Go back to the University main page

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”.

A view of Santa Cruz

I+D Institute

Located in a typically liberal city, at the beginning of the 19th century the University of Valladolid began to witnes an increase in student numbers to an extent where they first reached an area of regional and then national influence, thus overcoming the economic and social lethargy that had been rife throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. The first half of the 20th century saw constant progress, with the addition of centres for Law and Medicine, the Arts Faculty in 1917 and the Science Faculty in 1945.

The restructuring of the university district (the creation of the Bilbao (1968) and Santander (1972) districts) was to herald the beginning of a new era in the development of the University of Valladolid, echoed during the 1994-1995 academic year when the university campus of Burgos became, by law, the new University of Burgos. This was the third to gain its independence from the former widely extended District of the University of Valladolid.

Thanks to the efforts and tenacity of several generations of lecturers and governing bodies, the heritage of the University of Valladolid was gradually enriched by the incorporation of new campuses (Soria and Segovia) and the creation of new faculties and schools, breathing new life into the teaching and research of this age-old university institution, and making it one of the most prominent centres of higher education in Spain, with a wealth of subjects and at the forefront in many fields of research. It is also committed to cooperation for development, with the sustainability, defence and promotion of the language, heritage and environment of the Region of Castilla y León.

At present, 25 centres on the campuses of Valladolid, Palencia, Segovia and Soria teach some 30.000 students covering seventy one three-year diplomas and full graduate degrees, as well as numerous postgraduate courses. The dedication of almost 2.700 lecturers and researchers as well as 950 administrative and service staff ensures that the University of Valladolid is able to carry out its work and meet the demands of society in terms of teaching and research quality.

The University of Valladolid is not merely a historic university. This inalienable and wonderful quality, which lent universality to its area of influence in the past, also encouraged progress and was a model for a large number of eminent Spanish and Latin-American universities, which emulated the style and manner of this institution, seeing it as a model of progress and modernity. This quality was maintained with the efforts and research work of so many lecturers, ever young thanks to the memory of their labour, and enhanced through the tenacity of the old masters, able to anticipate the future and, almost eight centuries later, to once again turn the University of Valladolid into an emblematic institution among the universities of Spain and Europe.