Small as continents go in terms of land area, Europe comprises more than fifty nations and is home to 750 million people, making it the third most populous continent. The European Union includes 3,300 colleges and universities, and there are approximately 4,000 in Europe as a whole. Unsurprisingly, major cultural centers such as London and Paris are home to large and impressive institutions of higher learing.
TheBestSchools.org has identified the best university in each country of Europe. We feature well known universities such as the United Kingdom’s Cambridge University. Cambridge is the second oldest English speaking institution for higher education. Founded in 1209, the school’s contribution to history is arguably greater than any other. It has produced numerous world changing thinkers such as Isaac Newton and Stephen Hawking. Yet even the world’s smallest city state, the Vatican, has an outstanding university. Pontificia Università Gregoriana has an enrollment of 3,800 students who are mostly members of religious orders and represent over 150 countries.
Located in Southeastern Europe by the Adriatic and Ionian Seas and approximately 45 miles from Italy through the Strait of Otranto, the country of Albania maintains a parliamentary republic for a population of 2.8 million. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the Balkan Wars, Albania declared its independence in 1912. The current government was organized into its recent form in 1991 after the dissolve of the Socialist Republic.
The Polytechnic University of Tirana is a public university located in the country’s capital. Established in 1951, the University is recognized as the oldest and the second largest institution for higher education in Albania. Being a technical school, the seven faculties focus on the study of engineering and other similar fields such as Architecture and Urban Planning, and Information Technology. The seven faculties manage a total of 28 departments and two centers, the Center for Research and Development in Information Technology and the Foreign Languages Center. The school also maintains an Excellent Research Institution of Geosciences and Energy, Water, and Environment. Approximately 10,000 students are enrolled.
ArmeniaYerevan State University
With a history of civilization that dates back to the Bronze Age, Armenia claims to be the location of the world’s earliest known leather shoe and the world’s earliest wine-producing facility. The country is located in western Asia and is bordered by Turkey, Georgia, and Iran. The government manages a unitary, multi-party, democratic nation state, and claims the title of first state in the world to adopt Christianity as the official religion. The population averages around three million.
Yerevan State University was founded in 1919 and is the oldest continuously operating public university in the country. Most instruction is given in Armenian, however English and Russian classes may be arranged. Of the 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students, approximately 300 are international.
Academically, the school started with the facilities of Physical Sciences and Social Sciences. Today there are a total of 19 Faculties covering a range of topics from History and Oriental Studies to Journalism and Law. Yerevan also manages a number of Centers and Institutes including the Cultural Center, the Institute for Armenian Studies, and the Environmental Law Resource Center. The school has maintained international agreements with over 200 universities and research centers in 50 countries.
AustriaUniversity of Vienna
The country of Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy comprising nine federal states. It is landlocked by the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and Switzerland. The general population averages 8.6 million. The capital city of Vienna is the largest in the country with a population of over 1.7 million. Strong trading with Germany, labor movements, a highly developed industry, and international tourism have placed Austria among the 12 richest countries in the world.
The University of Vienna was founded in 1365 making it one of the oldest public institutions for higher education in the German-speaking world. The facilities are not confined to one campus, but are spread out over 60 locations throughout the city. There are 181 degree programs offered from undergraduate through doctoral programs. The school is well-known for study and research in the Humanities.
Academic divisions and research programs have been organized into 15 facilities, 16 research platforms, and four centers. The University maintains over 70 international agreements with other universities and accepts nearly 2,000 exchange students annually. A total of 15 Nobel Prize recipients are affiliated with the school.
Notable Alumni: Sigmund Freud, Franz Mesmer, Gregor Mendel, and Gustav Mahler
AzerbaijanAzerbaijan State University of Economics
Azerbaijan is a smaller country of just over 33,000 square miles located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It is bordered by the Caspian Sea, Russia, Georgia, Armenia, and Iran. Incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1920, Azerbaijan proclaimed its independence in 1991. Today the country is a unitary semi-presidential republic with a population of approximately 9.5 million.
The country’s state university was founded in 1930. There are 11 major academic faculties which offer graduate programs in 57 specialties. Of the 18,000 enrolled students there are approximately 850 international students who represent 12 countries. A total of 21 programs are available to international students with classes being taught in Azerbaijani, Turkish, English, and Russian. The faculty members include members of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences and the New York Academy of Sciences. Other Centers and Programs offered at the University include the Technology Transfer Center, the Innovative Business Incubator, and the Mevlana Exchange Program.
BelarusBelarusian State University
Belarus is a relatively small landlocked country in Eastern Europe bordered by Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania. The 80,000 square miles holds a population of approximately 9.4 million citizens who maintain a strong economy based on industry and manufacturing.
The Belarusian State University was founded Oct 30, 1921 with the goal of eliminating illiteracy and assimilating world culture into the public. Vladimir Ivanovich Picheta was the first head of the University, which is now known as the oldest and largest in the country. The first three faculties at the time of the school’s founding were Workers’, Medical, and the Social Sciences.
Today there are 56 fields of study with 250 areas of specializations offered to over 38,000 enrolled students. Other academic and research faculties include 70 computer laboratories, five museums, four media classrooms, and one botanical garden. The University maintains 300 international agreements in over 50 countries including joint research with the United Institute of Nuclear Problems in Dubna.
Notable Alumni: Svetlana Alexievich (winner of The Nobel Prize in Literature 2015); Myechyslaw Hryb (politician); and Natalia Petkevich (politician and stateswoman)
The 11,000 square miles which comprise the country of Belgium maintains a population of approximately 11 million citizens. This densely populated sovereign state of Western Europe is home to two main linguistic groups, Dutch and French. Known as the ‘Battlefield of Europe’, this small country has been the sight of much political and cultural turmoil and has been a battle ground in both World Wars. Currently, there is a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance in place.
