The University of Naples Federico II was established in 1224 through an Imperial Charter of Frederick II Hohenstaufen, King of Sicily and Holy Roman Emperor. It was the first publicly funded university in Europe.
Nowadays the university offers courses in essentially all academic disciplines, leading to one hundred fifty-five graduate level degrees. Research facilities provide support to all these courses. Students are given the opportunity to pursue intellectual development as well as the acquisition of professional skills. Current student enrollment nears 97,000 and the academic personnel, at this time, is 3,121.
The university is made up of three divisions (Poli), which operate as semi-independent bodies for the teaching and research management of thirteen schools and eighty-two departments grouped, within each division, according to academic and research profiles. Thus, the Division of Science and Technology includes the School of Sciences (which, in turn, includes the Schools of Mathematics, Physics and Natural Sciences), the School of Engineering, and the School of Architecture. The Division of Life Sciences includes the School of Medicine and Surgery, the School of Pharmacy, the School of Veterinary Medicine, the School of Agricultural Sciences and the recently established School of Biotechnological Sciences. The Division of Social and Human Sciences includes the School of Economics, The School of Law, the School of Liberal Arts, the School of Political Sciences and the School of Sociology. Many more organisations also form part of the Federico II University. These include a cluster of fourteen highly specialised Museums, covering a wide range of fields, and two botanical gardens hosting unique species.
The central library facility is linked to the division and school libraries; it runs many digital programmes designed to provide free access and the widest possible dissemination of published material to the academic staff. There are seventeen inter-departmental research centres (see organisational chart on page 18) open to scholars of all departments and schools and twenty-one service and study centres.
The University Federico II has a tradition of promoting and supporting student associations. There are more than fifty student associations currently active, which bring together students, of widely varied cultural and social background. These associations give rise to initiatives and activities of different nature, including sporting events, arts, social and political forums.
The venue of the university has changed many times, over the many centuries of its history (see History). Nowadays, the size of the university is such that its venues are spread throughout the city of Naples and its immediate surroundings. The three major campuses are located in the centre of town, its Northern and Western outskirts. The Senate House and the main administrative offices, along with the Schools of Law and Liberal Art are in central Naples; the much newer campuses on the hill of Camaldoli (North) and the Fuorigrotta (West) areas, host the Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy and the Schools of Sciences and Economics, respectively.
The School of Medicine includes a large University Hospital, as part of a much larger hospital system, which includes the multi-speciality ‘Cardarelli’ Hospital, the largest hospital of Southern Italy the Cancer Institute and the Hospital for Infectious Diseases.