The University of Augsburg campus is one of the most congenial places to study in Germany. Situated near the city centre of Augsburg, the campus is spacious without being overwhelming. The modern buildings, functional and yet architecturally appealing, blend into a landscaped park with grassy areas, a lake, fountains and several sculptures by contemporary artists.
The concentration of the academic buildings on one site simplifies the day-to-day working of the university while encouraging communication. The individual faculties, the administration offices (including the Student Service Centre), the refectory, cafeterias, bars, and the libraries are all conveniently close together. This is a place where people study, teach, carry out research, and live. There is a sense of what “university” really means: a sense of community, cooperation and solidarity between the lecturers and the researchers on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the students who benefit from the research through the teaching they receive.
The University of Augsburg was founded in 1970. It is one of the new, modern universities in Bavaria, and with approximately 20,000 students it is of a manageable size. It attracts students from far beyond its immediate catchment area. About 20% of the German students come from outside Bavaria, and at 10% its share of foreign students is larger than at comparable universities.
The University of Augsburg maintains particularly close partnerships with the Universities of Pittsburgh (USA), Osijek (Croatia), Iasi (Romania) and Chabarowsk (Russia). It has cooperation agreements with over forty universities in Europe, Asia, South Africa, North America and Latin America. The number of ERASMUS exchange programmes also continues to grow. There are currently exchange programmes with more than 130 universities throughout Europe.
Foreign academics and students are warmly welcomed to all institutes of higher education in Augsburg and are offered rofessional advice about their stay. An office has been set up to answer all their questions, which they can consult before leaving their home country or upon arrival in Augsburg. This office deals with everything relating to residency permits (visas) and the practicalities of life in Germany. If required, they can even arrange an airport transfer from Munich Airport to Augsburg.
Anyone who has studied or carried out research here can keep in touch with the University of Augsburg once they have returned home. “Alumni Augsburg International” is a flourishing network that benefits all current Augsburg students, too, as they can use it to find contacts almost anywhere in the world when they themselves go abroad to study.
Augsburg is one of the oldest cities in Germany. The Roman Emperor Augustus founded the city more than 2000 years ago in 15 B.C. In the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the city developed into a trade and finance metropolis that was influential throughout the world. The famous Fugger and Welser merchant families ran their businesses from here. The wealth that abounded at that time is still reflected in the historic cityscape today. The town hall, constructed by the master builder Elias Holl, the city palace of the Fuggers, and the Fuggerei, the oldest council housing estate in the world, bear witness to this. In addition to the splendid buildings and town houses of the Renaissance, a rich artisan tradition (goldsmiths and silversmiths, textile production) has left its mark on the city. The peaceful old town with its narrow alleyways, canals and bars, together with the busy squares and shopping precincts of this old “patrician city”, create a charming Mediterranean atmosphere. Augsburg has even been called the northernmost city of Italy…
One Augsburg tradition that still has an influence today is the “Confessio Augustana” – the Lutheran profession of faith – which was first declared at the Imperial Diet of 1530. Another is the “Religious Peace of Augsburg”, the first successful political settlement between the Christian faiths that took place in the city in 1555. This Religious Peace is still celebrated today with a public holiday (8 August) exclusive to Augsburg. Every three years the Augsburg Peace Prize is awarded to an important public figure. This tradition is also consciously cultivated on an everyday level: cooperation between residents from different ethnic backgrounds and faiths is an important part of local politics. The university also participates in this programme with the “Augsburg Academic Prize for Intercultural Studies”, which has been awarded annually since 1998. It has now gained a reputation as one of the most renowned German prizes in this field of research.
Today, Augsburg has a population of around 260,000. In addition to commerce and administration, the main employers in the city include a number of leading German, European and international technological companies, such as Fujitsu Siemens, EADS, KUKA, MAN and the international paper group, UPM Kymmene, the successor to the old Augsburg paper company Haindl. The university has also decisively contributed to the emergence of environmental research and environmental engineering as future-oriented focal points for both the city and the region. Research projects in this field have resulted in close links between the University of Augsburg and numerous partners with interests in the promotion of environmental science, both at local and state levels and in the private sector.
Augsburg is a great tourist attraction, both because of its carefully preserved buildings, monuments, museums and churches, and its vibrant cultural scene. Here, too, the city continues to cultivate its old traditions. For example, Augsburg is the birthplace of Leopold Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus' father; the international Leopold Mozart Violin Competition takes place here every two years. The playwright Bertolt Brecht was also born here. His work is kept alive in the city through performances of his plays, readings, lectures and exhibitions. Both Mozart House and Brecht House can still be visited today: good starting points for anyone wanting to follow the tracks left in the city by these two geniuses. Other Augsburg celebrities include Jim Knopf and Urmel from the Ice, the most famous representatives of the renowned Augsburg Puppet Theatre (“Augsburger Puppenkiste”).