Ghent is Belgium’s public research university which was founded in 1817 by King William I of the Netherlands. There were originally only four faculties on campus, Humanities, Law, Medicine, and Science. After surviving both World Wars and German occupation, the school was able to grow exponentially.
Today there are 11 faculties with over 100 academic departments and more than 230 courses. More than 41,000 students are enrolled at Ghent University. Internationally, the University maintains academic and research relationships with over 150 institutions outside of Europe and has exchange programs on all six continents.
Notable Alumni: Guy Verhofstadt (former Prime Minister of Belgium); Robert Cailliau (co-inventor of the World Wide Web); and Jacques Rogge (president of the International Olympic Committee)
Bosnia and HerzegovinaUniverzitet u Sarajevu (The University of Sarajevu)
Usually abbreviated B&H, Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country in southeastern Europe located on the Balkan Peninsula comprised of nearly 20,000 square miles. The multiethnic population consists of approximately 3.8 million citizens governed by a federal parliamentary republic. The vast diversity in cultural preferences has led to much unrest in the country but also has created a unique and eclectic heritage. As a result, Bosnia is projected to have the third highest tourism growth rate in the world until 2020.
The University of Sarajevu is the largest and oldest institution for higher education in the county. Founded in 1531, the University was originally established as an Ottoman Islamic Law College. The school saw major growth through the 1900’s and today offers Bachelor, Master, and Doctoral studies in 45 different fields. The academic divisions are organized into a total of 31 faculties, academies, and colleges, including five research institutes. There are over 30,000 students enrolled. The University maintains over 100 cooperation agreements and networking partnerships with universities around the world.
Notable Alumni: Alija Izetbegović (first President of Bosnia and Herzegovina); Nikola Špirić (Prime Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina); and Zlatko Topčić (famous Bosnian writer and screenwriter)
Located in southeastern Europe, the 42,000 square miles which comprise the country of Bulgaria are divided into 28 provinces. A unified state of the country can be traced back to 681 AD, however further prehistoric culture in Bulgaria goes back to the Neolithic period. The current population estimates around 7.4 million citizens. Economically, Bulgaria is strong in the areas of heavy industry, power engineering, and agriculture. A democratic constitution was initiated in 1991.
The oldest institution for higher education in Bulgaria is Sofia University, being founded in 1888. The academic divisions are organized into 16 faculties and three departments. Undergraduate through Doctoral studies are available. The school is affiliated with the Balkan Universities Network and the National Center of Polar Research. Bilateral academic and research agreements exist with 55 countries worldwide. Sofia also maintains memberships in six organizations including UNICA, the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, and the Network of universities in the Black Sea region.
Notable Alumni: Georgi Parvanov (former President of Bulgaria); Dimitar Sasselov (astronomer); and Boris Christoff (opera singer)
The 21,000 square miles of Croatia are at a key location between Central Europe, Southeast Europe, and the Mediterranean. The country also controls over 1,000 islands in the Adriatic Sea coast. The 4.28 million citizens of Croatia are part of a unitary state governed under a parliamentary system. Economically, the country’s most significant source of revenue is tourism. Universal health care and free primary and secondary education are also available.
In 1669 the Jesuit Academy of the Royal Free City of Zagreb was established by the Holy Roman Emperor, Leopold I. The school was succeeded by the Royal Academy of Science in 1776. Finally, in 1869 Emperor Franz Joseph decreed the establishment of the current University of Zagreb.
Known as the oldest and largest of the schools in Croatia, the University operates 29 faculties, three art academies, and one university center.
Over 70,000 students are currently in attendance. The school is affiliated with at least four Nobel Prize recipients, including Mother Teresa who was greatly influenced by the Croatian Jesuits.
Notable Alumni: Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović (4th President of Croatia); Zoran Milanović (10th Prime Minister of Croatia); and Milan Bandić (mayor of the Croatian capital, Zagreb)
Cyprus is an island country of 3,500 square miles off the coasts of Syria and Turkey. Located in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, Cyprus is the third largest and third most populated in the area. There are an estimated 1.14 million citizens on the island. History of human civilization in Cyprus can be traced back to the 10th millennium BC with the preserved Neolithic village of Khirokita and some of the oldest water wells in the world.
The Eastern Mediterranean University was established in 1979 as an Institute of Technology offering mainly engineering classes. In 1986 the school was converted into a state university and was given its current name. Today the school operates 11 faculties, six schools, and three institutes of research. There are 141 programs available to students with instruction provided in both English and Turkish. Approximately 18,000 students are currently in attendance. The university maintains full membership in the European University Association, the International Association of Universities, the Community of Mediterranean Universities, and the Federation of the Universities of the Islamic World.
Notable Alumni: Buğra Gülsoy (Turkish actor, architect, director, graphic designer and photographer,); Mehmet Ali Talat (former President of Northern Cyprus); and Birsen Yavuz-Engin (Turkish female track and field athlete)
Czech RepublicCharles University in Prague
Bordered by Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Poland, Czech Republic is a unitary parliamentary republic located in Central Europe. The 30,000 square miles holds a population of 10.5 million citizens. Prague is both the capital city and the largest city in the country with more than 1.2 million residents. The country has a history of civilization dating back to the 9th century as a Duchy of Bohemia under the Moravian Empire. During WWII Czech was occupied by Germany and was liberated in 1945.
Founded in 1348 by Charles IV, King of Bohemia and King of the Romans, the Charles University in Prague claims to be one of the oldest institutions for higher education in the world. The current 17 faculties which comprise the University are spread over three cities, 14 in Prague, two in Hradec Karlove, and one in Plzen.
There are an additional three institutes and six centers for research and development managed by the school. Over 300 programs of study and more than 640 courses are available. A total of 53,000 students are currently in attendance with more than 7,000 representing other countries.
