Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) is in Munich, Germany. Duke Ludwig IX the Wealthy of Bavaria-Landshut founded the university in Ingolstadt in 1472 by special papal leave.
LMU: then and now
King Maximilian I moved it to Landshut in 1800 and King Ludwig I moved it to Munich in 1826, ca. 80 kilometers distant. King Maximilian I officially named the university Ludwig-Maximilians-University in 1802 in honor of its founders and it retains that name to this day.
LMU has more than 50,000 students (including 7,400 international students)—30,000 (7,400) women and 20,000 (4,700) men. Almost 9,000 students enroll every year. LMU awards almost 8,000 basic degrees yearly, including 3,300 bachelor degrees, 1,200 master degrees, and 1,400 doctoral degrees. LMU has a professorial academic staff of 1,500, a supporting academic staff of 3,000, and a non-academic staff of 2,400. Excluding its hospital, LMU has an annual budget of €579 million.
In other words, LMU is a major German university. It is the second largest in Germany and should be strongly considered by anyone, particularly international students, interested in an undergraduate degree, a post graduate degree, or supplementary graduate and research studies.
Place to study and live: Munich
Who would not want to live in Munich, given the chance? Munich is the capital of Bavaria and familiarly known as Germany’s secret capital, i.e., Munich’s economic and political influence is more powerful than one might suppose. As a consequence, Munich is a city which always makes Berlin a little nervous; it is a city from which spectacular careers can spring.
The city proper has about 1,500,000 residents and the surrounding area has roughly 6,000,000 inhabitants. Munich is an old and beautiful cosmopolitan city. While the Free State of Bavaria is a bastion of political conservatism, Munich itself is somewhat more liberal and, consequently, a bit more laid back than much of southern Germany.
Munich is blessed with spectacular architecture, gardens, museums, music, antiquities, palaces, and art. It has dozens of theaters, four major orchestras, numerous chamber-music groups, and a superb state ballet. According to one report, more people attend musical events every week in Munich than attend two sell-out local Bayern-Munich soccer games. So, whether your “thing”is culture or sport, Munich will never, ever disappoint you.
Housing for students in any major university city is always a formidable issue and, Munich being a very, very popular city, finding student housing is understandably quite daunting. Housing can also be an expensive part of one’s education—although, since the university is tuition free (students pay only a nominal €111 for a so-called semesterticket), one must factor in that delightful savings.
The LMU Studentwerk München office can get you started on your quest for housing and, frankly, the sooner you start, the better. You’ll need perseverance and resourcefulness to succeed, but, since life demands both perseverance and resourcefulness, the experience will pay off for the rest of your career.
Here’s a hint: one arrow to be sure you have in your quiver is a familiarity with social media. For example, use Facebook to identify other prospective LMU students as well as current students and former students. Each group can provide both mutual support to find housing as well as a wealth of experience to which only the personal touch has access. Be forthright in your questions and goals and people will bend over backwards to help.
A lot of opportunities at the LMU: Courses, internships and diversity
LMU has 18 primary areas of academic studies, including theology, biology, economics, physics, history, medicine, social sciences, philosophy, and law. The full list is at uni – muenchen.
To paraphrase the old joke, if LMU doesn’t offer it, then it’s not worth studying. Within those 18 primary areas of study, one can choose from more than 100 sub-area combinations of majors and minors at LMU.
What is particularly attractive about Munich, indeed, about most German universities in major cities, is the ready access to internships with major international corporations. Munich offers it all on a very grand and historically infused scale. The city is within easy traveling distance (car, train, air) to almost all major European cities, e.g., Zurich, Amsterdam, Vienna, Athens, The Hague, Berlin, Rome, Brussels, Paris, Copenhagen, Milan, Geneva, Lyon, Hamburg, and London.
The LMU library system comprises the main university library along with 130 decentralized libraries maintained by the individual academic faculties. Overall, the system is home to more than 6,500,000 volumes. While the volumes in the decentralized libraries are intended for those faculties’ students and not lent, most of the main university library’s 2,400,000 volumes are lent. Of course, students also have access to affiliated libraries in Munich, in greater Bavaria, and at other university and research libraries throughout Germany. For example, the Bavarian State Library has more than 9,000,000 volumes, including some extraordinarily rare items, available.
Munich itself is your campus and, if you’ve the time, your diversions can include skiing in the nearby Alps for starters; however, before you challenge the moguls, touch bases with the student culture office. It can provide information and guidance regarding trips, so-called culture clubbing, workshops, tours, and visits. In addition to these activities, you can always take advantage of student groups that might excite your interests, e.g., humanitarian organizations, religious organizations, international organizations, and career-oriented organizations. Students also always have leisure-time choices from art, music, historic sites, festivals, and films. You will never, ever be at loose ends in Munich.
Celebs at Ludwig Maximilians University
Isaac Newton famously wrote that “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Here are some of the giants on whose shoulders LMU students can stand: Pope Benedict XVI, Wilhelm Röntgen, Thomas Mann (I recommend Bekenntnisse des Hochstaplers Felix Krull. Der Memoiren erster Teil), Werner Heisenberg, Konrad Adenauer, Berthold Brecht, and Max Weber. Beyond these celebrities, if a pope can be deemed a celebrity, there are 34 Nobel Prize winners, six renowned Germany statesmen, seven anti-Nazi resistance activists, numerous political and public figures, and a raft of notable alumni.
A particularly moving aspect of LMU, at least to me, is the White Rose Movement which opposed Hitler at the height of World War II. For a brief, but moving article on this example of German steadfastness in the face of certain death, go to White Rose. There are no greater shoulders on which one can aspire to stand than those of LMU’s White Rose Movement activists.
Ludwig-Maximilians-University is a superb choice for serious international students determined to acquire an excellent education which they can use to benefit themselves, their family, their communities, and posterity. Bear in mind that education is not the mere awareness of information; it is the brick-by-brick development of knowledge within a structure emphasizing character and integrity that enables the student to app roach wisdom. As H. G. Wells asserted in his The Outline of History, “Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.”