University of Oslo
The University of Oslo formerly The Royal Frederick University , is the oldest and largest university in Norway
Higher education in Norway
Higher education in Norway is offered by a range of eight universities, nine specialised universities, 24 university colleges as well as a range of private university colleges...

, situated in the Norwegian capital of Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

. The university was founded in 1811 and was modelled after the recently established University of Berlin
Humboldt University of Berlin
The Humboldt University of Berlin is Berlin's oldest university, founded in 1810 as the University of Berlin by the liberal Prussian educational reformer and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt, whose university model has strongly influenced other European and Western universities...

. It was originally named after King Frederick
Frederick VI of Denmark
Frederick VI reigned as King of Denmark , and as king of Norway .-Regent of Denmark:Frederick's parents were King Christian VII and Caroline Matilda of Wales...

 of Denmark and Norway and received its current name in 1939.

The university has faculties of Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

, Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

, Humanities
The humanities are academic disciplines that study the human condition, using methods that are primarily analytical, critical, or speculative, as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences....

, Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

 and Natural Sciences
Natural science
The natural sciences are branches of science that seek to elucidate the rules that govern the natural world by using empirical and scientific methods...

, Dentistry
Dentistry is the branch of medicine that is involved in the study, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases, disorders and conditions of the oral cavity, maxillofacial area and the adjacent and associated structures and their impact on the human body. Dentistry is widely considered...

, Social Sciences
Social sciences
Social science is the field of study concerned with society. "Social science" is commonly used as an umbrella term to refer to a plurality of fields outside of the natural sciences usually exclusive of the administrative or managerial sciences...

, Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

 and (Lutheran
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

) Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

. The Faculty of Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

 is still located at the old campus on Karl Johans gate
Karl Johans gate
Karl Johans gate is the main street of the city of Oslo, Norway. The street was named in honor of King Karl Johan, who was King of Sweden and of Norway....

, near the National Theatre
The National Theatre in Oslo is one of Norway's largest and most prominent venues for performance of dramatic arts.The theatre had its first performance on 1 September 1899 but can trace its origins to Christiania Theatre, which was founded in 1829...

, the Royal Palace
Royal Palace, Oslo
The Royal Palace in Oslo was built in the first half of the 19th century as the Norwegian residence of Norwegian and Swedish king Charles III and is the official residence of the present Norwegian Monarch. The crown prince couple resides at Skaugum in Asker west of Oslo...

, and the Parliament, while most of the other faculties are located at a modern campus area called Blindern
Blindern is the main campus of the University of Oslo, located in Nordre Aker in Oslo, Norway.-The campus:Most of the departments of the University of Oslo are located at Blindern; other, smaller campuses include Sentrum , Gaustad , St...

, erected from the 1930s. The Faculty of Medicine is split between several university hospitals in the Oslo area.

Currently the university has about 27,700 students and employs about 6,000 people. The university has consistently been ranked among the world's top 100 universities by the Academic Ranking of World Universities
Academic Ranking of World Universities
The Academic Ranking of World Universities , commonly known as the Shanghai ranking, is a publication that was founded and compiled by the Shanghai Jiaotong University to rank universities globally. The rankings have been conducted since 2003 and updated annually...

; in 2010 it was ranked as the best in Norway, 24th best in Europe and 75th best in the world. The 2011 QS World University Rankings
QS World University Rankings
The QS World University Rankings is a ranking of the world’s top 500 universities by Quacquarelli Symonds using a method that has published annually since 2004....

 ranked the university 108th in the world. After the dissolution of the Dano-Norwegian union in 1814, close academic ties between the countries have been maintained. The University of Oslo was the only university in Norway until 1946, and hence informally often known as simply "universitetet" ("the university"). It was also informally referred to as "The Royal Frederick's" (Det Kgl. Frederiks) for short.

The University of Oslo is home to five Nobel Prize winners. One of the Nobel Prizes, the Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

, was awarded in the university's atrium until 1989, thus making the University of Oslo the only university to host a Nobel Prize ceremony.


Faculty of Theology

The Faculty of Theology conducts research and teaching within Theology, Christian Studies, Inter-religious Studies and Diaconal Studies.