Notable Alumni: Antonín Holý (Czech chemist, played an important role in creating drugs to treat HIV and AIDS); Bohumil Hrabal (writer); and Franz Kafka (writer)
DenmarkUniversity of Copenhagen
The southernmost of the Nordic countries, Denmark occupies an area of 16,500 square miles. In addition to the proper mainland, Denmark consists of the peninsula, Jutland, and an archipelago of 443 islands. The absolute monarchy of Denmark ended in 1849 when its Constitution was signed. The current government is a parliamentary democracy under the rule of Queen Margrethe II.
Located in the capital city of Denmark, the University of Copenhagen is the oldest institution for higher education in the country. Founded in 1479, the school started as a center for Roman Catholic theological training. Today the academic programs are organized into six major faculties spread over four campus areas with over 100 departments and Centers for research. Seven museums are also under the jurisdiction of the school. There are more than 40,000 students currently in attendance with nearly 4,000 international students. The University is affiliated with nine Nobel Laureates. The University has maintained membership in the prestigious International Alliance of Research Universities.
Notable Alumni: Niels Bohr (Nobel laureate in physics); Lars Løkke Rasmussen (prime minister of Denmark); and Inge Lehmann (Danish seismologist discovering the Earth’s inner core)
Located in the Baltic region of Northern Europe, Estonia covers over 17,000 square miles including the mainland and more than 2,000 islands and islets in the Baltic Sea. With a population of approximately 1.3 million citizens, Estonia is one of the least populated countries in the European Union. The current government is a democratic parliamentary republic divided into 15 counties.
Originally known as the Academia Dorpatensis, the University of Tartu was founded in 1632 by the Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus who modelled the school after the University of Uppsala in Sweden. Divided into four major faculties, Tartu is home to over 13,000 students, including 800 international students representing 70 countries. A total of 60 Bachelor’s, 72 Masters, and 34 Doctoral programs are offered. Wilhelm Ostwald, considered the founder of Physical Chemistry, was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1909 and has been affiliated with the University of Tartu. International co-operation agreements have been maintained with more than 70 partner universities in 27 countries.
Notable Alumni: Lennart Georg Meri (second President of Estonia); Juhan Parts (former Prime Minister of Estonia and former Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications); and Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve (German astronomer from a famous dynasty)
FinlandUniversity of Helsinki
Historically an integral part of Sweden, Finland was brought into the Russian Empire in 1809 and was able to declare its independence in 1917 after the Russian Revolution. Being the eighth largest country in Europe in terms of area with over 130,000 square miles, Finland has also been noted to be the most sparsely populated. The land is home to approximately 5.5 million citizens. The current government is a parliamentary republic with local governments in 317 municipalities.
The University of Helsinki was established in 1640 in Turku. Known as the oldest and largest of the institutions for higher education in Finland, the University currently manages 11 faculties and 11 research institutes. Class instruction is provided in both Finnish and Swedish. The University maintains an international scientific community of 40,000 students and researchers and is the only Finnish university to be a member of the League of European Research Universities. Other independent institutions affiliated with the University include the National Library of Finland, the Helsinki University Library, and the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies.
Notable Alumni: Harri Holkeri (former Prime Minister of Finland); Jorma Ollila (former Chairman of Nokia and Non-executive Chairman of Royal Dutch Shell); and Linus Torvalds (developer of Linux)
Encompassing over 248,000 square miles in Western Europe, France has an estimated population of 66.6 million citizens. The country had a long history of absolute monarchy until the French Revolution in the 18th century, after which France became one of the earliest examples of a republic. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, one of the earliest documents on human rights, is part of the French legacy. Today France maintains a unitary semi-presidential republic.
The history of the Pierre and Marie Curie University can be traced back to 1109 and the Abbey of Saint Victor, though the current version of the school was formally established in 1971 after the division of the University of Paris. The school maintains five campuses in eight locations over four regions of France.
There are seven major departments and faculties, an engineering school, three marine stations, 100 research laboratories, and eight teaching hospitals. Ranked as fourth in the world for the study of mathematics, the Curie University has produced 17 Nobel Laureates in the sciences. A total of 31,000 students are enrolled at the university with approximately 20 percent representing other countries.
Notable Alumni: Françoise Barré-Sinoussi (Nobel Prize for Medicine for her work in identifying HIV as the cause of AIDS); Irène Joliot-Curie (daughter of Marie Curie and Pierre Curie, won Nobel Prize for Chemistry); Louis-Victor-Pierre-Raymond (French physicist who made groundbreaking contributions to quantum theory)
The country of Georgia is located between Eastern Europe and West Asia. The cultural and political peak of the country lasted from the last 11th century through the 13th century, after which Georgia entered into alliance with the Russian Empire and saw the rise of civil unrest through the 1990’s. After the Rose Revolution in 2003 a relatively stable unitary, semi-presidential republic with a representative democracy was established.
Named after one of its founders, Tbilisi State University is known as one of the first scientific research institutions for higher education in the country of Georgia. Founded in 1918, the school is organized into seven faculties and operates 25 Institutes and Centers of research. Approximately 22,000 students are enrolled.
The University is developing a major international presence through memberships in eight professional associations and networks such as the European University Association, maintaining international agreements and partnerships with universities in 45 countries worldwide, and implementing nearly 200 local and international scientific grant programs annually.
The 137,000 square miles of Germany includes 16 constituent states with a population of approximately 81.5 million citizens, making the country the most populous in the European Union. After much political turmoil in WWI and WWII, Germany was reunified as a country in 1990. In the 21st century, Germany is one of the world’s great powers and the third largest exporter and importer of goods.