The city's geographical location is another factor that adds to the quality of life there and makes it more attractive to tourists. Munich, the state capital of Bavaria, is within easy distance, as are several of Germany's most popular holiday destinations. These include the German Alps and the fairytale lakes of Upper Bavaria that provide the backdrop for Neuschwanstein Castle and the other royal castles built by King Ludwig II.
If it takes more than 15 minutes to get to the university from the main train station or Königsplatz, the central bus and tram stop, then something has gone wrong somewhere. Trams leave Königsplatz every five minutes and stop right in the middle of the campus. The university registration fee includes a “Semester Ticket” that gives students free travel on public transport within Augsburg. And living in Augsburg is almost as cheap: even in the charming city centre, the rents are affordable. In addition to this, there are more than 2000 rooms and apartments available in the university's halls of residence.
The University of Augsburg provides the ideal conditions for completing a degree programme successfully and within a reasonable time frame. Ever since its foundation, the university has been committed to reform. Seven faculties have been established, each with long-term strategies for development and using the most up-to-date facilities available:
There are many areas in which the faculties work together closely. Interdisciplinary cooperation is a daily feature of research and teaching at the university, and new forms of teaching to intensify and accelerate learning are developed in each of the faculties. Where appropriate, the degree programmes are designed to be as practice-oriented as possible. The courses on offer come from the three main fields of research and teaching that determine the university's profile: cultural and social sciences, innovative technologies and teacher training. The curricula are designed to meet the high standards of academic excellence on the one hand combined with the practical needs of society and the economy on the other. The University of Augsburg takes its responsibilities seriously with regard to the ethical issues and social responsibilities that come with education and research. This is reflected in the university's motto: “Scientia et conscientia”.
In the near future significant changes will take place in the courses of study and degrees available at the University of Augsburg. These changes are part of the “Bologna Process”, a scheme to bring about the internationalisation of university studies. Bachelor's and master's degrees will have replaced the traditional diploma and German Magister Artium degrees by 2008. As well as this, tuition fees of approximately 500 euros per semester will be charged as of 2007.
In line with modern trends, Business Administration and Economics are taught with emphasis on relevance to the business world and to meet the requirements of the modern information society. Students following the “Information-oriented Business Studies” and “Information-oriented Economics” 4- to 5-year diploma courses can get a bachelor's degree after three years as an initial professional qualification.
The “Global Business Management” programme bundles the research interests and expertise of the Faculty of Business Administration and Economics. Internationalism is one of its trademarks. One example of this is the “German-French Management” course, which leads to a dual diploma or master's degree from the Universities of Augsburg and Rennes. Another important field is Information Management with its “Core Competency Centre for IT & Financial Services”. The top quality of the research and teaching is particularly well illustrated by the Bavarian Elite Network study programme “Finance and Information Management”, and by the excellent parttime courses for professionals, such as the “MBA in Business Management” or the qualification as “Ratings Analyst”.
The Faculty of Business Administration and Economics works in close collaboration with the “Centre for Further Education and Transfer of Knowledge” (ZWW). The ZWW has an excellent reputation throughout Germany. Over the last three decades it has become a leader in its field with its “Contact Course in Management”. The courses on offer for business executives are distinguished by their high standards. In 2004, one of the leading associations that provides funding for German education and research named the ZWW in Augsburg as the best institute attached to a university in the German further education market.
Law students at the University of Augsburg can complete their degree more quickly than anywhere else in Germany. At the same time, they enjoy the best opportunities for becoming acquainted with legal systems in other countries. The system of exams at the end of each semester and the “Examinatorium”, which is an integral part of the degree programme, not only makes the course shorter but also has a positive effect on the exam results. Augsburg law students are consistently found to be above the state average.
The Faculty of Law also offers an alternative to the State Examination: a new diploma course in “Law and Business Studies”. This course takes account both of the changing job perspectives for law graduates and of the increasing internationalisation of law. Numerous exchange programmes with European and American universities offer the students outstanding opportunities to gain experience abroad. The “Munich Intellectual Property Law Center” (MIPLC), in collaboration with the Faculty of Law at Augsburg, the Max Planck Society, the Technical University of Munich, and the George Washington University, offers a first-class, international-standard course in intellectual property law.
The classic fields of public law, civil law and criminal law are an integral part of and supplemented by interdisciplinary institutes for business and tax law, European legal systems and environmental law. The “Augsburg Center for Global Business Law and Regulation” (ACELR) is based on the expertise gathered from these institutes. In its turn, the “Global Law and Business” research association combines both the ACELR of the Law Faculty and the “Global Business Management” programme of the Faculty of Business Administration and Economics.
The University of Augsburg's Language Centre provides a high level of in-depth tuition in modern languages. Students of philology receive practical language training in English, French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. In addition to this, the Language Centre offers courses specifically tailored to law and economics students, as well as the opportunity to study other languages such as Russian, Turkish or Japanese. Foreign students can improve their German language skills in tandem with their other studies. The University of Augsburg and the University of Applied Sciences work closely together in a joint testing centre for German as a Foreign Language (“TestDaF-Zentrum”), which tests the German language skills of international students.
