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University of Belgrade

University of Belgrade
Универзитет у Београду
Univerzitet u Beogradu
University of Belgrade seal
Established 1808[1]
Type Public
Rector Vladimir Bumbaširević
Academic staff
Students 89,827[2]
Location Belgrade, Serbia
Campus Urban
Affiliations EUA

The University of Belgrade (Serbian: Универзитет у Београду / Univerzitet u Beogradu) is the oldest and largest university in Serbia.

Founded in 1808 as the Belgrade Higher School in revolutionary Serbia, by 1838 it merged with the Kragujevac-based departments into a single university. The University has nearly 90,000 students (including around 1,700 postgraduates) and over 4,200 members of teaching staff.[3] Since its founding, the University has educated more than 330,000 bachelors, around 21,300 magisters, 29,000 specialists and 12,600 doctors.[4] The University comprises 31 faculties, 11 research institutes, the university library, and 7 university centres. The faculties are organized into 4 groups: social sciences and humanities; medical sciences; natural sciences and mathematics; and technological sciences.

The University of Belgrade has found its place amongst the top 400 universities in the world, according to the most recent (2013) global ranking carried out by the Shanghai List. In the area of mathematics, it is ranked among the top 150 universities in the world.[5]


  • History 1
    • 19th century 1.1
    • 20th century 1.2
    • 21st century 1.3
    • Ranking 1.4
  • Campus 2
  • Organization and administration 3
    • Faculties 3.1
    • Research institutes 3.2
    • Centers 3.3
  • Academics 4
  • Student life 5
    • Residential life 5.1
  • Notable alumni 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10


19th century

University of Belgrade in 1890

The University of Belgrade was established in 1808 as the Belgrade Higher School (Serbian: Велика школа, a Grande École) by Dositej Obradović, Serbian key figure in the Age of Enlightenment. It was the highest ranking educational institution in Serbia between 1808 and 1905, as the first Higher School (1808–1813), the Belgrade Lyceum (1838–1863), and the second Higher School (1863–1905). It was initially located at the Countess Ljubica's Residence building and then moved to another significant site in Belgrade, the Captain Miša’s Mansion, today's seat of the university.[1]

Dositej Obradović, founder of the university

The second Higher School (also known as the Great School or Great Academy of Belgrade) was established as the successor of the Lyceum and was a combination of a classical gymnasium and a college, and as such developed into the University of Belgrade. Under the law, it was defined as a “scientific institute for higher and professional education”. The Minister of Education had control over this institution and it was managed by the Rector (elected by the monarch) and Academic Council.

During its early history it had three departments: Philosophy, Engineering and Law. The Higher School formally became the University of Belgrade through the Law on the University from February 27, 1905. In addition to the Philosophy, Law and Electrical Engineering departments, this law introduced the Orthodox Theology and Medical schools.

In the early 19th century, the studies of law lasted three years and the curriculum included comparative and state (constitutional) law, international law, criminal law and judicial procedure, as well as general subjects. This is how the modern legal education in Serbia emerged in the year 1808. Before enrolling the legal department, it was compulsory to graduate at the philosophy department where the studies lasted two years, so the legal studies lasted a total of five years. Since 1853, the legal education became independent from the studies of philosophy and from 1863 the legal education in Serbia lasted four years.

From 1841 to 1863, before enrolling the legal department, it was compulsory to graduate at the department for philosophy, where the studies lasted two years. The lectures were held by well-known professors who had earned their diplomas in Austria, Germany and France (Jovan Sterija Popović, Josif Pančić, Đura Daničić, and others).

During the 1850s, the Philosophy (General) Department developed into a particular college. The University of Belgrade's Faculty of Philosophy is today's continuation of this department.

The first academic lecture on electrical engineering in Serbia was held in 1894. Professor Stevan Marković was the first lecturer and founder of the Engineering Department at the Higher School. Only four years later, Professor Marković also established the first Serbian electrical engineering laboratory. Since then, this academic discipline has been studied at the Higher School and the University of Belgrade. The first diplomas in this field were given in 1922.

20th century

First professors of the University of Belgrade (1905).