Established 1386, Heidelberg University currently maintains 12 faculties, three graduate schools, 17 collaborative research centers, seven research training groups, 11 research units, and two clusters of excellence: ‘Asia and Europe in a Global Context’ and ‘Cellular Networks’. Over 30,000 students are in attendance at the University with approximately 20 percent being international. Over 400 universities worldwide participate in student exchange programs with Heidelberg. Other international connections include 23 university partnerships and two international Research Training Groups. The University also maintains memberships in global networks such as the League of European Research Universities and the Coimbra Group.
Notable Alumni: 56 Nobel Laureates; several Federal Ministers of Germany and Prime Ministers of German States; in business, founders, co-founders or those who have presided over the ABB Group; Astor corporate enterprises; BASF; BDA; Daimler AG; Deutsche Bank; EADS; Krupp AG; Siemens AG; and Thyssen AG.
Located in southeastern Europe, the ancient history of Greece spans millennia. Widely considered to be the cradle of Western civilization, the country was first unified under the rule of Philip of Macedon in the 4th century BC. The more modern history of the nation emerged after the War of Independence in 1830. The nine geographic regions of just under 51,000 square miles which comprise Greece include 227 inhabited islands and a population of approximately 10.8 million citizens.
The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens is recognized to be the first institution of higher education in Greece and the Balkan peninsula, as well as the second largest by enrollment. Founded in 1837, the school has grown to over 125,000 students who are enrolled within eight academic schools spread over four campus locations. The schools are further sub-divided into 34 faculties each with respective departments. Overall the University operates 160 laboratories, four University Hospitals, and eight Central Libraries.
Notable Alumni: Andreas Papandreou (former Prime Minister); Nicos Anastasiades (president of Cyprus; and Georgios Papanikolaou (inventor of the Pap test)
Holy See (Vatican City)Pontificia Università Gregoriana
Vatican City is an independent city state comprising 110 acres within the country of Italy. Established in 1929 by the Lateran Treaty to guarantee the diplomatic independence of the Pope, Vatican City is considered the smallest state in the world by area and population. Vatican City is considered a separate entity from the Holy See which is recognized as the ecclesiastical jurisdiction and central government of the Roman Catholic Church.
In 1551, Saint Ignatius of Loyola founded the Roman College, the predecessor to the University of Pope Gregory XII. The school gained formal approval by the Pope in 1556 to become the first institution for higher education founded by the Jesuits. It is one of three institutions which comprise the Gregorian Consortium. The 3,800 students are mostly members of religious orders who represent over 150 countries. There are six main faculties dealing with theology, philosophy, and the social sciences, and two institutes for spirituality and psychology. The University also maintains a publishing house and three major libraries with nearly 1.2 million volumes.
Notable Alumni: Filippo Grandi (former Commissioner-General of UNRWA) and Mary McAleese (former President of Ireland)
HungaryEotvos Lorand University
Over the centuries Hungary has been home to several people groups including the Celts, Romans, Huns, and Slavs. The land reached its golden age in the 15th century. The current borders were established in 1920 after World War I and the Treaty of Trianon, and in 1989 the country became a democratic parliamentary republic. The nearly 36,000 square miles are home to the world’s largest thermal water cave system and second largest thermal lake.
Name after physicist Baron Lorand Eotvos, the Eotvos Lorand University was founded in 1635 as a public research institution for higher education located in what is now known as Budapest. The initial language of education was Latin until 1844 when Hungarian was implemented.
Today there are 28,000 students enrolled within eight faculties, 118 Doctoral programs, 96 Master’s programs, and 38 Bachelor’s programs. There are also over 50 programs offered in foreign languages. The school is affiliated with five Nobel Laureates including Hevesy and Bekesy Gyorgy and Lenard Fulop.
Notable Alumni: Viktor Orbán (former Prime Minister of Hungary); Albert Szent-Györgyi (Nobel Prize winner, discoverer of Vitamin); and Miklós Ajtai (winner of the Knuth Prize)
The 40,000 square miles of Iceland constitute a geologically and volcanically active Nordic island country located between the North Atlantic Ocean and the Arctic Ocean. With a population of 332,000 citizens, Iceland is considered the least populated country in Europe. The history of the country traces back to 874AD when the first Norwegian settlers appeared on the land. Independence was gained in 1918 and the country became a republic in 1944.
The University of Iceland was established in 1911 as a direct result of the mergers between the Seminary, the School of Medicine, and the School of Law. In total there are five schools, 25 faculties, and seven Research Centers managed by the University. The Research centers further sub-divide into over 60 research institutes and seven rural research stations. Nearly 14,000 students are currently in attendance. Instruction is mainly provided in Icelandic, however some graduate courses are available in English.
Notable Alumni: Davíð Oddsson (longest-serving Prime Minister of Iceland) and Kristín Steinsdóttir (well-known children’s author)
IrelandTrinity College Dublin
The second largest island of the British Isles with 6.4 million citizens, Ireland is divided between Northern Ireland which is part of the United Kingdome and the Republic of Ireland which covers the majority of the land. The history of the island dates back to 10,500 BC, whereas the better known Gaelic Ireland emerged in the first century AD and lasted through WWI. In the 12th century England claimed authority over the island which has continued in various forms through today.
Founded in 1592, the Trinity College in Dublin was modelled after Oxford University and Cambridge University in England. The school consists of three major faculties: Arts/Humanities and Social Sciences, Engineering/Mathematics and Science, and Health Science. The faculties are further organized into 25 schools, 40 research Centers, and five research Institutes. A total of 17,000 students are currently enrolled with international students representing 118 nationalities. The school maintains numerous international and industry related academic collaborations.
Notable Alumni: Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker and three holders of the office of President of Ireland
A center of history and culture, Italy consists of 116,000 square miles and is home to a population of 61 million citizens. The capital city of Rome was the conquering power through the ancient world and was the center of innovation during the Renaissance period. The country has also seen its share of political strife with the Italian Wars and a Fascist dictatorship in 1922. Today the country is a unitary parliamentary republic with the third largest economy in the Eurozone.
