Frankfurt University

Goethe University (German: 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,[7] 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).


  • History
  • Organization
  • Campuses
  • Campus Westend
  • Goethe Business School
  • The Deutsche Bank Prize
  • Notable alumni (partial list)
  • Nobel Prize winners (alumni and faculty)
  • World rankings
  • Points of interest
  • See also
  • References
  • External links
  • History[edit]
  • 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" 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.In cooperation with Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, the Goethe Business School offers an M.B.A. program. Goethe University has established an international award for research in financial economics, the Deutsche Bank Prize in Financial Economics.


  • Campus Westend
  • University Library at Campus Westend
  • The university consists of 16 faculties. Ordered by their sorting number, these are:
  • Rechtswissenschaft (Law)
  • Wirtschaftswissenschaften (Economics and Business Administration)
  • Gesellschaftswissenschaften (Social Sciences)
  • Erziehungswissenschaften (Educational Sciences)
  • Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften (Psychology and Sports Sciences)
  • Evangelische Theologie (Protestant Theology)
  • Katholische Theologie (Roman Catholic Theology)
  • Philosophie und Geschichtswissenschaften (Philosophy and History)
  • Sprach- und Kulturwissenschaften (Faculty of Linguistics, Cultures, and Arts)
  • Neuere Philologien (Modern Languages)
  • Geowissenschaften/Geographie (Geosciences and Geography)
  • Informatik und Mathematik (Computer Science and Mathematics)
  • Physik (Physics)
  • Biochemie, Chemie und Pharmazie (Biochemistry, Chemistry and Pharmacy)
  • Biowissenschaften (Biological Sciences)
  • Medizin (Medical Science)

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

Max Planck Institute of Biophysics

Max Planck Institute for Brain Research

Max Planck Institute for European Legal History