In January 2015, the merger of the Universities of Montpellier 1 and Montpellier 2 heralded the appearance of the new University of Montpellier. However, 2015 was not the year of its birth. Rooted in the history of its city and region, the University of Montpellier is one of the oldest practising universities in Europe.

Statutes of the medical school 1220 Montpellier appeared around the year 980 and was from the outset a place of meetings and exchanges between Christian, Jewish and Muslim cultures. The city's university vocation was confirmed in the medical field with the authorisation in 1180 to practice and teach medicine. A century later, the teaching of medicine was recognised by the Church, making Montpellier the oldest practising medical school in the Western world.

At the same time, jurists began to gather in Montpellier around renowned professors such as Placentin of Bologna. In 1289, the University of Montpellier was officially created by the Quia sapientia bull of Pope Nicholas IV. Bearing the name Studium generale, it grouped together courses in medicine, law, literature and theology.

The University of Montpellier was created by and for its teachers and students and has a great deal of autonomy in its operation. One of its deepest characteristics is the preponderance of medicine and, increasingly, of law.

Dissection by Gui de Chauliac (ca. 1290-1368)In the 16the In the 19th century, the city of Montpellier became a high-level intellectual centre and asserted its position as a European crossroads of law and medicine. It attracted many scholars and scientists who shared humanist values, including François Rabelais, Guillaume Rondelet and Pierre Richer de Belleval.
Universities are developing more and more in France and are competing with the University of Montpellier. In order to compete with its rivals, the University of Montpellier was granted original specificities: anatomy, botany, biology, etc. Close to medicine, the study of medicinal plants became more and more widespread in Montpellier with the creation of the Jardin des plantes in 1593. The city was considered the capital of botany until the 18th century.e century.

Like all French universities, Montpellier's was abolished during the Revolution. This did not prevent the professors of medicine from teaching in a semi-clandestine manner. But the need for structured teaching appeared in Frimaire Year III (December 1794). The Convention then founded three health schools, in Paris, Strasbourg and Montpellier.

It was at this time that the School of Medicine moved into the premises of the former bishop's palace, where it is still located today. In 1803, the School of Pharmacy completed the scientific education in Montpellier. As for the Faculty of Law, it was forgotten in 1808 and was not founded until 1878.

Former School of Pharmacy 1854The scientific landscape of Montpellier changed in the early 19th century.e century with the creation of the Faculty of Sciences in 1809. At the time, it had seven professorships: transcendental mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry, zoology, botany and mineralogy. At the end of the 19th century, the Faculty of Science was founded.e In the 19th century, all the city's faculties were united in a single university, housed in the university palace, now the rector's office.

Montpellier's institutions continued to develop throughout the 20th century, fully participating in the scientific explosion that marked this period, weaving a dense network of teaching and research structures. The Faure Law (12 November 1968) gave birth to three new universities:

  • University of Montpellier I,
  • University of Montpellier II,
  • Montpellier III Paul Valéry University.

The faculties (law, literature, medicine, sciences, pharmacy) cease to exist and become either UERs (then UFRs) for medicine, law and pharmacy (UM1), or full universities for literature (UM3) and sciences (UM2).

A new page in the shared history of the Universities of Montpellier 1 and Montpellier 2 opened with the launch of the merger process in September 2012. In search of national and international influence, the two universities combined their complementary strengths and the University of Montpellier was born on 1 January 2015. With 17 educational components, 73 research units and more than 48,000 students, it becomes the largest university in Languedoc-Roussillon and the 6th largest in France.