Sapienza University, also known as the University of Rome, was founded in 1303 making it one of the oldest institutions for higher education in history. With approximately 140,000 students in attendance, the University claims to be the largest in Europe by enrollment. The student body includes more than 5,000 international students.
Academically, the school is organized into 11 faculties with 65 departments. Other facilities include 59 Libraries, 21 Museums, and three University Hospitals. Sapienza University maintains over 500 general agreements both locally and internationally for academic and research cooperation.
Notable Alumni: Maria Montessori (founder of the Montessori method of education); Federico Fellini (one of the greatest filmmakers of the 21st century); and Charles Ponzi (the Ponzi scheme)
Located in Northern Europe, Latvia is one of the three Baltic States bordered by Lithuania, Russia, Belarus, and Estonia with which it shares a common history. The nearly 25,000 square miles of Latvia are divided into 118 administrative areas which include 109 municipalities and nine cities. The country contains a population of approximately two million citizens who have been governed since 1918 under a democratic parliamentary republic.
In 1919 the Latvijas Univeritate, or University of Latvia, was established and is the first school of its kind to offer higher education in the Latvian language. The school has grown to include 13 faculties which offer over 130 academic and professional programs. There are more than 15,000 students currently in attendance. There are four main areas of research: Humanities, Social Sciences, Science, and Education Sciences. These are further divided into 50 research fields within 20 research Institutes. The University maintains over 500 international agreements with 326 institutions in 31 counties.
Notable Alumni: Guntis Ulmanis (fifth President of Latvia) and Ivars Godmanis (former Prime Minister of Latvia)
Liechtenstein comprises a total of only 62 square miles of beautiful alpine country which are divided into 11 municipalities. Bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and Austria to the east and north, Liechtenstein is a landlocked German speaking microstate in Central Europe. The 37,000 citizens are governed by a constitutional monarchy with German as the official language. The government claims to maintain the lowest unemployment rate in the world.
Founded in 1961, the University of Liechtenstein was initially a technical school for mechanical and civil engineers. This later grew into the Liechtenstein School of Engineering. It was recently, in 2008, that the institution was granted university status and is now one of four centers for higher education in the country. The school continues to specialize in architecture and business economics. There are approximately 1,200 students and 200 faculty members who represent 40 other countries. The University maintains academic and research partnerships with 80 other institutions worldwide.
Located in Northern Europe, Lithuania is one of the three Baltic States east of Sweden and Denmark. Inhabited by the Baltic tribes for centuries, the land was united in the 1230’s by King Mindaugas. The country’s Act of Independence was signed in 1918 near the end of World War I, but came under the Soviet Union during World War II. After the break down of the Soviet Union Lithuania was the first to declare itself independent. Comprising just over 25,000 square miles, the land is home to 2.9 million citizens.
Founded in 1579 as a Jesuit Academy, the Vilniaus Universitetas is the oldest institution for higher education in the Baltic States and the largest in Lithuania. The University was temporarily closed in 1795 due to the Third Partition of Poland conflict and the November Uprising in 1830. Classes finally resumed again in 1919.
Since then the University has grown to include 12 faculties, five institutes, and four study and research centers. There are over 17,000 students in attendance and one Nobel Laureate affiliated with the school. Over 130 bilateral cooperation agreements have been signed with academic institutions in 41 countries.
Notable Alumni: Adam Mickiewicz (considered one of the greatest Slavic and European poets); Jakub Wujek (first translator of the Bible into the Polish language); and Czesław Miłosz (poet, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature)
LuxembourgUniversité de Luxembourg
The landlocked country of Luxembourg in Western Europe is bordered by Belgium, Germany, and France and comprises two main regions: Oesling in the North and the Gutland in the South. The neighboring invasions and treaties have led to a strong mixture of the French and German culture within the 998 square miles of land. Luxembourg is noted to be one of the smallest states in Europe. The 562,000 citizens governed by a constitutional monarchy headed by the world’s only Grand Duke.
The Université de Luxembourg is the only public institution for higher education in the country founded in 2003 which grants four-year degrees. Pervious institutions in Luxembourg only allowed for one or two years of study after which students would be required to travel abroad to complete their education.
The new university has three campus locations and three main faculties which offer 11 Bachelor’s and 27 Master’s programs. Two research centers have also been established. Classes are known for being multilingual with the majority of instruction provided in at least two languages: French, German, or English. International agreements are maintained with 17 universities worldwide.
Current day Macedonia is located in the Southern Europe Balkan peninsula. Formerly part of Yugoslavia from which it declared independence in 1991, Macedonia consists of 9,700 square miles and is home to 506,000 citizens. The country maintains a parliamentary democracy with an executive government and has an open economy with trade accounting for the majority of profits. Regional languages include Albanian, Turkish, Romani, and Serbian.
Founded in 1943, the University of Skopje was named after the Christian theologians and missionaries Cyril and Methodius. With 23 faculties, five institutes, and four public scientific institutes, the University is the largest in the country. There are over 50,000 students in attendance with approximately 700 international students. More than 160 undergraduate programs and over 270 postgraduate options are offered. The primary language of education is Macedonian; however, select courses are available in English, German, French, and Italian. The University maintains more than 70 bilateral agreements with other academic institutions worldwide.
Notable Alumni: Vlado Bučkovski (former Prime Minister of Macedonia); Branko Crvenkovski (3rd President of Macedonia); and Ljubomir Frčkoski (author of the Constitution of Macedonia)
MaltaUniversity of Malta
One of the smallest and most densely populated islands in the world, Malta is comprised of 122 square miles of land 50 miles south of Italy in the Mediterranean Sea. As a Southern European Island country, the land has historically been of great strategic importance for the naval bases of various nations over the centuries. Home to approximately 450,000 people, the country declared independence in 1964 and became a republic in 1974. There are two official languages in Malta, English and Maltese.