Faculty of Law

  • Centre for European Law
  • Department of Criminology and the Sociology of Law
  • Department of Private Law
    • Norwegian Research Center for Computers and Law (NRCCL)
  • Department of Public and International Law
  • Norwegian Centre for Human Rights
  • Scandinavian Institute of Maritime Law

Faculty of Medicine

  • Institute of Health and Society
  • Institute of Basic Medical Sciences
  • Institute of Clinical Medicine
  • Institute of Forensic Medicine
  • Faculty Division Oslo University Hospital

Centres of Excellence:
  • Centre for Molecular Biology and Neuroscience
  • Centre for Immune Regulation
  • Centre for Cancer Biomedicine

Faculty of Humanities

  • Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History
  • Department of Cultural Studies and Oriental Languages
  • Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas
  • Department of Literature, Area Studies and European Languages
  • Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies
  • Department of Media and Communication
  • Department of Musicology
  • Centre for Ibsen Studies
  • Centre for the Study of Mind in Nature
  • The Norwegian University Centre in St. Petersburg
  • The Norwegian Institute in Rome
  • Centre for French-Norwegian research cooperation within the social sciences and the humanities

Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

  • Department of Biology
  • Department of Chemistry
  • Department of Geosciences
  • Department of Informatics
  • Department of Mathematics
  • Department of Molecular Biosciences
  • Department of Physics
  • Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics
  • School of Pharmacy
  • Centre for Entrepreneurship
  • Centre for Material sciences and Nanotechnology (SMN)
  • Centre for Physics of Geological Processes (PGP)
  • Centre of Mathematics for Applications (CMA)
  • Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES)
  • Centre for Theoretical and Computational Chemistry (CTCC)
  • Centre for Innovative Natural Gass Processes and Products (inGAP)
  • Centre for Accelerator Based Research and Energy Physics (SAFE)

Faculty of Social Sciences

  • Department of Sociology and Human Geography
  • Department of Political Science
  • Department of Psychology
  • Department of Social Anthropology
  • Department of Economics
  • Centre for technology, innovation and culture
  • ARENA - Centre for European Studies
  • Centre of Equality, Social Organization, and Performance (ESOP)

Faculty of Education

  • Department of Teacher Education and School Research
  • Department of Special Needs Education
  • Department for Educational Research
  • InterMedia

University Library

  • Library of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Library of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Faculty of Law Library
  • Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences Library

Units directly under The Senate

  • Centre for Gender Research
  • Centre for Development and The Environment
  • The Biotechnology Centre of Oslo
  • Molecular Life Science
  • International Summer School

Museum of Cultural History

  • The Historical Museum
  • Collection of Coins and Medals
  • Ethnographic Museum
  • The Viking Ship Museum

Natural History Museum

  • Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo
    Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo
    The Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo is Norway's oldest and largest museum of natural history, situated in Oslo.It traces its roots to the University Botanical Garden, which was founded near Tøyen Manor in 1814...

    • Mineralogical-geological Museum
    • Paleontological Museum
    • Zoological Museum
    • Botanical Garden
    • Botanical Museum


In 1811, the decision was taken to establish the first university in the Dano-Norwegian Union, after a successful campaign which resulted in King Fredrik VI's agreeing to the establishment of what he had earlier believed might prove an institution encouraging of political-separatist tendencies. In 1813, The Royal Fredrik's University was founded in Christiania; Christiania was, at the time, a small city. Only a year later, however, circumstances changed dramatically. Norway proclaimed its independence and adopted its own constitution. Independence was somewhat restricted when Norway was obliged to enter into a legislative union with Sweden as the result of the outcome of the War of 1814; Norway retained its own constitution and independent state institutions, while royal power and foreign affairs were shared with Sweden. At a time when Norwegians feared political domination by the Swedes, the new university became a key institution that contributed to Norwegian political and cultural independence.

The main function of The Royal Frederick University was to educate a new class of (higher) civil servants. Although Norway was in a legislative union with Sweden, it was a sovereign state, and needed educated people to run it. Civil servants were needed, as well as parliamentary representatives and ministers. The university also became the centre for a survey of the country—a survey of national culture, language, history and folk traditions. The staff of the university strove to undertake a wide range of practical tasks necessary for developing the infrastructure critical to a modern society. When the union with Sweden was dissolved in 1905, the university became important for producing highly educated men and women who could serve as experts in a society which placed increasing emphasis on ensuring that all its citizens enjoy a life of dignity and security. Education, health services and public administration were among those fields that recruited personnel from among the university’s graduates. The university remained Norway’s only university until 1946. In 1939, the university was renamed the University of Oslo.

