The roots of the Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg reach back as far as 1402 AD. In that era, it was the sixth institution of higher learning to be founded in the German-speaking regions of Europe, after the Universities of Prague, Vienna, Heidelberg, Cologne, and Erfurt.
Many eminent scholars and scientists, 14 Nobel Laureates among them, have researched and taught in Würzburg. Rudolf Virchow, Carl Siebold, and Franz Brentano are in that number, as well as Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, who discovered X-rays at Würzburg in 1895, or Klaus von Klitzing, discoverer of the Quantum-Hall Effect.
Today, Würzburg's university is counted among the medium-sized institutions of higher learning in Germany. At ten faculties, about 400 professors teach around 24,000 students.
An Extensive Choice of Subjects
Having grown over more than six centuries, the course catalog of the University of Würzburg offers a wide range of subjects. Many new study programs have been added to the list of the classic four – Medicine, Theology, Philosophy, and the Law. The most recent are Nanostructure Technology, Technology of Functional Materials, Biomedicine, Modern China, the FOKUS Physics Bavarian Excellence Program, Media Communications, Human Factors in Computing Systems and Museology – to name but a few.
The University of Würzburg remains clearly and strongly committed to the Four Pillars – The Humanities, the Law and Economics, Life Sciences, Natural Science and Technology.
A Policy of Expansion
It is not only the list of study options that has grown over the years. The University itself has been expanding continuously. The generous grounds of Hubland Campus are situated on a hill at the eastern edge of the city. Newly-designed study programs and the steady influx of students continue to drive the institution's growth. In 2011, the University has started to spread over the Campus Nord, a 39-hectare area which directly borders on Hubland Campus.
Würzburg University holds a position among the leading institutions in Germany – this is verified by the rankings of domestic and international research organizations and of international expert committees. On an international level as well, the University of Würzburg rates in the top bracket of academic institutions in many disciplines of science, for instance, in Biology, Medicine, Physics, and Psychology.
Research Centers as a Trademark
As early as in the 1990s, the University began founding cross-faculty research centers, opening up new subjects for investigation and research and innovative study programs. These interdisciplinary centers – the Center for Infection Research is one of them – have by now become an internationally prominent trademark of the University of Würzburg.
Creating research centers has provided enormous thrust and has pushed the University into the top-level group of German academic institutions. The successful integration of the centers into the structures of the University has had many positive effects. Among others, it has rapidly boosted the amounts of public funding, private donations, or research funds raised from industrial companies. And the number of academically prestigious publications since the mid-1990s has grown, even though the endowment of the University of Würzburg with positions for professors and assistants remained almost constant in that period.
Science and Success
The scientific standing of the University of Würzburg also shows in its numerous Collaborative Research Centers, Research Training Groups, and Research Units, whose funding by the German Research Foundation (DFG) Würzburg's scientists have raised against heavy competition.
In 2002, the University of Würzburg launched one of the three Centers of Excellence the DFG funded across Germany – Rudolf Virchow Center /DFG Research Center for Experimental Biomedicine. Its teams investigate key proteins, which are especially important for sustained health, respectively in the origin of diseases.
Promoting the Next Generation
The University of Würzburg regards the promotion of junior academics as an essential responsibility. Establishing its Graduate Schools in 2004 constitutes another milestone in this endeavor. These institutions provide doctoral candidates with the appropriate structures and formats to continue and enhance their education.