University life in the Renaissance, along with its teaching and learning practices, populates with episodes and case-studies the narrative of Juan Huarte de San Juan’s Examen de ingenios (Baeza 1575). The author’s reflections on these episodes implies a proposal on how universities could be reformed in order to improve both students’ success and the overall quality of the ruling class. Huarte’s ideal curriculum gives a pivotal role to natural philosophy, combined with medical observation, thus proposing a new hierarchy for disciplines and a strong role for academic knowledge in the organization of the absolutist State.