The University of Montpellier is a French public research university in Montpellier in south-east of France. Established in 1289 the University of Montpellier is one of the oldest of the world. The university was split into 3 universities during 45 years (the University of Montpellier 1, the University of Montpellier 2 and the Paul Valéry University Montpellier 3) between 1970 and 2015 when it was subsequently reunified by the merger of the former two, with the latter, now named Paul Valéry University Montpellier, remaining a separate entity.
The university is considerably older than its formal founding date, associated with a papal bill issued by Pope Nicholas IV in 1289, combining all the centuries old schools into a university. However, the earliest account of Montpellier University dates from 1808 when the Montpellier Faculty of Sciences, its predecessor body, was established. The university has more than 15,000 students and around 1,450 members of staff. It is a multidisciplinary university with eight faculties and a particular focus on sciences and technological research. In 2010 it commanded a budget of 201.1 million.
Montpellier has a long and illustrious career in providing graduate study. Today the university is succeeded by a PRES (a university consortium) of three universities:
It is planned for these three universities to form one institution in the near future, called the University of Southern France, Montpellier.
The city is also home to grandes écoles (literally in French "higher schools") which are higher education institutions in France that are outside the university framework. These are also available for graduate programs in Montpellier. These schools are focused in the area of sciences and engineering: