The number of universities founded in a year within the current borders of a particular country


Peter Foldvari

Production date



number of universities founded


university, education, institutions

Time period


Geographical coverage

95 countries

Methodologies used for data collection and processing

Period of collection

July and August 2014

Data collectors

Peter Foldvari

i. Central statistical agencies ii. Historical reconstructions iii. Estimates iv. Conjectures Estimates. Please bear in mind that the quantity and quality of available information on universities vary by period and geographical area. Even the definition of university is not universal: in some countries even colleges offering undergradute programmes can be named universities (Latin America, Japan, Near East). Even though efforts has been made to count institutions which fulfills the European concept of a university (i.e. offering postgraduate and especially PhD programmes), the lack of information may have resulted in overestimation of university foundations in third-world countries. For this reason, the most reliable estimates are those for Europe. For outside Europe, the data is more reliable for the pre-1945 period than thereafter. When the data is used for statistical analysis, using country fixed effects is advised to explicitly take such international differences into account. The dataset records only the foundation of new universities not the cessation of activates. Hence adding up the number of university foundations will overestimate the number of universities currently in operation. It should also be noted that national legislations also changed and this may result in spikes of university foundations: this happens when lower category higher or post-secondary educational institutions are reclassified as universities. Universities occasionally report the foundation date for their non-university predecessors only, probably in order to look more prestigious (some Eastern European universities are especially notorious in this respect). Whenever possible, it is the year when university status was granted that is reported. It is also possible that more universities have the same predecessor and hence report the same year of foundation leading to an overestimation. This source of bias could not be eliminated. Be aware that the dataset reflect current borders. In other words, universities may appear in countries that did not even exist at the year of foundation or do not exist today (we do not report data for the USSR or East/West Germany etc.). This approach was chosen to avoid the incomparability of estimates over time. The current version has 1470 university foundations. Countries in the database are: Albania, Angola, Antigua and Barbadua, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain. Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Columbia, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Dem. Rep. of Congo, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Macao, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, U.S. Virgin Islands, UAE, Ukraine, Uruguay, USA, Vietnam, Yemen, India, UK

General references

For Europe the main sources are:

de Ridder-Symoens , Hilde (ed.): A History of the University in Europe. Vol. II: Universities in Early Modern Europe (1500 - 1800), Cambridge University Press, 1996

Rüegg, Walter (ed.): A History of the University in Europe. Vol. III: Universities in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries (1800 - 1945), Cambridge University Press, 2004

Rüegg, Walter (ed.): A History of the University in Europe. Vol. IV: Universities Since 1945, Cambridge University Press, 2011

For the rest of the world the main sources are the English language Wikipedia and the homepages of universities when the information at Wikipedia was not sufficient. Wikipedia was also used to update the data on European universities, since the above listed books underestimate the number of universities, especially in East- and Southern Europe. AS a principle, only public or accredited private universities are listed. Special universities like religious studies, fine art and music and military academies are omitted whenever it was possible.


Anguilla[No Data]

Antigua and Barbuda1500 (5)-2013 (21)

Aruba[No Data]

Bahamas1500 (5)-2013 (23)

Barbados1500 (5)-2016 (28)

Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba[No Data]

British Virgin Islands[No Data]

Cayman Islands[No Data]

Cuba1500 (8)-2016 (35)

Curaçao[No Data]

Dominica1500 (5)-2016 (21)

Dominican Republic1500 (6)-2018 (38)

Grenada1500 (5)-2013 (21)

Guadeloupe[No Data]

Haiti1500 (6)-2018 (36)

Jamaica1500 (6)-2018 (35)

Martinique[No Data]

Montserrat[No Data]

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