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University of Montpellier III Paul Valery (French: Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier III) is a French university in the Academy of Montpellier. It is one of the three successor universities to the University of Montpellier, specialising in the arts, languages and social sciences.
Paul Valéry is one of the oldest universities in Europe. The University of Montpellier, founded on the October 26th 1289 through a bull issued by Pope Nicholas IV combining the schools of Medicine, Arts and Law, is the third university founded in France, following those of Paris and Toulouse.
In 1939, the new Faculty of Humanities was built in the city centre, facing Saint Paul's Cathedral on the rue du Cardinal de Cabrières (currently home to part of the University of Montpellier 1's Law Faculty), and inaugurated by the then Dean Augustin Fliche.
Having become too cramped, the university moved in 1966 to a campus of over 10 hectares in the north of the city (route de Mende), close to the University of Montpellier II's new campus. In order to avoid confusion with the University of Montpellier 2, the architectural aesthetic was very carefully selected and large green spaces created.
In 1970, the former faculties formed three separate universities (Montpellier I, II and III). The Faculty of Arts, Languages, Social Sciences and Humanities becoming the "University of Montpellier III", whilst also taking on the name of Paul Valéry as a homage to the Sète-born writer who studied in Montpellier.
In 1986 a new building comprising three lecture theatres (one seating 800 students) was built.
In 1998, a second University campus was built in Béziers on the site of the former Duguesclin barracks.
Since 2002, all Nîmes students have been included in the University of Nîmes and are no longer part of the University of Montpellier III.
A move of the University's UFR 5 (psychology and sociology department) is currently being planned to the Saint-Charles site in Montpellier city centre.