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The University of Trieste is a secular, pluralist, public institution of higher education which is independent of any ideological, religious, political or economic orientation. It is in accordance with the principles of the Constitution of the Italian Republic and with the international commitments Italy has undertaken in the fields of scientific research and university education. The main objectives of the University are scientific research and higher education, in order to promote the cultural, civil, social and economic development in the Italian Republic. The University acknowledges that teaching and research are inseparable and that both, where applicable, are inseparable from healthcare services.


The University of Trieste has its origins in the Advanced School of Commerce founded in 1877 when the development of the city’s trading activities increased demand for commercial and mercantile skills.

Since the 18th century, Trieste had sought to establish a university that could stand alongside the flourishing port and offer the necessary legal and economic training, but the government in Vienna repeatedly refused to support these ambitions. This position became even more inflexible in the following century when the opening of a university site in Trieste put in the programme of demands of the local Italian irredentists.

When Trieste became part of Italy at the end of the First World War, the city began to develop its own higher education institutions. The Italian Royal Decree No 1338 of 8th August 1924 sanctioned the conversion of the Advanced School, which in the meantime had become the Higher Institute of Commercial Studies, into the University of Economic and Commercial Studies. In 1938, with the opening of the Faculty of Law, the institution became a fully-fledged university.

The following decades saw progressive development, with the gradual opening of a further ten faculties: Engineering (1942), Arts and Humanities (1943), Mathematics, Physics and Natural Sciences (1946), Pharmacy (1956), Education (which was already a School of Education, 1956), Medicine and Surgery (1965), Political Sciences (1974), the Advanced School of Modern Languages for Interpreters and Translators (1978), Psychology (1997) and Architecture (1998).

Together with the introduction of the new faculties, the University also extended geographically, opening new facilities in Gorizia in 1989, in Pordenone in 1991, and in Portogruaro in 1997.

This arrangement was maintained until the university reform of 2010 (Law No. 240 of 30 December 2010), which pushed higher education institutions to adopt new statutes and redesign their structure. This was achieved in 2012 by decreeing, on the one hand, the abolition of pre-existing faculties, and, on the other, the attribution of responsibility for teaching and management of scientific activity to ten departments.

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