The University of Parma (Italian: Università degli Studi di Parma, UNIPR) is one of the oldest universities in the world, founded in the 12th century.
It is organised in eighteen departments. As of November 2013 the University of Parma has about 32,000 students.
The school was founded in 1117 A.D as a center for study of the general liberal arts curriculum of the medieval period. The faculties of law and medicine were added in the 13th century. Pope John XXII closed the school in 1322, and during the next hundred years it was often reopened and closed. It became a university in 1502, and after 1545 under the patronage of the ducal House of Farnese. The Farnese Duke Ranuccio I founded and endowed the university College of Nobles with a distinguished faculty, but between 1731 and 1748 the university was again neglected.
Things improved in 1762 under Duke Ferdinand I de Bourbon, when he founded a great state university at Parma and endowed it with possessions confiscated from the Jesuits. Future Jesuit Father General Luigi Fortis was invited to head the College of Nobles. New studies were added. The university experienced a rapid growth phase and established an astronomical observatory, a botanical garden and laboratories of anatomy, chemistry and experimental physics. In 1811 the French government deemed the university an Academy of the Empire, but it lost this status a mere three years later. The university was closed to foreign students in 1831 and fell into decay. It was revived in 1854 by the duchess regent and is now a state administration with administrative autonomy.