Laval University is a French-language, public research university in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. The University was founded by royal charter issued by Queen Victoria in 1852, with roots in the founding of the Séminaire de Québec in 1663 by François de Montmorency-Laval, making it the oldest centre of higher education in Canada and the first North American institution to offer higher education in French. The university, whose campus was erected from the 1950s onward in the suburban borough of Sainte-Foy–Sillery–Cap-Rouge, is ranked among the top ten Canadian universities in terms of research funding and holds four Canada Excellence Research Chairs.
As of 2002, Laval University offered over 350 programs to more than 38,000 students. The university also attracts more than 2,500 foreign students annually, and has almost 1,000 students drawn from Canadian provinces outside of Quebec. Many students come to the university for the Français pour non-francophones program that offers instruction in French as a second language to students from Canada and around the world. It is also the only university in Quebec which trains forestry engineers. Since the mid-1980s, Université Laval has offered distance learning; over 30 programs and 400 courses are offered by distance learning, of which 80% are accessible from the internet.