The University of Malta traces its origins to the founding of the Collegium Melitense by the Jesuits in 1592. The College was raised to University status by Grandmaster Pinto in 1769. In fact, 2018 marked the bicentenary of the death of UM's first Rector, Roberto Ranieri Costaguti, a member of the Servite Order and later for 40 years, Bishop of Sansepolcro, Italy. Situated at Tal-Qroqq, the University is the main institution of Higher Education of the State by which it is mainly financed. Access is open to all those who have the requisite qualifications.
There are over 11,500 students including some 1,000 international students from 92 different countries, following full-time or part-time degree and diploma courses, most of them run on the modular or credit system. Some 3,500 students graduate in various disciplines annually. The degree courses at the University are designed to produce highly qualified professionals with experience of research, who will play key roles in industry, commerce and public affairs in general. There are a further 2,000 pre-tertiary students at the Junior College which is also managed by the University.
The University today has fourteen faculties: Arts; Built Environment; Dental Surgery; Economics, Management & Accountancy; Education; Engineering; Health Sciences; Information & Communication Technology; Laws; Media & Knowledge Sciences; Medicine & Surgery; Science, Social Wellbeing and Theology.
A number of interdisciplinary institutes and centres have been set up in various fields. These include Aerospace Technologies, Anglo-Italian Studies, Baroque Studies, Climate Change and Sustainable Development, Confucius Institute, Diplomatic Studies, Digital Games, Earth Systems, Edward de Bono Institute for the Design and Development of Thinking, European Studies, Islands and Small States Studies, Linguistics and Language Technology, Maltese Studies, Mediterranean Institute, Physical Education and Sport, Space Sciences and Astronomy, Sustainable Energy, the Institute for Tourism, Travel and Culture.
The centres comprise:Biomedical Cybernetics, Distributed Ledger Technologies, English Language Proficiency, Educational Research, Entrepreneurship and Business Incubation, Environmental Education and Research, Labour Studies, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Literacy, Molecular Medicine and Biobanking, Centre for Resilience and Socio-Emotional Health, Study and Practice of Conflict Resolution and Centre for Traditional Chinese Medicine.
There are also three Schools: the Doctoral School, the International School for Foundation Studies and the School of Performing Arts which incorporates Dance Studies, Music Studies and Theatre Studies.
The main University of Malta Msida Campus is where most of the academic entities are located. It is also home to the IMO International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI) and the International Ocean Institute Malta Operational Centre. The Foundation Stone of the Msida Campus was laid on 22 September 1964 by the Rt. Hon. Duncan Sandys, the then Commonwealth Secretary. The total area of the Msida Campus is 250,207 square metres.
The Valletta Campus, which is housed in the Old University Building in Valletta, dates back to the founding of the Collegium Melitense in 1592. This Campus serves as a prestigious setting for the hosting of international conferences, seminars, short courses and summer schools. It is also the seat of the University's International Collaborative Programmes, the Research, Innovation & Development Trust (RIDT) and the Conferences & Events Unit.
The University of Malta Gozo Campus facilitates the organisation of part-time degree, diploma and short-term courses in Gozo and also caters for the needs of the increasing number of students from Gozo who study on the main Campus. The Campus also provides a venue for public lectures and seminars and also houses the Güsten Atmospheric Research Centre, which is part of the Department of Geosciences, Faculty of Science.
The Solar Research Laboratory of the Institute for Sustainable Energy is located at the Marsaxlokk Campus.
The public response to the University of the Third Age has been very encouraging with membership constantly on the increase and all activities being well attended.
The University of Malta has embarked on a Strategic Planning Process to update its vision and mission for the next decade.The Strategic Plan provides the university with a set of overall goals and a roadmap of how to achieve them. The objective of the university is to sustain and develop its position as a world-class education provider that also has a strong national role. The goals provide a guideline for day-to-day decision-making and operational activity by defining where the organisation is heading and what its priorities should be.
The University of Malta is a member the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), the European Universities Association (EUA), the Utrecht Network, the Santander Network, the Compostela Group, the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP), UK Naric, European University Continuing Education Network (EUCEN), Network of Excellence of Island Universities (RETI) and the European Association of Erasmus Coordinators (EAEC). Through its International Office, its students participate in programmes such as Erasmus+. Over the years, the University has participated in various EU Programmes and has won several projects under the Framework Programmes in collaboration with a number of partner universities.
The University is geared towards the infrastructural and industrial needs of the country so as to provide expertise in crucial fields. There is ongoing collaboration with the public and private sectors whilst various services are offered to industry.