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Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen (German: Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, sometimes called the "Eberhardina Carolina") is a public university located in the city of Tübingenmarker, Baden-Württembergmarker, Germanymarker. It is one of Germany's oldest universities, internationally noted in medicine, natural sciences and the humanities. In the area of German Studies (German: Germanistik) it has been ranked first among all German universities for many years. Tübingen is one of five classical "university towns" in Germany; the other four being Marburgmarker, Göttingenmarker, Freiburg and Heidelbergmarker. The university has many Nobel laureate alumni, especially in the fields of medicine and chemistry.

Currently, around 22,000 students are enrolled. The 17 hospitals in Tübingen affiliated with the university's faculty of medicine have 1,500 patient beds, and cater to 66,000 in-patients and 200,000 out-patients on an annual basis.


The University of Tübingen was founded in 1477 by Count Eberhard V (Eberhard im Bart, 1445 - 1496), later the first Duke of Württembergmarker, a civic and ecclesiastic reformer who established the school after becoming absorbed in the Renaissance revival of learning during his travels to Italymarker. Its first rector was Johannes Nauclerus.

Its present name was conferred on it in 1769 by Duke Karl Eugen who appended his first name to that of the founder (Karls being the possessive form of Karl). The university later became the principal university of the kingdom of Württembergmarker. Today, it is one of nine state universities funded by the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg.
The Main Building 'Neue Aula' in July 2007
The University of Tübingen has a history of innovative thought, particularly in theology, in which the university and the Tübinger Stiftmarker are famous to this day. Philipp Melanchthon (1497-1560), the prime mover in building the German school system and a chief figure in the Protestant Reformation, helped establish its direction. Among Tübingen's eminent students (and/or professors) have been the astronomer Johannes Kepler; the economist Horst Köhler (President of Germany); Joseph Ratzinger, former Cardinal and currently Pope Benedict XVI, poet Friedrich Hölderlin, and the philosophers Friedrich Schelling and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. "The Tübingen Three" refers to Hölderlin, Hegel and Schelling, who were roommates at the Tübinger Stift.

The university rose to the height of its prominence in the middle of the 19th century with the teachings of poet and civic leader Ludwig Uhland and the Protestant theologian Ferdinand Christian Baur, whose beliefs and disciples became known as the "Tübingen School" and which initiated historical analysis of Biblical texts, an approach also generally referred to as the Higher criticism. The University of Tübingen also was the first German university to establish a faculty of natural sciences, in 1863. DNA was discovered in 1868 at the University of Tübingen by Friedrich Miescher. Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, the first female Nobel Prize winner in medicine in Germany, also works in Tübingen. In Tübingen the faculty for economics and business was founded in 1817 as 'Staatswissenschaftliche Fakultät' and was the first of its kind in Germany.

In 1970 the university was restructured into a series of faculties as independent departments of study and research after the manner of Frenchmarker universities.

Research focus

The University of Tübingen undertakes a broad range of research projects in various fields. The most prominent ones are to be found among the natural sciences. The Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research, for instance, focuses on general, cognitive and cellular neurology as well as neurodegeneration. The Centre for Interdisciplinary Clinical Research deals primarily with cell biology in diagnostics and therapy of organ system diseases.


The University of Tübingen is not a campus university, but is spread throughout the town. There are four areas with a major concentration of university institutions.
  • The university uses a number of buildings in the old town of Tübingen, some of which date back to the foundation of the university. Today, these are mainly used by smaller humanities departments, as is the adjacent castle, Schloss Hohentübingen.
  • Northeast of the old town, the Wilhelmstraße area surrounding the street of the same name is home to larger humanities departments as well as the university's administration. The main university library and main refectory are also in this area.
  • A new campus for the sciences was built in the 1970s at Morgenstelle, on a hill north of the historic centre of Tübingen. Facilities include a large refectory.
  • The university's teaching hospitals are located between the Wilhelmstraße area and the Morgenstelle campus in an area collectively known as the Kliniken.

Accommodation provided by the Tübingen Studentenwerk is in several locations throughout the town. The largest of the eleven halls of residence are at Waldhäuser Ost (1,700 rooms) and in the Französisches Viertel (500 rooms).


The university library is not just available to those affiliated with the university, but also to the general public. The library provides more than three million individual volumes and more than 7,600 journals. Apart from the main library, more than 80 departmental libraries containing an additional three million volumes are also associated with the university.
The Library
The main lending library is located on Wilhelmstraße and consists of several different parts which are connected through corridors and walkways.
  • The Bonatzbau, the library's oldest building, was built in 1912 and currently houses the historical reading room (Historischer Lesesaal), the university archive, along with a number of manuscript collections.
  • The library's main building, constructed in 1963, contains the information desk and research stations to access electronic catalogues and databases.
  • The Ammerbau is the most recent addition to the library complex. Built in 2002, it offers users direct access to over 300,000 volumes and latest issues of newspapers, magazines and journals. It also contains numerous work places and separate individual rooms for group work.



The university is made up of 14 faculties, some of which are subdivided into further departments.
  • Protestant Theology
  • Catholic Theology
  • Law
  • Economics and Business Administration
  • Medicine
  • Philosophy and History
  • Social and Behavioral Science
  • Modern Languages
  • Cultural Sciences
  • Mathematics and Physics
  • Chemistry and Pharmacy
  • Biology
  • Geosciences
  • Information and Cognitive Science


The university is governed by three separate bodies sharing with different functions and duties. However, some persons serve in more than one body.