Three faculties work closely together to offer a wide range of subjects in the humanities and social sciences. The Faculty of Theology, for example, offers a diploma in theology, teacher training in religious education, and training for Catholic priests. Beyond this, it is involved at an interdisciplinary level in the fields of media ethics and environmental ethics.
One of the main focal points of both the Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Philology and History has always been teacher training, from primary school to all types of secondary school. At the University of Augsburg these courses are based on a successful combination of detailed knowledge of the individual subjects, didactics and language training. In addition to the teacher training courses, the current 4- to 5-year Magister and diploma courses – and, increasingly, the new bachelor's and master's programmes – enable students to study combinations of subjects chosen from history, language and literature, political and social science, or educational science. New, innovative and high-ranked courses such as the B.A./ M.A. programmes in “Media and Communication” and “European Cultural History” are proving so popular that they are oversubscribed every semester. The University of Augsburg also offers elite courses in “Ethics of Text Culture” and “Historical Art and Image Discourses“, which are included in the Bavaria Elite Network (ENB).
Centralised institutes have been set up for some specialised fields of study at the university. As early as the 1980s, the University of Augsburg was making exemplary progress with its Area Studies programme. Today, it has an internationally renowned Canada Institute with courses in Canadian Studies that are unique in Germany. Additionally, there is an Institute for Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies (ISLA) and a Russian/East-European research association (FORUMOST).
The “Institute for European Cultural History” with its graduate courses and very popular study programme represents a significant growth area that benefits from the wealth of sources from the Early Modern Age available in Augsburg as a city of culture.
“Heterogeneity and Educational Success” is a major research project being carried out by the “Central Institute for Didactic Research and Teaching”, which bundles all activities in the field of teaching and learning research.
The Humanities and Social Sciences Faculties at Augsburg continue to raise their profile, for example through their Centre of Excellence for Cultural Studies and Educational Science. This combines first-class expertise in cultural-historical research and outstanding potential in the field of research into teaching and learning methods.
Since its foundation in 1981, the Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Materials Engineering has been extremely successful in developing the fields of physics and mathematics. The teaching in the fields of mathematics, business mathematics, physics and materials science on the various courses (diploma, bachelor's, master's and teacher training) has benefited from the in-depth research carried out in this faculty. These benefits include superb facilities, equipment and resources, as well as an ideal teacher-student ratio.
The Department of Physics at Augsburg is a world leader in the field of fundamental research into solid-state physics, not least because of their focus on “Electronic Correlations and Magnetism” (EKM) and the renowned research project 484 of the German Research Association (DFG). The institute can also boast recent, internationally recognised success in the research field of nanotechnology. Here the University of Augsburg collaborates with the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich and the Technical University of Munich in specialised research fields and the promotion of elite studies. As part of the elite courses, the Institute of Physics also works closely with these two Munich universities in the field of materials science. Furthermore, in order to optimise the transfer of science to the economy, a User Centre for Materials and Environmental Research (AMU) has been set up at the University of Augsburg. This user centre is part of the High-Tech Offensive (HTO) in Bavaria.
The HTO has also enabled the university to significantly expand its Computer Science department. The year 2000 saw the start of a diploma course in computer science with a wide range of subjects, which is to be supplemented by two B.Sc./M.Sc. programmes specialising in information management and multi-media. The Faculty of Computer Science at Augsburg has not only quickly developed into the third largest in Bavaria in terms of student numbers, but it is also in charge of the elite course in “Software Engineering”, the only computer science programme in the Elite Network of Bavaria. In 2003 the Institute of Computer Science merged with the Institute of Geography to form an independent Faculty for Applied Computer Science. Its main focuses are geographical and environmental information technology.
The Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Materials Engineering has close ties to the Faculty of Applied Computer Science through the interdisciplinary research topic of “Principles and Design of Functional Materials and Organic Computing”.
The environmental sciences form a further link between the natural sciences and technology disciplines, which, in their turn, are closely linked to subject areas in social sciences and the humanities. An important topic of research throughout the university as a whole, they form a vital part of the Environmental Competence Centre of Augsburg and Swabia.
The field of geography dealing with ecological issues and materials science is also a vital aspect of this research area. The “User Centre for Materials and Environmental Research” works hand in hand with the “Environmental Science Centre” (WZU) at the university. The WZU collects and coordinates relevant expertise from all of the university's faculties. This ranges from environmental simulation and environmental computer science to environmental economics, environmental management and environmental law, and even includes environmental education and ethics. At the WZU, contemporary issues are dealt with through interdisciplinary cooperation between academics from Germany and abroad. The futureoriented, sustainable management of substances, materials and energy, and education in sustainable development are the leitmotifs here.