[Brief Descriptions of 18th Century German Universities]
In Kant’s day there were about forty universities in the German-speaking lands, and these were all quite small by today’s standards. Halle, the largest of them, enjoyed an enrollment of around 1000 students. Göttingen was the latest arrival, founded in 1736, and was also the fastest growing, with about 11-12% of the total student enrollment by 1775. The four largest German universities — Halle, Göttingen, Jena, and Leipzig — accounted for nearly half of the total student enrollment in Germany. This meant that some of the universities were vanishingly small (and as a result, many of them did indeed vanish). Königsberg, whose share of the students remained at about 5% throughout the 18th century (and growing slightly toward the end) had a student enrollment of about 370 when Kant began attending as a student, and enrollment oscillated between 250 and 380 during Kant’s years as a teacher (see the table on average enrollments here).
Four of these universities were Prussian: Halle, Königsberg, Frankfurt/Oder, and Duisburg. Königsberg had strong ties especially to Halle — for instance, in the early part of the century, all theology students were required to study for two years in Halle. Of those teaching in some capacity or other in the philosophy faculty at Königsberg during the 18th century for whom we have data (n=106), 17% studied, graduate, or had taught at Halle, another 17% at Jena; fewer came from Frankfurt/Oder, proportional to its smaller size; and 85% had either graduated from or studied at Königsberg — indeed, many of the faculty, like Kant, had grown up in Königsberg.
The set of highly abbreviated remarks on the fifty-two German-speaking universities that follow is somewhat haphazard and incomplete, based primarily on material provided in Eulenburg , Clark , and Ellwein . The purpose of this listing is to offer a rough and preliminary orientation to the community of German universities in which Kant and his associates were living and working. Additional information on student enrollment (All Universities, Königsberg) and staffing (Full Professors) is also available, as well as a modest list of 18th century professors at the different universities (and a few Gymnasia).
The founding year claimed for universities should be viewed with caution, as it was not always clear which event was used to determine the date (and as a result there are many inconsistencies to be found in the literature). The date might refer to when university privileges were granted; or to when classes were first held; or to when students could first matriculate; or to when the request for a charter was first made to the Holy Roman Emperor (or other secular authority) and to the Pope (or other ecclesiastical authority); or to when the public celebration of the founding took place. Similarly, many of these universities led lives as other kinds of schools prior to receiving charters as universities, and sometimes these earlier dates are given. In general, I follow Ellwein  on the dates.
With the chronological index, I follow the classification scheme and data in Ellwein [1997, 321-24]. Dates after 1800 (e.g., the re-founding of a university) have been omitted, and schools listed by Ellwein but not included here are: Lausanne (1537, theology; university since 1890), Molsheim (1618-1701), Anschaffenburg (1808-14), Passau (1773-1803, philosophy and theology), as well as the mining school at Freiberg (1765) and the art schools at Nürnberg (1662-4), Düsseldorf (1769-1805), and Dresden (1764).
 See, for instance, Walter Rüegg's discussion of the founding date for the University of Bologna: The date offered by the university — 1088 — would seem more closely tied to the need, in the late 19th century, to celebrate a significant jubilee and to support the unification of Italy, than to any identifiable event in the 11th century [1992, 4-6].
Patron: Town Council of Nürnberg (an imperial city); after 1806: Bavaria.
Developed from a Latin school in Nürnberg (founded as an academy in 1578, the Academia Altorfina), the school moved to Altdorf in 1573 in order to protect the students from the temptations of the city, and was given the status of university with the right to grant Magister degrees in 1622. In 1696 it acquired the right to grant doctoral degrees in theology (until then it had only the other three faculties). It excelled especially in the medical arts. Leibniz received his doctorate in law here in 1667 (having been rejected by Leipzig). The city was taken by Prussia during the Seven Years War. The school eventually closed for lack of students. [Eulenburg 1904, 88, 175-76; Paulsen 1906, 35; Clark 1986, 604; and see the student memoirs of K. H. Ritter from the 1780s, qtd. in Ellwein 1992, 91, 102-5]
Patron: Bishop Elector of Bamberg
Religion: Catholic (Jesuit).
