The University of Ferrara is the main university of the city of Ferrara in. In the years prior to the First World War the University of Ferrara, with more than 500 students, was the best attended of the free universities in Italy. Today there are approximately 16,000 students enrolled at the University of Ferrara with nearly 400 degrees granted each year. The teaching staff number 600, including 288 researchers. It is organized into 12 Departments. 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.