University of Cologne

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University of Cologne
Universität zu Köln
Siegel Uni-Koeln (Grau).svg
University seal of 1392
Latin: Universitas Coloniensis
Type Public
Established1388;634 years ago (1388)
Budget€831.8 million [1]
Rector Axel Freimuth
Academic staff
7,393 [1]
Students50,792 [1]
Location, ,
Coordinates: 50°55′41″N6°55′43″E / 50.92806°N 6.92861°E / 50.92806; 6.92861
Campus Urban

The University of Cologne (German : Universität zu Köln) is a university in Cologne, Germany. It was established in the year 1388 and is one of the most prestigious and research intensive universities in Germany. It was the sixth university to be established in Central Europe. [2] It closed in 1798 before being re-established in 1919. It is now one of the largest universities in Germany with more than 48,000 students. The University of Cologne was a university of excellence as part of the German Universities Excellence Initiative from 2012 to 2019. As of 2021, 3 Nobel Prize winners have been affiliated with the university.


Professors and former students have won 11 Leibniz Prizes, the most prestigious as well as the best-funded prize in Europe.


First building of the new university Fachhochschule Koln - Campus Sudstadt, GWZ-2984.jpg
First building of the new university


The university of Cologne was established in 1388 as the fourth university in the Holy Roman Empire, after the Charles University of Prague (1348), the University of Vienna (1365) and the Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg (1386). The charter was signed by Pope Urban VI. The university began teaching on 6 January 1389.

In 1798, the university was abolished by the French First Republic, who had invaded Cologne in 1794, because under the new French constitution, many universities were abolished all over France. The last rector Ferdinand Franz Wallraf was able to preserve the university's Great Seal, now once more in use.


Main building, by architect Adolf Abel, 1934 Hauptgebaude der Universitat zu Koln-5634.jpg
Main building, by architect Adolf Abel, 1934

In 1919, the Prussian government endorsed a decision by the Cologne City Council to re-establish the university. This was considered to be a replacement for the loss of the University of Strasbourg on the west bank of the Rhine, which contemporaneously reverted to France with the rest of Alsace. On 29 May 1919, the Cologne Mayor Konrad Adenauer signed the charter of the modern university.

At that point, the new university was located in Neustadt-Süd, but relocated to its current campus in Lindenthal on 2 November 1934. The old premises are now being used for the Cologne University of Applied Sciences.

Initially, the university was composed of the Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences (successor to the Institutes of Commerce and of Communal and Social Administration) and the Faculty of Medicine (successor to the Academy of Medicine). In 1920, the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Arts were added, from which latter the School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences was split off in 1955 to form a separate Faculty. In 1980, the two Cologne departments of the Rhineland School of Education were attached to the university as the Faculties of Education and of Special Education. In 1988, the university became a founding member of the Community of European Management Schools and International Companies (CEMS), today's Global Alliance in Management Education.

The university is a leader in the area of economics and is regularly placed in top positions for law and business, both for national and international rankings.


University campus between main building and mensa (the university canteen) Alphons-Silbermann-Weg, Koln, Juni 2008.jpg
University campus between main building and mensa (the university canteen)

The University of Cologne is a statutory corporation (Körperschaft des öffentlichen Rechts), operated by the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia.


The university is divided into six faculties, which together offer 200 fields of study. The faculties are those of Management, Economics and Social Sciences, Law, Medicine (with the affiliated University clinic), Arts, Mathematics and Natural Sciences and Human Sciences.

Wirtschafts- & Sozialwiss Fak der Universitat zu Koln.jpg Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences ca. 10,000
Rechtswiss Fak der Universitat zu Koln.jpg Faculty of Law ca. 5,000
Medizinische Fak der Universitat zu Koln.jpg   Faculty of Medicine with University Hospital of Cologneca. 3,200
Philosop Fak der Universitat zu Koln.jpg   Faculty of Arts and Humanities ca. 16,500
Mathematisch Naturwiss Fak der Universitat zu Koln.jpg   Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences ca. 7,500
    Faculty of Human Sciences ca. 2,800


Axel Freimuth, 2007 Axel freimuth 20071128.jpg
Axel Freimuth, 2007

On 24 November 2004, the physicist Axel Freimuth was elected as Rector of the University. His (initially four-year) term began on 1 April 2005. He succeeded Tassilo Küpper and was the 49th Rector since 1919. He was previously Dean of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.

Academic profile

University rankings
Global – Overall
ARWU World [3] 151-200
QS World [4] 311
THE World [5] 172

University of Cologne is member of the association German U15 e.V. which is a coalition of fifteen major research-intensive and leading medical universities in Germany with a full disciplinary spectrum, excluding any defining engineering sciences.

CWTS Leiden ranking, ranks Cologne as among top 15 universities in Germany for medicine studies. According to Shanghai ranking, the University of Cologne is eighth best in Germany.

7 people associated with the university have won the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Professorship prize.

Apart from these, affiliated persons with the university have won various awards including Max Planck Research Award, Cologne Innovation Prize (City of Cologne), Postbank Finance Award (Deutsche Postbank), Ernst Jung Prize in Medicine (Jung Foundation), SASTRA Ramanujan Prize, Wilhelm Vaillant Prize (Wilhlem Vaillant Foundation), Heinz Maier Leibnitz Prize (DFG), Alfried Krupp Prize for the Advancement of Young Professors, Innovation Prize of the State of NRW, Karl Arnold Prize (North Rhine-Westphalia Academy of Sciences and Arts) and many more.

Museums and collections

Students and faculty

In 2005, the university enrolled 47,203 students, including 3,718 graduate students. In 2003, the number of post-doctoral researchers was 670.

There were 6,157 international students in the 2005 Summer Semester (approximately 13% of all students). Those from developing countries made up about 60%, representing a total of 123 nations. The largest contingents came from Bulgaria (10.5%), Russia (8.8%), Poland (7.4%), China (6.2%) and Ukraine (5.7%).

There are 508 professors at the university, including 70 women. In addition, the university employs 1,549 research assistants, with an additional 765 at the clinic, and 1,462 other assistants (3,736 at the clinic).

Partner universities

Campus of the Cologne University Hospital in Lindenthal Uniklinik koeln air2.jpg
Campus of the Cologne University Hospital in Lindenthal

The University of Cologne maintains twenty official partnerships [6] with universities from ten countries. Of these, the partnerships with Clermont-Ferrand I and Pennsylvania State are the oldest partnerships. In addition, Cologne has further cooperations [7] with more than 260 other universities.

Notable alumni and professors

Albertus Magnus monument in front of the main building Albertus Magnus Skulptur, Universitat zu Koln.jpg
Albertus Magnus monument in front of the main building

The University of Cologne was commemorated on the Federal Republic of Germany's postage stamp in 1988, celebrating university's 600 years. [9]

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 "UoC at a Glance". University of Cologne (in German). Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  2. Prague (1348), Kraków (1364), Vienna (1365), Pécs (1367), Heidelberg (1386), Cologne (1388)
  3. "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2017".
  4. "QS World University Rankings 2022". Top Universities.
  5. "World University Rankings". Times Higher Education (THE). 18 August 2017.
  6. "University of Cologne, partner universities". Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  7. "Partneruniversitäten". Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  8. "Who was Jenny Gusyk?". University of Köln. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  9. "600 Jahre Universität zu Köln" (in German). Retrieved 17 October 2020.

Further reading