- The University of Greifswald
The University of Greifswald
The University of Greifswald was founded in 1456 and is one of the oldest academic institutions in Europe. Over 10,500 students from all over the world receive the most modern academic instruction and exciting research opportunities in a time-honoured environment.
The University of Greifswald states five key fields of research in its current University Development Plan: 1) Community Medicine and Individualized Medicine, 2) Environmental Change: Responses and Adaptation, 3) Cultures of the Baltic Sea Region, 4) Plasma Physics and 5) Proteomics and Protein Technologies in Infection Biology, Environmental Microbiology and Biotechnology.
These key fields of research are characterised by excellent research success from attracting research groups and high-ranking publications, interdisciplinary and interfaculty cooperation, close relationships to non-university research institutions in the town of Greifswald, the inclusion in national and international networks and providing services for the transfer of knowledge and technology.
Schools / Colleges / Departments / Courses / Faculties
- Arts & Humanities
- Business & Law
- Mathematics and Natural Sciences
The University of Greifswald was founded on 17 October 1456 with the approval of the Holy Roman Empire and the Pope. This was possible due to the great commitment of Greifswald’s lord mayor, Heinrich Rubenow, who was also to become the university’s first rector, with the support of Duke Wartislaw IX of Pomerania and Bishop Henning Iven of the local St Nicolas’ Cathedral. The founding took place in the local cathedral, which was later remodeled by Caspar David Friedrich and his brother and can still be visited today. The founding of the university was made possible by a decree that restricted teaching activity at the University of Rostock (founded 1419). Several professors left Rostock for Greifswald to continue their work there, where Heinrich Rubenow took the chance of establishing his own university. Originally, the university consisted of the four traditional divisions: Theology, Philosophy, Medicine and Law.
Freedom of science as well as the autonomy and self-administration of the university were re-established. The Faculty of Law and Economics was re-opened from 1991 to 1993. Extensive renovation took place since 1990. The dinosaur Emausaurus was named after the acronym of the university (Erndt-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald) in 1990.
Beginning in 1999, the University of Greifswald was among the first in Germany to welcome and introduce the international Bachelor/Masterdegree system as proposed by the Bologna declaration. The new system has replaced all former 4.5 year “Magister” degrees in the arts and humanities and is set to replace the 4.5 year “Diplom” formerly awarded in the sciences and in business too.
In 2006, the university celebrated its 550th anniversary with a large variety of events. The central ceremony – involving the re-opening of the university’s renovated administrative building by President Horst Köhler of Germany, Queen Silvia of Sweden, and Minister President Harald Ringstorff of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – took place on 17 October 2006.
Since the end of the GDR the University of Greifswald has undergone major construction efforts. Between 1991 and 2007, more than 417 million Euros were spent on the careful renovation of historic buildings, as well as on the construction of new sites. For instance, 19th century lecture hall (“auditorium maximum”) has been carefully restored, just like the university’s main administrative building and many other buildings in the historic center of town. A new campus for natural sciences (physics, chemistry, biochemistry), medicine, IT and mathematics is under construction in the eastern part of the city. The new domiciles of Greifswald University Library, the departments of physics, biology and biochemistry have already been completed. The university hospital, which is thought to be completed in 2009, will be the most up-to-date full-scalee hospital in Germany, adding to the appeal of the Greifswald Medical School. As a consequence of the construction of the new Greifswald University Hospital building, all historic 19th and early 20th century buildings that were formerly used by the hospital will be transferred to house other disciplines, thus creating an old-town campus for such departments as law and economics, the humanities and social sciences, and improving research and teaching considerably. As one of only 17 out of a total of 52 proposed building projects of “national significance” across Germany, the national government has agreed to subsidise the construction of a new pharmacology research lab (in Germany, education is usually cared for by the German states and not by the national government, which only supports a few projects of national and international importance).
There have been frequent debates as to whether Arndt’s name is desirable for the university or not, but attempts to change the university’s name have always been rejected. The Nazi history of the University is being researched only now.
In Germany, there are only three older universities by count of the years of existence: the University of Heidelberg (established 1386), the University of Leipzig (1409), and the University of Rostock (1419).
International co-operation with other institutions of higher education in northern Europe existed already in the earliest years, sparked and accelerated by the transnational trading network Hanse. From 1456 until 1526, 476 Scandinavians were enrolled at Greifswald University and 22 faculty members as well as six rectors came from Scandinavia. This was a relatively high percentage compared to the total number of students at the time. Sources suggest a relatively segregated life of Swedish students in the primarily German university though.
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