The University of Malta traces its origins back to 1592 and the founding of the Collegium Melitense. The Collegium was established by papal intervention and was run by the Jesuit society until 1768. The current structure of the school was established by the 1988 Educational Act. Today the University of Malta is comprised of three campus locations, 14 Faculties, 19 Institutes, and 11 Centers of study and research. The school maintains membership in eight regional and international Associations. There are approximately 11,500 students in attendance with 1,000 international students representing 92 countries.
Notable Alumni: George Abela (former President of Malta) and Guido de Marco (former Deputy Prime Minister and President of the UN General Assembly)
The 13,000 square miles of Moldova are landlocked by Romania and the Ukraine. This Eastern European country declared independence in 1991 after the break down of the Soviet Union. In 1994 the current constitution was adopted and a parliamentary republic established. The land is home to 2.9 million citizens with Romanian as the official language. Due to, among other factors, a decrease in industry and agriculture, Moldova remains one of the poorest countries in Europe.
The Universitatea de Stat din Moldova was founded in October of 1946. Initially the school was comprised of five faculties, 12 departments, and had 320 students in attendance. Today there are 14 faculties offering 72 specializations through 51 departments and the student body has grown to over 16,500 pupils. There are now three major research Centers which operate 21 laboratories. The school has also managed more than 60 international academic and research agreements in over 25 countries. Moldova State University is the first of its kind of institution to be accredited by the Moldova Republic.
Notable Alumni: Nicolae Timofti (President of Moldova) and Marian Lupu (former President of the Parliament of Moldova)
Though Monaco is less than one square mile in size, it holds a population of 37,800 citizens making it the world’s second smallest, but most densely populated area. This sovereign microstate is located in West Europe on the French Riviera. The popularity of the area with tourists has been attributed in part to the Monet Carlo casino and direct railway into Paris. Governed by a form of constitutional monarchy, the official language of the country is French; however English, Italian, and Monegasque are also recognized.
Founded as the University of Southern Europe in 1986, the University changed its name to the International University of Monaco in 2002. Located on the scenic French Riviera, the University specializes in Business degrees with concentrations offered in Finance, Luxury, Marketing, Sport Business Management and International Management.
Programs vary in length from 10 months to four years. Instruction is provided in English. There are approximately 550 students currently enrolled. The University maintains membership with international associations such as the European Foundation for Management Development and the European Council of International Schools.
Montenegro, meaning ‘Black Mountain’, consists of 5,300 square miles. Located in Southeastern Europe the country consisted of three principalities in the ninth century, Duklja, Travunia, and Rascia. From 1496 to 1878, the majority of the land fell under the control of the Ottoman Empire. In 1918 Montenegro was considered part of Yugoslavia. Recently in May of 2006 the country declared its independence. The land is home to over 676,000 citizens who speak the unique mother tongue of Montenegrin.
Founded in 1974, the University of Montenegro originally consisted of three faculties, two colleges, and three independent institutes. The school changed its name a year later to the University ‘Veljko Vlahovic’, and has been known by its present name since 1992. The University has grown into a total of 19 faculties with two scientific research institutes, in addition to the three independent institutes. There are more than 21,500 students in attendance. Numerous cooperative agreements have been signed by the University with institutions in at least 19 other countries and membership is maintained in at least five international organizations.
Notable Alumni: Željko Šturanović (Prime Minister of Montenegro); Boro Vučinić (head of the Montenegrin National Security Agency, as well as the former Minister of Defense); and Darko Pajović (former President of the Parliament of Montenegro)
Translated as the ‘lower countries’, the Netherlands are located in Western Europe and claim dominion over three islands in the Caribbean. With only about 50 percent of the 16,000 square miles above sea level, the Netherlands are fertile and mild in climate. The country contains the largest port in Europe, Rotterdam. The 17 million citizens have maintained a long history of social tolerance and have been governed by a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy since 1848.
Founded in 1636 with only four faculties to start, Utrecht University has grown to become one of the largest institutions for higher education in Europe. Today there are seven faculties which operate 12 departments, three schools, and three interfaculty units. There are over 30,000 students enrolled within 45 Bachelor’s programs and 138 Master’s programs. The global alumni network and faculty members include 12 Nobel Laureates and 15 Spinoza Prize recipients. Other facilities managed by the University include the Cultural Center, the University Museum, and the Utrecht Botanical Gardens.
Notable Alumni: René Descartes (philosopher and mathematician) and Willem Einthoven (invented the first practical electrocardiogram)
NorwayUniversity of Oslo
Located on the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, the country of Norway includes the island of Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard. The country also claims dominion over part of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land. The main 148,000 square miles of Norway are home to 5.1 million citizens of a relatively stable unitary monarchy. The current King of Norway is Harald V of the German House of Schleswig-Holsteing-Sonderburg-Glucksburg.
Founded in 1811, the University of Oslo was originally named after King Frederick VI of Denmark and Norway until 1939 when it received its current name. Academically modelled after the University of Copenhagen, Oslo maintains eight major academic faculties with 25 departments and 30 academic Centers and Institutes. The University also operates three museums and an additional eight National Centers of Excellence for research. There are over 27,700 students in attendance with an alumni network which includes five Nobel Laureates.
Notable Alumni: Gro Harlem Brundtland (former Prime Minister of Norway and Director-General of the World Health Organization); Åse Maria Kleveland (well-known folk singer and traditional guitarist in Norway); and Jens Stoltenberg (former Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Prime Minister of Norway)
Comprising an area of over 120,000 square miles in Central Europe, Poland has been ranked the ninth largest country in Europe. Additionally, the population of more than 38.5 million citizens ranks Poland as the eighth most populated in Europe. Historically, the Kingdom of Poland dates back to 1025. In 1569 the country signed the Union of Lublin forming the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Today the unitary state is organized into 16 administrative subdivisions and maintains a parliamentary republic.
