university Duisburg-Essen

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university Duisburg-Essen
motto Open in thinking
founding 2003 (or 1972)
Sponsorship MKW NRW (state)
place Duisburg / Essen
state North Rhine-WestphaliaNorth Rhine-Westphalia North Rhine-Westphalia
country GermanyGermany Germany
Rector Ulrich Radtke
Students 42,294 (2018)
Employee 5,819 (2018)
including professors 499 (2018)
Annual budget € 514.8 million (2019)

The University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE, previously or in the Internet domain also Uni DuE ) was founded on January 1st, 2003 through the merger of the Gerhard Mercator University of Duisburg and the University of Essen . With around 40,000 students from 130 nations, it is one of the ten largest German universities in terms of student numbers . It has a broad, internationally oriented range of subjects. It is a center of nanoscientific and biomedical research as well as teacher training in North Rhine-Westphalia and offers more than 240 Bachelor and Master courses .

According to the Times Higher Education (THE) ranking, the University of Duisburg-Essen ranks 194th worldwide among universities in 2020.


University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen campus, south view in February 2012

History of the University of Duisburg

Campus Duisburg: University library

Duisburg has been a university town since 1655. The Old University of Duisburg began teaching on October 14, 1655, after a ceremonial opening in the presence of Prince Johann Moritz von Nassau-Siegen , the governor of the Elector of Brandenburg in the Duchy of Kleve . 90 years earlier in 1564 the duchy had received the permission of the Pope and in 1566 the privilege of Emperor Maximilian II to found the university.

In 1818 the old university was closed, with the university seal and the library being handed over to the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn , which continues both to this day.

Campus Duisburg: "Cookie jars"

Between 1818 and 1891 there was no university in Duisburg. In 1891 the Rheinisch-Westfälische Hüttenschule moved from Bochum to Duisburg, which was then further developed into the "Royal Prussian Mechanical Engineering and Metallurgy School" and in 1938 it was renamed the "State Engineering School".

After a decision by the state government in 1960, the Pedagogical Academy (Protestant), from 1962 the Pedagogical University , was relocated to Duisburg in 1968 from the nearby Kettwig (from 1975 district of Essen) and belonged to the "Pedagogical University Ruhr".

This university and the aforementioned mechanical engineering and metallurgical school, which in 1971 was renamed to “engineering school for technical college entrance qualification” and temporarily to “Duisburg University of Applied Sciences” after the incorporation of an economics department, formed the basis for the foundation of the “Duisburg Comprehensive University” in 1972. Founding rector of The university that opened on August 7, 1972 was Professor Helmut Schrey .

The establishment of the comprehensive university in Duisburg was part of the concept of the North Rhine-Westphalian government to regionalize the nationwide university landscape and to enable students from non-academic families to study with the help of integrated courses with practical relevance. In 1980 the university was named "University of Duisburg".

In 1994, the University Senate under Gernot Born (Rector 1986–1995) decided to rename it “Gerhard Mercator University” in recognition of the merits of Gerhard Mercator . He was a lecturer at the academic grammar school in Duisburg, which is the forerunner of today's Landfermann grammar school and the Old Duisburg University.

History of the University of Essen

Panorama of the Essen campus

The university comprehensive university was founded in 1972 as a comprehensive university of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia . It was deliberately created - like other start-ups at the same time - as a measure in the course of the structural change in the Ruhr region from a coal and steel location to a service center.

Campus Essen: Brunnenplatz in the evening

The University of Essen was built as a square of buildings around a green campus on the northern edge of the city center on a previously demolished part of the traditional working-class district of Segeroth , now Essen-Nordviertel . By settling close to the city center and in a working-class district, as well as by distributing the student dormitories throughout the city, a close integration of the academics into the urban population should be achieved.

The University Hospital Essen in the district of Holsterhausen was integrated into the newly founded university . The Essen Municipal Hospitals, founded in 1909, were converted into a university clinic in the state on October 1, 1963, with a view to setting up a university for the Ruhr area. The clinic was temporarily assigned to the Westphalian Wilhelms University of Münster as the second medical faculty , and teaching began in the winter semester of 1963/64. In 1967 the clinic was transferred to the Ruhr University Bochum , which had been founded shortly before, as planned . With the second wave of founding in 1972, it finally became a founding component of the comprehensive university in Essen. Essen was the only one of the new foundations in the 1970s and the only city in the Ruhr area to have a university hospital.

