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History - Available at University of Iceland

The University of Iceland was founded on 17 June 1911, on the centenary of 19th century Icelandic statesman Jón Sigurðsson, usually referred to as "president". The University was located in the Parliament House at Austurvöllur for the first 29 years. The University of Iceland was formed in a merger of the Seminary, the School of Medicine, and the School of Law, which each formed a faculty, in addition to the newly-established Faculty of Philosophy.

Only 45 students, one of which was female, were enrolled during the 1911-1912 academic year; by comparison, the 2013-2014 academic year saw almost fourteen thousand students, around two thirds of which were female, studying at the University of Iceland. The University offers a variety of academic programmes on the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels.

The University relocated to the Main Building (Aðalbygging) at Suðurgata in 1940. The University's facilities have grown considerably since then; the newest addition to the campus is the University Centre, which was taken into use on 1 December 2007.

A new structure and governance system for the University of Iceland entered into force on 1 July 2008. At the same time the University merged with Iceland University of Education on its centenary. The new University of Iceland has five academic schools, each comprised of a number of faculties. The academic schools are the School of Education, the School of Engineering and Natural Sciences, the School of Health Sciences, the School of Humanities, and the School of Social Sciences. In addition the University operates a number of research and service institutions.

The Rector of the University of Iceland is Jón Atli Benediktsson, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Further reading

Here you can read a short history of the University of Iceland (in English).

Here you can view the Centennial Anniversary Website in Icelandic. Various milestones in the history of the University are published on the centennial website, as are interviews with interesting individuals connected to the University, video clips, and photos from University life.

Saga Háskóla Íslands: Yfirlit um hálfrar aldar starf (pdf-file 849 kb)  (The History of the University of Iceland: an Overview of Operations Through Half a Century.) Written and published in connection with the 50th anniversary of the University in 1961. Author: Professor Guðni Jónsson.

A superb historical account of the University of Iceland, Aldarsaga Háskóla Íslands 1911-2011, was published on its centenary in 2011. Editor: Professor Gunnar Karlsson.