The University of Ferrara was founded on March 4, 1391 by Marquis Alberto V D'Este with the permission of Pope Boniface IX. The Studium Generale was inaugurated on St. Luke's Day (October 18) of that year with courses in law, arts and theology. After the unification of Italy, Ferrara University became a free university with faculties of Law and Mathematics, a three-year course in Medicine (reduced to two years in 1863-64), as well as Schools of Veterinary Medicine (abolished in 1876), Pharmacy, and for public Notaries.
After World War II, it started to be state-supported and this allowed the opening of many faculties and research departments. The most remarkable growth took place between the '70s and the '80s, when Prof. Antonio Rossi was in charge of it as Rector.