In 1972 the design department of the Folkwang University was transferred to the University of Essen. In 2007, the design department was returned from the merged University of Duisburg-Essen to the Folkwang University of the Arts , which was renamed in 2010 . The premises remained on the Essen campus until further notice.

The Essen University of Education in the Rüttenscheid district , whose buildings were still in use, the Technical College for Mechanical Engineering at the Schützenbahn and the Technical College for Construction in the Moltkeviertel were also incorporated . While the buildings of the pedagogical college have meanwhile been vacated, the Schützenbahn location continues to belong to the merged university.

Many of the original reform concepts from the founding time did not work as desired for various reasons or were not implemented in the university. The college developed into a normal university in most features over the decades. The most successful of the university reform ideas is the opening of the university to graduates of the second educational path , many of whom obtained thousands of university degrees in Essen alone - with equal success compared to high school graduates, as has been proven by accompanying scientific research.

Merger and common development

The merger of the two previously independent universities was initially proposed jointly by the two university rectors' offices to the state government in order to bundle potential and leverage synergies. The discussion about the way to restructure was, however, contentious. The discussion about the legal regulation with the state government was often controversial, but the merger was always advocated by the University of Duisburg; the University of Essen rejected them in the final phase of the discussion. The merger was finally passed by law on December 18, 2002 by the NRW state parliament and a founding commissioner was appointed in the form of ministerial director Heiner Kleffner. Complaints by the Essen Rectorate against this law were dismissed by the Münster Higher Administrative Court. In the founding phase of the new, merged university, there was an intense struggle to divide the subjects to the individual locations.

Campus Essen: Brunnenplatz during the day
Campus Essen: Clinic

With the merger, the state government hoped to save costs and, by bundling the range of subjects, to come to larger departments at one location each, which should have sufficient potential for specialization and for effective participation in the international scientific discussion. After the end of the founding phase, only one of the four major subject groups (humanities / social sciences, natural sciences, engineering and medicine) is actually concentrated at one location:

The medicine stayed in the Essen clinic. All teacher training, with the exception of individual vocational subjects, is now taking place in Essen, while departments such as physics have moved to Duisburg. According to the decision of the university committees, however, the subjects of sociology and politics still belong to the “Technical University” profile of the Duisburg location, civil engineering remains at the Essen location although it is assigned to the engineering faculty, whose courses are mainly offered on the Duisburg campus. In addition, there are still parallel courses in computer science and economics on both campuses. For students, depending on the combination of subjects, this can mean having to commute between the two locations; an hourly shuttle bus was set up for this purpose.

The university library is represented at both locations, and its holdings are currently divided between six specialist libraries.

Formally, the university does not have a seat. During the merger, the state did not specify which city will be the seat of the university. Since then, the university itself has also avoided setting a seat. According to the assessment of the Administrative Court of Gelsenkirchen on the occasion of a lawsuit against tuition fees, no legal proceedings can be carried out against the university without the establishment of the registered office, although Essen has been specified as the place of jurisdiction in the Establishment Act.

In March 2007, the University Alliance Ruhr (UA Ruhr) was founded by the three universities of Dortmund , Bochum and Duisburg-Essen . This should strengthen the cooperation of the teaching and research activities of the participating universities and give the universities a better starting position as excellent locations in the national and international science and study landscape. As one of the first UA Ruhr projects, RuhrCampusOnline is promoting cross- university teaching between the three Ruhr universities using blended learning .

Building S07 was inaugurated in Essen in December 2008; the new building for the chemistry department has almost 100 modern laboratory rooms. The Essen location ( old PH ) at Henri-Dunant-Straße 65 was given up in exchange for the new building on campus. As part of the abandonment of the location, the Botanical Garden moved to the Grugapark .

The university is the university with the most RISE (Research Internship in Science and Engineering) - DAAD university scholarship holders from the United States in Germany (as of July 2008).

The university has the first national prorectorate for diversity management (DiM), which pursues the goal of providing access to a university course even for those with low levels of education. There is enormous potential in cultural diversity, which is why the diversity of students and employees should be fully taken into account in teaching and research.

With the establishment of a university-wide mentoring system in the winter semester 2009/10, the UDE is for the first time offering students from all faculties systematic personal advice and support throughout the course of their studies. Students should be strengthened and supported in their personal, technical and strategic skills so that they can successfully master their studies and their degree of satisfaction increases. To this end, personal contacts are established and any need for support or assistance should be identified in good time.


Profile focus

In research, the university focuses on five key areas:

With the adjacent Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems , there has been numerous collaborations in many interdisciplinary courses since it was founded.

