University of Vienna

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University of Vienna
Universität Wien
Latin: Universitas Vindobonensis, also called Alma Mater Rudolphina
Established12 March 1365
TypePublic university
RectorHeinz Engl
LocationVienna, Austria
48°12′47″N 16°21′35″E / 48.21306°N 16.35972°E / 48.21306; 16.35972Coordinates: 48°12′47″N 16°21′35″E / 48.21306°N 16.35972°E / 48.21306; 16.35972
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University of Vienna
Universität Wien
Latin: Universitas Vindobonensis, also called Alma Mater Rudolphina
Established12 March 1365
TypePublic university
RectorHeinz Engl
LocationVienna, Austria
48°12′47″N 16°21′35″E / 48.21306°N 16.35972°E / 48.21306; 16.35972Coordinates: 48°12′47″N 16°21′35″E / 48.21306°N 16.35972°E / 48.21306; 16.35972

The University of Vienna (German: Universität Wien) is a public university located in Vienna, Austria. It was founded by Duke Rudolph IV in 1365 and is the oldest university in the German-speaking world. It is the largest university in Austria and one of the largest in Europe.


Crowned bust of Rudolf IV von Habsburg, Duke of Austria on a 50 Schilling coin of the Republic of Austria, commemorating the 600th Anniversary of the University of Vienna
University of Vienna, main building, seen from across the Ringstraße

The University was founded on 12 March 1365 by Rudolf IV, Duke of Austria, and his two brothers, Dukes Albert III and Leopold III, hence the additional name "Alma Mater Rudolphina". After the Charles University in Prague and Jagiellonian University in Krakow, the University of Vienna is the third oldest university in Central Europe and the oldest university in the German-speaking world.

In 1365, Rudolf IV sanctioned a deed of foundation for a doctoral-level university in Vienna, modelled on the University of Paris. However, Pope Urban V did not ratify the deed, specifically in relation to the department of theology, presumably due to pressure exerted by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor, who wished to avoid competition for the Charles University in Prague. Approval was finally received from the Pope in 1384 and the University of Vienna was granted the status of a full university, including the Faculty of Catholic Theology. The first university building opened in 1385.

The current main building on the Ringstraße was built between 1877 and 1884 by Heinrich von Ferstel. The previous main building was located close to the Stuben Gate (Stubentor) on Iganz Seipel Square, current home of the old University Church (Universitätskirche) and the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften). Women were admitted as full students from 1897, although their studies were limited to Philosophy. The remaining departments gradually followed suit, although with considerable delay: Medicine in 1900, Law in 1919, Protestant Theology in 1923 and finally Roman Catholic Theology in 1946. Ten years after the admission of the first female students, Elise Richter became the first woman to receive habilitation, becoming professor of Romance Languages in 1907; she was also the first female distinguished professor.

Following the Anschluss, the annexation of Austria into Greater Germany by the Nazi regime, in 1938 the University of Vienna was reformed under political aspects and a huge number of teachers and students were dismissed for political and "racial" reasons.[2]


Main Ceremonial Chamber (Großer Festsaal) in the Main Building

The University of Vienna does not have one joint campus. The academic facilities occupy more than sixty locations throughout the city of Vienna. The historical main building on the Ringstraße constitutes the university's centre and is commonly referred to as "die Uni". The most other larger university facilities and lecture halls are located nearby in the area of Vienna's first and ninth district: the so-called new lecture hall complex (NIG), the lecture hall complex Althanstraße (UZA), the so-called Campus on the premises of the historical general hospital of Vienna, the faculty of law (Juridicum) and many more.
Also worth mentioning is the Vienna Observatory, which belongs to the university, and the Institute for University Sports (USI), which offers training and recreational possibilities to all students of the university.
In addition, the University of Vienna maintains facilities outside of Vienna in the Austrian provinces of Lower Austria, Upper Austria and Salzburg. These are mainly research and experimental departments for Biology, Astrophysics and Sports.


The University of Vienna, like all universities and academies in Austria, once featured a system of democratic representation. Power in the university was divided equally among three groups: students (the largest group), junior faculty and full professors. All groups had the right to send representatives to boards, who then voted on almost every issue.

