The University of Lausanne in Lausanne, Switzerland was founded in 1537 as a school of theology, before being made a university in 1890. Today about 13,500 students and 2,200 researchers study and work at the university. Approximately 1,500 international students attend the university (120 nationalities), which has a wide curriculum including exchange programs with world-renowned universities.
Together with the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) the university forms a vast campus at the shores of Lake Geneva.
The Academy, forerunner of the UNIL, was founded in 1537. Its vocation at that time was to train ministers for the church. The university enjoyed a certain renown due to the fact that it was the only French language Protestant school of theology. As the centuries passed, the number of faculties increased and diversified until, in 1890, the Academy (Académie de Lausanne) received the name and status of a university.
In 1909 Rodolphe Archibald Reiss founded the first school of forensic science in the world: the Institut de police scientifique.
From 1970, the university moved progressively from the old centre of Lausanne, around the Cathedral and Château, to its present site at Dorigny.
The end of the 20th century witnessed the beginnings of an ambitious project aiming at greater co-operation and development among the French-speaking universities of Lausanne, Geneva, and Neuchâtel, together with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). Among others, this led to the transfer of the sections of Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry from the University to the EPFL; the funds that were made available following this transfer were invested in the development of the life sciences at the University, including the creation of a Center for Integrative Genomics.
In 2003 two new faculties were founded, concentrating on the life and human sciences: the Faculty of Biology and Medicine and the Faculty of Geosciences and Environment.
On 1 January 2014, the Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration (IDHEAP) was integrated into the University of Lausanne.