- Darmstadt University of Technology
Darmstadt University of Technology
To meet the challenges of sustainable development for our society and economy, we must drive, network and rethink our notions and use of technology. At Darmstadt University of Technology, we focus on technology-related issues; we experiment with new approaches and open up new opportunities.
Our scientists conduct seminal basic research and creatively translate their insights into technological solutions. The technology they create fits smartly into complex operating environments. Our students learn to synthesize excellent research and practical applicability from the very beginning.
I believe that it is one of science’s global tasks for the future to lay the groundwork for sustainable, viable prosperity. Darmstadt University of Technology is one of Germany’s leading universities of technology, and known around the globe for its pioneering achievements. It embraces the challenges of the future with excellent research in selected fields and first-rate education.
Professor Dr. Hans Jürgen Prömel, President, Darmstadt University of Technology
A leading university of technology
In order to expand its expertise strategically, TU Darmstadt maintains a variety of partnerships with companies and research institutions. It is a vital driving force in the economic and technological development of the Frankfurt-Rhein-Neckar metropolitan area.
Our excellent research has been recognised by multiple grants within the Excellence Initiative. Our graduates enjoy an excellent reputation in the business world. Our outstanding performance makes us one of the leading universities of technology in Germany and has earned us international visibility and renown. At present it is one of the world’s top 100 universities for engineering and technology according to both THE World University Rankings and QS World University Rankings.
Students and academics at Darmstadt University of Technology combine outstanding research with robust practical applicability. This is how we create excellent opportunities on all rungs of the career ladder.
We qualify our students for demanding jobs in science and business with courses that are research-oriented, but also prepare them for the requirements of working life. Our students evolve into creative, discriminating individuals. The international nature of our courses guarantees a formative experience and openness towards international students. A degree from TU Darmstadt bears a quality label that opens up the best career opportunities.
At Darmstadt University of Technology, scientists will find a stimulating, highly supportive environment for both post-graduate work and further scientific careers. They work in international teams and in close cooperation with academic and corporate partners. TU Darmstadt’s culture of cooperation paves the way for outstanding achievements.
Schools / Colleges / Departments / Courses / Faculties
- Civil Engineering and Geodesy
- Electrical Engineering and Information Technology
- History and Social Sciences
- Human Sciences
- Computer Science
- Mechanical Engineering
- Materials and Earth Sciences
- Law and Economics
Fields of Study:
- Computational Engineering
- Energy Science and Engineering
- Information Systems Engineering
On 10 October 1877 Ludwig IV, Großherzog von Hessen und bei Rhein (Grand Duke of Hessen), named the Polytechnic School Technische Hochschule zu Darmstadt (Darmstadt Polytechnic) and thereby raised the status of this educational institution to that of a university so that the Abitur (diploma from German secondary school qualifying for university admission or matriculation) became the basis for admission. In 1899 the TH Darmstadt was granted the right to award doctorates.
The University’s history is varied: its early phases began with the Höhere Gewerbschule (Higher Trade School), which was founded in 1836 and received its own building near the ‘Altes Pädagog’ on Kapellplatz in 1844, followed by the Technische Schule (Technical School) in 1864 and the Großherzoglich Hessische Polytechnische Schule (Grand Ducal Hessian Polytechnic) in 1868. At that time, heated discussions were continually held in political circles on the issue as to whether such a poor state as the Grand Duchy of Hessen could afford a technically oriented higher educational institution, or even a polytechnic. After the foundation of the TH Darmstadt in 1877, student numbers kept on being so low that in the years from 1881 to 1882 there were long debates in public about closing down the University. In this difficult situation, the local government and the University made the courageous decision to set up the first chair of electrical engineering worldwide. Thus the School of Electrical Engineering came into being as the sixth faculty of the TH Darmstadt, which was a novelty in academia, because until then no other polytechnic or university had had its own Faculty of Electrical Engineering. This forward-looking higher education policy paved the way for Darmstadt to take up a leading position in the rapidly developing field of Electrical Engineering, which in turn led to a continuously rising number of students, so that the closure of the TH Darmstadt never was demanded again.
In 1895 new buildings were opened in Hochschulstrasse: the ‘Alte Hauptgebäude’ (the ‘Old Main Building’ of the University) and an institute building directly opposite. During the two decades before the World War I, all disciplines of the university underwent diversification and expansion. New disciplines such as Paper Making and Cellulose Chemistry were introduced, and as early as 1913 a Chair of Aeronautics and Flight Mechanics was set up.
