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University of Zaragoza

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University of Zaragoza

University of Zaragoza
Universidad de Zaragoza
Coat of arms of the University of Zaragoza
Established Known as the School of Zaragoza in 7th century; officially became the University of Zaragoza in 1542.[2]
Type Public University
Rector Prof Manuel José López Pérez[1]
Academic staff
3,911 (2013 - 2014)[2]
Administrative staff
1,806 (2013 - 2014)[2]
Students 36,492 including self-study and international participants (2013 - 2014)[2]
Undergraduates 30,415 (2013 - 2014)[2]
Postgraduates 3,528 (2013 - 2014)[2]
Location Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain
Campus Jaca, Huesca, La Almunia de Doña Godina, Zaragoza, Teruel

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.


  • History 1
    • Beginnings 1.1
    • Foundation 1.2
    • University of Zaragoza Recent History 1.3
  • Campus 2
    • Zaragoza 2.1
    • Huesca 2.2
    • Teruel 2.3
  • Academics 3
    • Courses in Spanish as a Foreign Language 3.1
    • Research Centers 3.2
      • Immunotherapy Cancer Research in Aragon 3.2.1
    • MIT–Zaragoza International Logistics Program 3.3
    • Rankings 3.4
  • Notable alumni and former students 4
  • Notable Emeritus Faculty 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes and references 7
  • External links 8



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

The University of Zaragoza began with what were known as the Ecclesiastical Schools. 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). References from 1335 indicate there was a School of Arts (known as liberal arts, since the classics included in the "trivium and "quadrivium" were taught there). Between 1474 and 1476 the School of Arts earned the category of General School of Arts before officially becoming a university in 1542.


The cultural activities and endeavours of the leaders of Zaragoza during the last third of the 15th century had obtained authorization from Pope Sixtus IV in 1474 and, at the petition of Fernando, the future King of Aragon, it was made a General School of Arts. Coinciding with the introduction of the printing press, evidence of an interest in knowledge, ratification of the General School of Arts was obtained from King Juan in 1476. Thus the capital of the Kingdom of Aragon could now grant the degree of “Bachiller” in Arts. In 1477, the Rector Pedro de la Cabra and a representative of the town council prepared its first bylaws. Petitions to enable it to grant the full degrees of “Licenciado” and “Doctor en Facultad” continued until 1542, the date on which one can speak of the University of Zaragoza as existing "de jure", since it did not exist as such “de facto” until 1583, its official founding date.

As was to be expected in the 16th century, this University arose in a very simple society if we judge it using only material criteria, but in reality in a very complex and diverse one, if we take into account both the material and the spiritual. It is said that two worlds existed then, the rural and the urban. In Aragon this classification is valid, but it must be understood that with regard to legal relations in the feudal production system in the rural world, a distinction must certainly be made between the estates of the Church, widows and the Crown –without "absolute power", the right that allowed them starve the serfs without a fair trial– and the secular estates –which had "absolute power"-, a distinctive criterion that may serve the occasion. As for the urban world, all belonging to the Crown, we must make a distinction between the capital, Zaragoza, seat of the government of the monarchy and the king himself, with a singular council and several high-level courts of justice, which gave its people (although they did not enjoy privileges) considerable freedom of action in comparison to other towns, and the other urban areas of the Crown distributed throughout Aragon, whose freedom was more limited by their lower concentration of population and limited contact with the outside world. It was certainly a society in which, given its complexity, we can observe the presence of the poor and alienated, as well as a noteworthy number of immigrants, especially French, who in 1577 constituted a fifth of the population and lived throughout Aragon, becoming a part of the web of Aragonese society or living temporarily or seasonally in the area. From a qualitative perspective, neither should the important contribution of Catalonian and Genovese merchants to the area’s economy be overlooked.

On the other hand, in that 16th century Aragon was also immersed in the general movement known as the Renaissance, with its great religious conflicts and well-known political figures, to which outstanding Aragonese made contributions, among them, Miguel Servet. The nobles and urban patricians of Zaragoza offered their resources for its development: palaces, churches, paintings, print shops and literary and scientific works represented a great endeavour that attracted and developed the most diverse techniques and the most refined exercise of the intellect.

It was the effort of a few –basically urban patricians and the educated clergy– who obtained from the King of Aragon and "Emperor of the Romans" the privilege of founding the General School of all Faculties in the city of Zaragoza. To do so they took advantage of the meeting of the Cortes Generales assembly in Monzón and precisely on September 10, 1542 the Emperor, King of the Aragonese, with his mother Juana, signed with his “I, the King” the document –privilege- that created "de jure” the Schools of Theology, Canon and Civil Law, Medicine, Philosophy, Art and any that were acceptable in the university community.