Originally a Latin school (the Academia Ottonia, from 1648-1733), Bamberg’s curriculum included only philosophy and theology until the 1730s. The humanities included five year-long courses, allowing one to finish this “philosophical study” in two years. Nearly all the students were Jesuits. Aristotle reigned in the philosophy faculty, and Aquinas in theology, which took four years to complete the curriculum. As with most other Catholic universities, the instruction was given in a set of prescribed classes, so all students of a certain age or level would be instructed, first in one subject, then in another, like a series of core courses , with no electives. The total enrollment was around 150 students, one-fourth being theology, and the rest philosophy. In 1733 it was chartered as a university, and faculties of law (1735) and medicine (1769) were added. Students followed the old regulation that one could pursue one of the higher faculties only after successfully completing the philosophical course-work. After the treaty of Lunéville (1801) between France and Austria, the university was secularized: the theology and philosophy faculties continued in the form of a lyceum, the law faculty was abolished, and the medical faculty changed into a school of surgery. [Eulenburg 1904, 94-95, 171-72; Clark 1986, 605 puts the dates at 1773-1811]
Patron: Town council of Basel (Switzerland).
Religion: Catholic, later Reformed (1532).
Basel had a strong law faculty in the 16th century which drew students from across northern Europe, but by the 18th century its enrollment was around 100 students, having suffered a steady decline with the rise of universities to the north competing for students. [Eulenburg 1904, 178; Matriculation records: Wackernagel, et al., 1951/1956]
Patron: Archbishop Elector of Cologne.
Opened with the approval of the Emperor in 1786 from a previously established Academy (the Kurfürstliche Maxische Academie), the university at Bonn was intended as a counter-balance to the deep conservatism at the university at Köln, and was the first Catholic university not to apply for a papal privilege. It had all four traditional faculty, with medicine being the strongest, drawing 43% of the students (theology had 23%, law had 18%, and philosophy 16%). The outbreak of war ended the lectures in 1793, and the school was formally closed in 1797. [Eulenburg 1904, 142; Clark 1986, 337, 607 (Clark shows the university closing in 1798)]
[Listed by Paulsen]
Patron: King of Bohemia, later Brandenburg-Prussia (1742).
Religion: Catholic (Jesuit), later ecumenical (1811).
The university at Breslau was a Jesuit college from the middle of the 17th century. It was granted a university charter in 1702 (October 21) by Emperor Leopold I, but nonetheless kept to its two faculties of Catholic theology and philosophy, with six professors teaching in each. Its enrollment was 896 at the time the university was founded, and seems to have been much like many universities of the day, but lacked the right to graduate students until receiving its charter. The city apparently resisted the creation of a Jesuit university, and even unsuccessfully petitioned the Emperor. As with many of the Jesuit schools, there was tight control of courses taught and textbooks used. When Prussia acquired Silesia (1742), it also acquired this university. In 1811, the university of Frankfurt/Oder was closed, and its remains were brought to Breslau. [Eulenburg 1904, 154-55; Bornhak 1900, 189; Clark 1986, 608; and see Reinkens (1861).]
Patron: Duke of Pomerania.
Religion: Lutheran (Pietist).
The university at Bützow was a small and short-lived Pietist university, whose members split-off from the university at Rostock in 1758, but then merged back with Rostock thirty-one years later in 1789.
Patron: Prince Bishop of Augsburg, later Bavaria (1803).
Religion: Catholic (Jesuit from 1564-1773).
The students were recruited from the Augsburg diocese, which in the 17th century included Schwabia and parts of Württemberg, Bavaria, and the Tyrol. 17th century enrollment figures for Dillingen range from 247 to 299, and remained steady through the 18th century as well. Between 1550-1614, 12% of the students were Fratres [priests or brothers?], 15% were nobility (mostly from Schwabia). Of the 304 students enrolled in 1607, 141 lived in the Convict (46%). The Jesuits were expelled in 1774. After 1786 some lectures were given in German in the vain hope of drawing more students. With secularization, the university collapsed. [Eulenburg 1904, 35-36, 173-74; Paulsen (1906) and Conrad (1884) set the founding year at 1549]
Patron: Estates of Livland, Kurland, Estland, Silten.
