- Aix Marseille University
Aix Marseille University
One university to the international ambitions rooted in its territory
Aix-Marseille University is today one of the youngest universities in France, it is also the largest by the number of its students, its staff and its budget. All of which are of Aix-Marseille University an institution of higher education and research excellence.
A multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary university
Aix-Marseille University offers training in all disciplines: arts, humanities, languages and humanities; Law and Political Science; Economics and Management ; health; science and technology. Intensive research site in collaboration with leading organizations, AMU is one of the French sites of excellence recognized by an international jury as part of the Future Investments. AMU also among the labeled sites “Operation Campus”, with 500 million euros in capital mobilized to renovate and modernize its university sites. The AMU Foundation helps develop research, training and employability of students, while creating a privileged link with the socio-economic world. Training, research, guidance, employability, interdisciplinarity and exploitation of knowledge are the pillars of this establishment, largest university in France and the Francophone world.
Schools / Colleges / Departments / Courses / Faculties
- Law and Political Science
- Faculty of Law and Political Science
- Institute of Public Management and Territorial Governance
- Economics and Management
- Faculty of Economics and Management
- Journalism and Communication School of Marseille
- Aix-Marseille Graduate School of Management
- Regional Institute of Labour
- Arts, Literature, Languages and Human Sciences
- Faculty of Arts, Literature, Languages and Human Sciences
- Training Centre for Musicians
- The Mediterranean House of Human Sciences (Maison méditerranéenne des sciences de l’homme)
- Faculty of Medicine
- Faculty of Odontology
- Faculty of Pharmacy
- Midwives’ University School Marseille Méditerranée
- Sciences and Technology
- Faculty of Sciences
- Faculty of Sports
- Observatory of Universe Sciences – Pytheas Institute
- Polytech Marseille
The institution developed out of the original University of Provence, founded on 9 December 1409 as a Studium Generale by Louis II of Anjou, Count of Provence, and recognized by Papal Bull issued by the Pisan Antipope Alexander V. However, there is evidence that teaching in Aix existed in some form from the beginning of the 12th century, since there were a doctor of theology in 1100, a doctor of law in 1200 and a professor of law in 1320 on the books. The decision to establish the university was, in part, a response to the already-thriving University of Paris. As a result, in order to be sure of the viability of the new institution, Louis II compelled his Provençal students to study in Aix only. Thus, the letters patent for the university were granted, and the government of the university was created. The Archbishop of Aix-en-Provence Thomas de Puppio was appointed as the first chancellor of the university for the rest of his life. After his death in 1420, a new chancellor was elected by the rector, masters, and licentiates – an uncommon arrangement not repeated at any other French university. The rector had to be an “ordinary student”, who had unrestricted civil and criminal jurisdiction in all cases where one party was a doctor or scholar of the university. Those displeased with the rector’s decisions could appeal to a doctor legens. Eleven consiliarii provided assistance to the rector, being elected yearly by their predecessors. These individuals represented all faculties, but were elected from among the students. The constitution was of a student-university, and the instructors did not have great authority except in granting degrees. Mention should be made that a resident doctor or student who married was required to pay charivari to the university, the amount varying with the degree or status of the man, and being increased if the bride was a widow. Refusal to submit to this statutable extortion was punished by the assemblage of students at the summons of the rector with frying-pans, bassoons, and horns at the house of the newly married couple. Continued recusancy was followed by the piling up of dirt in front of their door upon every Feast-day. These injunctions were justified on the ground that the money extorted was devoted to divine service.
In 1486 Provence passed to the French crown. The university’s continued existence was approved by Louis XII of France, and Aix-en-Provence continued to be a significant provincial centre. It was, for instance, the seat of the Parliament of Aix-en-Provence from 1501 to 1789, no doubt aided by the presence of the law school.
In 1603 Henry IV of France established the Collège Royal de Bourbon in Aix-en-Provence for the study of belles-lettres and philosophy, supplementing the traditional faculties of the university, but not formally a part of it. This college de plain exercice became a significant seat of learning, under the control of the Jesuit order. Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, the college frequently served as a preparatory, but unaffiliated, school for the university. Only the university was entitled to award degrees in the theology, law, and medicine; but candidates for degrees had first to pass an examination in philosophy, which was only provided by the college. Universities basically accepted candidates who had studied in colleges formally affiliated with them, which in reality required both college and university to be situated in the same city. In 1762 the Jesuits were forced to leave France, and in 1763 the Collège Royal de Bourbon was officially affiliated with the university as a faculty of arts.
