The roots of the University can be traced back to 1582, when the notable Jesuit Peter Canisius founded the Collège Saint-Michel in the City of Fribourg. In 1763, an Academy of law was founded by the state of Fribourg which formed the nucleus of the present Law Faculty. The University of Fribourg was finally created in 1889 by an Act of the parliament of the Swiss Canton of Fribourg.
Located directly at the language border between the French and German speaking parts of Switzerland, the University of Fribourg is Switzerland’s only bilingual university and offers full curricula in those two Swiss national languages. Students also have the possibility to choose a bilingual curriculum in both French and German and some programmes are taught in English. Traditionally, the university also attracts a strong contingent of students from the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland as well as many students from abroad. Students number about 10,000, there are about 240 tenured professors and 700 other academic teaching and research personnel.
The Misericorde Campus, constructed between 1939–42, was designed by the architects Honegger and Dumas, students of the famous Swiss architect Le Corbusier and as such is deemed to be of major architectural importance. A second Campus for the sciences departments and laboratories was gradually developed in the “Pérolles” part of Fribourg during the 20th century. To accommodate a doubling of student numbers since 1980, a new, additional Campus complex “Pérolles 2”, designed by Büro B Architects, was inaugurated in 2005.