The University of Belgrade witnessed a massive growth and expansion in the years before the Second World War and especially after the founding of the second Yugoslavia. The first woman graduated from the University of Belgrade's Law School in 1914.[6]

In the 1960s and 70s, the University developed into a remarkable regional and international educational institution. Many students from other countries were trained there. In the socialist Yugoslavia, the University was expanded, but it was also exposed to state and ideological influence. It has also been the driving force for the establishment of almost all other universities in today's Serbia, Montenegro, Republic of Macedonia and several universities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.[6]

In 1968, its students organized the first mass protest in post-World War II Yugoslavia.

In the early 1990s the quality of university programs deteriorated as a consequence of the political instability in the country and the subsequent wars of Yugoslavia. There was a lack of financial resources and the quality dropped significantly. During the Milošević government in Serbia, the University had to face external political pressure and the lack of academic and administrative autonomy.[7]

In the mid-1990s, the University of Belgrade became an internationally recognized center of the political opposition in Serbia. Massive anti-government protests were staged by the Belgrade students and professors. The University's student organizations (especially "Otpor!") significantly contributed to overthrowing the government.[8]

21st century

Since 2000, the University of Belgrade has taken important steps and has revitalized and improved the facilities and its teaching quality. There have been many reforms in higher education of the country. The University has made great efforts since then to improve the internal structure and has become a signatory of the Bologna declaration. Being one of Europe’s largest universities with an enrollment of nearly 90,000 students, the University broadly cooperates with international academic institutions and is involved in countless bilateral and multilateral academic projects.


The University of Belgrade has found its place amongst the top 400 universities in the world, according to the most recent (2013) ranking carried out by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, better known as the Shanghai List. In the area of mathematics, it is ranked among the top 150 universities in the world.[5]


Administration and governance building (included in Serbia's register of most important historic buildings)

Having developed with the city in the 19th century, a number of the University buildings are an important part of Belgrade’s architecture and cultural heritage. Former sites include today's Museum of Vuk and Dositej and Princess Ljubica's Residence buildings, both of them being recognized as Belgrade's topmost historic buildings.[9] The historical Subotica Law School (1920-1941) was also a part of the University of Belgrade. Some of the Post-World War II facilities were built in the brutalist style. The University has sites throughout the city, with the two major campuses, one next to the Prince Michael Street at Studentski Trg and the other on King Alexandar Boulevard. It has eleven dormitories scattered throughout the city’s urban neighborhoods for 11.340 students, including one dormitory complex in New Belgrade. Many of the schools have separate buildings at various locations in Belgrade. The University also owns several endowment buildings in the downtown district, most of them being built in the 19th and early 20th century.

The Belgrade University Library, a Carnegie library, with over 1.5 million items

The central administrative building, Faculty of Philology and Faculty of Philosophy are located at Studentski Trg. The Faculty of Biology, Faculty of Geography, Faculty of Mathematics, Faculty for Physical Chemistry, Faculty of Physics and Faculty of Chemistry are situated in one building at Studentski Trg as well. The University Library, Law School, Faculty of Architecture, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering are situated at the King Alexandar Boulevard campus.

Other major academic sites include the Voždovac neighborhood.

Organization and administration

The University of Belgrade is governed by the 44-member University Senate elected for a three-year term. The senate is composed of the rector, 4 vice-rectors, 31 deans, 4 presidents of the Faculty Group Councils and 4 directors of scientific institutes. 8 student-representatives with a one-year term elected by the University's Student Parliament participate in the work of the Senate. The rector provides governance and represents the University externally.[10]

The University Council is a 31-member managing body. The University entrusts 21 members, 5 are appointed by the Serbian Government and 5 elected by the University’s Student Parliament. The University Council has its president (chairperson) and vice president. In addition to these bodies, the University has advisory academic councils and professional boards, appointed to adopt decisions and state their opinion on the election of teaching staff.[11]

Faculty of Technical Sciences
Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy
Faculty of Transport Engineering


The University is divided into 31 faculties, including:

Research institutes

  • Institute for Applied Nuclear Energy
  • Institute for Chemistry, Technology and Metallurgy
  • Institute of History
  • Institute for Medical Research
  • Institute for Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering
  • Institute for Multidisciplinary Research
  • Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory
  • Institute of Physics
  • Mihajlo Pupin Institute
  • Nikola Tesla Institute of Electrical Engineering
  • Siniša Stanković Institute for Biological Research
  • Vinča Nuclear Institute


