Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

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Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

The Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (German: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München), commonly known as the University of Munich or LMU, is a university in Munich, Germany. A public research university, it is amongst Germany's oldest universities.

Originally established in Ingolstadt in 1472 by Duke Ludwig XI of Bavaria-Landshut, the university was moved in 1800 to Landshut by King Maximilian I of Bavaria when Ingolstadt was threatened by the French, before being relocated to its present-day location in Munich in 1826 by King Ludwig I of Bavaria. In 1802, the university was officially named Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität by King Maximilian I of Bavaria in his as well as the university's original founder's honour.

The University of Munich has, particularly since the 19th century, been considered as one of Germany's as well as Europe's most prestigious universities; with 34 Nobel laureates associated with the university, it ranks 13th worldwide in terms of Nobel laureates. Among these were Wilhelm Röntgen, Max Planck, Werner Heisenberg, Otto Hahn and Thomas Mann. Pope Benedict XVI was also a student and professor at the university. The LMU has recently been conferred the title of "elite university" under the German Universities Excellence Initiative.

The LMU is currently the second-largest university in Germany in terms of student population; in the winter semester of 2009/2010, the university had a total of 45,539 matriculated students. Of these, 7,801 were freshmen while international students totalled 6,743 or almost 15% of the student population. As for endowments, the university records in 2008 a total of 458.8 million Euros in funding without the university hospital; with the university hospital, the university has a total funding amounting to approximately 1 billion Euros.


The university was founded with papal approval in 1472 as the University of Ingolstadt (foundation right of Louis IX the Rich), with faculties of philosophy, medicine, jurisprudence and theology. Its first rector was Christopher Mendel of Steinfels, who later became bishop of Chiemsee.

In the period of German humanism, the university's academics included names such as Conrad Celtes and Petrus Apianus. The theologian Johann Eck also taught at the university. From 1549 to 1773, the university was influenced by the Jesuits and became one of the centres of the Counter-Reformation. The Jesuit Petrus Canisius served as rector of the university.

At the end of the 18th century, the university was influenced by the Enlightenment, which led to a stronger emphasis on natural science.

In 1800, the Prince-Elector Maximilian IV Joseph (the later Maximilian I, King of Bavaria) moved the university to Landshut, due to French aggression that threatened Ingolstadt during the Napoleonic Wars. In 1802, the university was renamed the Ludwig Maximilian University in honour of its two founders, Louis IX, Duke of Bavaria and Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria. The Minister of Education, Maximilian von Montgelas, initiated a number of reforms that sought to modernize the rather conservative and Jesuit-influenced university. In 1826, it was moved to Munich, the capital of the Kingdom of Bavaria. The university was situated in the Old Academy until a new building in the Ludwigstraße was completed.

In the second half of the 19th century, the university rose to great prominence in the European scientific community, attracting many of the world's leading scientists. It was also a period of great expansion. From 1903, women were allowed to study at Bavarian universities, and by 1918, the female proportion of students at LMU had reached 18 %. In 1918, Adele Hartmann became the first woman in Germany to earn the Habilitation (higher doctorate), at LMU.

During the Weimar Republic, the university continued to be one of the world's leading universities, with professors such as Wilhelm Röntgen, Wilhelm Wien, Richard Willstätter, Arnold Sommerfeld and Ferdinand Sauerbruch.

During the period of national socialist rule, academic freedom was severely curtailed. In 1943 the White Rose group of anti-Nazi students conducted their campaign of opposition to the national socialists at this university.

The university has continued to be one the leading universities of West Germany during the Cold War and in the post-reunification era. In the late 1960s, the university was the scene of protests by radical students.

Today the University of Munich is part of 24 Collaborative Research Centers funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and is host university of 13 of them. It also hosts 12 DFG Research Training Groups and three international doctorate programs as part of the Elite Network of Bavaria. It attracts an additional 120 million euros per year in outside funding and is intensively involved in national and international funding initiatives.

LMU Munich has a wide range of degree programs, with 150 subjects available in numerous combinations. 15% of the 45,000 students who attend the university come from abroad.

In 2005, Germany’s state and federal governments launched the Excellence Initiative, a contest among its universities. With a total of 1.9 billion euros, 75 percent of which comes from the federal state, its architects aim to strategically promote top-level research and scholarship. The money is given to more than 30 research universities in Germany.

The initiative will fund three project-oriented areas: graduate schools to promote the next generation of scholars, clusters of excellence to promote cutting-edge research and “future concepts” for the project-based expansion of academic excellence at universities as a whole. In order to qualify for this third area, a university had to have at least one internationally recognized academic center of excellence and a new graduate school.

