The University of Deusto was inaugurated in 1886. The concerns and cultural interest of the Basque Country in having their own university, as well as the interest of the Jesuits in establishing higher studies in some part of the Spanish State coincided in its conception. Bilbao, a seaport and commercial city which was undergoing considerable industrial growth during that era, was chosen as the ideal location.
Bilbao is the centre of a metropolitan area with more than one million inhabitants, a city traditionally open to Europe. It is also an important harbour and a commercial and financial centre of the Basque Country and the north of Spain. In September of 1997, the city underwent a significant transformation under the emblematic symbol of the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum. The central headquarters of the University of Deusto is located on the opposite side of the estuary, facing the Guggenheim Museum.
In 1916, the "Universidad Comercial de Deusto" received a group of students who would be the first graduates in Economic Sciences in Spain, 25 years before this degree was officially recognised.
In 1963, the Institute of University and Technical Studies of Guipuzcoa in San Sebastian was formed by the integration of three already-existing entities. This institute, years later, would form a part of the University of Deusto. Therefore, the University is located on two campuses, in the two coastal capitals of the Basque Country: Bilbao and San Sebastian.
Beyond individual projects and research which is co-ordinated from chairs such as Law and the Human Genome, Leisure and Disabilities, there is a clear option for the social topics of interdependency, distribution of resources, migration, human rights, development, poverty and environment, ethics and society at the university. Studies on cultural identity (individual and collective), and European integration processes are being carried out by various international research groups.
The University of Deusto is striving for internationalisation, without excluding other regions, and demonstrates a clear commitment to Europe and Latin America, having signed agreements with more than 200 universities.
Approximately 1,300 students and 50 professors take part in mobility programmes. The faculties, institutes and schools are also involved in intensive programmes, European modules and joint curricular designs at various levels, as they participate in cross-border activities, integrated languages, ODL and Leonardo programmes. The entire University adopted the European credit system in 1994, and works to promote it and improve its quality. Deusto was the first European university to extend the European credits to all its faculties.