This is a young dynamic university, keen to expand and to prove itself at a national and international level.
Since 1955 the Università del Salento has had the aim of promoting knowledge, skill and merit and has offered a large range of educational opportunities. From law to science, economics to engineering, humanities to media studies, the university provides academic pathways to a range of professions as well as post-graduate and specialist courses tailor made to meet the needs of the workplace.
Eight Departments providing services and information for students, as well as thirty-three Research Centres throughout the Salento area. The Università del Salento has grown rapidly in recent years, consolidating and reinforcing its role as the keystone of the local cultural and social system. It also has a Phd. School and Post-graduate schools for Cultural Heritage and for the Legal Professions. The prestigious ISUFI Grandes écoles school offers high-level undergraduate and postgraduate courses for scholarship students to promote excellence.
In 1767, the Jesuits who monopolized the teaching in this Land of d’Otranto (terra d’Otranto) were cast out by Ferdinand IV when he closed the schools and colleges they had founded. This led to the birth of Royal Schools (Scuole Regie) where organisation of the schools shifted to the state, and teaching moved from a church based doctrine to a more enlightened secular teaching.
In the first decades of the 1800s, as a natural consequence of the spreading of schools and state colleges, The Royal University (la Regia Università) was instituted in the Land of Otranto - with poor results.
In 1852, after a period of repression by the Bourbon dynasty, the Jesuits reclaimed the Royal Academy (Regio Liceo), which they renamed the College of Lecce (Collegio Leccese). The unification of Italy meant new disruption for teaching in the South which saw the suppression of almost all the collegi and the outlawing of all higher education. This restriction, clearly, affected the Academy of Lecce as well – and all the teaching posts were suspended. On 18th of June 1869 The Ateneo di Scienze Legali was founded. It was managed by Rector Vitaliano Pizzolante and his Vice Rector Leonardo Stampacchia. An endeavour, though, that lasted after only two years.
Even though there was a strong request for a university in Lecce, the situation was not resolved until1955, when The University Consortium was founded. It worked with the Province of Lecce and the majority of towns in the surrounding area to create the Autonomous Teaching Magisterium Institute (Istituto autonomo di Magistero). While waiting to be recognized legally as a state university, the Magistero started its first university courses. Legal recognition arrived in 1959 which allowed students to be awarded a recognized degree. The university itself was recognised as a national university in 1967, with the institution of the Faculty of Physical, Mathematical and Natural Sciences.
In 1987 the Faculty of Economics and Financial Sciences was born, now called the Faculty of Economics and Commerce. The Faculty of Engineering was instituted in the 1990. In 1995 the degree program in Foreign Languages and Literature was transformed into the Faculty of Languages.
In 1997 the first lessons in the Faculty of Cultural Heritage started, along with the institution of the Science of Educational Training Faculty. 1998 was the turn of the Law Faculty and in 1997 the Faculty of Engineering began diploma courses in Logistics and Production Engineering, which transformed into the degree course in Industrial Engineering.
A second Faculty of Engineering sprouted at the Brindisi campus of the university. There, the Faculty of Industrial Engineering, developed the Masters course in Aerospace Engineering. Also, in 2006 at the Brindisi campus, the Faculty of Social, Political, and Regional Science was instituted.
In September of 2006 the Università di Lecce was renamed the Università del Salento, the University of Salento to respond to the growth of the university in Salento with the addition of the Brindisi campus.