After the first round of selections, LMU Munich was invited to submit applications for all three funding lines: It entered the competition with proposals for two graduate schools and four clusters of excellence.

On Friday 13 October 2006, a blue-ribbon panel announced the results of the Germany-wide Excellence Initiative for promoting top university research and education. The panel, composed of the German Research Foundation and the German Science Council, has decided that LMU Munich will receive funding for all three areas covered by the Initiative: one graduate school, three “excellence clusters” and general funding for the university’s “future concept”.

University buildings

LMU's institutes and research centers are spread throughout Munich, with several buildings located in the suburbs of Oberschleissheim and Garching as well as Maisach and Bad Tölz. The university's main buildings are grouped around Geschwister-Scholl-Platz and Professor-Huber-Platz on Ludwigstrasse, extending into side streets such as Akademiestraße, Schellingstraße, and Veterinärstraße. Other large campuses and institutes are located in Großhadern (Klinikum Großhadern), Martinsried (chemistry and biotechnology campus), the Ludwigsvorstadt (Klinikum Innenstadt) and in the Lehel (Institut am Englischen Garten), across from the main buildings, through the Englischer Garten.

The university's main building is situated in Geschwister-Scholl-Platz and the university's main campus is served by the Munich subway's Universität station.

Academic Organisation

Subjects & Fields of Study

Despite the Bologna Process which saw the demise of most traditional academic degree courses such as the Diplom and Magister Artium in favour of the more internationally-known Bachelors and Masters system, the University of Munich continues to offer more than 100 areas of study with numerous combinations of majors and minors.

In line with the university's internationalisation as a popular destination for tertiary studies, an increasing number of courses mainly at the graduate and post-graduate levels are being taught in English to cater to international students who may have little or no background in the German language. Some notable subject areas which currently offer programmes in English include various fields of psychology, physics as well as business and management. A list of current programmes offered in English can be accessed directly from the university's international website while a complete list of courses offered across all academic levels can be found here.


The university currently consists of the following 18 faculties which oversee various departments and institutes.

One of the founding faculties of LMU Munich, the Faculty of Catholic Theology houses the Martin Grabmann Research Institute of Medieval Theology and Philosophy, the Ecumenical Research Institute, Klaus-Mörsdorf-Studies of Canon Law as well as the unique Institute of Orthodox Theology which is a specialty of the LMU Munich.

Notable research facilities of the faculty include the Office for Contemporary Church History and the Church Press Archive. The faculty also cooperates with the Faculties of Philosophy and of Cultural Studies as well as the Institute of Technology-Theology-Natural Sciences, and is involved with the Centre for Ecumenical Research.

The Faculty of Law at LMU Munich is one of the largest and most reputable in Germany, offering courses and qualifications in special fields such as international and European business law after the Staatsexamen. Students with a foreign degree can also obtain a degree in German law through the faculty's courses.

Also known as the Munich School of Management, the Fakultät für Betriebswirtschaft consistently ranks among the top business schools in Germany and offers a number of national and international master programmes which feature collaborations with various national and international research institutions.

The faculty offers a broad-based programme with a wide range of optional subjects taught by international researchers who work as guest fellows at the university's Center for Economic Studies (CES).

Consisting of the University of Munich Hospital, located in both Großhadern and downtown Munich, LMU Munich's medical faculty is the largest medical training institution in southern Germany and is internationally renowned for its rigour.

LMU Munich's Faculty of Veterinary Medicine is currently the only university veterinary training and research institution in southern Germany. Its extensive curriculum also focuses on clinical and paraclinical training in addition to food hygiene and veterinary public health.

Consisting of the Historisches Seminar and the Department der Kunstwissenschaften, both departments are ranked highly in Germany with the latter being the only university faculty in southern Germany to offer around 25 programmes in five different arts-related areas of study through its Institute for Art History, Institute for Art Pedagogy, Institute for Music Pedagogy, Institute for Musicology as well as the Munich Theatre Studies (TWM).

Offering a Philosophy degree programme as well as an inter-faculty study of religion programme, the faculty also participates programmes of the intra-faculty Münchner Kompetenzzentrum Ethik (Munich Ethics Referral Centre) and the Munich Centre for Neurosciences (LMUinnovativ). It is also involved in two of the university's collaborative research centres funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) as well as in the postgraduate programme, Politics, Law and Philosophy (PRP).