German Research Foundation

There are a number of special research areas, several graduate colleges and priority programs at the university.


In the 2019 Times Higher Education magazine's citation index, the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany was in fifth place, behind the University of Heidelberg , the Berlin Charité , the University of Ulm and the University of Hohenheim , thus showing scientific success and high productivity. In an international comparison of the universities most frequently named in scientific publications, the university ranked 103rd.

In the Times Higher Education Ranking 2020, the University of Duisburg-Essen was ranked 23rd among the best universities in Germany and 194th among the best in the world. In the Times Higher Education Young University Ranking of Younger Universities, it was ranked 19th worldwide in 2019.

Faculties and Institutes

Campus Essen

The university is divided into the following faculties:

Central research institutions

“With the changing framework conditions and the upheaval in the German higher education landscape, which have led to a 'paradigm shift' - the example of the ' Excellence Initiative ' is indicative - the requirements for support for scientists so that they can continue their previous achievements in teaching and research are also growing can be maintained and even increased as part of the competition.

Research funding and research management, implemented as a service for researchers in the central institutions of the universities for targeted support, seem more important than ever.

With the establishment of the Science Support Center, the university has taken a first step towards meeting these requirements. Here the scientists should receive the best possible 'support', which enables them to implement their research activities in an excellent manner. "

The following institutions are declared as central research centers of the University of Duisburg-Essen:

Central service facilities

Affiliated institutes

Student representation

There are for Authored student body , a student parliament and a student union and for the student councils , the student representatives . In addition, students are involved in many committees. The AStA was criticized for the accusation of infidelity; the public prosecutor's office in Essen investigated former officials. The impetus was an anonymous letter from the late summer of 2011. The defendants were acquitted in 2016. The incumbent AStA continues to pursue civil law claims against former responsible persons.



University professor

Students and graduates

Visiting lecturers

Mercator professors

Gerhard Mercator : namesake for sub-institutions of the University of Duisburg-Essen

“The Mercator Professorship aims to keep alive the scientific legacy of the famous Duisburg cartographer and polymath from the 16th century. The central criterion for awarding the Mercator professorship is cosmopolitanism and foresight for the important issues of the time. ”Since 1997, the following personalities have held a Mercator professorship (until 2003 at the Gerhard Mercator University in Duisburg):

Poets in Residence

According to its own statements, the University of Duisburg-Essen was the first and for a long time the only university in Germany that followed the example of the establishment of a poet in residence at the university , which was widespread in the USA , and brought contemporary authors to the university as guest lecturers for readings and seminars. In 1975 Martin Walser was the first poet in residence to hold poetry lectures in Essen.

Since the summer semester of 2000, the following personalities have been active as poet in residence at the University of Essen (later Duisburg-Essen) :

Before that, since the winter semester 1975/76, Jurek Becker , Wilhelm Genazino , Günter Grass , Günter Herburger , Rolf Hochhuth , Heinar Kipphardt , Cees Nooteboom , Peter Rühmkorf , Martin Walser and Dieter Wellershoff had an engagement as poet in residence .

Other guest lecturers

see also: Category: University Lecturers (University of Duisburg-Essen, Duisburg Campus) and Category: University Lecturers (University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen Campus)

See also


  • 10 years University of Duisburg-Essen , Duisburg 2013, ISBN 978-3-00-044238-4 .
  • 30 years of the University of Essen ( Essen University Speeches , Issue 10, academic year 2001/02), University of Essen 2002 (contributions from the lecture series “Roots of the University”).
  • Claus Bussmann, Holger Heith: Chronicle 1972–1997. Chronicle of the first 25 years of life of the Gerhard-Mercator-University / GH Duisburg, which saw the light of day as a comprehensive university in Duisburg , Duisburg 1997, ISBN 3-00-001433-0 .
  • Dieter Geuenich, Irmgard Hantsche (ed.): On the history of the University of Duisburg 1655-1818 ( Duisburger Forschungen 53), Duisburg 2007.
  • Ingo Runde (Ed.): Teacher training on the Rhine and Ruhr in the 20th century: Symposium 40 years of the Ruhr University of Education in Duisburg ( publications from the archive and library of the University of Duisburg-Essen 1), Duisburg 2011, ISBN 3-942158-04-3 .
  • Helmut Schrey: The University of Duisburg. History and present. Traditions, people, problems , Duisburg 1982, ISBN 3-87096-166-X .

Web links

Commons : University of Duisburg-Essen  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files


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Coordinates: 51 ° 25 ′ 45 ″  N , 6 ° 48 ′ 3 ″  E