  • Information Center
  • Computer Center
  • Serbian-Japanese Center for Scientific Simulations
  • Center for Career Development
  • Center for Strategic Management
  • Center for Technology Transfer
  • Center for Students with Disabilities
  • Center for Quality Assurance
  • Center for Lifelong Learning


The Belgrade Law School, established in 1808, is a regional leader in legal education and one of the largest law schools in the Balkans. Its law education prepares students for working in law practice, business, public service and teaching. The Residence of Countess Ljubica as well as Captain Miša's Mansion once used to be home to this educational institution when it was within the Belgrade Higher School. Since its founding, it has educated almost 50,000 law graduates, around 1,200 magistri iuris and 830 doctores iuris, as well as hundreds of specialists in various areas. Many Faculty of Law alumni have become recognized experts and scholars in all branches of law, law professors and high ranking government officials.

The Law School's historic building, constructed by Serbian architect Petar Bajalović in 1941, comprises about 12,000 square metres (130,000 sq ft) of space. All the law schools established subsequently in Serbia (Subotica, Novi Sad, Pristina, Niš, Kragujevac), Montenegro (Podgorica), and in other parts of the former Yugoslavia (Sarajevo, Skopje) were formed from the University of Belgrade Faculty of Law as a core.[12]

Initially established in 1937, the Faculty of Economics was the first centre of higher education dedicated to the study of economics in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Its curriculum includes courses in economic analysis and policy; marketing; accounting, auditing and financial management; trade and commerce; finance, banking and insurance; tourism and hotel industry; statistics and informatics; management and international economics and foreign trade.[13]

The Faculty of Philosophy is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Serbia, founded in the early 19th century. It employs a staff of 255 teachers and has approximately 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students within nine departments.[14]

The Faculty of Philology trains and educates its students in the academic study or practice in linguistics and philology. The study of philology was established in Belgrade within the Belgrade Higher School’s Department of Philosophy in 1808. Today, the school offers courses in philology, linguistics and literature in dozens of languages. The school is divided into departments, which possess their own libraries, it operates several research centers and publishes a number of periodical publications.[15]

Moot Court at the Belgrade Law School

The Faculty of Electrical Engineering is also an important part of the University. The first lecture on electrical engineering was held in 1894. Professor Stevan Marković was the first lecturer and founder of the Engineering Department within the Belgrade Higher School. Marković also established the first Serbian electrical engineering laboratory in 1898. Today, the school is divided into a number of departments, offering a wide range of electrical engineering programs.[16]

The Belgrade Medical School was established in 1920 and more than 30,000 students graduated from this institution, including circa 850 international students. The School of Medicine is composed of 40 departments with over 200 professorships. The school offers an extensive number of academic courses, including specialization practice within a network of hospitals, institutes and medical clinics.[17]


  • University of Belgrade official website (Serbian) (English)
  • University of Belgrade on Facebook

External links

  • University of Belgrade: A Centennial of the First Serbian University Law, 2005, ISBN 86-7522-024-3
  • The Benefactors of Belgrade University: Gallery of SASA, October - November 2005: [exhibition], 2005, ISBN 86-7025-384-4

Further reading

  1. ^ a b "History of the University". University of Belgrade. Retrieved 2010-05-11. 
  2. ^ "University of Belgrade". Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  3. ^ Word by the Rector, University of Belgrade homepage. Retrieved 2010-05-11.
  4. ^ University of Belgrade official statistics, see columns 1 (bachelor), 5 (master), 7 (specialist) and 9 (doctorate). Retrieved 2010-05-11.
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ a b Kandić Ljubica, Istorija Pravnog fakulteta 1905-1941, Zavod za udžbenike Beograd (Belgrade, 2002), ISBN 86-17-09760-4
  7. ^ Gross Jan, Banac Ivo et al., Fired in Belgrade, The New York Review of Books (1990). Retrieved 2010-05-10.
  8. ^ Šušak Bojana, An Alternative to War, In The Road to War in Serbia: Trauma and Catharsis, ed. Neboiša Popov (Budapest 2000), pp. 479–508, p. 500.
  9. ^ Register, Sites of Outstanding Value, Cultural Heritage Preservation Institute of Serbia. Retrieved 2010-05-11.
  10. ^ The University Senate, University of Belgrade website. Retrieved 2010-05-11.
  11. ^ The University Council, University of Belgrade website. Retrieved 2010-05-11.
  12. ^ "University of Belgrade - The Seedbed of University Education", Belgrade Law School homepage. Retrieved 2010-05-11.
  13. ^ About section, University of Belgrade Faculty of Economics homepage. Retrieved 2010-05-11.
  14. ^ University of Belgrade Faculty of Philosophy homepage. Retrieved 2010-05-11.
  15. ^ History section, University of Belgrade Faculty of Philology homepage. Retrieved 2010-05-11.
  16. ^ History section, University of Belgrade Faculty of Electrical Engineering homepage. Retrieved 2010-05-11.
  17. ^ Belgrade Medical School homepage. Retrieved 2010-05-11.
  18. ^ "Univerzitet u Beogradu Stomatološki fakultet | Dobrodošli". 2012-10-30. Retrieved 2012-12-30. 
  19. ^ About section, University of Belgrade Faculty of Security Studies. Retrieved 2010-05-11.
  20. ^ Student Life: Housing, University of Belgrade website. Retrieved 2010-05-11.
  21. ^ Belgrade Student Center: The Student City, Infostud portal. Retrieved 2010-05-11.
  22. ^ The Oldest Dormitory in the Balkans,
  23. ^