The faculty is made up of the Department of Psychology as well as the Department of Education & Rehabilitation, with the latter being home to the Institute of Pedagogy, Education and Socialisation Research, the Institute of School and Teaching Research, and the Institute of Prevention, Integration and Rehabilitation Research. The faculty is also features the LMUexcellent Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences as well as the Munich Centre of the Learning Sciences which is jointly run by both departments of the faculty.

The Faculty of Cultural Studies houses disciplines that apply philological, archaeological, anthropological and sociological methods to explore cultures, primarily those of Southern and Southeastern Europe, as well as Asia.

The largest faculty in terms of student numbers, the Faculty for Languages and Literatures offer an extensive range of subjects and is subdivided into the following three departments overseeing various institutes and sub-departments:

  • Department I which consists of the Institute for German Philology (Germanistik), Institute for Comparative Literature (Komparatistik), Institute for Nordic Philology (Nordistik) and the Institute for German as a Foreign Language (Deutsch als Fremdsprache);
  • Department II which runs programmes in Greek & Latin Philology, Romance Philology, Italian Philology, Slavic Philology, as well as Language and Communication which features subjects such Comparative Indogermanic Linguistics and Albanology.
  • Department III which is made up of the Institute for English Philology (Anglistik) as well as the Amerika-Institut, which offers American Studies (Amerikanistik).

The department also houses the Centre for Language and Literature Studies and offers several international doctorate programmes, such as Textuality in the Pre-Modern Period together with the Elite Network of Bavaria.

The Faculty of Social Sciences is the third largest faculty at LMU Munich in terms of student numbers, offering 10 major and minor programmes in the areas of sociology, political science and communication science through the Geschwister Scholl Institute for Political Science (GSI), Institute for Sociology and the Institute for Communication Science and Media Research. The faculty is also affiliated to the CAP Centre for Applied Policy Research, with a focus on European politics.

Offering Bachelors, Masters and Diploma programmes as well as teacher training courses, the faculty consists of the Department of Mathematics, Department of Computer Science and the Department of Statistics.

LMU Munich's Faculty of Physics is one of the largest in Germany and is highly ranked in Europe, notable for being the best-ranked German university in this field according to the 2010 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. With funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG), as well as a considerable number of networks within the European Union, the faculty hosts numerous collaborative research centres and research training groups. Several buildings and facilities of the faculties are located in Munich suburb of Garching, together with those of the Technische Universität München.

Made up of the Department of Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry and Department of Pharmacy, faculty is located at the LMU Munich's High-Tech Campus in Martinsried-Großhadern which is in the immediate vicinity of the University Hospital (Klinikum Großhadern), the Biocenter as well as the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Martinsried.

Houses mainly at the brand new High-Tech Campus in Martinsried-Großhadern with state of the art research facilities and collaborations, the faculty consists of two departments offering a plethora of subjects in the following areas:

  • 'Department I' offers courses in Botany, Principles of teaching Biology (Didaktik der Biologie), Genetics, Microbiology, Systematic Zoology as well as Systematic Botany and Mycology;
  • 'Department II' offers courses in Anthropology & Human Genetics, Evolutionary Biology, Neurobiology, Ecology, Cell & Developmental Biology as well as Zoology.

The Faculty of Geosciences and Environmental Sciences is made up of the Department of Geography and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Adopting the motto “Exploring, Understanding, Designing Change – Globally, Regionally, Locally", the Geography Department offers an integrated bachelor degree programme in geography in addition to teacher training programmes, focusing on methodology and approaches in the fields of regional global change research, remote sensing and spatial modeling, environmental analysis, land use management, conservation as well as threats to nature. The geoscience programmes, on the other hand, are administered jointly by LMU Munich and TU Munich under the umbrella of the Munich Geocenter. A structured tnternational doctoral programme, “THESIS – Complex Processes in the Earth: Theory, Experiment and Simulation,” is also offered within the scope of the Elite Network of Bavaria.

Research Centres

In addition to its 18 faculties, the University of Munich also maintains numerous research centres involved in numerous cross-faculty and transdisciplinary projects to complement its various academic programmes. Some of these research centres were a result of cooperation between the university and renowned external partners from academia and industry; the Rachel Carson Centre for Environment and Society, for example, was established through a joint initiative between LMU Munich and the Deutsches Museum, while the Parmenides Center for the Study of Thinking resulted from the collaboration between the Parmenides Foundation and LMU Munich's Human Science Center.

