University of Fribourg

For the university in Germany, see Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg.
University of Fribourg
Université de Fribourg
Universität Freiburg
Latin: Universitas Friburgensis
Motto Scientia et Sapientia ("Knowledge and Wisdom")
Type Public
Established 1582/1763, 1889
Rector Prof. Astrid Epiney
Administrative staff
academic 1'150, admin 750
Students 10,000 [1]
Location Fribourg, Canton of Fribourg, Switzerland
46°48′23″N 7°09′06″E / 46.80625°N 7.15174°E / 46.80625; 7.15174Coordinates: 46°48′23″N 7°09′06″E / 46.80625°N 7.15174°E / 46.80625; 7.15174
Affiliations BeNeFri; Compostela Group of Universities

The University of Fribourg (French: Université de Fribourg; German: Universität Freiburg) is a university in the city of Fribourg, Switzerland.[2]

The roots of the university can be traced back to 1580, when the notable Jesuit Peter Canisius founded the Collège Saint-Michel in the City of Fribourg.[3] In 1763, an Academy of law was founded by the state of Fribourg which formed the nucleus of the present Law Faculty.[4] The University of Fribourg was finally created in 1889 by an Act of the parliament of the Swiss Canton of Fribourg.[5][6]

The University of Fribourg is Switzerland’s only bilingual university and offers full curricula in both French and German, two of Switzerland's national languages.[7] Students number about 10,000; there are about 200 tenured professors and 700 other academic teaching and research personnel.[8] The Misericorde Campus, constructed between 1939–42, was designed by the architects Honegger and Dumas, students of Swiss architect Le Corbusier.[5]

There are five faculties: Catholic theology, law, natural sciences, humanities, and economics and social sciences.[1][6]


University of Fribourg, main building.

The university owes its earliest origin to the foundation of the Jesuit College St. Michel on Belze Hill by Peter Canisius in 1580 at the invitation of the government of Fribourg.[5] In 1763, an Academy of Law was founded, housed in the Albertinium (now a Dominican residence). In 1834, the cantonal library was formed from works brought to Fribourg (from Catholic monasteries) for safekeeping.[9] The College St. Michel was closed following the expulsion of the Jesuits from Fribourg after the canton's defeat in the Sonderbund war.[10]

In 1886, Georges Python, founder of the cantonal bank and State Counsellor for Fribourg (M.P. in the upper house of the Swiss parliament) became Director of Public Education. He raised funds through a lottery and was granted some 2,500,000 CHF by the canton.[10] The cantonal library became integrated with that of the university and the Academy became the Faculty of Law. In 1939, the university moved to a new campus constructed on the former cemetery of Misericorde, ceding St. Michel to one of Fribourg's gymnasia, which took the name College St. Michel. During the Second World War, the university set up "university camps" along with the University of Zürich, HEC in St. Gall and a Lycée camp at Wetzikon provided a wide variety of courses to educate Polish prisoners of war.[11]

The Perolles campus was constructed on the site of a former wagon factory.[12]

Although many lectures were originally in Latin, Fribourg is now the only French/German bilingual university in the world (45% French and 55% German).[1] The town itself is 70% French and 30% German. This fact, coupled with the traditional dominance of French as the language of the city aristocracy explains why French has remained so dominant in university administration and in the AGEF (Association Generale des Etudiants Fribourgois), the Student's Union. To commemorate the centerary of the university, La Poste issued a stamp depicting the figures Science and Sagesse.

Recent developments

In 2005, the university inaugurated its Perolles 2 campus, to which the Faculty of Economics and Social Science relocated. The university has the third largest collection of Biblical antiquities in the world after the British Museum and the Cairo Museum. Fribourg has also developed FriMat, a centre of excellence in nanotechnology. As part of the BeNeFri association comprising the Universities of Berne, Neuchâtel and Fribourg, students at any one of these universities may take courses at another in the association and still receive credit at their home institution. The academic degrees were the Demi-Licence, Licence, DEA / DESS, Doctorate. The university now follows the requirements of the Bologna process. The University of Fribourg launched for the 2009–2010 academic year a new postgraduate law programme, the "Master of Laws in Cross-Cultural Business Practice" (MLCBP), an LL.M taught entirely in English.


Entrance, Avenue de l'Europe.

Fribourg has no central campus and its buildings are located throughout the city. The main sites are:[13]


The Fribourg University is divided in five faculties:



The university seal depicts a cross and bishop's ring representing the university's Catholic ethos on a shield of black and white, representing the canton of Fribourg. The logo of the university is a blue stylized "F" (with triangles echoing the facade structure of the Miséricorde Building and symbolizing the Alps) and the name of the university in Latin.

Notable alumni and faculty

Writers and academics



Business and economics







In fiction

See also

Notes and references

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