Ancient university

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Ancient university is a term used to describe seven medieval and renaissance universities of the United Kingdom and Ireland that exist today.[1] Six of those universities are currently located in the United Kingdom and one in Republic of Ireland. The ancient universities in the British Isles are amongst the oldest extant universities in the world.



The ancient universities in England, Scotland and Ireland are, in order of formation:

These universities often find themselves governed in a quite different fashion to more recent additions. The ancient universities of Scotland also share several distinctive features and are governed by arrangements laid down by the Universities (Scotland) Acts.

In addition to these universities, a number of now-obsolete universities were found during this period including the University of Northampton (1261-1265) and the predecessor institutions to the University of Aberdeen founded in 1495 and 1593 (discussed below).

Following the creation of the ancient universities, no more universities were created in the British Isles until the 19th century. Precisely which was the first of these 19th century institutions constitutes the earliest post-ancient university is a matter of debate. In brief, the main university-level foundations after this time are:

The more recent Red Brick universities of the later 19th century such as the University of Birmingham were soon to follow. Thereafter a number of New Universities were formed in the late 20th century, many from the conversion of Polytechnical colleges.

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