A scientific and university city since the Middle Ages, Montpellier has always had fruitful links with its university. Heir to the Faculty of Medicine created in 1220, the University of Montpellier was one of the first to appear in the West.
Over the centuries, it has left its mark on the city. Today, the UM preserves a prestigious historical heritage, both in terms of buildings and furniture, as well as scientific, artistic and documentary collections of inestimable value.
Over the years, it has continued to enrich its collections, a large part of which is classified as a historical monument.
Figures : 1220 Birth of the first University of Montpellier - 6000 Old drawings and prints - 4.5 Hectares in the heart of the city
Rooted in the history of its city and region, the University of Montpellier is one of the oldest practicing universities in Europe.
Montpellier appeared around the year 980 and was from the outset a place of meetings and exchanges between Christian, Jewish and Muslim cultures. The university vocation of the city was confirmed in the medical field with the authorization in 1180 to practice and teach medicine. A century later, the teaching of medicine was recognized by the Church, making Montpellier the oldest practicing medical school in the Western world.
At the same time, jurists began to gather in Montpellier around renowned professors like Placentin of Bologna. In 1289, the University of Montpellier was officially created by the bull Quia sapientia of Pope Nicholas IV. Bearing the name of a 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 operations. One of its deepest characteristics is the preponderance of medicine and, increasingly, of law.
In the 16th century, the city of Montpellier became a high-level intellectual center and asserted its position as a European crossroads of law and medicine. During this period, 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.
Like all French universities, the one in Montpellier 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.
The scientific landscape of Montpellier changed at the beginning of the 19th century with the creation of the Faculty of Sciences in 1809. At that time, it was endowed with seven professorships: transcendental mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry, zoology, botany and mineralogy. The end of the 19th century was marked by the unification of all the faculties of the city within a single university, installed in the university palace, now the rectorate.
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 (November 12, 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) ceased to exist and became either UERs (then UFRs) for medicine, law and pharmacy (UM1), or full-fledged 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 January 1, 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.