Suvarna Garge (Editor)

University of Basel

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit

Academic staff

Utrecht Network, EUCOR

Total enrollment
12,729 (2015)


Andrea Schenker-Wicki



Undergraduate tuition and fees
1,700 CHF (2016)

+41 61 267 31 11

745 million CHF (2015)

University of Basel

Basel, Basel-City, Switzerland

Petersplatz 1, 4003 Basel, Switzerland

Notable alumni
Leonhard Euler, Carl Jung, Daniel Bernoulli, Paracelsus, Alice Miller

University of Zurich, University of Bern, University of Geneva, University of Lausanne, ETH Zurich


The university of basel where science and culture meet

The University of Basel (German: Universität Basel) is located in Basel, Switzerland. Founded in 1460, it is Switzerland’s oldest university and is counted among the leading institutions of the country.


The associated University Library of Basel is the largest and among the most important libraries in the whole of Switzerland. The University hosts the faculties of theology, law, medicine, humanities and social sciences, science, psychology, and business and economics, as well as numerous cross-disciplinary subjects and institutes, such as the Biozentrum for biomedical research and the Institute for European Global Studies. In 2016, the University boasted 12'852 students and 377 professors. International students accounted for 25 percent of the student body.


The University of Basel was founded in connection with the Council of Basel. The deed of foundation given in the form of a Papal bull by Pope Pius II on November 12, 1459, and the official opening ceremony was held on April 4, 1460. Originally the University of Basel was decreed to have four faculties—arts, medicine, theology, and jurisprudence. The faculty of arts served until 1818 as the foundation for the other three academic subjects. In the eighteenth century as Basel became more commercial, the university, one of the centers of learning in the Renaissance, slipped into insignificance. Enrollment which had been over a thousand around 1600, dropped to sixty in 1785 with eighteen professors. The professors themselves were mostly sons of the elite.

Over the course of centuries as many scholars came to the city, Basel became an early center of book printing and humanism. Around the same time as the university itself, the Basel University Library was founded. Today it has over three million books and writings and is the largest library in Switzerland.

In 1830 the Canton of Basel split in two with the Federal Diet requiring that the canton's assets, including the books at the University library, be divided—two-thirds going to the new half canton of Basel-Landschaft. The city, Basel-Stadt, had to buy back this share and the university became so impoverished that it drastically reduced its course offerings. Students were expected to continue their education after two years or so at a German university.

Reputation and rankings

Well-respected rankings attest to the University of Basel’s academic performance:

  • Times Higher Education World University Ranking (2016/2017): 98
  • Leiden Ranking (2016): 45
  • Academic Ranking of World Universities (2016): 101-150
  • Notable alumni and faculty

  • Emil Abderhalden (1877–1950), Swiss biochemist and physiologist
  • Werner Arber (1929–), Swiss biochemist, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1978
  • Karl Barth (1886-1968), Swiss Protestan theologian
  • Jacob Bernoulli (1655–1705), prominent Swiss mathematician, after whom Bernoulli numbers are named
  • Daniel Bernoulli (1700-1782), Swiss mathematician and physicist
  • Jacob Burckhardt (1818–1897), Swiss historian
  • Erasmus (1466-1536), Dutch Renaissance humanist
  • Paul Erdman (1932–2007), American business and financial writer
  • Leonhard Euler (1707–1783), Mathematician and physicist
  • Christoph Gerber professor at the Department of Physics, co-inventor of the atomic force microscope
  • Albert Gobat (1848–1914), Swiss politician, Nobel Peace Prize in 1902
  • Jeanne Hersch (1910–2000), Swiss philosopher
  • Karl Jaspers (1883-1969), German psychiatrist and philosopher
  • Carl Gustav Jung (1875–1961), Swiss psychiatrist, and founder of Analytical Psychology
  • Michael Landmann (1913–1984), Swiss-Israeli philosopher
  • Yeshayahu Leibowitz (1903–1994), Israeli public intellectual and polymath
  • Alice Miller (1923–2010), Swiss psychologist and author
  • Paul Hermann Müller (1899–1965), Swiss chemist, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1948
  • Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900,) German philosopher, held Chair of Classical Philosophy at the University of Basel at the age of 24
  • Paracelsus (1493–1541), Swiss philosopher, physician, botanist and astrologer
  • Tadeus Reichstein (1897–1996), Polish-Swiss chemist, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1950
  • Otto Stich (1927–2012), President of Switzerland
  • William Theilheimer (1914–2005), German-American scientist
  • Lilian Uchtenhagen (1928–2016), Swiss politician and economist
  • Kurt Wüthrich (1938–), Swiss chemist, Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2002
  • Iona Yakir (1896–1937), Red Army commander
  • Rolf Zinkernagel (1944–), Swiss physician, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1996
  • Associated institutions

  • Swiss National Supercomputing Centre
  • Student life

    The University hosts several formal institutions that are intended to serve the needs of its students. The Student Advice Center provides advice on academic degree programs and career opportunities. The Student Administration Office provides information on applications, grants, mobility, exchanges, and disability services.

    Student organizations

    There are also a variety of organizations that cater to international students, such as local chapters of Toastmasters and AIESEC, and associations that perform community services (Beraber, for instance, provides remedial lessons to immigrant youth). There is a foreign affairs association (Foraus), a Model United Nations team, and various choirs and orchestras. There are also various religious groups.

    A number of other student groups exist out of formal venues. The most recognizable are the “Studentenverbindungen,” traditional student associations dating from the 19th century that organize social events, share common uniforms, and often focus on particular hobbies, such as swordfighting. Such associations include the Akademische Turnerschaft Alemannia zu Basel, AKW Raurica, Helvetia Basel, Jurassia Basiliensis, Schwizerhüsli, A.V. Froburger, and Zofingia. Membership in many is restricted to men, though A.V. Froburger also accepts women.

    University Sports

    University Sports provides a gym, fitness classes, and sport and dance camps to students and employees of the University.

    Student Union

    The Studentische Körperschaft der Universität Basel (skuba) speaks on behalf of the students and represents their needs and interests. It acts as an official student representative and has no political or religious affiliations.


    University of Basel Wikipedia