Throughout the 1800s, the university’s academic disciplines became more specialised. One of the major changes in the university came during the 1870s when a greater emphasis became placed upon research. The management of the university became more professional, academic subjects were reformed and the forms of teaching evolved. Disciplines became more specialized and classical
Classics is the branch of the Humanities comprising the languages, literature, philosophy, history, art, archaeology and other culture of the ancient Mediterranean world ; especially Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome during Classical Antiquity Classics (sometimes encompassing Classical Studies or...

 education came under increasing pressure.

Research changed qualitatively around the turn of the century, i.e. new methods, scientific theories and forms of practice changed the nature of research. It was decided that teachers should arrive at their posts as highly-qualified academics and continue their academic researcher alongside their role as teachers. Scientific research—whether to launch or test out new theories, to innovate or to pave the way for discoveries across a wide range of disciplines—became part of the increased expectations placed on the university. Developments in society created a need for more and more specialised and practical knowledge, not merely competence in theology or law, for example. The university strove to meet these expectations through increasing academic specialisation.

The position of rector was established by Parliament in 1905 following the Dissolution of the Union. Waldemar Christofer Brøgger was Professor of Geology and became the university's first rector. Brøgger vacillated between a certain pessimism and a powerfully energetic attitude regarding how to procure finances for research and fulfil his more general funding objectives. With the establishment of the national research council after World War II, Brøgger's vision was largely fulfilled; research received funding independent of teaching. This coincided with a massive rise in student enrolment during the 1960s, which again made it difficult to balance research with the demands for teaching. In the years leading up to 1940, research was more strongly linked with the growth of the nation, with progress and self-assertion; research was also seen to contribute to Norway’s commitment to international academic and cultural development.

During the period after World War I, research among Norwegian researchers resulted in two Nobel prizes. The Nobel prize in Economics was awarded to Ragnar Frisch. The Nobel prize in Chemistry was awarded to Odd Hassel. In the field of linguistics, several Norwegian researchers distinguished themselves internationally. Increased research activity during the first half of the 1900s was part of an international development that also included Norway. Student enrolment doubled between 1911 and 1940, and students were recruited from increasingly broad geographical, gender and social bases. The working class was still largely left behind, however.

During the German occupation, which lasted from 1940-1945, the university’s rector, Didrik Arup Seip, was imprisoned, and the university was placed under the management of a rector appointed by the Norwegian Nazi Party, NS. NS Adolf Hoel. A number of students participated in the Norwegian resistance movement; after a fire was set in the university auditorium, Reich Commissar Terboven ordered the university closed and the students arrested. A number of students and teachers were detained by the Germans nearly until the end of the war.

After WWII, public authorities made loans available to students whose families were unable to provide financial assistance; the State Educational Loan Fund for Young Students was established in 1947. As a result, the post-war years saw a record increase in student numbers. Many of these students had been unable to begin their studies or had seen their studies interrupted because of the war; they could now enrol. For the 1945 autumn semester, 5951 students registered at the university. This represented the highest student enrolment at UiO up to that time. In 1947, the number had risen to more than 6000 students. This reprecented a 50 per cent increase in the number of students compared to the number enrolled prior to the war.

In no previous period had a single decade brought so many changes for the university as the 1960s. The decade represented an unparalleled period of growth. From 1960 to 1970, student enrolment tripled, rising from 5,600 to 16,800. This tremendous influx would have been enough in itself to transform the way the university was perceived, from both the inside and the outside. As it turned out, the changes were even more comprehensive. The university campus at Blindern was expanded, and the number of academic and administrative employees rose. The number of academic positions doubled, from fewer than 500 to around 1,200. The increase in the number of students and staff transformed traditional forms of work and organisation. The expansion of the Blindern complex allowed the accommodation of 7,000 students. The explosive rise in student numbers during the 1960s impacted the Blindern campus in particular. The faculties situated in central Oslo—Law and Medicine—experienced only a doubling in student enrolment during the 1960s, while the number of students in the humanities and social sciences tripled.

By 1968, revolutionary political ideas had taken root in earnest among university students. The "Student Uprising" became a turning point in the history of universities throughout the western world. Often, the outlook for students in the 1960s was bleak. More than ever before came from non-academic backgrounds and had few role models. The "University of the Masses" was unable to lift all its students to the "lofty, elite positions" enjoyed by previous generations of academics. Many students dissociated themselves, therefore, from the so-called "establishment" and the way the establishment functioned. Many were impatient and wanted to use their knowledge to change society. It was thought that academics should stand in solidarity with the underprivileged.

