Goethe University Frankfurt

Goethe University Frankfurt (German: Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main) is a university located in Frankfurt, 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.

Goethe University Frankfurt
Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Former name
Königliche Universität zu Frankfurt am Main[1]
Established18 October 1914 (1914-10-18)[1]
Budget 644.6 Mio. (2018)[2]
ChancellorAlbrecht Fester[3]
PresidentBirgitta Wolff[4]
Vice-presidentSimone Fulda, Rolf van Dick, Roger Erb, Manfred Schubert-Zsilavecz[5]
Academic staff
3,055.97 (FTE, 2018)[2]
Administrative staff
2,038.56 (FTE, 2018)[2]
Students46,961 (2018)[6]
Undergraduates21,864 (2018)[6]
Postgraduates6,910 (2018)[6]
1,817 (2018)[6]
Other students
6,256 (teacher education) (2018)[6]
Campus Westend:
Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 1
, , ,

50°7′40″N 8°40′00″E
Campusmultiple sites

The university celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2014. The first female president of the university, Birgitta Wolff, was sworn into office in 2015.[7] 20 Nobel Prize winners have been affiliated with the university, including Max von Laue and Max Born.[8][9] The university is also affiliated with 18 winners of the prestigious Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize.[10]

Goethe University Frankfurt 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).


The roots of the university go back to 1484 where the Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg was founded which is part of the university now.[11]

The university has historically best been known 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 . 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 . 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 . 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" . 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) . 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.[12] The Goethe Business School offers a M.B.A. program, in cooperation with Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Goethe university has established an international award for research in financial economics, the Deutsche Bank Prize in Financial Economics.


The university consists of 16 faculties. Ordered by their sorting number, these are:[13]

  • 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 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

Other facilities include the university sports complex on Ginnheimer Landstraße in Frankfurt-Bockenheim.

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.[14][15] 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. it is a non-profit foundation under private law held by the university. The Chairman of the Board at GBS, Rolf E. Breuer, is former Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Bank . Goethe Business School has a partnership in Executive Education with the Indian School of Business (ISB) in Hyderabad .

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 faculty (partial list)

Nobel Prize winners (alumni and faculty)

World rankings

University rankings
ARWU World[21] 101-150
THE World[22] 251–300
QS World[23] 279

Points of interest

See also


  1. ""Aus der Mitte der Stadtgesellschaft – 100 Jahre Goethe-Universität" von Prof. Dr. Werner Müller-Esterl" (PDF) (in German). Retrieved 2016-05-27.
  2. "Jahrbuch 2018. "Entwicklung gestalten"" (PDF) (in German). Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  3. "Goethe-Universität hat neuen Kanzler: Dr. Albrecht Fester übernimmt das Amt an Hessens größter Universität" (in German). 2018-03-16. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  4. "Präsidentin der Goethe-Universität" (in German). Retrieved 2016-05-27.
  5. "Vizepräsidenten der Goethe-Universität" (in German). Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  6. "Studierendenstatistik (Daten pro Semester)" (in German). Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  7. "Neue Uni-Präsidentin will kommunikativen Führungsstil". Retrieved 2015-03-03.
  8. "Nobel prize Physics laureates".
  9. "Goethe-Universität — Nobelpreisträger an der Goethe Universität". www.uni-frankfurt.de. Retrieved 2019-10-12.
  10. "Goethe-Universität — Leibnizpreisträger an der Goethe-Universität". www.uni-frankfurt.de. Retrieved 2019-10-12.
  11. "Geschichte der Stadt- und Universitätsbibliothek". www.ub.uni-frankfurt.de. Retrieved 2017-08-05.
  12. "Die Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität auf dem Weg zur führenden Wirtschaftshochschule in Deutschland" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-09-26.
  13. "Faculties". Retrieved 2014-05-11.
  14. "Ein Wandgemälde in Frankfurts Universität - Monumente Online". www.monumente-online.de.
  15. M. Tafuri, F. Dal Co: Klassische Moderne, Stuttgart, 1988, S148f
  16. "Nobel Prize Goethe University". Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  17. "Loewi, Otto". Deutsche Biographie. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  18. "Nobelpreisträger an der Goethe Universität".
  19. "Niels K. Jerne - Biographical". Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  20. "Jean-Marie Pierre Lehn - Curriculum Vitae". Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  21. Academic Ranking of World Universities 2017
  22. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/world-university-rankings/2019/world-ranking
  23. "QS World University Rankings 2019".
  24. "Global Companies Rank Universities". New York Times. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  25. "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2017". Retrieved 3 Nov 2018.
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