The addition of the Collège Royal de Bourbon essentially widened the scope of courses provided at the University of Provence. Formal instruction in French was initially provided at the college, with texts and a structured course of study. Subsequently physics became a part of the curriculum at the college as a part of the philosophy course in the 18th century. Equipment for carrying out experiments was obtained and the first course in experimental physics was provided at Aix-en-Provence in 1741. Classical mechanics, nevertheless, was merely taught after 1755, when the physicist Paulian offered his first class and Isaac Newton’s Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica and commentaries were obtained for the library.
The French Revolution, with its focus on the individual and an end to inherited privilege, saw the suppression of the universities. To the revolutionaries, universities embodied bastions of corporatism and established interests. Moreover, lands owned by the universities and utilized for their support, represented a source of wealth to be tapped by the revolutionary government, just as property possessed by the Church had been confiscated. In 1792, the University of Provence, along with twenty-one other universities, was dissolved.Specialized ecoles, with rigorous entrance examinations and open to anyone with talent, were eventually created in order to offer professional training in specialized areas. Nonetheless, the government found it necessary to allow the faculties of law and medicine to continue in Aix-en-Provence and Marseille in the early 19th century.
During the 19th century, additional faculties were created in Aix-en-Provence and Marseille to serve the changing needs of French society. For instance, Hippolyte Fortoul, laterMinister of National Education and Public Worship of France, was the first dean and professor of a new faculty in French literature established in Aix-en-Provence in the 1840s. In 1896, the departmental council of the Bouches-du-Rhône founded a chair in the faculty of letters at Aix-en-Provence in the language and literature of Mediterranean Europe; their aim was to assist the commercial exploitation of the region by French business. A new science faculty was created in Marseille to support the growing industrialization of the region. At about the same time, a special training program was created in the faculty of medicine in order to train doctors in colonial medicine for France’s expanding colonial empire.
The most significant development for the university in the 19th century, nevertheless, was the recreation of French universities in 1896. Facing acute competition from prestigious German universities following the Franco-Prussian War, French legislators were anxious to have their own universities. In 1896 a law was passed creating seventeen autonomous regional universities financed mainly by the state. The various faculties in Aix-en-Provence and Marseille were grouped into the new University of Aix-Marseille.
Through two world wars and a depression, the University of Aix-Marseille continued to develop. Increasing numbers of women and foreign students joined the student body, and an overwhelming majority of students majored in the science, medicine, and law. Individual faculties were almost autonomous from university administration and the Ministry of Education frequently intervened directly among the faculties.
Following riots among university students in May 1968, a reform of French education occurred. The Orientation Act (Loi d’Orientation de l’Enseignement Superieur) of 1968 divided the old faculties into smaller subject departments, decreased the power of the Ministry of Education, and created smaller universities, with strengthened administrations. Subsequently, the University of Aix-Marseille was divided into two institutions. Each university had different areas of concentration of study and the faculties were divided as follows:
- University of Aix-Marseille I: law, political science, history, psychology, sociology, ethnology, philosophy, mathematics, physics, chemistry,natural sciences, languages, literature and civilization
- University of Aix-Marseille II: economic science, geography, technology, medicine, pharmacy, dental surgery, topical medicine, physical education and ocean science
In 1973, conservative faculty members led by Charles Debbasch, demanded and obtained the creation of the University of Aix-Marseille III, grouping law, political science, applied economics, earth science, ecology and technological studies.
Nearly 40 years later, in June 2007, the three universities of Aix-Marseille expressed their intention to merge in order to form one university. The merger was gradually prepared, respecting a schedule which allowed for long discussions at each stage, after which it was approved by vote of the Board of Directors of each university. Thus, Aix-Marseille University was established by decree No. 2011-1010 of 24 August 2011 and officially opened its doors on 1 January 2012.
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