The most fundamental change in the student population was the increasing proportion of women students. Throughout the 1970s, the number of women increased until it made up the majority of students. At the same time, the university became a centre for the organised women's liberation movement, which emerged in the 1970s.

Up until the millennium, the number of students enrolled at the university rose exponentially. In 1992, UiO implemented a restriction on admissions for all of its faculties for the first time. A large part of the explanation for the high student numbers was thought to be found in the poor job market. In 1996, there were 38,265 students enrolled at UiO. This level was approximately 75 per cent above the average during the 1970s and 1980s. The strong rise in student numbers during the 1990s was attributed partially to the poor labour market.

Notable academics and alumni

The University of Oslo has a long list of notable academics and alumni, spanning the fields of scholarship covered by the university.


  • Fridtjof Nansen
    Fridtjof Nansen
    Fridtjof Wedel-Jarlsberg Nansen was a Norwegian explorer, scientist, diplomat, humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. In his youth a champion skier and ice skater, he led the team that made the first crossing of the Greenland interior in 1888, and won international fame after reaching a...

     (Professor of Zoology)
  • Ragnar Frisch (Professor of Economics)
  • Odd Hassel
    Odd Hassel
    Odd Hassel was a Norwegian physical chemist and Nobel Laureate.-Biography:Born in Kristiania, his parents were Ernst Hassel, a gynaecologist, and Mathilde Klaveness. In 1915, he entered the University of Oslo where he studied mathematics, physics and chemistry, and graduated in 1920...

     (Professor of Chemistry)
  • Ivar Giæver (Professor of Physics)
  • Trygve Haavelmo
    Trygve Haavelmo
    Trygve Magnus Haavelmo , born in Skedsmo, Norway, was an influential economist with main research interests centered on the fields of econometrics and economics theory. During World War II he worked with Nortraship in the Statistical Department in New York City. He received his Ph.D...

     (Professor of Economics)
  • Johan Galtung
    Johan Galtung
    Johan Galtung is a Norwegian sociologist and the principal founder of the discipline of peace and conflict studies. He founded the Peace Research Institute Oslo in 1959, serving as its Director until 1970, and established the Journal of Peace Research in 1964...

     (Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies)
  • Nils Christie
    Nils Christie
    Nils Christie is a Norwegian sociologist and criminologist. He is a professor of criminology at the University of Oslo since 1966. Among his books is Pinens begrensning from 1981, which has been translated into eleven languages. He has received an honorary degree at the University of Copenhagen...

     (Professor of Criminology)
  • Vilhelm Aubert
    Vilhelm Aubert
    Johan Vilhelm Aubert was an influential Norwegian sociologist. He was a professor at the University of Oslo from 1963 to his death, first at the Department of the Sociology of Law and then at the Department of the Sociology of Law...

     (Professor of Sociology)
  • Thomas Mathiesen
    Thomas Mathiesen
    Thomas Mathiesen is a Norwegian sociologist.Mathiesen studied sociology at the University of Wisconsin . He graduated as M.A. in 1958 from the University of Oslo, where he did his doctorate in 1965...

     (Professor of Sociology)
  • Arne Næss
    Arne Næss
    Arne Dekke Eide Næss was a Norwegian philosopher, the founder of deep ecology. He was the youngest person to be appointed full professor at the University of Oslo....

     (Professor of Philosophy)
  • Fredrik Barth
    Fredrik Barth
    Thomas Fredrik Weybye Barth is a Norwegian social anthropologist who has published several ethnographic books with a clear formalistic view...

     (Professor of Social Anthropology)
  • Arnved Nedkvitne
    Arnved Nedkvitne
    Arnved Nedkvitne is a Norwegian mediæval historian. He is Professor Emeritus of Mediæval History at the University of Trondheim and the University of Oslo. He held the chair of Norwegian mediæval history at the University of Trondheim from 1991 to 1993 and at the University of Oslo from 1993 to...

     (Professor of History)
  • Jon Bing
    Jon Bing
    Jon Bing is a Norwegian writer and law professor at the Norwegian Research Center for Computers and Law , and the Faculty of Law at the University of Oslo. Bing is considered to be a pioneer in international legal information...

     (Professor of Law)


  • Odd Arne Westad
    Odd Arne Westad
    Odd Arne Westad FBA is a Norwegian historian specialising in the Cold War and contemporary East Asian history....

