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The plateresque facade (R. Gil de Hontañón, 1543) of the most recognized building of the university
Roofed courtyard of the School of Architecture.
The University of Alcalá (Spanish: Universidad de Alcalá) is a public university located in Alcalá de Henares, a city 35 km (22 miles) northeast of Madrid in Spain and also the third-largest city of the region. It was founded in 1293 as a Studium Generale for the public, and was refounded in 1977. The University of Alcalá is especially renowned in the Spanish-speaking world for its annual presentation of the highly prestigious Cervantes Prize.
The University currently enrolls 28,336 students, 17,252 of whom are studying undergraduate degrees which are taught by a teaching staff of 2,608 professors, lecturers and researchers belonging to 24 departments. The University is also proud of its modern and efficient administration, which is carried out by the Administration and Services, comprising approximately 800 people.
One of the university's campuses, located in the city center, is housed partly in historic buildings which were once used by the Complutense University of Madrid, which was located in Alcalá from its mediaeval origins until it was moved to Madrid in 1836.
In 1499, Cardinal Cisneros founded a university in Alcalá de Henares. This university is known in historiography in different ways: Complutense University, Cisneriana University, University of Alcalá ... and reached, together with the University of Salamanca, a pre-eminent place among the Castilian universities during the Golden Age. However, it later entered a period of decline until in 1836 the government decreed its transfer to Madrid, renamed Central University of Madrid. This, in 1970, adopted the name of Complutense University of Madrid. The Complutense University of Madrid, in accordance with such historical trajectory, shows continuity with the university founded by Cisneros in 1499.
Move to Madrid
By a royal order of 29 October 1836, Queen Regent Maria Christina ordered The University to move to Madrid, where they took the name of Literary University and, in 1851, the Central University of Madrid. The University would be known under this name until its original name of "Complutense" was restored in the 1970s.
In 1975, after years of the buildings passing between various businesses, Complutense University opened its Alcalá branch as a means to decongest its growing student population. In 1977, the university was re-founded as "the University of Alcalá de Henares," which later was shortened to "the University of Alcalá" in 1996. In 1998 Unesco named it a World Heritage site.
Today's University of Alcalá preserves its traditional humanities faculties, a testimony to the university's special efforts, past and present, to promote and diffuse the Spanish language through both its studies and the Cervantes Prize, which is awarded annually by the King and Queen of Spain in the elegant sixteenth-century Paraninfo (Great Hall). The University has added to its time-honoured education in the humanities and social sciences new degree subjects in scientific fields such as health sciences or engineering, spread out across its different sites (the Alcalá Campus, the Science and Technology Campus and Guadalajara), all of which, together with the Science and Technology Park, are a key factor in its projection abroad, while also acting as a dynamo for activities in its local region.
Spanish language programs
Because of its rich tradition in the humanities, the University of Alcalá offers several programs in Spanish language and literature. Alcalingua, a Department of the University of Alcalá, offers Spanish language and culture courses to foreigners and develops materials for teaching Spanish as a foreign language. The University of Alcalá, together with EDUESPAÑA, grants the CEELE, Certificado de Calidad en la Enseñanza del Español como Lengua Extranjera (Quality Certificate for Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language).
The University of Alcalá is a party to various bilateral agreements with institutions in non-European countries, above all with universities in Latin America and the USA. Some of these agreements stipulate exchanges for first and second stage students. Like Erasmus Programme students, foreign students who take advantage of these exchange schemes are exempt of payment of tuition fees to the University of Alcalá, though they must meet their own costs of travel, accommodation and upkeep.
Application to take part in these exchanges should be carried out in the university of origin. Once selected, the university of origin will inform the University of Alcalá.