The members of the city council of Zaragoza, Martin de Alberuela, Juan de Paternoy and Miguel Frances, led by the town elder Jeronimo Oriola, had achieved their objective. And certainly, of no little importance was the fact that there were professors at the university of the stature of Gaspar Lax de Sariñena, who having studied in Zaragoza, had devoted his talents to teaching in Paris, to return in 1525 to dedicate himself to the study and teaching of mathematics, logics and philosophy, disciplines in which he was a prominent European figure. But greater determination and resources were still needed.

As on so many occasions (some quite recent), the Papal Bulls of confirmation in 1554 and 1555 did not provide economic resources, and the privilege was not accompanied by any income or benefit with which to undertake the tasks of a university. It would have to wait to obtain funds from the city government, which were so decisive and had been a long-standing tradition. The city government had already shown its interest in the School in 1492, having requested money from the Kings with which to pay the professors’ honoraria, a clear antecedent of what happens today, but from the Alma Mater itself. It provided financing for the chairs of Theology in 1500 and Poetry and Rhetoric in 1503, and also to the School itself, which with money from students hired a part-time professor in 1509. And there were contributions from people such as Pedro Cerbuna (the first and exemplary case of an individual patron) with whose material support, no less enthusiasm, and despite opposition from the Viceroy as the maximum representative of the “central government”, classes began no fewer than forty years later in 1583. As a site, the University didn’t have its own buildings until 1586 with the construction of the Casa de Anatomia, by the cemetery of the Hospital of Nuestra Señora de Gracia, developing in the area of La Magdalena between 1589 and 1594.

Thus, in the year 1542 the University of Zaragoza was granted the authority to take the giant step to become what we today call University. That was four hundred and fifty years ago and is what we remember, but it was necessary to continue the endeavour, and many illusions were lost by the wayside, until others who kept or received their enthusiasm and avoided obstacles, as did Pedro Cerbuna, gave their best efforts and were able to create the General School of All Faculties in 1583, whose fourth centenary was celebrated in 1983.

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.

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.

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.


Paraninfo de la Universidad de Zaragoza

The University of Zaragoza campuses are located in the autonomous Community of Aragon in Spain. The community is made up of three provinces: Zaragoza, Huesca, and Teruel. The original campus resides in Zaragoza, the capital of Aragon, but additional campuses were created in both Huesca and Teruel in 1985.[3]


The Zaragoza campus is divided into five different locations throughout the city. Campus Plaza San Francisco is the largest of the five locations and is home to a majority of the university colleges and departments in Zaragoza. The other four locations, Campus Rio Ebro, Escuela Universitaria de Turismo, Plaza de Basilio and Facultad de Veterinaria host only one to two colleges each.[4]

The Paraninfo building, located on the San Francisco campus, is one of the most valuable and significant buildings owned by the entire university. Originally inaugurated in 1893, the building was scheduled for restoration in 2006. The project inauguration was attended by the King of Spain, the president of the Government of Aragon and other important figures. The restoration architects, Luis Franco and Mariano Pemán, made great efforts to maintain the architectural heritage of the building while adding new functionality. At the front of the building sits four large stone statues of notable scientists and doctors that had connections to the university. On display are Andrés Piquer, Miguel Servet, Ignacio Jordán de Asso and Fausto Elhuyar. Today, the Paraninfo is, as the name suggests, a functional auditorium as well as the university library.[5]


Huesca is located roughly 75 kilometers northeast of Zaragoza.[6] The Huesca location has a number of colleges including the Polytechnic School, Faculty of Health and Sport Science, Faculty of Humanities and Education, and Faculty of Business and Public Management. Also, the affiliated School of Nursing of San Jorge hospital is located in Huesca.[7]


Teruel is located roughly 170 kilometers south of Zaragoza. The Teruel campus is home to the technical college where you will find computer engineering and similar programs. It is also the location of the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences and the affiliated School of Nursing of the Obispo Polanco hospital.


At the University of Zaragoza, the old traditional studies are offered at “Faculties” (Facultades), e.g. “Facultad de Derecho” (Faculty of Law), while new more technical studies are offered at “Schools” (Escuelas) e.g. “Escuela Universitaria de Ingeniería Técnica” (University School for Technical Engineering) or “Polytechnics” (Politécnicos), e.g. “Centro Politécnico Superior” (Higher Polytechnic Centre).

Courses in Spanish as a Foreign Language

Courses in Spanish as a Foreign Language are run throughout the year and vary between 90 and 570 hours. The University offers all levels and some specialised courses. Courses along the academic term are offered in Zaragoza, while the Summer Courses are offered in Jaca – The Pyrenees. The University of Zaragoza was the first Spanish university to offer Spanish Courses for international students in 1927.

