University of Leipzig (Germany)

University of Leipzig (Germany)

Europe Universities

University of Leipzig (German: Universität Leipzig ), located in the city of Leipzig ( Free State of Saxony ), is one of the oldest universities in Europe. It has a long tradition of comparative global historical research and tertiary oriented and cultural teaching. It was founded on 2 December 1409 by Frederick I, Elector of Saxony and his brother William II, Margrave of Meissen, and originally encompassed four faculties. The university has enjoyed nearly 600 years of uninterrupted teaching and research.



The university was modeled on the University of Prague, from which the German-speaking members of the faculty were withdrawn to Leipzig after the January Hus crisis and the Kutná Hora Decree. Alma’s Mater Lipsiensis opened in 1409, after he had been officially endorsed by Pope Alexander V in his bull of recognition on (September 9 of that year). Its first rector was Johann von Münsterberg.

Between 1953 and 1991, the university was called Karl-Marx University.

University library

Leipzig University Library was established in 1543. It is one of the oldest German university libraries and serves as a source of literature and information for the University of Leipzig as well as the general public in the region. Its extensive historical and special collections are nationally and internationally recognized. The library consists of the main building “Albertina Library” and forty branches located near their respective academic institutions. Current stock encompasses 5 million volumes and about 7,700 newspapers. Collections range from important medieval and modern manuscripts to incunabula, papyri, dedications, ostraka and coins.


The university’s urban campus encompasses several locations. The main building in the center of Leipzig was under construction in 2005 ; blueprints for the new university building were drawn by the Dutch architect Erick van Egeraat. The estimated total cost for the renovation project is 140 million euros. The new building is set to finish in 2009, right for the university’s 600th anniversary celebrations.

In addition to the faculties and institutions, there are several other bodies that serve the university: the university library, a university archive and administration, as well as a museum for music instruments and a university clinic. The university’s Botanischer Garten (botanical garden) was established in 1542 and is the second oldest botanical garden in Europe. The university is present at 38 locations in Leipzig.

Former main building in front of the MDR skyscraper

Albertina Library of the University Library


Today, the university has 14 faculties. With more than 29,000 students, it is the second largest university in Saxony. There are now more than 150 institutes and the university offers 190 study programs leading to Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate degrees, the medical school is the most renowned faculty in the university.

The university offers a number of courses in English and there are several programs allowing foreign students to study abroad at the university. Current exchange partner universities include, among others, the University of Arizona, the University of Houston, the University of Alberta, and the University of Edinburgh.

There are two main programs taught in English: American Studies and Global Studies. American Studies Leipzig is one of the most distinguished programs of its kind in Europe. In the last three years alone, it has been awarded three prestigious international professorships: The Fulbright-Leipzig Chair for American Studies, the DAAD Professorship for American and International Studies, and the Picador Chair for Literary Studies. Erasmus Mundus Global Studies on the other hand, is an interdisciplinary, research-based offered by a consortium of four European universities: the University of Leipzig, the London School of Economics, the University of Vienna, and the University of Wroclaw.


The four original facilities were the faculty of arts, theology, medicine, and law. Today, the university encompasses the following 14 faculties:

  • Faculty of Theology
  • Faculty of Law
  • Faculty of History, Art and Oriental Studies
  • Faculty of Philology
  • Education Faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences and Philosophy
  • Faculty of Economics and Management (including Civil Genius).
  • Faculty of Sports Science
  • Faculty of Medicine (with a university hospital).
  • Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics
  • Faculty of Biosciences, Pharmacy and Psychology
  • Faculty of Physics and Geology
  • Faculty of Chemistry and Mineralogy
  • veterinary school

Associated with the University

Many remarkable individuals have been studied at the University of Leipzig. Some famous people affiliated with Leipzig include:

  • Johann Wolfgang Goethe, poet and mathematician
  • Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, mathematician
  • Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, philosopher and writer
  • Gustav Hertz, German physicist, Nobel laureate in Physics
  • Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher
  • Richard Wagner, composer
  • Wilhelm Wundt, psychologist, founded the first formal laboratory for psychological research
  • Werner Heisenberg, physicist, Nobel laureate in Physics
  • Hans-Dietrich Genscher, German politician, Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor
  • Angela Merkel, the first female chancellor in Germany

University of Leipzig (Germany)