University of Zaragoza

University of Zaragoza
Universidad de Zaragoza
Coat of arms of the University of Zaragoza
TypePublic University
EstablishedKnown as the School of [1]
RectorProf Manuel José López Pérez[1]
Academic staff
3,911 (2013 - 2014)[2]
Administrative staff
1,806 (2013 - 2014)[2]
Students36,492 including self-study and international participants (2013 - 2014)[2]
Undergraduates30,415 (2013 - 2014)[2]
Postgraduates3,528 (2013 - 2014)[2]
CampusJaca, Huesca, La Almunia de Doña Godina, Zaragoza,

The University of Zaragoza, sometimes referred to as Saragossa University (in Spanish: Universidad de Zaragoza) is a university located in Zaragoza, in the Aragon region of Spain. Founded in 1542, it is one of the oldest universities in Spain, with a history dating back to the Roman period. The university has over 40,000 students in its 22 faculties. The university is the only public university in the region. Its activity is spread along the three provinces of Aragon, with teaching campuses and research centres in Huesca, Teruel and Zaragoza.



The building of the Ancient Faculty of Medicine and Sciences in Zaragoza, now called Paraninfo.

Ecclesiastical Schools were the initial elements of the University of Zaragoza. These schools were later consolidated into the School of Zaragoza, led by Bishop Braulio during the 7th century (who would later be made the patron saint of the University). The School of Arts officially becoming a university in 1542, though some scholars argue it could be considered a University of Arts already from 1477.[3]


The Studium Generale of Arts, also called Studio Mayor or primitive University of Zaragoza, was in the Magdalena and St. Nicholas neighborhoods. Its main building was a broad tower of circular base on the old wall of the city, and it had more than 20 chambers distributed in three different floors. Besides the normal chambers that were granted and rented by the University to both pupils and teachers, on the first floor the tower had the chamber called "General Mayor," where the grades were provided, and also a library. On the second floor there was the prison, the latrines and the doorkeeper’s chamber. Finally, in the last floor there were bigger rooms with balconies, and the chamber of the four Masters of Arts. The Studium had also bought more chambers in the tower surroundings and on the city wall, and the most important ones were the five chambers called "El Cocinador," and eleven more in the Studium’s square, called "El Corralet" chambers. [4]

The Studium’s head was the Chancellor, a position always held by the archbishop of Zaragoza, and the second in command was the Vicechancellor, who was also the High Master of the Studium. The High Master collected taxes from any pupil, with the exception of the poor, the cleric from La Seo cathedral, or any student he would want to forgive such payment. Under him there were the four Masters of Arts, four positions reserved for selected individuals that held a master of arts degree, and who were in charge of the teaching of the liberal arts. Under them there were the "Bachilleres," who were mostly teaching advanced Latin grammar, and the "Camareros," who were providing more basic Latin lessons. The lowest rank teachers were the "Cubicularios," also called "repetidores" in other Studiums, who merely repeated the lessons from the other teachers. The Studium also had a Rector, who was an apostolic position that represented the Archbishop’s power in this primitive university, and had the power of approving all the academic positions in the Studium, and administrated the fees from the students for reparations and other needs of this university. [5]

The primitive University of Zaragoza had a Faculty of Aristotelian Logic and another of Philosophy (it included both Natural Philosophy and Aristotelian Ethics), and all together they formed the Faculty of Arts. But this Studium Generale had also a Faculty of Grammar, which had several hundreds of students during the first decades of the XVI century, while the Faculty of Arts had near 50. In order to get their grades, the students had to be endorsed by another older student or teacher and to pass private exams, and pay fees. Lessons were taught in the morning and afternoons, which made that many of them would rent chambers for staying at night.[6]

This primitive University of Zaragoza had physician master Pedro La Cabra as its first High Master, and after him the maestre Luis Gorriz, who died in 1510. After him, the archbishop appointed his personal physician, master Juan Tarabal, who remained in this position until 1520, when the archbishop died because of the plague. That year Tarabal was substituted by master Gaspar Lax, a prolific author and prominent European figure in logic, philosophy and mathematics, whose works were used in many other contemporaneous universities. Lax had been teaching in the University of Paris and later in the University of Huesca, and from 1520 he was simultaneously High Master and one of the four Masters of Arts. This High Master had erasmian friends, both in Paris and Zaragoza, and allowed Erasmus’s works to be taught in this Studium. That same year of 1520 Michael Servetus, brilliant nephew of Gaspar Lax, started his studies under the direction of his uncle and the other three Masters of Arts (Exerich, Ansías, Miranda, Carnicer, Villalpando). Servetus became himself a Master of Arts in 1525, a position he held until 1527, when he had a brawl with his uncle Gaspar Lax, and after being expelled from the Studium he left Spain for Toulouse Studium Generale. Lax kept being the High Master until his death in 1560. [7]

University of Zaragoza Recent History

Basílica del Pilar - Río Ebro in Zaragoza, Spain

The University of Zaragoza is the main centre of technological innovation in the Ebro Valley and enjoys a great prestige among the group of Spanish, European and International universities it has relations with.[citation needed]

Academic staff at the University of Zaragoza are highly specialised and have a broad research and teaching experience. Be it Spanish as a Foreign Language or fields as interesting to international students as Spanish Literature, Geography, Archaeology, Cinema, History, Biocomputation and Physics of Complex Systems (BIFI Research Group) or Nanotechnologies (among many others), the combination of teaching and research is proving very successful.[citation needed]

The University, with a total of about 40.000 students, is composed by a teaching staff of about 3.000 with different positions and an administrative and technical staff of about 2.000. It is distributed in campuses located in Zaragoza, Huesca and Teruel.

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