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About the University of Basel
The University of Basel has an international reputation of outstanding achievements in research and teaching. Founded in 1460, the University of Basel is the oldest university in Switzerland and has a history of success going back over 550 years.
As a comprehensive university offering a wide range of high-quality educational opportunities, the University of Basel attracts students from Switzerland and the entire world, offering them outstanding studying conditions as they work towards their bachelor’s, master’s or PhD degrees. Today, the University of Basel has around 13,000 students from over a hundred nations, including 2,700 PhD students.
The University of Basel has seven faculties covering a wide spectrum of academic disciplines. At the same time, the university has positioned itself amidst the international competition in the form of five strategic focal areas: Life Sciences, Visual Studies, Nanosciences, Sustainability and Energy Research and European and Global Studies. In international rankings, the University of Basel is regularly placed among the 100 top universities in the world thanks to its research achievements.
The University of Basel has deep roots in the economically powerful and culturally rich Basel region. The university also works closely with domestic and international partners to make relevant contributions to the advancement of the sciences and society. This also means that the University of Basel pays particular attention to aspects of sustainability, equal opportunity and knowledge transfer.
History of the University of Basel
Founded in 1460, it is Switzerland's oldest university.
Erasmus, Paracelsus, Daniel Bernoulli, Jacob Burckhardt, Leonhard Euler, Friedrich Nietzsche, Eugen Huber, Carl Jung, Karl Barth, Karl Jaspers, Hermann Peter, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Werner Kuhn, Edgar Heilbronner, and Christoph Gerber are among those associated with the university.
The University of Basel was founded in connection with the Council of Basel. The deed of foundation given in the form of a Papal bull by Pope Pius II on November 12, 1459, and the official opening ceremony was held on April 4, 1460. Originally the University of Basel was decreed to have four faculties—arts, medicine, theology and jurisprudence. The faculty of arts served until 1818 as foundation for the other three academic subjects. In the eighteenth century as Basel became more commercial, the university, one of the centers of learning in the Renaissance, slipped into insignificance. Enrollment which had been over a thousand around 1600, dropped to sixty in 1785 with eighteen professors. The professors themselves were mostly sons of the elite.
Over the course of centuries as many scholars came to the city, Basel became an early center of book printing and humanism. Around the same time as the university itself, the Basel University Library was founded. Today it has over three million books and writings and is the largest library in Switzerland.
In 1830 the Canton of Basel split in two with the Federal Diet requiring that the canton's assets, including the books at the University library, be divided—two thirds going to the new half canton of Basel-Landschaft. The city, Basel-Stadt, had to buy back this share and the university became so impoverished that it drastically reduced its course offerings. Students were expected to continue their education after two years or so at a German university. In 1835 the enrollment at the university was forty students, mostly from the area.
At the end of the 1990s the University entered a period of crisis; the management of the University was strongly criticized; Vice-Rector Gian-Reto Plattner wrote that "when no solution is found, the University must be closed. That would be more honest than allowing it to sink to the level of a simple college."
Institutional Accreditation or Recognition - Staatssekretariat für Bildung, Forschung und Innovation, Schweiz
Student Life @the University of Basel
Student life also takes place beyond the walls of the lecture hall, library and laboratory – especially in Basel, where the university is so closely intertwined with the city.
Basel offers a wide range of cultural and sports activities in a city of manageable size. The availability of housing and side jobs for students in the region is also relatively large.
Numerous student organizations make it easier to delve into student life. Your fellow students provide the best tips and tricks.
From finding your inner balance through yoga, strong kicks in boot camp, to undergoing wildly romantic sea kayaking adventures and polishing your soccer skills, University Sports offers you a program of over 100 sports, movement and body awareness activities.
The state-of-the-art University Sports center can be found at Leonhardsstrasse 15, right next to the main building (Kollegienhaus). In addition, the sports facilities of the cantons of Baselland and Basel-Stadt can also be used.
Most training sessions are free of charge and do not require advance booking. For sessions that require booking, you can visit the University Sports office or the website where you will find the entire program on offer.
