The Rise of Universities in Medieval Europe

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In the present modern day, and seemingly for an extensive period of time, society has tended and still does, hold a predisposed idea that a university is associated with a building and the location that it is in. What society does not realise however the fact that it is a place to study where the location does not matter because towards the end you still achieve the same degree as anyone else. In early modern periodization, the medieval term for university was ‘studium generale’ meaning ‘school of universal learning’. The most common term used is ‘univerisitas’ meaning ‘the whole’ The Oxford dictionary defines it as “a high-level educational institution in which students study for degrees and academic research is done” These definitions suggest that a university is a place where various types of students such as graduates or non-graduates and also teachers who come together under one roof, almost being considered as ‘university of masters and students’ It can be clearly seen that it is difficult to rely upon traditional terminology for the definition of a university in the full sense of the world. Medieval universities generally consisted of a ‘community of scholars’ who had the authority to award students with degrees. Majority of these scholars were monks or priests because in 600-1500 A.D. there was a strict religious hierarchy to create stability within the society. Therefore majority of the higher education took place in cathedrals or monastery schools. Unlike today, universities in the ‘dark ages’ did not have a university campus. Neither did they have a government who would make the majority of the decisions. Because of this, churches which were seen as the government as at that time religion had a massive impact on the s... ... middle of paper ... ... Times – The Medieval University’ [Accessed: 16/1/2013] First broadcast: Thursday 17 March 2011 on BBC4 Radio Carolyn Scearce ‘Connections between Medieval Philosophy and Modern Science- Medieval Education and the Rise of Universities in Medieval Europe’ [Accessed: 16/1/2013] Released: November 2008 Excerpt from "Academical Dress in New Zealand", 2000, Chap 2: Mediæval Education, by Noel Cox [Accessed: 19/1/2013] Starkey, M. (2009) What is a University? Explaining the Rise of Universities in Medieval Europe, an Education Studies essay, 9th March, School of Education, University of Northampton, online at:

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