The University of Alcalá offers degrees in five branches of knowledge: Arts and Humanities, Law and Social Sciences, Sciences, Health Sciences, and Engineering and Architecture. Its approximately 20,000 undergraduate students are spread across its three campuses:
Colegio de Málaga (Faculty of Philosophy and Letters)
This campus occupies, among others, the buildings formerly used by the Universidad Complutense de Madrid when it was itself the Universidad de Alcalá. It includes the main administration building, the Faculties of Philosophy and Arts, Law, Economics and Business, and Documentation, as well as the Technical School of Architecture and Geodesy. Also located in the historical campus are Alcalingua (the University's Spanish language school), the Benjamin Franklin North American Studies University Research Institute, the Research Institute of Economic and Social Analysis, the Police Sciences University Research Institute, the Postgraduate School, the Institute of Educational Sciences, the Cisneros International Center for Historical Studies, the Cervantes Research Center, the Foreign Languages Center, the Institute of Business Organization and Management, the International Financial Training Center Foundation and the General Foundation of the University.
The Science and Technology Campus
This campus includes the Faculties of Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Sciences, Pharmacy, Medicine, Nursing and Physiotherapy, as well as the School of Computer Engineering and the Polytechnic School. The students' Residence Halls (the University Residential City and the Giner de los Ríos University Residence) are also located in this campus, as well as sports facilities, the Botanical Garden, Computer Services, numerous research centers and the Science and Technology Park.
The "Multidepartamental" building is home to the Faculties of Tourism and Nursing, and the Schools of Business Studies and Architecture. The Faculty of Education offers degrees in
Audiovisual Communication and Modern Languages and Translation (the latter can also be studied at the historical campus in Alcalá).
Juan Caramuel Lobkowitz: He was a philosopher, mathematician, logician and linguist Spanish Cistercian monk. He studied humanities and philosophy at the University of Alcalá.
Jaime Castro Castro: Lawyer, writer, politician and statesman in Colombia. Studied at University of Alcalá.
Francisco Javier Ceballos Sierra: is a writer and Professor in the area of Architecture and Computer Technology at the University of Alcalá. He is known for his books on programming languages C / C + C, C #, Java, Visual Basic.
Francisco Comín Comín: Professor of History and Economics Institution at UAH. National Prize of History. Doctor of Economics.
Andrés Manuel del Río: Scientist and naturalist. Studied at University of Alcalá de Henares and discovered compounds of vanadium.
Francisco Vallés de Covarrubias: "Divino Vallés" Professor of medicine. The first in Alcalá to teach medicine for the body. He is buried in the chapel of Colegio Mayor de San Ildefonso in Alcalá de Henares.
Santo Tomás de Villanueva: Was from the first promotion of the University of Alcalá and the first saint who studied in the UAH. He has a square dedicated to him as a result.
Gabriel Tortella Casares: is a Spanish economist and historian, specialist in economic history of the modern age. King Juan Carlos Economics Prize 1994. Is Emeritus Professor of Economic History at the University of Alcalá de Henares.
Facilities and other services
The University of Alcalá is spread across three main sites:
The renovated 16th and 17th century buildings located in the city centre of Alcalá de Henares are home to studies in the traditional fields of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law, as well as to the School of Architecture.
Health Sciences, specialised experimental sciences, and the new technologies are found in faculties and university schools built from scratch on the campus just outside the city of Alcalá de Henares.
Part of its recent process of expansion, the development of the Guadalajara Campus deserves special mention. Here, as well as the long-standing Escuela de Magisterio (primary education teacher-training college) and the Castilla-La Mancha Health Service Nursing College, both attached to the University, may be found the Multi-departmental Building, which is home for Technical Architecture, Business Science, and Tourism.
The University of Alcalá has a network of 14 libraries spread across its three campuses. They offer extended hours year-round and during exam periods they never close.
The university also offers a wide range of sporting activities, including aikido, archery, badminton, fencing, rugby and yoga. There are also courses in snorkelling, horseriding and mountaineering, as well as other popular sports such as football.
The university has a hall for music, dance, theatre or flamenco, as well as the university choir, "Tuna" (a traditional student music group), and the Film Club.