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Goethe University Frankfurt

Goethe University
Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Former name
Königliche Universität zu Frankfurt am Main
Established18 October 1914 (1914-10-18)
Budget€ 666,4 Mio. (2018)
ChancellorAlbrecht Fester
PresidentEnrico Schleiff
Vice-presidentBernhard Brüne, Michael Huth, Christiane Thompson
Academic staff
3,055.97 (FTE, 2019)
Administrative staff
2,038.56 (FTE, 2019)
Students42,511 (2021)
Undergraduates19,791 (2021)
Postgraduates6,610 (2021)
1,454 (2021)
Other students
5,883 (teacher education) (2021)
Campus Westend:
Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 1
, , ,

50°7′40″N 8°40′00″E / 50.12778°N 8.66667°E / 50.12778; 8.66667Coordinates: 50°7′40″N 8°40′00″E / 50.12778°N 8.66667°E / 50.12778; 8.66667
Campusmultiple sites
Colours Blue

Goethe University (German: Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main) is a university located in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It was founded in 1914 as a citizens' university, which means it was founded and funded by the wealthy and active liberal citizenry of Frankfurt. The original name was Universität Frankfurt am Main. In 1932, the university's name was extended in honour of one of the most famous native sons of Frankfurt, the poet, philosopher and writer/dramatist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The university currently has around 45,000 students, distributed across four major campuses within the city.

The university celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2014. The first female president of the university, Birgitta Wolff, was sworn into office in 2015, and was succeeded by Enrico Schleiff in 2021. 20 Nobel Prize winners have been affiliated with the university, including Max von Laue and Max Born. The university is also affiliated with 18 winners of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize.

Goethe University is part of the IT cluster Rhine-Main-Neckar. The Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, the Goethe University Frankfurt and the Technische Universität Darmstadt together form the Rhine-Main-Universities (RMU).


Campus Bockenheim (in 1958)

The historical roots of the university can be traced back as far as 1484, when a City Council Library was established with a bequest from the patrician Ludwig von Marburg. Merged with other collections, it was renamed City Library in 1668 and became the university library in 1914. Depending on the country, the date of foundation is recorded differently. According to Anglo-American calculations, the founding date of Goethe University would be 1484. In Germany, the date on which the right to award doctorates is granted is considered the founding year of a university.

The modern history of the University of Frankfurt can be dated to 28 September 1912, when the foundation contract for the “Königliche Universität zu Frankfurt am Main" (Royal University at Frankfurt on the Main) was signed at the Römer, Frankfurt's town hall. Royal permission for the university was granted on 10 June 1914, and the first enrollment of students began on 16 October 1914. Members of Frankfurt's Jewish community, including the Speyer family, Wilhelm Ralph Merton, and the industrialists Leo Gans and Arthur von Weinberg donated two thirds of the foundation capital of the University of Frankfurt.

The university has been best known historically for its Institute for Social Research (founded 1924), the institutional home of the Frankfurt School, a preeminent 20th-century school of philosophy and social thought. Some of the well-known scholars associated with this school include Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, and Jürgen Habermas, as well as Herbert Marcuse, Erich Fromm, and Walter Benjamin[citation needed]. Other well-known scholars at the University of Frankfurt include the sociologist Karl Mannheim, the philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer, the philosophers of religion Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber, and Paul Tillich, the psychologist Max Wertheimer, and the sociologist Norbert Elias[citation needed]. The University of Frankfurt has at times been considered liberal, or left-leaning, and has had a reputation for Jewish and Marxist (or even Jewish-Marxist) scholarship[citation needed]. During the Nazi period, "almost one third of its academics and many of its students were dismissed for racial and/or political reasons—more than at any other German university"[citation needed]. The university also played a major part in the German student movement of 1968.

The university also has been influential in the natural sciences and medicine, with Nobel Prize winners including Max von Laue and Max Born, and breakthroughs such as the Stern–Gerlach experiment.

In recent years, the university has focused in particular on law, history, and economics, creating new institutes, such as the Institute for Law and Finance (ILF) and the Center for Financial Studies (CFS)[citation needed]. One of the university's ambitions is to become Germany's leading university for finance and economics, given the school's proximity to one of Europe's financial centers. In cooperation with Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, the Goethe Business School offers an MBA program. Goethe University has established an international award for research in financial economics, the Deutsche Bank Prize in Financial Economics.