The Rectorate is the executive component of the university's governing body. The current rector, Professor Bernd Engler, is supported by four deputies consisting of three prorectors and one provost. All are also permanent members of the university senate.

The Senate forms the legislative section of governance. Apart from the members of the rectorate, it includes the equal opportunities commissioner, the deans and 20 elected members representing the professors, lecturers, students and non-academic staff. Two advisors represent the university's teaching hospitals.

The University Council (Hochschulrat or Universitätsrat) has 13 members, including its president and vice-president as well as five further internal and six external members.

Student life

As the university's students make up roughly a quarter of the total population of Tübingen, the town's culture is to a large extent dominated by them. Consequently, there is a slump of activity during university holidays, particularly over the summer, when a large number of otherwise regular events do not take place.

Around 30 Studentenverbindungen, the German type of fraternities, are associated with the university. While famous for their parties, public academic lectures and the yearly "Stocherkahn-Rennen" punting-boat race on the Neckar river, some of them are the subject of ongoing controversy surrounding alleged rightwing policial views, leading to strong criticism from leftist groups. The university itself takes a neutral stance on this issue.

Also closely linked to the university are a number of student societies representing mainly the arts and political parties. Most notable are a number of choirs as well as student theatre groups affiliated with the faculty of Modern Languages, some of which perform in foreign languages. Radio Uniwelle Tübingen is the university's radio station, airing seven hours of programmes a week produced by students under the supervision of staff employed by the university.

The university also offers gym and sports classes called Hochschulsport. Since Tübingen has a department of sports science with a broad range of facilities, students of other subjects have the possibility to participate in various kinds of sports courses in teams or as individuals. Furthermore, even exotic sports, such as parachuting or martial arts, are offered. Students may attend courses either for free or at reduced rates. The sports department is located close to the Wilhelmstraße area of university buildings and is served by a number of frequent bus routes.

Unlike in some major cities, student discounts are not widely available in Tübingen. Cinema and the town council's public library in particular do not offer discounts for students, and there are only a handful of restaurants which have reduced lunch deals. However, students may benefit from the Semesterticket, a heavily discounted public transport season pass offering six months of unlimited travel on trains and buses in the naldo Verkehrsverbund transport association for approximately €50. The Landestheater Tübingen theatre and all public swimming pools also have discounts for students.

Nightlife in Tübingen is centered on the numerous pubs in the old town along with a number of clubs, most of which dedicate themselves to non-mainstream music. During the semester, the Studentenwerk-owned Clubhaus at the centre of the Wilhelmstraße university area hosts the weekly Clubhausfest on Thursday nights. This popular, free-entry club night is organised and promoted by student societies and Fachschaft student representative bodies and all proceeds go towards their activities in support of students.

Points of interest

Notable alumni

This list also includes alumni of the Tübinger Stiftmarker, which is not a part of the University, but has a close relationship with it.

Nobel laureates




German Literature





Medicine, biology, chemistry

Natural Sciences/Mathematics



  • Ralf Dahrendorf, sociologist, economist, political scientist and politician

See also


  1. Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen – Übersicht über die Zahl der Studierenden und Gasthörer im Sommersemester 2008. University of Tübingen, 14 May 2008. Retrieved on 07 March 2009.
  2. Studentenwerk Tübingen – Wohnheime. Studentenwerk Tübingen. Retrieved on 30 January 2007.
  3. Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen – Faculties. University of Tübingen, 15 December 2005. Retrieved on 30 January 2007.
  4. Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen – Organe der Universität: Rektorat. University of Tübingen, 31 October 2006. Retrieved on 30 January 2007.
  5. Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen – Organe der Universität: Stellvertretung / Prorektoren. University of Tübingen, 18 December 2006. Retrieved on 30 January 2007.
  6. Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen – Organe der Universität: Senat. University of Tübingen, 4 October 2006. Retrieved on 30 January 2007.
  7. Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen – Organe der Universität: Hochschulrat (Universitätsrat). University of Tübingen, 17 July 2006. Retrieved on 30 January 2007.
  8. AK Clubhausia: Argumente gegen das Hofieren reaktionärer Seilschaften. Fachschaftsräte-VV. Retrieved on 25 October 2007.
  9. Uniwelle Tübingen - Radioprogramm der Universität Tübingen. University of Tübingen. Retrieved on 13 April 2007.
  10. Universität Tübingen - Hochschulsport
  11. NALDO - Verkehrsverbund Neckar-Alb-Donau GmbH: Semesterticket. Verkehrsverbund Neckar-Alb-Donau. Retrieved on 1 July 2007.


  • Walter Jens: Eine deutsche Universität. 500 Jahre Tübinger Gelehrtenrepublik, München : Kindler, 1977
  • Tubingensia: Impulse zur Stadt- und Universitätsgeschichte. Festschrift für Wilfried Setzler zum 65. Geburtstag. Herausgegeben von Sönke Lorenz und Volker [Karl] Schäfer. Ostfildern: Jan Thorbecke Verlag, 2008 (Tübinger Bausteine zur Landesgeschichte, 10).

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