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University of Vienna
Universität Wien
Latin: Universitas Vindobonensis, also called Alma Mater Rudolphina
Established March 12, 1365
Type Public
Rector Georg Winckler
Students 74,000[1]
Location Vienna, 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
Website http://www.univie.ac.at

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 and one of the largest in Central Europe.



University of Vienna, main building, seen from across the Ringstraße

The University was founded on March 12, 1365 by Rudolf IV, Duke of Austria and his two brothers, Albert III, Duke of Austria and Leopold III, Duke of Austria, 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, Rudolph 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.


Main Ceremonial Chamber (Großer Festsaal) in the Main Building

The academic facilities of the University of Vienna occupy more than sixty locations throughout the city of Vienna. The historical Main Building on the Ringstraße constitutes the University's center, as the seat of the university's executive and most of its administrative offices. The nearby Campus of the University of Vienna forms an additional, more spacious, focus of the University. A large number of academic facilities, including the new Lecture Hall Complex, are situated there.

National and international rankings

The University of Vienna was placed 85th in the Times Higher Education's World University Rankings in 2007, rising from 87th place in 2006.[2] The University was also ranked 46th in the world in the field of social sciences in 2007.[3] The University placed in the top 100 in the 2003-2005 editions of Academic Ranking of World Universities.


The University of Vienna, like all universities and academies in Austria, once featured a novel 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. While this system guaranteed that all groups had equal opportunity to introduce change, some people have argued that it led to corruption, especially in the nomination of persons into prestigious positions.

The former government, headed by then-chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel, reformed the university system so that power is now concentrated with the full professors. The reform also introduced a board of governors and tuition fees (about €367 per semester in 2007). The reforms also separated the medical departments into separate medical schools, such as the Medical University of Vienna.


Research and teaching

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

Faculties and Centres

The faculties and centres of the University include: Catholic Theology; Protestant Theology; Law; Business, Economics and Statistics; Computer Science; Historical and Cultural Studies; Philological and Cultural Sciences; Philosophy and Education; Psychology; Social Sciences; Mathematics; Physics; Chemistry; Earth Sciences, Geography and Astronomy; Life Sciences; Translation Science; Sport Science and University Sports; and Molecular Biology.

Famous members

The grand staircase (Feststiege) in the Main Building

Faculty and scholars

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, Hans Kelsen, Adam František Kollár, Johann Josef Loschmidt, Fran Miklošič, Oskar Morgenstern, Otto Neurath, Johann Palisa, Pope Pius II, Baron Carl von Rokitansky, August Schleicher, Moritz Schlick, Ludwig Karl Schmarda, Joseph von Sonnenfels, Josef Stefan, Leopold Vietoris and Carl Auer von Welsbach


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

The University Library

Vienna University Library, main reading room

Largest research library in Austria

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)

  • Book inventory: 6,657,447 (of which 2,604,823 belong to the Main Library)
  • Journals: 11,545 (of which 3,027 belong to the Main Library)
  • Active borrowers: 82,554
  • Search queries on OPAC: 13,381,986
  • Borrowings and renewals of books: 5,826,402
  • Oldest book: Pliny the Elder (1469). Historia naturalis.

Library history

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.[4]

International acclaim

On the 2009 THE–QS World University Rankings list, the University of Vienna was ranked inside the top 200.

Year Rank (Change)
2005 65
2006 87 ( 22)
2007 85 ( 2)
2008 115 ( 30)
2009 132 ( 17)


See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ "About the University of Vienna". University of Vienna. http://www.univie.ac.at/university/about-the-university-of-vienna/?L=2. Retrieved 2009-07-26. 
  2. ^ "World University Rankings 2007". Times Higher Education. http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/hybrid.asp?typeCode=144. Retrieved 2008-09-29. 
  3. ^ "The Top 50 Universities for Social Sciences". Times Higher Education. http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/hybrid.asp?typeCode=150. Retrieved 2008-09-29. 
  4. ^ "An Historical Tour of the University of Vienna". The University Library. University of Vienna Archives. http://www.univie.ac.at/archiv/tour/12.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-29. 

External links


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