-time staff members across 29 departments. Some study programmes are also located in the Umbrian towns of Assisi and Terni.
The European Commission has awarded the university the ECTS label for excellence in the application of the European Credit Transfer System in all of its degree programmes. The university has established working agreements with 361 institutions of higher learning throughout the European Union in the Erasmus programme, and about 90 cooperation agreements with European and non-European universities.
There is also a language centre that delivers, among various European language courses, Italian courses to international students.
Alumni include 11 popes, the former Governor General of Canada Michaëlle Jean, and artist Suze Rotolo. Past teachers include 15th-century founder of accounting Luca Pacioli, and Pope Sixtus IV.