It was founded in 1409 when Louis II of Anjou, Count of Provence, petitioned the Pisan Antipope Alexander V to create the University of Provence. The university as it is today was formed by the merger of the University of Provence, the University of the Mediterranean and Paul Cézanne University. The merger became effective on 1 January 2012, resulting in the creation of the largest university in the French-speaking world, with about 70,000 students. AMU has the largest financial endowment of any academic institution in the Francophone world, standing at €750 million.
The university is organized around five main campuses situated in Aix-en-Provence and Marseille. Apart from its major campuses, AMU owns and operates facilities in Arles, Aubagne, Avignon, Digne-les-Bains, Gap, La Ciotat, Lambesc and Salon-de-Provence. The university is headquartered at the Pharo, Marseille.
AMU has produced many notable alumni in the fields of law, politics, business, economics and literature. To date, there have been four Nobel Prize laureates amongst its alumni and faculty, as well as a two-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, four César Award winners, several heads of state or government, parliamentary speakers, government ministers, ambassadors and members of the constituent academies of the Institut de France.
AMU has hundreds of research and teaching partnerships, including close collaboration with the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission (CEA). AMU is a member of numerous academic organisations including the European University Association (EUA) and the Mediterranean Universities Union (UNIMED).