Some of the research centres which have been established include:

  • Analysis and Modelling of Complex Systems in Biology and Medicine
  • Animal Welfare Information Center for Biomedical Research (TIZ-BIFO)
  • Arnold Sommerfeld Center for Theoretical Physics
  • BioImaging Center (biz)
  • BioImaging Network
  • Center for Applied Policy Research (CAP)
  • Center for Information and Language Processing (CIS)
  • Center for Integrated Protein Science Munich (CIPSM)
  • Center for International Health (CIH-LMU)
  • Center for Internet Research and Media Integration
  • Center for Language and Literature Studies (ZSL)
  • Center for NanoScience (CeNS)
  • Center of Ecumenical Research
  • Center of Historical Language Studies (ZhS)
  • Center of Medieval and Renaissance Studies
  • Chemical Dynamics – From Femtochemistry to Biological Machines
  • Flaubert Zentrum München
  • Functional Nanosystems
  • Gene Center Munich
  • GeoBio-Center
  • Human Science Center (HWZ)
  • Japan Center
  • Jewish and Near Eastern Studies
  • LMU Entrepreneurship Center (LMU EC)
  • Maier-Leibnitz-Laboratory for Nuclear and Particle and Accelerator Physics
  • Multimedia Language Laboratory (MLL)
  • Munich Arts Research Centre (MARC)
  • Munich Center for Neurosciences - Brain and Mind (MCN)
  • Munich Center on Governance, Communication, Public Policy and Law (MCG)
  • Munich Center of Ancient Worlds (MZAW)
  • Munich Center of Health Sciences (MC-Health)
  • Munich Center of the Learning Sciences
  • Munich Center for Organelle Research (CORE)
  • Munich Centre of Photonics (MAP)
  • Munich Ethics Referral Center (MKE)
  • Munich Center for Islamic Studies (MZIS)
  • Nanosystems Initiative Munich (NIM)
  • Parmenides Center for the Study of Thinking
  • Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society
  • ReproZentrum
  • Teacher Education Center (LBZ)
  • Walter Brendel Center of Experimental Medicine (WBex)


After the German Constitutional Court overturned a federal law prohibiting tuition fees and devolved the right to administrate tuition fees to the state level, the university's Senate decided upon the introduction of tuition fees in the Summer Semester of 2006. Tuition fees were initially capped at €300 in the Summer Semester of 2007 and Winter Semester of 2007/2008, but were reviewed in the Winter Semester of 2008/2009 to introduce a €42 Grundbeitrag or basic contribution fee to the state-run Studentenwerk as well as a €50 administrative fee (Verwaltungsgebühr); the Verwaltungsgebühr was however subsequently abolished by the Bavarian state government.

The total tuition fees administered by the university currently stands at €542.

Despite being home to a large student population as well as being one of the most expensive German cities to live in, Munich stands out as being one of the few German cities which currently does not offer a semester transportation pass (generally known as a Semesterticket) to students. Because of this, students in Munich currently have to separately apply for the Munich Transport and Tariff Association's (MVV) monthly subscription which comes at a significantly higher price as opposed to what a Semesterticket would in other German cities.

In 2009, the MVV offered a package which would introduce a Semesterticket at a basic fee of €78.50 with a premium surchage of €143.50, totalling €222; this proposition narrowly fell through after voting was conducted across all the Munich universities as it was still deemed to be too pricey in comparison to the Semesterickets offered by other German cities, with students of the LMU Munich voting 52.1% against and 47.9% in favour. Negotiations between the MVV and representatives of the Munich student unions are currently still underway.


LMU Munich is consistently ranked among the world's top 100 universities in various international ranking surveys such as the Academic Ranking of World Universities and the Times Higher Education Supplement which ranks over 1000 universities worldwide. In a 2010 human competitiveness index & analysis Human Resources & Labor Review published in Chasecareer Network, LMU Munich was the only German university listed in its list of the world's best 50 universities and was ranked 38th internationally.

Notable rival German universities in terms of rankings include TU München, University of Heidelberg and the Free University of Berlin.

Tables comparing the year-on-year ranking performance of the University of Munich based on popular international ranking exercises are as follows:

Notable Alumni and Faculty Members

Many notable individuals have studied or taught at the University of Munich. As of 2010, 34 Nobel laureates are associated with the university.

The alumni of Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich played a major role in the development of quantum mechanics. Max Planck, the founder of quantum theory and Nobel laureate in Physics in 1918, was an alumnus of the university. Founders of quantum mechanics such as Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, and others were associated with the university. Most recently, to honor the Nobel laureate in Chemistry Gerhard Ertl, who worked as a professor at the University of Munich from 1973–1986, the building of the Physical Chemistry was named after him.

The White Rose anti-Nazi resistance was based in this university.

Building Activity

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    Ludmila Batayeva commented
    The greatest university building I've ever seen.
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