     - Professor of international history at London School of Economics
    London School of Economics
    The London School of Economics and Political Science is a public research university specialised in the social sciences located in London, United Kingdom, and a constituent college of the federal University of London...

  • Jens Stoltenberg
    Jens Stoltenberg
    is a Norwegian politician, leader of the Norwegian Labour Party and the current Prime Minister of Norway. Having assumed office on 17 October 2005, Stoltenberg previously served as Prime Minister from 2000 to 2001....

     - Prime minister of Norway.
  • Gro Harlem Brundtland
    Gro Harlem Brundtland
    Gro Harlem Brundtland is a Norwegian Social democratic politician, diplomat, and physician, and an international leader in sustainable development and public health. She served three terms as Prime Minister of Norway , and has served as the Director General of the World Health Organization...

     - Former prime minister of Norway.
  • Petrit Selimi
    Petrit Selimi
    Petrit Selimi is one of Kosovo's civil society activists and media experts. Born in Prishtina, Selimi was quite young when in 1995 he co-founded "Postpessimists", the first network of youth NGOs in the former Yugoslavia...

     - Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo


The seal
Seal (device)
A seal can be a figure impressed in wax, clay, or some other medium, or embossed on paper, with the purpose of authenticating a document ; but the term can also mean the device for making such impressions, being essentially a mould with the mirror image of the design carved in sunken- relief or...

 of the University of Oslo features Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

 with the Lyre
The lyre is a stringed musical instrument known for its use in Greek classical antiquity and later. The word comes from the Greek "λύρα" and the earliest reference to the word is the Mycenaean Greek ru-ra-ta-e, meaning "lyrists", written in Linear B syllabic script...

, and dates from 1835. The seal has been redesigned several times, most recently in 2009.

Student life

Like all public institutions of higher education in Norway, the university does not charge tuition fees. However, a small fee of (roughly ) per term goes to the student welfare organisation Foundation for Student Life in Oslo
Foundation for Student Life in Oslo
The Foundation for Student Life in Oslo is the student welfare organisation in Oslo, Norway.It was established in 1939 as the first of its kind in Norway...

, to subsidise kindergartens, health services, housing and cultural initiatives, the weekly newspaper Universitas
Universitas (newspaper)
Universitas is a student newspaper in Oslo, Norway, published since 1946. With a weekly circulation of 17,000, Universitas is one of Europe's largest student newspapers. It is distributed on campuses of institutions of higher learning, that are affiliated with the Student Welfare Organisation in Oslo...

and the radio station Radio Nova
Radio Nova (Norway)
Radio Nova is a non-commercially run student radio situated and broadcasting in Oslo, Norway, at FM 99,3. The radio is run by a team of volunteer journalists and technicians....


In addition a the students are charged a copy and paper fee of (roughly ) for full-time students and (roughly ) for part-time students. Lastly a voluntary sum of (roughly ) is donated to SAIH (Studentenes og Akademikernes Internasjonale Hjelpefond).


The Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Shanghai Jiao Tong University or SJTU), sometimes referred to as Shanghai Jiaotong University , is a top public research university located in Shanghai, China. Shanghai Jiao Tong University is known as one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in China...

's Academic Ranking of World Universities
Academic Ranking of World Universities
The Academic Ranking of World Universities , commonly known as the Shanghai ranking, is a publication that was founded and compiled by the Shanghai Jiaotong University to rank universities globally. The rankings have been conducted since 2003 and updated annually...

 ranked UiO 75th worldwide (and best in Norway), while The Times Higher Education World University Rankings
Times Higher Education World University Rankings
The Times Higher Education World University Rankings is an international ranking of universities published by the British magazine Times Higher Education in partnership with Thomson Reuters, which provided citation database information...

 ranked UiO 186th worldwide in 2010 (2nd in Norway behind the University of Bergen
University of Bergen
The University of Bergen is located in Bergen, Norway. Although founded as late as 1946, academic activity had taken place at Bergen Museum as far back as 1825. The university today serves more than 14,500 students...


Also in 2010, the QS World University Rankings
QS World University Rankings
The QS World University Rankings is a ranking of the world’s top 500 universities by Quacquarelli Symonds using a method that has published annually since 2004....

 ranked UiO 100th worldwide, while the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities
Webometrics Ranking of World Universities
The Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, also known as Ranking Web of World Universities, is ranking system for the world's universities based on a composite indicator that takes into account both the volume of the Web contents and the visibility and impact of these web publications...

 ranked UiO 53rd worldwide.

See also

External links

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