Although no documentary evidence remains to provide official proof, the University of Valladolid is probably the most senior of Spanish universities.
Its origin is closely linked to the General Studio of Palencia and it emerged, as did other medieval universities, as a result of urban growth, Council interest, the facilities of the Collegiate chapter, the predilection of monarchs and, in particular, the unparalleled natural conditions of the city regarding trade and communications. What is beyond doubt is that the University of Valladolid was a well organised university from the very outset, since, as early as 1293, King Sancho IV created the General Studio of Alcalá based on the model studio that had been established years earlier in Valladolid.
The Studio of Valladolid initially taught the more basic disciplines such as Grammar, Arithmetic as well as some Latin and Holy Scriptures. It was almost to be expected therefore that during the course of its evolution Pope Clement VI should grant it the licentia ubique docendi in 1347,during the reign of Alphonso XI of León and Castile. After the schism, Pope Martin V (1417) granted the right to teach Theology, thus conferring on the university the highest academic status and completing the range of disciplines that were already being taught in Valladolid: Law, Canons, Medicine and the Arts. It was declared one of the Major Universities of the Kingdom in the 16th century, together with those of Salamanca and Alcalá. The Faculty of Law, bolstered by the presence of the Chancery, acquired great significance, as did the Faculty of Medicine. In 1589, Philip II granted Valladolid the Privilege of the Conservatoría, which was the recognition of its institutional plenitude as well as complete and open jurisdiction, together with the explicit recognition of the autonomy the University of Valladolid, enjoyed de facto based on apostolic authority, royal authority and on “custom and use immemorial”.