In addition to weekly training sessions from Monday to Saturday, University Sports organizes camps, weekends, workshops, advisory services and tournaments. Whether you are a beginner, returing to sports, an all-rounder or a top athlete, we have the right course for you.
Students and employees can also take advantage of the modern fitness center. The center is run by a professional team who will help you with the cardio, weight lifting and circuit training.
Mensa and Cafeterias
The refectory (Mensa) at the University of Basel is open all year round and serves various low-price lunches from 11:30 to 14:00 (bring your student ID). Other refectories can be found at the Department of Physics, the Biozentrum and on the Campus Swiss Railway Station. The refectories particularly focus on using sustainable produce and offering a wide selection of vegetarian food.
There are several cafeterias throughout the University of Basel. The best view offers the cafeteria on the top floor of the University Library. The cafeteria in the main building with its beautiful courtyard is a great spot to relax between lectures.
The Caffè Bologna on Missionsstrasse 61 is a students’ café that was established by Skuba (the student body of the University of Basel). Freshly ground coffee and homemade treats await you here. Lunch is served between 11:30 and 14:00.
The restaurant Cantina e9 at Eulerstrasse 9 is open every lunchtime from 11:00 to 14:30. Each day, three menus are on offer (including soup, salad, a main course and dessert). Students can eat here from as little as CHF 9.50 and support a social project at the same time.
Run by a cooperative, the restaurant Borromeo at Byfangweg 6 serves two menus each day (including a vegetarian option) from 11:00 to 14:00. Make sure to try the homemade pasta, and do not forget to bring your student ID.
Where do students live? Basel is divided into two halves by the River Rhine: The northern half is known as Kleinbasel, and the southern half as Grossbasel. Kleinbasel is a very popular area to live for students for two reasons: The rents are lower here than in Grossbasel and there is a very active nightlife. Grossbasel has the advantage of being very close to many of the university buildings, as well as being right in the center of town. The Gundeli quarter is between the Swiss railway station (Bahnhof SBB) and the Margarethen park to the south of the city. Even though Gundeli is a little bit further away from the center of town and the Rhine, it has many advantages such as lower rents and direct access to the public transport at Bahnhof SBB.
The student body of the University of Basel (Skuba) officially represents the interests of students at the University of Basel. Skuba aims to ensure that the interests and opinions of the students are taken into account by university bodies.
Alongside Skuba, numerous other student organizations are active at the University of Basel. They are committed to promoting culture, sports, environment, politics and religion, and thus contribute to the social life at the University of Basel.
- Akademische Turnerschaft Alemannia zu Basel
- Akademische Verbindung Froburger Basel
- Akademischer Alpenclub Basel
- AKV Raurica
- Amnesty Students Basel
- Association francophone des étudiants de Bâle
- Christlicher Hochschulverein VBG Basel
- CAMPUS live
- Choir and Orchestra at the University of Basel
- ELSA (European Law Student’s Association)
- English Seminar Choir
- Erasmus Student Network (ESN) Basel
- frei denken uni basel
- Helvetia Basel
- IAESTE Switzerland
- ICCSN Basel
- ISA Basel
- Jurassia Basiliensis
- Katholische Universitätsgemeinde Basel
- Multilingual Toastmasters
- MUN Team Basel
- Muslim Students Association University of Basel
- Offene Bühne
- Offiziersverein der Universität Basel
- Open Auditorium
- Queer Students Basel
- Reformiertes Pfarramt beider Basel an der Universität
- Science Slam Club Basel
- Schweizerischer Akademischer Skiclub Sektion Basel
- Schweizerischer Studentenverein
- Schwizerhüsli Basiliensis
- Skuba – Studentische Körperschaft der Universität Basel
- STAB Studenti Ticinesi a Basilea
- Stiftung Calcutta Project Basel
- Students for Sustainability at the University of Basel (SDUBS)
- UniGärten Basel
- Unitheater Basel
- Verein Frauenstadtrundgang Basel
- Zofingia Basel