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The University History

Histoire Manufacture des tabacs, Bâtiment

Toulouse University was the second university to be created in France in 1229, after the Sorbonne in 1200.


However, it is not quite right to talk about the University in France from the Ancien Régime to 1896, as these were only groups of independent Faculties as well as a number of « grandes écoles » in Paris.

At the end of the Second Empire, provincial Faculties were facing a general state of poverty and dereliction : four of them (Law, Literature, Sciences, Catholic Theology) were coexisting in Toulouse. But the Law Faculty was the major one registering three-quarters of the Toulouse students and the most prestigious professors, as it was already the case under the Ancien Régime. The Toulouse faculties nevertheless reflected the poor quality of higher education in provincial France. It was not until the 1880s and Louis Liard and Ernest Lavisse’s actions granting the Faculties greater autonomy that the municipality of Toulouse gave the city cultural institutions worthy of its national role.

But the problems arising from « Parisian » centralization were still hampering the development of Faculties and remained unchanged at the start of the 20th century and until 12 november1968, when the Higher Education Policy Act, known as the Edgar Faure Act, was passed. It created a new type of new establishments " Scientific and cultural public establishments" (E.P.C.S.C). The old faculties disappeared and were replaced by Research and Teaching Units (U.E.R) clustered within the Universities. That is how three Universities emerged in Toulouse: Toulouse 1 Social Science University (Law, Economics and Management) renamed Toulouse 1- Capitole University in 2009, Toulouse 2 Le Mirail University (Humanities) and Toulouse 3 Paul Sabatier University (Sciences and Health)

The main principles implemented through the Act are autonomy, participation and multi disciplinarity, which brought the establishments significant independence. Since then, UT Capitole has undergone a great number of changes while remaining deeply attached to its historical origins shaped by illustrious men.

For further information, please go to the pages of the mission Archives (French website).