History of the modern university


University is considered to be the pinnacle of higher education, and a chance for people to prove their worth and specialize in a particular area. Thousands of young people every year go to university to make something of themselves. There are thousands of great universities in the country and even more right across the world.

University is seen as the perfect stepping stone to allow people to develop and hone their skills, and increase their chances of getting opportunities in the outside world. So, it’s probably good to try to learn as much as possible about the modern university and how it came to be so popular. Check out what we learned about the history of the modern university below.

What are universities?

Simply put, a university is an institute of higher education which awards degrees for academic subjects. Universities were actually created in Italy during the Middle Ages, as an evolution of Cathedral schools, and have gone on to play a huge role in modern society. There are various degrees and academic disciplines people can study, and there are an array of different degree classifications.

In the 15th Century, universities were first used as a way of the clergy developing specialties. By the end of the 18th Century, there were close to 150 universities throughout Europe, with the majority in the German and Italian Empires. These early modern universities had a focus on the ongoing research of the Middle Ages, such as philosophy, theology, and medicine. As the universities progressed and developed, they became much more diverse, and the academic subjects available for study became much broader.


Modern universities

By the time modern universities hit the 18th and 19th Centuries, they were hugely influential, and religion played a significant role in the curriculum. However, this began a steady decline, and the world began adopting the German model of universities. This was a much more liberal approach, with a focus on seminars, more freedom, and laboratories for working.

This led to the civic university movement in the United Kingdom in the 1960s. These achieved prominence during the movement away from Industrial Revolution-era institutions, toward those with a deeper focus on science and engineering.


Present day

In the present day, universities play a big role in our society and our economy. Many of the men and women of tomorrow will cut their corporate teeth at universities all over the world. Among the most acclaimed modern universities are Cambridge and Oxford in England, and Harvard, Brown, and Vale in the USA. But, universities are not restricted to simply physical institutions anymore.

In recent years we have seen a rise in online and Open University applications. People have become more proactive about getting their degrees, and have understood they don’t need to travel across the country (or the world) to do it. In the future, we may well see online universities taking over, and becoming the more common and popular way of doing things.

Modern universities play a big role in the makeup of the Western world, and we will likely see them continue to evolve and grow over the next few decades. There has been controversy in recent years over the costs involved in going to university, and these could well be addressed in the future.