About the University

Goethe University Frankfurt is a top international research university, ranked among the best 150 universities worldwide in the 2018 Shanghai ranking. With over 48,000 students, it is the third largest university in Germany. It offers a wide variety of academic programmes, a diverse group of research institutes, and takes an interdisciplinary approach to solving complex problems. The university is named after Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the Frankfurt-born writer and thinker, renowned for his exceptional contributions to literature, science, and philosophy. 

The university was founded in 1914 through private funding, primarily from Jewish sponsors, and has since produced pioneering achievements in the areas of social sciences, sociology and economics, medicine, quantum physics, brain research, and labour law. You can read the latest research news from Goethe University in our web magazine

Research and learning are carried out at three main campus locations. The Westend Campus with its historic buildings and open spaces is home to the humanities, social and cultural sciences, business and law. The natural sciences are located at the “Science City Riedberg,” in close proximity to two Max-Planck Institutes. The Faculty of Medical Science and its numerous institutes, as well as the University Hospital Frankfurt, are located at the Niederrad Campus. The former main campus Bockenheim, which dates from the founding days of the university, is scheduled to be closed in a few years. 

You can read more about campus life here; maps and directions are here.

Since its unique beginning, the history of the university has continued to be characterized by openness and public participation. Today, programmes such as the Bürger Uni (“Citizen University”), an ongoing series of public events, and the Kinder Uni (“children’s university”), special lectures for schoolchildren, as well as popular events such as the Night of Science at the Riedberg Campus promote an active exchange between the university and the residents of Frankfurt.

In 2008, Goethe University became a Stiftungsuniversität (university foundation under public law), a funding model unique in Germany’s system of higher education, but which hearkens back to Goethe University’s origins. While remaining a public university primarily funded by the state, this legal form gives it the power to generate income through endowment funds. These third-party funds constitute over a third of Goethe University’s budget and are applied to promoting an excellent atmosphere in which to research, study, think and create. As Stiftungsuniversität, Goethe University enjoys unusual autonomy, including the power to independently appoint professors.

Goethe University is situated in the cosmopolitan and international city Frankfurt am Main. In its latest survey from August 2018, the Economist ranks Frankfurt as the most liveable city in Germany and as the 12th most liveable city in the world. And at number seven in Mercer’s 2018 Quality of Living Ranking, Frankfurt breaks into the top ten globally. This is another reason the university attracts a diverse body of students and researchers from around the world.

Read more about life in Frankfurt here

Key Figures at Goethe University

  • A total of 48,107 studentswere enrolled at Goethe University at the start of the winter semester 2017/2018. Of these, 14,105 were first-semester students and 7,661 were international students from 136 different countries.

  • The university was awarded 196.7 million euro of external funding, including funding under the state of Hesse Campaign for the Development of Scientific and Economic Excellence (LOEWE).

  • With 610 Deutschlandstipendien and a total of 1.098 million euro in supporting donations, the university once more ranked top among German universities in this category.

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