Universities in Germany: University of Würzburg

1st of a Series on universities in Germany

The University of Würzburg is one of the 15 intensive-research universities in Germany (“U15 German Universities”) that are recognized as such worldwide and that are particularly acknowledged as among the leading sources of medical research and development. These 15 universities’ collective student bodies total almost half a million students, of which the University of Würzburg has roughly 30,000 students in many fundamental disciplines, including, but not limited to, medicine, science, and the humanities. Almost 60% of the university’s students are female, but, sadly, less than 9% of its students are international.

The University of Würzburg is justly proud of the fact that 14 Nobel Laureates have led the ranks of the many eminent scientists, researchers, and scholars who have taught and worked there over the past six centuries. Given its acclaimed position in the greater German university system and its international academic reputation as a premier center of learning, the University of Würzburg is clearly one of Germany’s unrecognized scholarly gems.

There’s a Strong Competition

At the same time, given the burgeoning thrust of international politics and economics, the University of Würzburg will no doubt benefit from the competitive interest savvy international students will express as they vie with more and more qualified students for fewer and fewer slots in prestigious universities worldwide. In other words, it’s an ideal choice for serious international students, not only because it’s a superb university, but also because the university itself wants more international students.

The university bases its graduate school’s academic laurels on what it calls its “four pillars”: humanities; law, economics & society; life & natural sciences; and science & technology, and it’s undergraduate school, while embracing what it terms the “classic four” academic areas: medicine, theology, philosophy, and law, includes numerous degree programs, many of them new. For example, Business Management & Economics, Chemistry & Pharmacy, Medicine, Mathematics & Computer Science, and Arts—historical, philological, cultural, & geographic studies offer diverse, contemporary, and in-depth courses of study. The breadth of the university’s offerings should appeal to one and all.

Student life is not merely important, it’s fundamentally important, and both the University of Würzburg and the city itself offer an abundance of opportunity for one to establish and nurture one’s familiarity not only with German culture, but also European culture. Both the city and the university itself are so endearing and of such intrinsic quality that they capture the hearts and minds of students who, much to their own surprise, discover that this is where they want settle down, i.e., to marry and to pursue their career.


Würzburg, which has a population of 125,000, is a cosmopolitan city located in northern Bavaria (“Bayern”). It straddles the Main River and is about 120 kilometers east of Frankfurt am Main (population 700,000) and 120 kilometers west of Nuremberg (population 500,000). Greater Würzburg itself has a population of 160,000. The three cities are linked by Bundesautobahn 3, as well as by the German Railway Company (“Deutsche Bahn”). Both auto and rail travel to eithercity from Würzburg is usually no more than an hour—not that there is any need to leave Würzburg!

You must bear in mind that Würzburg has been a university city for more than six centuries. It knows what students want and it satisfies those wants . . . in abundance . . . and the students—possibly you?—contribute to the city’s ambiance of eternal youth by putting “spring” into the virtual steps of lifelong residents and tourists alike. (SEE here )


Surrounded as it is by the so-called Franconian Wine Country, Würzburg offers more leisure activities than my grandmother’s corncrib (“die Maiskrippe”) has mice. Events and endeavors include a huge trade fair, a jazz festival, Bach days, open house at many wineries, international film festivals, the Residenz Run Würzburg, a superb 18-hole golf course overlooking the city, an annual 42-kilometer marathon & half marathon, nordic walking events, cycling within Würzburg as well as throughout the surrounding wine country and along the Main River, hiking directly in Würzburg as well as in the greater Würzburg area, e.g., the Stein-Wein-Trail, several 10- kilometer hiking trails, and, for the robust and die-hard hikers, trails ranging from 88 kilometers to almost 500 kilometers.

After all that exercise and fresh air, one needs to unwind and Würzburg offers many opportunities to pamper one’s inner self, from beer gardens, pubs, and wine taverns to cafés, restaurants, and clubs. Sample the beer specialities at Brauerei-Gasthof Alter Kranen, investigate the delightful Italian-style offerings of the intimate Ristorante Dolce Vita, test yourself with the spicy entrees of Habaneros + Habaneros X-Press (“Texican Restaurant Y Bar”), and savor Mennas Time Out fare and entertainment (BLUES-KONZERT-Hoerbie Schmidt Band). Würzburg’s night life offers both quality and variety enough to satisfy the most discriminating residents and visitors. You’ll find your special place soon enough and morph from a student-visitor to regular.

Choosing a university is one of the three most crucial decisions one can make in life. It’s as challenging as choosing one’s spouse and one’s career. For that reason alone, it’s important to be informed not only about one’s options, but also about which questions to ask. It’s not enough merely to get all the facts and figures about a given university. One must know oneself thoroughly in order to know what one needs; mere wants are often fleeting and ultimately disappointing. This article about Würzburg University is meant as a provocative guide to all German universities, many of which will be similarly profiled in the coming months, so, as they say on Deutsche Welle, “stay tuned” (“Bleiben Sie dran!”).

Thinking About Studying in Germany?

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