Founded in 1364 by Casimir III the Great, Jagiellonian University is the oldest institution for higher education in Poland. Throughout history the school has also been known as the University of Krakow, Krakown Academy, the Main Crown School, and the Studium Generale. Today the school is comprised of 15 faculties which offer 142 areas of specialization within 87 fields of study. There are approximately 50,000 students in attendance with over 1,000 international students. At least two Nobel Laureates are affiliated with the University.
Notable Alumni: Pope John Paul II; Stanisław Lem (wrote Solaris); and Nicolaus Copernicus
PortugalUniversity of Lisbon
Portugal is located in Southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Comprised of 35,000 square miles, the country is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and Spain. The land has seen various rulers from the Celts to the Romans. The First County of Portugal was established in 868 and in 1139 the country’s independence was declared by King Afonso Henriques. Today the 10.4 million citizens are governed by a unitary semi-presidential republic.
The new University of Lisbon was recently formed in 2013 from the merger of the former University of Lisbon and the Technical University of Lisbon. Now the largest institution for higher education in the country, the University is comprised of 18 schools, 81 research Centers and Institutes, and six specialized units. Over 440 courses are offered to more than 48,000 graduate and undergraduate students. Approximately 3,000 students represent other countries. The University maintains academic and research oriented international agreements in over 20 countries.
Notable Alumni: José Manuel Durão Barroso (non-executive chairman at Goldman Sachs International, former President of the European Commission and Prime Minister of Portugal) and Graça Machel (widow of former South African president Nelson Mandela and of Mozambican president Samora Machel)
The 92,000 square miles of Romania are located in Southeast Europe. The country’s current borders were established in 1859 after the union of the two Danubian principalities Moldavia and Wallachia. In 1866 the land was officially named Romania and in 1877 it declared independence from the Ottoman Empire. After World War II the country became a socialist republic and member of the Warsaw Pact.
It was not until the 1989 Revolution that democracy was once again considered. Today the 19.9 million citizens are governed under a unitary semi-presidential republic.
The Universitatea Alexandru Ioan Cuza, also known as the University of Iasi, is both the oldest and most modern institution for higher education in the country of Romania. The University can trace its history back to two major predecessors, the Academies Vasiliene in 1640 and the Royal Academy in 1707. Currently, the school maintains 15 faculties and has over 31,000 students in attendance. Internationally, there are more than 30 research projects and over 200 agreements with other institutions worldwide.
Notable Alumni: Cristian Mungiu (Romanian filmmaker, winner of the Palme d’Or in 2007)
RussiaMoscow State University
Recognized as the largest country in the world, Russia is comprised of 6.6 million square miles which span 11 time zones. The history of the country dates back to the ninth century and the formation of the state of Rus. Over the next millennium, the area was greatly influenced by the rise of Orthodox Christianity and the Byzantine Empire. The Russian Empire as it is known today emerged in the 18th century and is home to over 144 million citizens.
Located in the country’s capital city, Moscow State University was founded in 1755 as Lomonosov University. Starting with three faculties, the school saw significant growth in 1912 with the addition of nine new faculties and direct funding from the government. Its main academic building is one of seven historic towers built throughout the city under Stalin.
Today the University manages six branch locations, 29 faculties with 10 departments, and 11 academic and research institutions. There are an additional 18 facilities such as the Museum of History and the Scientific Library. Twelve Nobel Laureates are affiliated with the school and over 47,000 students are currently enrolled.
Notable Alumni: Anton Chekhov (Russian playwright and short story writer); Mikhail Gorbachev (final leader of the Soviet Union); and Andrei Sakharov (physicist and activist)
SerbiaUniversity of Belgrade
Serbia is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe. During the middle ages the Serbs founded several states that would be recognized as the Serbian Kingdom in 1217 by Rome and Constantinople. A constitutional monarchy was established during the 19th century after the Serbian Revolution. Finally in 2006 Serbia became a unitary parliamentary constitutional republic. In total Serbia consists of over 34,000 square miles and is home to just over seven million citizens.
The University of Belgrade was founded in 1808, initially known as the Belgrade Higher School. Currently there are 31 faculties organized into four major academic groupings: Medical Sciences, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Social Sciences and Humanities, and Technological Sciences.
There are an additional 11 Institutes and seven Centers for study and research. Approximately 90,000 students are in attendance. The University overall has been recognized as the oldest and largest institution for higher education in Serbia.
Notable Alumni: Srgjan Kerim (President of the UN General Assembly); Zoran Đinđić and Mirko Cvetković (Serbian Prime Ministers)
Slovak RepublicSlovenská Technická Univerzita v Bratislave
During the fifth and sixth centuries, the people group called the Slaves settled the land now known as the Slovak Republic. Before becoming an independent nation, the land was conquered by the Kingdom of Hungary during the 10th century. After World War I the 19,000 square miles became Czechoslovakia until independence in 1993. This landlocked country in Central Europe is home to over five million citizens. The official language of government and trade is Slovak.
Officially founded in 1937, the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava traces its history back to 1762 and the Mining Academy in Banská Štiavnica. The Mining Academy laid the foundation for the technical training which the Slovak University provides today.
Currently there are seven faculties offering Bachelor’s through Doctoral studies in areas such as computer science, civil engineering, and food and materials technology. The 17,000 enrolled students are able to study and research within the nine Centers of Excellence and one Institute operated by the school.
