A fascinating bit from Fred Beiser's magisterial The German Historicist Tradition (OUP, 2011), pp. 19, 21-22:
The faculties of the medieval university had a hierarchial structure....There were three "higher faculties"--law, medicine and theology--where theology stood at the top of the pyramid, followed (in descending order) by law and medicine. At the base of the pyramid there lay "the low faculty": philosophy. "Philosophy" was then a composite name for many different disciplines. it comprised the traditional liberal arts, which were divided into the trivium (grammar, rhetoric, logic) and the quadrivium(arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy). The purpose of the higher faculties was to give vocational training, whereas the aim of the liberal arts was to give the student a general education in his first years. Since their aim was to prepare the student for the higher faculties, the liberal arts were essentially cast in a service role....The winds of political change swept over the universities [in the period 1789-1814]. Napoleon abolished many of the traditional universities, and the few remaining ones had to modernize quickly to survive. Regarding the purpose and structure of the modern university, a new revolutionary doctrine arose. The leading theorists of educational reform in the 1790s and early 1800s--Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Schleiermacher and Humboldt--made philosophy the supreme faculty in the organization of the university. This was a virtual reversal of the traditional order: the lower faculty now became the highest! Philosophy was accorded such stature for various reasons: it alone was critical while other faculties rested on authority; it alone gave a systematic grasp of the whole extent of knowledge; it alone could teach people scientific thinking as such.