The university at Dorpat (Estonian: Tartu) was founded by Gustavus II Adolphus of Sweden during its occupation of the area. This was the northern-most German speaking university, and enjoyed an average enrollment of less than 100 students. The university was evacuated to Parnu (on the Gulf of Riga) in 1699, closed in 1710, and reopened in 1802. Gottlob Benjamin Jäsche [bio] was appointed a full professor of philosophy at this time, and his Nachlaß was later acquired (via Karl Morgenstern) by the university library; this was the route for much of the Kantiana found there now (such as Kant’s copies of Baumgarten’s metaphysics text and Meier’s logic text. [Eulenburg 1904, 106, 152-53]
Patron: Margrave and Elector of Brandenburg (Prussia).
The university at Duisburg evolved from a Latin school the Gymnasium illustre founded in 1636. It was intended to balance the university at Köln and the Jesuit schools in Düsseldorf, and was strongly orthodox. Its enrollment remained between 120-150 for want of financial support, for instance, there was little money to provide stipends and free meals for the poorer students, and one professor didn’t lecture for over six years because he wasn’t being paid. In 1805 there were only five theology students and sixteen medical students, and by 1818 the remains were moved to Bonn. [Eulenburg 1904, 87, 161; Clark 1986, 612]
Patron: Town Council of Mainz (1392), then the Archbishop Elector of Mainz (1664), then Brandenburg-Prussia (1803).
Religion: Catholic (1392), then Lutheran (1521), then back to Catholic (1533).
Before becoming a university in 1392, Erfurt was known for its cultivation of Aristotelian philosophy. The theology faculty was Catholic until the Thirty Years War. Erfurt (and Leipzig) eventually drew away Wittenberg’s students, bringing about the latter’s demise. A report of 1804 listed its enrollment at 38 students (thirteen in theology, fourteen in law, ten in philosophy, and one in medicine). It was closed for lack of students in 1808 (Clark reports 1804), although courses were taught until 1816. [Eulenburg 1904, 108, 159; Bornhak 1900, 191; Clark 1986, 612; Ellwein 1992, 23; Matriculation records: Wiegand 1962]
Patron: Margrave of Bayreuth (1743), then of Bayreuth-Ansbach (1769), then of Brandenburg-Bayreuth (1791), then of Bavaria (1806).
This institution began as a Ritterakademie in 1699, then was chartered as a university in 1742 (at a time of declining enrollments across the German speaking lands) with an endowment of 5000 Rthl. given by Markgraf Friedrich von Brandenburg-Bayreuth. Erlangen was at the time a city of 7000. The university was modeled after Halle and Göttingen, with an emphasis on the experimental sciences and on academic freedom. Children from the province who hoped for advancement had to study here. The founding professorate consisted of three professors of theology (one of whom was also a philosophy professor), five law professors (three of whom were also professors of philosophy), five professors of medicine, and three additional philosophy professors.
The Markgraf of Brandenburg, Christian Friedrich Carl Alexander (1736-1806), created a professorship in theoretical philosophy (logic and metaphysics) in 1769, a position designed for Kant (who turned it down)[more]. This was the first philosophy professorship at the university; previously, those subjects taught in the philosophy faculty had been taught by professors from the three higher faculties (theology, law, medicine). Until 1769, when Brandenburg-Ansbach and Brandenburg-Bayreuth merged, the university was sustained by the latter province alone, which was quite poor. In 1791 (Bornhak claims 1792) the land was transferred to Prussia. The university moved to Bavaria in 1810 for several years during the French occupation. [Wendehorst 1984, 75; Eulenburg 1904, 174-75; Falckenberg 1902, 365; Bornhak 1900, 190; Clark 1986, 612
Patron: Margrave and Elector of Brandenburg.
Religion: Catholic (1506), later Reformed (1537).
Frankfurt/Oder was the first university in the eastern reaches and the last of the medieval universities to be founded. It received its charter from Emperor Maximillian I in 1500, from Pope Julius II in 1506, and on April 26 of that year publicly celebrated its opening in the presence of Elector (Kurfurst) Joachim I. Not long afterwards, in 1537, the university was reformed under Joachim II following the Wittenberg model. At the beginning of the 17th century the enrollment was around 500 students, but by the end of the century it dropped to half that number. In 1811 it was closed (Paulsen reports 1810), and the remains transferred to Breslau. The school had been especially noted for its law faculty. [Eulenburg 1904, 62, 110, 153-54; Bornhak 1900, 1-2]
(Vorderösterreichische Universität, Academia Albertina, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität)
Patron: Archduke of Austria, then Baden-Württemberg (1806).
