Jagiellonian University is the oldest University in Poland. It was established, as the first University in Poland, in 1364 by the king Casimir III the Great. However, the university has not been named after one of Polish royal dynasties since the establishment. At the beginning it was called the "Cracovian Academy" and then, in 1817, the Academy was renamed into the "Jagiellonian University."

"The Golden Age" of the University is dated on 15th century. It was a time of introducing a lot of improvements and visiting the Academy by the most famous international scientists and philosophers. Since then, the Jagiellonian University has had its ups and downs. There were moments of greatness, e.g. the 19th century, when the University became, once again, an internationally renowned University, and also times of decline.

Nevertheless, the Jagiellonian University has been educating outstanding scientists throughout centuries. One of its' graduates are: the Pope John Paul II, Nicolas Copernicus, John III Sobieski and Wisława Szymborska.

Now, despite subjective international rankings, Jagiellonian University keeps on becoming a more and more popular young students' choice of higher education, especially foreign ones. With such enthusiasm of its' students' and graduates, Jagiellonian University will surely be getting more and more attractive for future generations.


Jagiellonian University is the oldest and the most famous university in Poland. None of such academies, situated in this part of Europe, have so rich and opulent history and tradition.

In 1364, after long years of trying to get the acceptance of the Pope Urban V, the king of Poland, Casimir III the Great, was finally permitted to establish the first university in our country. At the beginning of its existence the academy was called the “General Study” and consisted of three departments: medicine, law and libertine arts.

The period called “The Golden Century” is a time when a lot of improvements were introduced. This period of greatness of the university is dated on the 15th century. The Jagiellonian University became one of the mostly visited academies in Europe. Moreover, thanks to the works and accomplishments of its’ students and professors, the university gained a lot of publicity and made a name for itself. Huge numbers of foreign adepts were determined to study here, so that in the 15th century they were accounted for 44% of all the students.

No sooner had the “Cracovian Academy” given up the reformation, then it began to lose both students and professors. Scholars interested in getting higher education tend to choose universities in Bologna and Padua, rather than Cracovian one.

The “Cracovian Academy” lost its international renown in the 17th century, when the authorities of the university spoke out against the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), wishing to take over the university, and the changes of the academy.

After the third partition of Poland (1795) the university was incorporated into Austria. The Austrian rulers began to blur the Polish character of the Academy by e.g. introducing German as a language of instruction. There were also plans of closing the university but, thanks to the intervention of its’ professors, the occupiers didn’t realize this idea. Nevertheless, in 1817, the “Cracovian Academy” was renamed “Jagiellonian University.”

When the part of Poland situated under Austrian jurisdiction gained the autonomy, the character of the university changed immediately. It get the law of self-government. As well as this, Polish was reintroduced as a language of instruction. “Jagiellonian University” had become one of the mostly respected universities in Europe and, as a result, more and more foreign students came here to get highly educated. Since the year of 1897 there has been appearing female students at the university.

The 20th century was extremely difficult for Jagiellonian University. Firstly, after gaining independence in 1918, the university was given a few newly built buildings but due to the political issues and economic crisis there were 5 departments closed.

During the World War II the professors and their assistants were imprisoned and deported to the Death Camps in Dachau, Sachsenhausen and Oswiecim. The Germans robbed, destroyed and then closed the university. However, during the German occupation there was the “underground” university still working.

The situation of “Jagiellonian University” got a bit better with J. Stalin’s death in 1956. Despite that, the university was still under control of socialists. Not until 1981 had the University Senate prepared the democratic and liberal bill on higher education. It was implemented the following year and became the basics of the contemporary university.

University graduates

Throughout six centuries of its’ existence, the Jagiellonian University has been fulfilled with a lot of outstanding students. One of them was a Polish astronomer that “stopped the Sun and moved the Earth”- Nicolas Copernicus. The other one was the Polish king who restrained Islamists from destroying Wien- John III Sobieski. It would be a disgrace if we forgot about the most present-day graduates. Into the ranks of such students are also admitted: the Pope John Paul II (Karol Wojtyła), the Nobel prize winner- Wisława Szymborska and a very famous historic of law- Adam Vetulani.

This is an extremely short list of university graduates. The real number of such students estimates at probably thousands or dozens of thousands. The Jagiellonian University has educated professionals and, surely, will be doing it at least throughout the next six centuries.