One of the “free” universities of Italy, it was erected into a studium generale on September 8, 1308, by the Bull “Super specula” of Clement V. A school of arts existed about 1200, in which medicine and law were soon taught, with a strong commitment expressed by official documents of the City Council of Perugia. Before 1300 there were several universitates scholiarum. Jacobus de Belviso, a famous civil jurist, taught here from 1316 to 1321. By Bull of August 1, 1318, John XXII granted the privilege of conferring degrees in civil and canon law, and on February 18, 1321, in medicine and arts.
On May 19, 1355, the Emperor Charles IV issued a Bull confirming the papal erection and raising it to the rank of an imperial university. This unusual mark of favour was given to assist Perugia after the terrible plague years 1348-49. In 1362 the Collegium Gregorianum(later called the Sapienza vecchia) was founded by Cardinal Nicolò Capocci for the maintenance of forty youths. Gregory XI, by Brief of October 11, 1371 gave the privileges of a studium generale to the new faculty of theology. This faculty was suppressed and its property merged in the university in 1811. To this foundation the Sapienza nuova was transferred in 1829. The latter was founded by Benedetto Guidalotti, Bishop of Recanati in 1426, with Martin V’s approval, as the Collegio di S. Girolamo. It was a free hostel for impecunious strangers who wished to study law and medicine. Suppressed by the French in 1798, it was reopened in 1807 by Pius VII as the Collegio Pio. In the Constitution of August 27, 1824, Leo XII made this the chief college of the university.
With the unification of Italy in 1860 the University of Perugia was established under the jurisdiction of the Rector and the Town Council, who issued statutes subject to approval by the Government. From 1944 to the present, the University of Perugia has achieved an outstanding reputation as one of the leading Universities in Italy.
Since the time of Napoleon I the university has occupied the old Olivetan convent of Monte Morcino. There was a faculty of mathematics down to 1884. The statutes are modelled upon those of Bologna. The number of students at different dates were: 142 in 1339, 79 in 1881, 350 in 1911.
With its 11 faculties and a vast selection of first and second level and single cycle degree programs, the University of Perugia offers its main courses in Perugia and Terni, and specialized programs throughout the Umbria region in the cities of Assisi, Città di Castello, Foligno, Orvieto, and Spoleto.
The faculties into which the university is divided are:
- Faculty of Agriculture
- Faculty of Economics
- Faculty of Education
- Faculty of Engineering
- Faculty of Humanities
- Faculty of Law
- Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Natural Sciences
- Faculty of Medicine
- Faculty of Pharmacy
- Faculty of Political Science
- Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
Its research programs are conducted by 29 departments with a total of 1,200 full-time staff. The University’s activities also include 25 service organizations and research centers as well as 11 libraries with rich collections and equipment. It had a total enrolment of over 31,000 students for the 2004-2005 academic year.