University Trivia

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What is the origin of the word 'university'?

It comes from the Latin word 'universitas magistrorum et scholarium'

Which university was the first university in the sense of the modern definition?

University of Bologna

What is the notion that is important in the definition of a university?

Academic freedom

What was the curriculum and research of the Middle Ages that was continued by Early Modern universities?

Theology, grammar, and rhetoric

What did humanist professors focus on when they joined the university faculty?

The ability of students to write and speak with distinction

What is the term used in many countries to describe institutions of higher education?


In which countries do public universities not charge tuition fees for citizens of EU and EEA member states and citizens from Switzerland?

Many European countries

What is the average outstanding student loan balance per borrower in the United States in 2016?


What is the term used in Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, Nigeria, the Netherlands, Spain, and the German-speaking countries to refer to university?


Study Notes

University: A Brief History

  • The word university comes from the Latin universitas magistrorum et scholarium, meaning "community of teachers and scholars."

  • The first universities in Europe were established by Catholic Church monks, with the University of Bologna being the first university in the sense of the modern definition.

  • The original Latin word universitas referred to degree-awarding institutions of learning in Western and Central Europe, where this form of legal organization was prevalent and from where the institution spread around the world.

  • An important idea in the definition of a university is the notion of academic freedom, which was first documented in the academic charter of the University of Bologna in 1155 or 1158.

  • The modern university is generally regarded as a formal institution that has its origin in the Medieval Christian tradition.

  • European higher education took place for hundreds of years in cathedral schools or monastic schools, in which monks and nuns taught classes, and evidence of these immediate forerunners of the later university at many places dates back to the 6th century.

  • Lay students arrived in the city from many lands entering into a contract to gain knowledge, organizing themselves into "Nationes," divided between that of the Cismontanes and that of the Ultramontanes.

  • The university culture developed differently in northern Europe than it did in the south, although the northern and southern universities did have many elements in common.

  • During the Early Modern period, the universities of Europe would see a tremendous amount of growth, productivity, and innovative research, with the number of universities in Europe close to a 500% increase over the number of universities toward the end of the Middle Ages.

  • Early Modern universities initially continued the curriculum and research of the Middle Ages, including natural philosophy, logic, medicine, theology, mathematics, astronomy, astrology, law, grammar, and rhetoric.

  • Humanist professors joined the university faculty, they began to transform the study of grammar and rhetoric through the studia humanitatis.

  • Although the initial focus of the humanist scholars in the university was the discovery, exposition, and insertion of ancient texts, they also focused on the ability of students to write and speak with distinction, to translate and interpret classical texts, and to live honorable lives.

  • The critical mindset imparted by humanism was imperative for changes in universities and scholarship.A Brief History and Overview of Universities

  • The emergence of classical texts brought new ideas and led to a more creative university climate

  • The focus on knowledge coming from the human has a direct implication for new forms of scholarship and instruction

  • Universities were slow to accept new sciences and methodologies as they emerged, but when they did, it helped to convey legitimacy and respectability

  • The scientific revolution had an impact on the way that university education was constructed

  • Aristotelian epistemology provided a coherent framework for the training of scholars within the higher education setting

  • Until the 19th century, religion played a significant role in university curriculum, but its role decreased during that century

  • Modern universities constitute a guild or quasi-guild system

  • The German and the French university models had arisen by the 19th century

  • Public university systems are ruled over by government-run higher education boards

  • Private universities are privately funded and generally have broader independence from state policies

  • The funding and organization of universities varies widely between different countries around the world

  • The definition of a university varies widely, even within some countries, and is usually set by a government agencyUniversity Education around the World

  • The term "university" is used in many countries to describe institutions of higher education, but the specific meaning can vary.

  • In some countries, such as the United States, the terms "college" and "university" are used interchangeably, while in others, such as the United Kingdom and Australia, they are distinct.

  • In many countries, students are required to pay tuition fees to attend university, and in the United States, the average outstanding student loan balance per borrower was $30,000 in 2016.

  • However, there are exceptions where it is possible to study without tuition fees, such as in many European countries where public universities do not charge tuition fees for citizens of EU and EEA member states and citizens from Switzerland.

  • Private universities, on the other hand, almost always charge tuition fees.

  • In some countries, such as Ghana, New Zealand, Bangladesh, and South Africa, university is sometimes referred to as "varsity."

  • Many universities in the United States offer students the opportunity to apply for financial scholarships to help pay for tuition based on academic achievement.

  • In Nordic countries, public universities were entirely without tuition fees until around 2005, when Denmark, Sweden, and Finland began to put in place tuition fees for foreign students.

  • The amounts of public grants granted to promising foreign students were increased to offset some of the impact.

  • In Germany, public universities usually do not charge tuition fees apart from a small administrative fee, except for postgraduate professional level degrees.

  • The term "uni" is often used in Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, Nigeria, the Netherlands, Spain, and the German-speaking countries to refer to university.

Test your knowledge of the history and culture of universities with this informative and engaging quiz! From the origins of the word "university" to the development of academic freedom and the emergence of new sciences and methodologies, this quiz covers a wide range of topics related to higher education. You'll also learn about the different models of universities around the world, including the varying tuition fees and scholarship opportunities available to students. Whether you're a current or prospective university student, or simply a curious learner, this quiz is

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