University description (as per official university website)
With over 37,000 students and more than 7,000 employees, the University of Copenhagen is the largest institution of research and education in Denmark. The purpose of the University – to quote the University Statute – is to ’conduct research and provide further education to the highest academic level’.
Approximately one hundred different institutes, departments, laboratories, centres, museums, etc., form the nucleus of the University, where professors, lecturers and other academic staff, as well as most of the technical and administrative personnel, carry out their daily work, and where teaching takes place.
These activities take place in various environments ranging from the plant world of the Botanical Gardens, through high-technology laboratories and auditoriums, to the historic buildings and lecture rooms of Frue Plads and other locations.
The University of Copenhagen aims at developing and strengthening the position as one of the leading universities in Europe. It is the vision of the University of Copenhagen to:
maintain a high quality in research and education in order to consolidate and improve its position among the best universities in Europe,
secure and develop the diversity of academic fields of the University within education and research, and, at the same time, support potential and growing as well as established and most promising groups within research and education,
develop the interaction and exchange of knowledge with private and public companies, but still protect the independence and quality of research,
strengthen its position as a university focusing on internationalization without failing the national responsibilities.
The University of Copenhagen is unique in many ways. The size of the University is ideal for strategic endeavors focusing on specific areas without draining funding from all other subject areas.
Research is of high quality, and the strength of the university makes it realistic to establish internationally competitive focus areas and to expand its net of partner institutions.
In addition, the academic diversity and the experiences with regional and international cooperation form a basis for the creation of new and necessary multi-disciplinary areas within research and education.
Last, but not least, the geographical position of University of Copenhagen as a capital university and member of the Oresund University offers opportunities to attract excellent researchers and students and to work together with a wide range of private and public companies and institutions.
History of the University
With its more than 530 years, the University of Copenhagen is one of the oldest universities in Northern Europe. Being the largest institution of education and research in Denmark, the University has gone through numerous changes through the ages.
The University of Copenhagen was inaugurated on June 1st 1479, after King Christian I was granted approval for its establishment by Pope Sixtus IV. Based on a German model, the university consisted of four faculties: Theology, Law, Medicine and Philosophy.
As was the case with all other medieval universities, the University of Copenhagen was a part of the universal Roman Catholic Church. From an organisational point of view, the University we find in the statutes of 1479 differs very much from that of today. The University was an academic republic with its own laws, courts and prison systems.
The advent of the reformation in 1536 meant a radical change in the position and role of the University in Danish society. But from the organisational point of view, the university was to remain an academic republic along the lines of the medieval model far into the future. Thus, it was not until 1771 that the university lost its own jurisdiction. And only in the second half of the 20th Century did the last traces of what was called "professorial power" in the 1960s finally disappear.
From the inauguration in 1479 until 2004, the university was led by a Rector and a Consistory. The form of governance has changed over time due to the passing of new laws and innovations. The most radical alteration was that of 2004/2005, where the Consistory was replaced by a Board of Governors.
Research and Education
Where we consider research and teaching to be two equally vital parts of the University's activities today, teaching was clearly the more important of the two in the Middle Ages, and this also applied to the University of Copenhagen. Even though significant scientific results were attained in older times, it was not until the end of the 1700s that research began to have any real impact as one of the two main elements in the life of the University.
From medieval doctrines to modern science
The charter of 1788 set the terms of reference for the University's transformation, from a classical European university, into a modern institution for research and education. Moreover, the 19th Century marked the beginning of a hitherto unfinished phase of growth.
The University of 1788 had a teaching staff of about 20 permanent teachers and around 1,000 students. By 1900, the numbers had grown to about 60 and roughly 4,000, respectively. At the beginning of the 21st Century, the University of Copenhagen, with its 37,000 students and more than 7,000 scientific, technical and administrative employees, its more than 100 educations distributed over as many departments and other sections, stands forth as Denmark's largest educational institution.
In 1997, the University linked up with the other institutions of higher education in the metropolitan area and in Scania, Sweden, to form the University of Oresund, the purpose of which is to provide these institutions with a framework for increasingly integrated collaboration on research and education.
In 2007, The University of Copenhagen came to include two new faculties: the Faculty of Life Sciences and the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences. The new faculties is the result of a merger with The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University and The Danish University of Pharmaceutical Sciences. The Faculty of Life Sciences and the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences will, together with the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Faculty of Science, make up one of the largest Health and Life Science Centres in Northern Europe.
On 1 January 2007, the University merged with The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University and The Danish University of Pharmaceutical Sciences. The two universities are now faculties at the University of Copenhagen.