Campus Westend
Humanities Library, IG-Farben Haus, Campus Westend

The university consists of 16 faculties. Ordered by their sorting number, these are:

  • 01. Rechtswissenschaft (Law)
  • 02. Wirtschaftswissenschaften (Economics and Business Administration)
  • 03. Gesellschaftswissenschaften (Social Sciences)
  • 04. Erziehungswissenschaften (Educational Sciences)
  • 05. Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften (Psychology and Sports Sciences)
  • 06. Evangelische Theologie (Protestant Theology)
  • 07. Katholische Theologie (Roman Catholic Theology)
  • 08. Philosophie und Geschichtswissenschaften (Philosophy and History)
  • 09. Sprach- und Kulturwissenschaften (Faculty of Linguistics, Cultures, and Arts)
  • 10. Neuere Philologien (Modern Languages)
  • 11. Geowissenschaften/Geographie (Geosciences and Geography)
  • 12. Informatik und Mathematik (Computer Science and Mathematics)
  • 13. Physik (Physics)
  • 14. Biochemie, Chemie und Pharmazie (Biochemistry, Chemistry and Pharmacy)
  • 15. Biowissenschaften (Biological Sciences)
  • 16. Medizin (Medical Science)

In addition, there are several co-located research institutes of the Max Planck Society:

The university is involved in the Hessian Centre for Artificial Intelligence (hessian.AI).


Campus Westend
Campus Westend

The university is located across four campuses in Frankfurt am Main:

  • Campus Westend:

Headquarters of the university, also housing Social sciences, Pedagogy, Psychology, Theology, Philosophy, History, Philology, Archaeology, Law, Economics and Business Administration, Human geography

  • Campus Bockenheim:

University library, Mathematics, Computer science, Art history, Fine Arts

  • Campus Riedberg:

Pharmacy, Physics, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biology, Geosciences and Geography

  • Campus Niederrad:

Medical science, dentistry, university hospital

  • Campus Ginnheim:


Campus Westend

IG Farben Building at Uni Frankfurt
IG Farben Building at Campus Westend

“Campus Westend” of the university is dominated by the IG Farben Building by architect Hans Poelzig, an example of the modernist New Objectivity style. The style for the IG Farben Building was originally chosen as "a symbol for the scientific and mercantile German manpower, made out of iron and stone", as the IG Farben director at the time of construction, Baron von Schnitzler, stated in his opening speech in October 1930.

After the university took over the complex, new buildings were added to the campus. On 30 May 2008, the House of Finance relocated to a new building designed by the architects Kleihues+Kleihues, following the style of the IG Farben Building. The upper floors of the House of Finance building have several separate offices as well as shared office space for researchers and students. The ground floor is open to the public and welcomes visitors with a spacious, naturally lit foyer that leads to lecture halls, seminar rooms, and the information center, a 24-hour reference library. The ground floor also accommodates computer rooms and a café. The floors, walls and ceiling of the foyer are decorated with a grid design that is continued throughout the entire building. The flooring is inspired by Raphael's mural, The School of Athens.

Goethe Business School

The Goethe Business School is a graduate business school at the university, established in 2004, part of the House of Finance at the Westend Campus and the IKB building. it is a non-profit foundation under private law held by the university. The chairman of the board at Goethe Business School, Rolf E. Breuer, is former chairman of the supervisory board of Deutsche Bank[citation needed]. Goethe Business School has a partnership in Executive Education with the Indian School of Business (ISB) in Hyderabad[citation needed].

The Deutsche Bank Prize

The Deutsche Bank Prize in Financial Economics honors renowned researchers who have made influential contributions to the fields of finance and money and macroeconomics, and whose work has led to practical and policy-relevant results. It is awarded biannually, since 2005, by the Center for Financial Studies, in partnership with Goethe University Frankfurt. The award carries an endowment of €50,000, which is donated by the Stiftungsfonds Deutsche Bank im Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft.

Notable alumni (partial list)

Nobel Prize winners (alumni and faculty)

World rankings

University rankings
Global – Overall
ARWU World101–150 (2017)
QS World340 (2022)
THE World251–300 (2019)

Points of interest

See also

This page was last updated at 2022-08-19 18:11 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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