See also

Noted 19th-century professors:

Among the best-known graduates of Belgrade University are Serbian Presidents Boris Tadić and Ivan Stambolić, first Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov, first Montenegrin President Filip Vujanović, Slovenian President Danilo Türk, Serbian Prime Ministers Zoran Đinđić, Vojislav Koštunica and Mirko Cvetković, Presidents of the United Nations General Assembly Srgjan Kerim and Lazar Mojsov, Ethiopian political figure Ashagre Yigletu, Nigerian Governor of Enugu State Okwesilieze Nwodo, religious leaders Patriarch Irinej of Serbia and John of Shanghai and San Francisco, President of the Serbian Royal Academy Sima Lozanić, Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vuk Drašković, Slovenian economist Mitja Gaspari, Serbian political theorists Dimitrije Tucović, Nikola Milošević, Mihailo Marković and Ljubomir Tadić, international businessman Philip Zepter, American activist Fredy Perlman, Yugoslavian-American architect Araldo Cossutta, composer Vuk Kulenovic, Josip Broz Tito's personal representative Svetozar Vukmanović-Tempo, Founder of the Greek Institute for National and Religious Studies Athanasios Angelopoulos, scientist Miomir Vukobratović and philologist Miroslav Marcovich. Writers include Miloš Crnjanski, Meša Selimović, Desanka Maksimović, Danilo Kiš, Branislav Nušić, Branko Ćopić, Borisav Stanković, David Albahari, Albanian linguist, writer Martin Camaj and Arabic novelist Abdul Rahman Munif. Famous physicists include Bogdan Maglich, Milan Kurepa, Pavle Savić. Mathematicians include Mihailo Petrović and Dragoslav Mitrinović. Notable physicians include Sehadete Mekuli. Co-founder and president of the Yugoslav Association of University-Educated Women, Paulina Lebl-Albala, was an alumni.

Notable alumni

The other dormitories are smaller by capacity and scattered throughout the city’s urban neighbourhoods. The King Alexandar I Dormitory (also known as "Lola") at the King Alexandar Boulevard campus is the oldest dormitory in the Balkans, founded in 1927 by King Alexander I of Yugoslavia. It has 190 rooms and provides accommodation for the university’s successful students, based on their grade point average.[22] Some of the dormitories got their names after political leaders. As an example, the Patrice Lumumba Hall of Residence at Belgrade University built in 1961 today continues to carry the name of Lumumba, the first legally elected Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo after he helped win its independence from Belgium.[23]

[21] The university’s "Student City" in

The University of Belgrade offers housing options within 11 student dormitories and it has the largest student housing system in Serbia, accommodating up to 11,340 people at various locations throughout the city.[20]

Residential life

King Alexandar I Dormitory, established in 1927

Student life

Under the umbrella of the humanities faculty, the Faculty of Security Studies has its roots in the Institute for National Defense of the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Faculty, University of Belgrade. In 1978, this institute evolved into the free-standing Faculty of People's Defense, which was renamed several times before becoming the Faculty of Security Studies in May 2006. The Faculty of Security Studies focuses on all aspects of security studies, human and social resources, defense, civil defense and environmental protection, offering professional training, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.[19]


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