Hokkaido University, or Hokudai, is a Japanese national university in Sapporo, Hokkaido. It is a member of the Imperial Universities, which were established to be the nation's finest institutes of higher education or research. It is located in downtown Sapporo, just north of Sapporo Station, and stretching approximately 2.4 kilometers northward.
Hokkaido University was founded in 1876 as Sapporo Agricultural College by William S. Clark with the help of five faculty members and a first class size of 24 students. In September 1907, Tohoku Imperial University set up the faculty of Agriculture in Sapporo. Tohoku Imperial University ceded the Faculty of Agriculture to Hokkaido Imperial University on April 1, 1918. It was one of nine Imperial Universities. The School of Medicine was established in 1919, at which time the Agricultural College became the Faculty of Agriculture. This was followed by the Faculty of Engineering, the Faculty of Science, and finally in 1947, the Faculty of Law and Literature. The current name of Hokkaido University also came into use in 1947. In 1953, the Graduate School was established.
Since 2004 the university has been incorporated as a National University Corporation under a new law which applies to all national universities. Although the incorporation has led to increased financial independence and autonomy, Hokkaido University is still partially controlled by the Japanese Ministry of Education.