The former government of Austria, headed by then-chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel (in office 2000–2007), reformed the university system with the effect of concentrating power in the hands of the full professors.[citation needed] The reform also introduced a board of governors and tuition fees (about €367 per semester in 2007-these now only apply to non-EU students,students from within the EU only pay the ÖH-fee). The reforms also separated the medical departments into separate medical schools, such as the Medical University of Vienna.

Research and teaching[edit]

Some 6,500 scholars undertake the research and teaching activity of the university. Of these, approximately 980 are active in projects financed by third parties.

Faculties and Centres[edit]

The University of Vienna consists of 15 faculties and three centres:

  1. Faculty of Catholic Theology
  2. Faculty of Protestant Theology
  3. Faculty of Law
  4. Faculty of Business, Economics and Statistics (not to be confused with the Vienna University of Economics and Business)
  5. Faculty of Computer science
  6. Faculty of Historical and Cultural Studies
  7. Faculty of Philological and Cultural Studies
  8. Faculty of Philosophy and Education
  9. Faculty of Psychology
  10. Faculty of Social sciences
  11. Faculty of Mathematics
  12. Faculty of Physics
  13. Faculty of Chemistry
  14. Faculty of Earth Sciences, Geography and Astronomy
  15. Faculty of Life sciences
  1. Centre for Translation studies
  2. Centre for Sport science and University Sports
  3. Centre for Molecular biology

Famous members[edit]

The grand staircase (Feststiege) in the Main Building

Faculty and scholars[edit]

Nobel Prize Laureates who taught at the University of Vienna include Robert Bárány, Julius Wagner-Jauregg, Hans Fischer, Karl Landsteiner, Erwin Schrödinger, Victor Franz Hess, Otto Loewi, Konrad Lorenz and Friedrich Hayek.

The University of Vienna was the cradle of the Austrian School of economics. The founders of this école who studied and later instructed at the University of Vienna included Carl Menger, Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, Friedrich von Wieser, Joseph Schumpeter, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek.

Other famous scholars who have taught at the University of Vienna are: Theodor W. Adorno, Manfred Bietak, Theodor Billroth, Ludwig Boltzmann, Franz Brentano, Anton Bruckner, Rudolf Carnap, Conrad Celtes, Viktor Frankl, Sigmund Freud, Eduard Hanslick, Edmund Hauler, Hans Kelsen, Adam František Kollár, Johann Josef Loschmidt, Fran Miklošič, Oskar Morgenstern, Otto Neurath, Johann Palisa, Pope Pius II, Baron Carl von Rokitansky, Rudolf von Scherer, August Schleicher, Moritz Schlick, Ludwig Karl Schmarda, Joseph von Sonnenfels, Josef Stefan, Leopold Vietoris, Jalile Jalil, Carl Auer von Welsbach, and Olga Taussky-Todd.


Some of the University's better-known students include: Christian Doppler, Kurt Adler, Franz Alt, Bruno Bettelheim, Rudolf Bing, Lucian Blaga, Hedda Bolgar, Josef Breuer, F. F. Bruce, Elias Canetti, Ivan Cankar, Otto Maria Carpeaux, Felix Ehrenhaft, Mihai Eminescu, Janko Ferk, Paul Feyerabend, Heinz Fischer, O. W. Fischer, Ivan Franko, Sigmund Freud, Alcide De Gasperi, Ernst Gombrich, Kurt Gödel, Erich Göstl, Franz Grillparzer, Jörg Haider, Theodor Herzl, Edmund Husserl, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Marie Jahoda, Elfriede Jelinek, Percy Lavon Julian, Karl Kautsky, Elisabeth Kehrer, Hans Kelsen, Rudolf Kirchschläger, Arthur Koestler, Jernej Kopitar, Karl Kordesch, Karl Kraus, Bruno Kreisky, Richard Kuhn, Paul Lazarsfeld, Gustav Mahler, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, Lise Meitner, Gregor Mendel, Franz Mesmer, Franc Miklošič, Alois Mock, Matija Murko, Eduard Pernkopf, Pope Pius III, Maxim Podoprigora, Hans Popper, Karl Popper, Otto Preminger, Wilhelm Reich, Peter Safar, Mordkhe Schaechter, Arthur Schnitzler, Albin Schram, Wolfgang Schüssel, Joseph Schumpeter, John J. Shea, Jr., Adalbert Stifter, Countess Stoeffel, Yemima Tchernovitz-Avidar, Kurt Waldheim, Otto Weininger, Slavko Wolf, Stefan Zweig, and Huldrych Zwingli.

