The University of Oslo (Norwegian: Universitetet i Oslo), until 1939 named the Royal Frederick University (Norwegian: Det Kongelige Frederiks Universitet), is the oldest university in Norway, located in the Norwegian capital of Oslo. Until 1 January 2016 it was the largest Norwegian institution of higher education in terms of size, now surpassed only by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The Academic Ranking of World Universities has ranked it the 58th best university in the world and the third best in the Nordic countries. In 2015, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked it the 135th best university in the world and the seventh best in the Nordics. While in its 2016, Top 200 Rankings of European universities, the Times Higher Education listed the University of Oslo at 63rd, making it the highest ranked Norwegian university.
The university has approximately 27,700 students and employs around 6,000 people. Its faculties include (Lutheran) Theology (with the Lutheran Church of Norway having been Norway's state church since 1536), Law, Medicine, Humanities, Mathematics, natural sciences, social sciences, Dentistry, and Education. The university's original neoclassical campus is located in the centre of Oslo; it is currently occupied by the Faculty of Law. Most of the university's other faculties are located at the newer Blindern campus in the suburban West End. The Faculty of Medicine is split between several university hospitals in the Oslo area.
The university was founded in 1811 and was modeled after the University of Copenhagen and the recently established University of Berlin. It was originally named for King Frederick VI of Denmark and Norway and received its current name in 1939. The university is informally also known as Universitetet ("the university"), having been the only university in Norway, until 1946 and was commonly referred to as "The Royal Frederick's" (Det Kgl. Frederiks), prior to the name change.
The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded in the university's Atrium, from 1947 to 1989, making it the only university in the world to be involved in awarding a Nobel Prize. Since 2003, the Abel Prize is awarded in the Atrium. Five researchers affiliated with the university have been Nobel laureates.
In 1811, a decision was made to establish the first university in the Dano-Norwegian Union, after an agreement was reached with King Frederik VI, who had earlier believed that such an institution might encourage political separatist tendencies. In 1813, The Royal Frederik's University was founded in Christiania (later renamed Oslo), a small city at that time. Circumstances then changed dramatically one year into the commencement[clarification needed] of the university, as Norway proclaimed independence. However, independence was somewhat restricted, as Norway was obliged to enter into a legislative union with Sweden based on the outcome of the War of 1814. Norway retained its own constitution and independent state institutions, although royal power and foreign affairs were shared[clarification needed] with Sweden. At a time when Norwegians feared political domination by the Swedes, the new university became a key institution that contributed to Norwegian political and cultural independence.
The main initial function of The Royal Frederick University was to educate a new class of upper-echelon civil servants, as well as parliamentary representatives and government ministers. The university also became the centre for a survey of the country—a survey of culture, language, history and folk traditions. The staff of the university strove to undertake a wide range of tasks necessary for developing a modern society. Throughout the 1800s, the university's academic disciplines gradually became more specialised.
One of the major changes in the university came during the 1870s when a greater emphasis was placed upon research, the management of the university became more professional, academic subjects were reformed, and the forms of teaching evolved. Classical education came under increasing pressure.[clarification needed]