Research Centers

The University of Zaragoza covers a wide spectrum of knowledge organized within the areas of Engineering and Technology, Experimental Sciences, Health Sciences, Social and Juridical Sciences and Humanities. In 2010, the University of Zaragoza had 6 research institutes, 1 affiliated research institute, 5 joint research institutes and 3 research centers.[8] At this time, the annual figure allocated by the University of Zaragoza to research and development was € 60 million. By 2011, the university had an estimated 3,803 researchers and 8,305 partnering companies.[9]

Immunotherapy Cancer Research in Aragon

The University of Zaragoza is one of the world leaders in immunotherapy cancer research.[10] A large amount of this research is led by the individual teams of Julián Pardo, Luis Martinez and Alberto Anel. Their research has led to significant contributions in the understanding of cancer cell immunity and they have numerous patents intended for cancer treatments.[11]

MIT–Zaragoza International Logistics Program

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology-University of Zaragoza International Logistics Program was created in 2003 by the MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics (CTL), the PLAZA logistics park, the government of Aragón, the University of Zaragoza and by industry partners from the private and non-profit sectors. The cooperation offers a unique educational and research opportunity that consolidates the interests of industry, government and academia by building and learning from the largest logistics park in Europe.[12]

The education program offers a master's degree which builds upon the curriculum of MIT's Master of Engineering in Supply Chain Management (SCM). The program is taught in English and attracts an international audience, with 11 countries of origin represented in the class of 20 students for the 2014 academic year.[13] The program has been named by El Mundo, the #1 Logistics and Supply Chain Management degree in Spain for the last 4 years from 2011-2015.[14] In addition, the collaboration offers a doctorate degree and executive education courses leading to certificates in various logistics-related disciplines. The research program uses the logistics park as a working laboratory to experiment with new logistics processes, concepts and technologies, in active collaboration with leading academic institutions and companies from around the world.


El Mundo Rankings of Spanish Master Programs

  1. 1 Logistics and Supply Chain Management
  2. 2 Environmental Energy


  1. 1 Education
  2. 1 Logistics and Supply Chain Management
  3. 2 Environmental Energy

Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU)
(2013) [17]

  1. 9-10 Top Universities in Spain

CWTS Leiden Ranking (Spain)
Impact - Measured by citations
Collaboration - Measured by co-authorships
(2014) [18]

  1. 3 Social Sciences (Impact)
  2. 3 Medial Sciences (Collaboration)
  3. 3 Cognitive sciences (Collaboration)
  4. 14 All sciences (Impact)
  5. 14 All Sciences (Collaboration)

Notable alumni and former students



  • César Alierta, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Telefónica S.A.





Notable Emeritus Faculty

  • Pedro Simón Abril, Known for his translations of work by famous philosophers such as Aristotle, Plato and others; also a primary figure in the Spanish humanism movement of the 16th century (1530 - 1595)
  • Matías Barrio y Mier, historian of law, chair of Geografia Historica 1874, Carlist political leader (1844 – 1909)
  • Salvador Minguijón Adrián, historian of law, chair of Historia General del Derecho Español 1907-1944 (1874 - 1959)

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ "Consejo de Dirección". Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "University Community". Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  3. ^ "Historia". Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  4. ^ Servicio de Informatica y Comunicaciones-UZ (23 July 2015). "Universidad de Zaragoza :: Universidad de Zaragoza". Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  5. ^ Servicio de Informatica y Comunicaciones-UZ (23 July 2015). "Universidad de Zaragoza". Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  6. ^ "Google Maps". Google Maps. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  7. ^ "Facultades y escuelas". Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  8. ^ "Libro informativo". Universidad De Zaragoza. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  9. ^ "Libro informativo Zaragoza"
  10. ^ "La Universidad de Zaragoza, un referente frente al cáncer". Heraldo. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  11. ^ "La Universidad de Zaragoza, un referente" (PDF). Aragon Universidad. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  12. ^ "MIT Zaragoza Masters". Zaragoza Logistics Center. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  13. ^ "MIT-Zaragoza Masters"
  14. ^ "Zaragoza Logistics Center (ZLC)". Facebook. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities - 2013 - Top 500 universities - Shanghai Ranking - 2013 - World University Ranking - 2013". Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  18. ^ Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS). "CWTS Leiden Ranking 2015". CWTS Leiden Ranking 2015. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  19. ^ Kingdom of Sobrarbe
  20. ^ "Santiago Ramón y Cajal - Biographical". Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  21. ^

External links

  • Official Website in English
  •  "University of Saragossa".  

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