What were the conditions to be fulfilled for a free man in the (LATE) Medieval ages, to be accepted by a university as a student?

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    Money, a patron, or a scholarship from the school itself. Feb 3, 2017 at 20:39

1 Answer 1


The minimal requirement to study the liberal arts seems to have been sufficient financial means to support yourself and pay the fees, which usually implied that you were of good (or at least moneyed) family background. You also needed the ability to converse, read and write in Latin, and a basic understanding of Christian doctrine. That seems to have been all the mandatory requirements, although more education would be useful.

The interview process was essentially "turn up and find someone who's willing to take you on as a pupil." The early universities were essentially guilds of scholars who collected fees from pupils to make their living. Travelling was expensive, dangerous and slow; making a special journey to be interviewed would not be plausible, unless you lived quite close to the university.

  • 1
    I assume that there was an interview process and perhaps it was not too dissimilar to modern times; the advent of standardized testing is quite modern.
    – Jeff
    Feb 7, 2017 at 8:49
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    One could see a famous scholar reluctant to choose an unsuitable student and able to pick because he had more than enough students.
    – Jeff
    Feb 7, 2017 at 9:33
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    I have read about rich men who wanted to sponsor a son/relative/protegee (or just a poor but promising boy). They would often have contacts near or at the university and mail them to pre-arrange a meeting with faculty and to find a place to stay for the future student - better than just "turn up". Having recommendations from tutors, monks, or parish schools would help too.
    – Luiz
    May 26, 2020 at 19:37

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