The first institute of higher learning that functioned on the territory of Romania was Academia Vasiliană (1640) founded by Prince Vasile Lupuas a „higher school for Latin and Slavonic languages”, followed by the Princely Academy in 1707.
The first high education structure in Romanian language was established in the autumn of 1813, when engineer Gheorghe Asachi laid the foundations of a class of engineers, its activities taking place within the Greek Princely Academy.
After 1813, other moments marked the development of higher education in Romanian language, regarding both humanities and the technical science. In 1835, Academia Mihăileană founded by Prince Mihail Sturdza is considered first Romanian superior institute in the country.
In 1860, three faculties part of the Academia Mihăileană formed the nucleus for the newly established University of Iași, the first Romanian university.
The Physicians and Naturalists Society, founded in Iași, has existed since the early part of the 19th century, and a number of periodicals are published. One of the oldest medical universities in Romania, founded in 1879, is in Iași. It is now known as the Grigore T. Popa University of Medicine and Pharmacy.
In 1937, the two applied science sections of the University of Iași became departments of the newly created Gheorghe Asachi Polytechnic School. In the period before and after World War II, the later (renamed Polytechnic Institute in 1948) extended its domain of activity, especially in the field of engineering, and became adopted a Technical University in 1993.
Public universities include:
- Alexandru Ioan Cuza University– situated in Copou, is the oldest higher education institution in Romania;
- Gheorghe Asachi Technical University – the school with the oldest engineering tradition in Romania;
- Grigore T. Popa University of Medicine and Pharmacy – one of the oldest medicine schools in Romania;
- George Enescu University of Arts – the oldest tradition in music and arts education in Romania;
- Ion Ionescu de la Brad University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine – one of the oldest schools of its kind.