The roots of the Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg reach back as far as 1402. In that era, it was the sixth institution of higher education 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 the X-rays in 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 education in Germany. It comprises ten faculties with about 400 professors and more than 27,000 students.
An extensive choice of subjects
Having grown over more than six centuries, the University of Würzburg offers a wide range of subjects. In addition to the classic four – medicine, theology, philosophy, and law - this range includes many new degree programmes. The most recent ones are Nanostructure Technology, Functional Materials, Biomedicine, Modern China, Digital Humanities, Media Communications, Human Factors in Computing Systems and Museology – to name but a few.
The University of Würzburg remains clearly and strongly committed to four pillars – humanities, law and economics, life sciences, natural sciences and technology.
A policy of expansion
It is not only the list of degree programmes that has grown over the years. The University itself has been expanding continuously. On a hill at the eastern edge of the city, the generous Hubland Campus was set up. Newly-designed degree programmes and a steady influx of students continue to drive the institution's growth. In 2011, the University expanded to include the newly set-up Campus Nord, a 39-hectare area in the immediate vicinity of Hubland Campus.
Würzburg University is one of the leading institutions of higher education in Germany – this is verified by the rankings of domestic and international research organisations as well as international expert committees. On an international level, too, the University of Würzburg ranks in the top bracket of academic institutions in many scientific disciplines including biology, medicine, physics, and psychology.
Research centres as a trademark
As early as in the 1990s, the University began founding cross-faculty research centres, opening up new research areas and possibilities for innovative degree programmes. These interdisciplinary centres – the Research Centre for Infectious Diseases is one of them – have become an internationally prominent trademark of the University of Würzburg.
Creating research centres has provided enormous thrust and has pushed the University into the top tier of German academic institutions. The successful integration of the centres 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 significantly, 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 Centres, 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 Centres of Excellence the DFG funded across Germany – the Rudolf Virchow Centre /DFG Research Centre 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 endeavour. These institutions provide doctoral candidates with the appropriate structures and formats to continue and enhance their education.