The history of Julius-Maximilians-Universität (JMU) Würzburg reaches back as far as 1402. At that time, it was the sixth institution of higher education to be founded in the German-speaking regions of Europe, after the universities in Prague, Vienna, Heidelberg, Cologne, and Erfurt.
Many eminent scholars and scientists, 14 Nobel Laureates among them, have conducted research and taught in Würzburg. Notable scientists include Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, who discovered X-rays in Würzburg in 1895, and Klaus von Klitzing, who discovered the Quantum-Hall Effect.
In addition to the four classic subjects – medicine, theology, philosophy, and law – the university also offers many new degree programs. The most recent additions include Artificial Intelligence & Data Science, Computer Science & Sustainability, German-french Studies, Functional Materials, Games Engineering, Modern China, Human Factors in Computing Systems, and Museology, just to name a few.
JMU remains strongly committed to six pillars:
- Molecules, Cells and Organisms
- Molecular Chemistry, New Materials and Quantum Effects
- Digitality, Data Science and Algorithms
- Global Challenges
- Cultural Spheres
- Institutions, Norms and Behavior
As the number of degree programs offered has grown, so too has the university. To accommodate the growth of the student population, the Hubland Campus was built on a hill at the eastern edge of the city. Newly-designed degree programs and a steady influx of students continue to drive the institution’s growth. In 2011, the university expanded to include the newly established Campus Nord, a 39-hectare area in the immediate vicinity of Hubland Campus.
JMU is one of the leading institutions of higher education in Germany, according to the rankings of domestic and international research organizations and international expert committees. On an international level, the University of Würzburg ranks in the top bracket of academic institutions in many scientific disciplines including biology, medicine, physics, and psychology.
In the 1990s, the university began founding cross-faculty research centers, which opened up new research areas and possibilities for innovative degree programs. These interdisciplinary centers, such as the Research Center for Infectious Diseases, have become an internationally prominent trademark of the University of Würzburg.
The creation of research centers has pushed the university into the top tier of German academic institutions and has had numerous positive effects. For example, it has rapidly boosted the amount of public funding, private donations, and research funds from industrial companies. The number of academically prestigious publications has also grown significantly since the mid-1990s, even though the number of positions for professors and assistants at the university remained almost constant during that period.
The University of Würzburg’s numerous Collaborative Research Centers, Research Training Groups, and Research Units, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) have greatly contributed to the university’s high standing in the scientific community. In 2002, the University of Würzburg launched one of three DFG-funded Centers of Excellence across Germany – the Rudolf Virchow Center/DFG Research Center for Experimental Biomedicine.
2019 JMU has succeeded in the contest for the most innovative research concepts in Germany with its joint proposal for the Cluster of Excellence "Complexity and Topology in Quantum Materials - ct.qmat" (Würzburg - Dresden). Furthermore, a new Center for Artificial Intelligence and Data Science CAIDAS is emerging.
The University of Würzburg is strongly committed to the advancement of junior academics. In 2004, the university established its Graduate Schools to provide doctoral candidates with the appropriate resources and facilities to continue and enhance their education.