University of Paris

In 1970, following the civil unrest of May 1968, the university was divided into 13 autonomous universities.

The faculty and nation system of the University of Paris (along with that of the University of Bologna) became the model for all later medieval universities. Under the governance of the Church, students wore robes and shaved the tops of their heads in tonsure, to signify they were under the protection of the church. Students followed the rules and laws of the Church and were not subject to the king's laws or courts. This presented problems for the city of Paris, as students ran wild, and its official had to appeal to Church courts for justice. Students were often very young, entering the school at 13 or 14 years of age and staying for six to 12 years.

Meeting of doctors at the University of Paris. From a 16th-century miniature.

In 1200, King Philip II issued a diploma "for the security of the scholars of Paris," which affirmed that students were subject only to ecclesiastical jurisdiction. The provost and other officers were forbidden to arrest a student for any offence, unless to transfer him to ecclesiastical authority. The king's officers could not intervene with any member unless having a mandate from an ecclesiastical authority. His action followed a violent incident between students and officers outside the city walls at a pub.

In 1215, the Apostolic legate, Robert de Courçon, issued new rules governing who could become a professor. To teach the arts, a candidate had to be at least twenty-one, to have studied these arts at least six years, and to take an engagement as professor for at least two years. For a chair in theology, the candidate had to be thirty years of age, with eight years of theological studies, of which the last three years were devoted to special courses of lectures in preparation for the mastership. These studies had to be made in the local schools under the direction of a master. In Paris, one was regarded as a scholar only by studies with particular masters. Lastly, purity of morals was as important as reading. The licence was granted, according to custom, gratuitously, without oath or condition. Masters and students were permitted to unite, even by oath, in defence of their rights, when they could not otherwise obtain justice in serious matters. No mention is made either of law or of medicine, probably because these sciences were less prominent.

The pope authorized Pierre Le Mangeur to collect a moderate fee for the conferring of the license of professorship. Also, for the first time, the scholars had to pay tuition fees for their education: two sous weekly, to be deposited in the common fund.

Map showing the territories covered by the four nations of the University of Paris during the Middle Ages.

To classify professors' knowledge, the schools of Paris gradually divided into faculties. Professors of the same science were brought into closer contact until the community of rights and interests cemented the union and made them distinct groups. The faculty of medicine seems to have been the last to form. But the four faculties were already formally established by 1254, when the university described in a letter "theology, jurisprudence, medicine, and rational, natural, and moral philosophy". The masters of theology often set the example for the other faculties—e.g., they were the first to adopt an official seal.

The scattered condition of the scholars in Paris often made lodging difficult. Some students rented rooms from townspeople, who often exacted high rates while the students demanded lower. This tension between scholars and citizens would have developed into a sort of civil war if Robert de Courçon had not found the remedy of taxation. It was upheld in the Bull of Gregory IX of 1231, but with an important modification: its exercise was to be shared with the citizens. The aim was to offer the students a shelter where they would fear neither annoyance from the owners nor the dangers of the world. Thus were founded the colleges (colligere, to assemble); meaning not centers of instruction, but simple student boarding-houses. Each had a special goal, being established for students of the same nationality or the same science. Often, masters lived in each college and oversaw its activities.

At this time, the university also went the controversy of the condemnations of 1210–1277.

The Irish College in Paris originated in 1578 with students dispersed between Collège Montaigu, Collège de Boncourt, and the Collège de Navarre, in 1677 it was awarded possession of the Collège des Lombards. A new Irish College was built in 1769 in rue du Cheval Vert (now rue des Irlandais), which exists today as the Irish Chaplaincy and Cultural centre.

"there should be established in the Republic three progressive degrees of instruction; the first for the knowledge indispensable to artisans and workmen of all kinds; the second for further knowledge necessary to those intending to embrace the other professions of society; and the third for those branches of instruction the study of which is not within the reach of all men".

Measures were to be taken immediately: "For means of execution the department and the municipality of Paris are authorized to consult with the Committee of Public Instruction of the National Convention, in order that these establishments shall be put in action by 1 November next, and consequently colleges now in operation and the faculties of theology, medicine, arts, and law are suppressed throughout the Republic". This was the death-sentence of the university. It was not to be restored after the Revolution had subsided, no more than those of the provinces.

The successor universities to the University of Paris are now split over the three academies of the Île-de-France region.

Most of these successor universities have joined several in the Paris region, created in the 2010s.

The Sorbonne has taught 11 French presidents, almost 50 French heads of government, 2 Popes, as well as many other political and social figures. The Sorbonne has also educated leaders of Albania, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Gabon, Guinea, Iraq, Jordan, Kosovo, Tunisia and Niger among others. List of Nobel Prize winners that had attended the University of Paris or one of its thirteen successors.

List of Nobel Prize winners that were affiliated with the University of Paris or one of its thirteen successors.