Nobel Prize Laureates[edit]

There are total 15 Nobel Prize Laureates affiliated to the University as follows:

NameField InYear
Robert BárányPhysiology or Medicine1914
Richard Adolf ZsigmondyChemistry1925
Julius Wagner-JaureggPhysiology or Medicine1927
Hans FischerChemistry1930
Karl LandsteinerPhysiology or Medicine1930
Erwin SchrödingerPhysics1933
Otto LoewiPhysiology or Medicine1936
Victor Francis HessPhysics1936
Richard KuhnChemistry1938
Max PerutzChemistry1962
Karl von FrischPhysiology or Medicine1973
Konrad LorenzPhysiology or Medicine1973
Friedrich HayekEconomics1974
Elias CanettiLiterature1981
Elfriede JelinekLiterature2004

The University Library[edit]

Vienna University Library, main reading room

Largest research library in Austria[edit]

The University Library of the University of Vienna comprises the Main Library and the 50 departmental libraries at the various university locations throughout Vienna. The library's primary responsibility is to the members of the university; however, the library's 350 staff members also provide access to the public. Use of the books in the reading halls is open to all persons without the need for identification, which is only required for checking out books. The library's website provides direct access to information such as electronic journals, online indices and databases.

Library statistics (2007)[edit]

Library history[edit]

Rudolph IV, in the Foundation Deed of 12 March 1365, had already provided for a publica libraria, where the valuable books bequeathed by deceased members of the University should be collected. Through many legacies, this collection was subsequently greatly increased and became the basis of the old Libreye that was accommodated in the same building as the student infirmary. In addition, there were libraries in the separate Faculties and in the Duke's College.

From the 17th Century, interest in the old library, with its manuscripts and incunabulae, went into decline and the modern library in the Jesuit College came to the fore. In 1756, the oldest university library was finally closed down and its books, 2787 volumes, were incorporated into the Court Library, of which Gerard van Swieten was then director. After the dissolution of the Jesuit order (1773), the new "Academic Library" was created out of the book collections of the five Lower Austrian Colleges and a large number of duplicates from the Court Library. This was opened on 13 May 1777, the birthday of Maria Theresa of Austria, in the building of the Academic College. Initially, the stock consisted of some 45,000 books and during Emperor Joseph II's dissolution of the monasteries, this was soon considerably extended. In contrast to its antecedents, the new library was open to the general public. Between 1827 and 1829, it acquired the classicist extension (Postgasse 9) to the Academic College, in which it was to be accommodated until 1884. In this year, the main library, with some 300,000 books, moved to Heinrich von Ferstel's new Main Building on the Ring, where stacks for some 500,000 volumes had already been prepared. With an annual growth of up to 30,000 volumes, the surplus space was soon filled. Book storage space had to be extended continuously. One hundred years later, the complete library, including departmental and subject libraries, comprised more than 4.3 million volumes. Today, Vienna's University Library is the largest collection of books in Austria, with the greatest problems of space. In addition to the Main Library, which alone has to cope with an annual growth of 40,000 volumes, it includes today, three Faculty Libraries, 32 Subject Libraries and 26 Departmental Libraries.[3]

International acclaim[edit]

QS World University rankings[edit]

YearRank (Change)
200565 (Increase 29)
200687 (Decrease 22)
200785 (Increase 2)
2008115 (Decrease 30)
2009132 (Decrease 17)
2010143 (Decrease 11)
2011155 (Decrease 8)
2012160 (Decrease 5)
2013158 (Increase 2)

Times Higher Education World University rankings[edit]

YearRank (Change)
2011–12139 (Increase 56)
2012–13162 (Decrease 23)
2013-4170 (Decrease 8)

Academic Ranking of World Universities[edit]

YearRank (Change)
200486 (Decrease 2)
200585 (Increase 1)


See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Figures and Facts". University of Vienna. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  2. ^ Memorial Book for the Victims of National Socialism at the University of Vienna in 1938
  3. ^ "An Historical Tour of the University of Vienna". The University Library. University of Vienna Archives. Retrieved 29 September 2008. 

External links[edit]