Meanwhile, the political climate had become stormier, and a growing political polarization exploded in Darmstadt over the question of foreign students. The TH Darmstadt had an extraordinarily large number of foreign students. In 1906, for instance, as many as three quarters of the Electrical Engineering students were from abroad, mainly from states of eastern Europe.
After the World War I there was an urgent need for reform of the education system at the TH Darmstadt, which was seen as a prerequisite for meeting the requirements of a modern industrial society. Intense discussions were held on the aim of extending the curriculum beyond the purely technical education in order to prepare the engineer for his leading role in society. A concrete step in this direction was taken in 1924, when the ‘General Faculty’, which until then had combined all the non-technical subjects, was divided into a Department of Mathematics and Natural Science and a Department of Cultural Studies and Political Science. Moreover, the measures taken to provide students with knowledge outside their own narrow field of study included the upgrading of Economics and the creation of professorships in Political Science, History of Technology and Sociology.
On the night of 11/12 September 1944, eighty per cent of the city, including many of the university’s buildings, were destroyed during a bomb attack. For a short period in 1945 parts of the TH Darmstadt may have been closed by decree of the Allies before it was reopened in 1946. The electrical engineering department remained continuously functional, doing work under contract with the U.S. Army to build components of the V-2 guidance system. “But we have to be careful how we word this production order because we don’t want the Russians to know that we are cranking up the V-2 system.” In spite of the difficult post-war situation, university staff and students alike managed to settle down to university work in the severely damaged buildings, which had to be used as a makeshift solution.
As early as 1947 the TH Darmstadt played host to the first ‘Internationaler Kongress für Ingenieurausbildung – IKIA’ (International Congress on Engineering Education), at which the participants discussed the moral responsibility of the technical intelligentsia and of the scientific elite in politics and society. In view of the disastrous consequences of the war, the participants (with the exception of the Americans,who had already contracted with THD faculty to continue weapon development), committed themselves henceforth to do research and teaching in engineering and scientific disciplines solely for the peaceful development of mankind.
The speech delivered by Dr. James R. Newman, Director of American Military Government of Hessen, however, made NO mention of such a commitment, while stating that:
“An interchange of these [past experience], together with ideas and methods of education along engineering lines, will aid greatly, not only in the reconstruction of battle torn countries, but also in the bringing about of a universal understanding and mutual respect, and the charity which have prevented the understanding, the tolerance, the respect, and the charity so necessary for the peace, happiness, and contentment that is the dream of every human being on this earth.”
The post-war period of reconstruction was largely based on a major development programme in the 1960s, by means of which universities and the state reacted to the continuously rising numbers of students. Since almost no land was available in the city centre for new construction projects, the decision was taken in 1963 to use the ‘Lichtwiese’ (a former airfield on the outskirts of the city) as a site for building extensions to the TH. Thus in the late 1960s and in the early 1970s numerous buildings, including a new student cafeteria, were erected there and ultimately became the university’s second campus.
After 1968 the university reform, having been initiated by the student movement, was beginning to take shape both at a national and a regional level. It aimed at creating clear university structures and the involvement of all university members in decision-making processes. In 1970 the ‘Hessisches Hochschulgesetz’ (Higher Education Laws of the Federal State of Hessen) came into force. These gave the TH Darmstadt, along with other Hessian universities and polytechnics, a new structure based on the introduction of a presidential statute and a unified administration as well as the subdivision of the University structure into schools.
In the mid 1970s there was another rapid rise in student numbers. Staff development, however, lagged far behind, resulting in inevitable restrictions on admission imposed either by the central government or by the University. Regardless of the staff’s heavy workload, the TH Darmstadt managed to set the course for the future, as evidenced by the School of Information Science, established in 1974, the ‘Zentrum für Interdisziplinäre Technikforschung – ZIT’ (Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies on Technology), founded in 1987, and the School of Materials Science, established in 1989. This School, which offers a new course of studies has been housed in a new building on the Lichtwiese since 1996.
By the end of the 20th century, the TH Darmstadt had had the legal status of a university, and had been offering a correspondingly wide range of subjects, for over a hundred years. For these reasons, and also with the objective of sharpening public awareness of the university’s status at home and abroad, the TH Darmstadt was renamed Technische Universität Darmstadt (also its official English name is Technische Universität Darmstadt albeit often called Darmstadt University of Technology) on 1 October 1997. This name change was partly prompted by misunderstandings that had occurred in English-speaking countries, where ‘Technische Hochschule’ had often been mistakenly transliterated as ‘Technical High School’, providing a totally misleading connotation.
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