Notable Alumni: Andrej Kiska (President of Slovakia) and Vladimír Kompánek (Slovak sculptor and painter)
SloveniaUniversity of Ljubljana
Known for its dense river network and rich aquifer systems, Slovenia consists of nearly 8,000 square miles located in southern Central Europe. The area is a mix of culture and languages including Slavic, Germanic, Romance, and Hungarian, with Slovene being the official language of government and trade throughout the country. More than two million citizens reside in the land governed by a parliamentary republic.
The University of Ljubljana was officially founded in 1919. However, certain faculties can trace their history back to the 17th century and the founding of the French school Écoles centrales. When Austria conquered the land in 1813 the French school was disbanded but it left a president for its successor.
Today the University of Ljubljana operates 23 faculties, three academies, two University libraries, and one art gallery. The school maintains 123 international projects and 156 research programs. Cooperative agreements exist with over 30 other institutions in south-eastern Europe and more than 100 institutions worldwide. There are over 63,000 students in attendance.
Notable Alumni: Anton Rop (vice-president of European Investment Bank and fourth Prime Minister of Slovenia) and Zoran Janković (former president of the Slovenian retail company Mercator and mayor of Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia)
The unified country of Spain emerged during the 15th century and rapidly grew into one of the first global empires. With over 500 million Spanish speakers in the world, the influence of the culture is comparable to any historical rival. The country continues to be the second largest in Western Europe by area with over 195,000 square miles and sixth largest in Europe by population with over 46.4 million people. Located in southwestern Europe, Spain also claims sovereignty over archipelagos in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.
Founded in 1450, the University of Barcelona has become one of the most influential schools in Spain. The impressive array of opportunities offered at the school includes 73 Bachelor’s degrees, 144 Master’s degrees, 48 Doctoral programs, and 654 postgraduate programs. These are organized into 16 faculties and eight affiliated centers. There are over 300 research groups within 62 departments and 23 research institutes and centers. More than 65,000 students are in attendance with over 9,000 students from other countries. Additionally, the school maintains over 2,000 international agreements with other universities.
Notable Alumni: Ron Arias (author and former senior writer and correspondent for People magazine and People en Español); Manuel Cardona Castro (physicist); and Artur Mas i Gavarró (former President of the Generalitat of Catalonia)
By area, Sweden is the third largest country in the European Union with over 173,000 square miles divided into 21 counties and 290 municipalities. Inhabited for decades by various Germanic peoples and tribes, it was not until the Middle Ages when Sweden developed into an independent and unified land. Since 1814 the country has maintained a foreign policy of neutrality. The 9.8 million citizens are governed by a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy with Carl XVI Gustaf as King.
Founded in 1810, the Karolinska Institute is one of the largest and most prestigious medical universities in the world, well known for its Nobel Assembly and the presentation of the Noble Prize in Physiology of Medicine. Academically the school is organized into 22 departments, 13 academic programs with four supplemental programs, and nine major research areas. Approximately 6,000 students are enrolled. The main associated teaching hospital is the Karolinska University Hospital. International collaborations are maintained with major medical institutions such as the Mayo Clinic in the United States and ASTAR in Singapore.
Notable Alumni: Herbert Olivecrona (founder of Swedish neurosurgery); Lars Leksell (physician, inventor of radiosurgery and the Gamma Knife); and Bertil Aldman (biomechanic, inventor of the rear-facing infant seat)
Located on the northern border of Italy, Switzerland is a landlocked country in Central and Western Europe. The history of the Swiss Confederation dates back to 1291. Switzerland is also known as the birthplace of the Red Cross.
Appropriately, the country has maintained a foreign policy of armed neutrality and has not participated in international war since 1815. Comprised of less than 16,000 square miles, Switzerland is home to approximately eight million people.
Established in 1855, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich is well known for its educational programs in science and technology and has been consistently ranked fifth in the world. The school currently maintains two campus locations, 16 departments, and a total of 14 affiliated Centers of Competence. There are over 18,000 students currently in attendance. The Institute is affiliated with 21 Nobel Prize recipients including Albert Einstein in 1921 and Niels Bohr in 1922.
Notable Alumni: Albert Einstein and Kurt Wüthrich (known for developing nuclear magnetic resonance)
Recognized as the largest country entirely within the European continent, Ukraine is comprised of more than 233,000 square miles. The country is also said to be the world’s largest exporter of grain. Inhabited since 32,000 BC, today there are approximately 44.5 million people governed under a unitary semi-presidential republic system. Though it has declared itself a neutral state, the nation is currently in a territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula.
Located in the capital city of Kiev, the National Technical University of Ukraine was founded in 1898. The four original departments included Mechanical, Chemical, Agricultural, and Civil Engineering. Today the school operates two campus locations and has academic programs organized into nine Institutes and 20 departments. There are approximately 36,000 students in attendance with about 400 international students. The National Technical University has participated in 29 international agreements and concluded 17 contracts. Academic and research partnerships are maintained with 45 foreign institutions from 12 countries.
Notable Alumni: Igor Sikorsky (creator of Sikorsky Helicopters) and A. M. Lyulka (USSR’s premier designer of jet engines)
United KingdomUniversity of Cambridge
The United Kingdom consists of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The British Empire has been considered the largest in history with extensive influence of culture, government, and language worldwide. Comprised of 93,800 square miles, the UK is home to approximately 64.5 million people governed under a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. The current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has been in position since 1952.
Consistently ranked as one of the top universities in the world, Cambridge is the second oldest English speaking institution for higher education. Founded in 1209, the school’s contribution to history is arguably greater than any other. It has produced numerous world changing thinkers such as Isaac Newton and Stephen Hawking. Currently the academic programs are organized into six schools with 31 constituent colleges and more than 100 departments. Additionally, the University operates eight cultural and scientific museums, including a Botanic garden. Nearly 20,000 students are in attendance with 92 Nobel Laureates in the faculty and alumni.
Notable Alumni: Charles Darwin, Stephen Hawking, Sir Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon, Jane Goodall, and David Attenborough