A popular school known for its medical faculty, and drawing heavily from southern Germany, Switzerland, and the Alsace, the university at Freiburg was founded by Archduke Albrecht of Austria (the name “Ludwig” was added in the 19th century in honor of its patron, Archduke Ludwig of Baden). A Catholic gymnasium was founded alongside the university to insure better prepared students. Since 1620 the professorships in philosophy and theology were controlled by the Jesuits. Freiburg grew over the course of the 17th century, from an average enrollment of 150 to 240. When Freiburg was ceded to France (in the Peace of Ryswick, 1697) the university temporarily relocated to the University of Constance (1684-98). [Eulenburg 1904, 113-14; Clark 1986, 614]
Patron: Prince Abbot of Fulda, later Oranien-Nassau (1803).
Religion: Catholic (Jesuit & Benedictine).
Founded through the work of Freiherr von Dalberg. The philosophy and theology faculties were exclusively Jesuit, the other faculties were occupied by secular professors. [Eulenburg 1904, 160-61]
(1607- 24, 1650-1945)
Patron: Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt.
Gießen was formed as a splinter from the university at Marburg in 1607 as a result of the latter converting to Calvinism. It enjoyed an average student enrollment of about 180 during the 17th century. Focused on pedagogical training. An early center of Spener’s Pietism. Since 1777 it boasted an economics faculty with four semester courses, created by the physiocrat Schlettwein [bio]. [Eulenburg 1904, 90, 160; Paulsen 1906, 35]
Patron: Duke Elector of Hanover and King of England.
Göttingen was by far the most modern of the 18th century universities, founded at a time when there were close ties between England and Hanover. In accordance with its architect, the Privy Councillor Gerlach Adolf von Münchausen, the language of instruction was German and the traditional imitation of Latin prose and verse was rejected; the faculty theology was demoted in favor of the law faculty and the social sciences of the philosophy faculty; disputations were replaced by seminars, and professors were encouraged to develop their own textbooks. It soon became the “university for the elegant world,” attended by many students from well-to-do families. The natural sciences drew the most acclaim, and the law faculty enrolled over half the students in the second half of the 18th century, with medicine drawing about 10%. It was to become the center of the “New Humanism,” and by the early 19th century was rivaled only by the newly founded university in Berlin. Göttingen averaged 330 students in its first decade, eventually growing to nearly 900 students. [Eulenburg 1904, 148; Selle 1937; Weisskopf 1970, 91; Matriculation records: Selle 1937b]
Patron: Archduke of Austria (Hapsburg).
Religion: Catholic (Jesuit until 1773).
Here a gymnasium was integrated into the university, and the matriculation records do not distinguish between these. As with other Jesuit schools, the professors tended not to remain for more than a few years. There were originally only philosophy and theology faculty; a law faculty was added in 1774. The enrollment averaged 300 students in the 17th century, which dropped in the 18th, and in 1782 it was turned into a lyceum, teaching philosophy and theology. [Eulenburg 1904, 99, 104-5, 177; Clark 1986, 616]
Patron: Town Council & Duke of Pomerania (1456), then the King of Sweden (1618), then Brandenburg-Prussia (1815).
Religion: Catholic (1456), then Lutheran (1539).
Reopened in 1539. Its enrollment was always small (less than 150); many of its students came from Sweden. Heavily influenced by Pietism. [Eulenburg 1904, 111-12, 155-56; Clark 1986, 617; Matriculation records: Schmidt 2004]
Patron: Margrave & Elector of Brandenburg (1694), then King of Westphalia (1806), then Brandenburg-Prussia (1815).
A Ritterakademie — a school to prepare the sons of the nobility for study at the university — was founded in halle in 1680, and fourteen years later Frederick III, Elector of Brandenburg, converted it into a university. Christian Thomasius [bio] had been teaching at the Akademy since 1690, and helped shape the new university, also serving as its rector, as well as August Hermann Francke, both opposing the dogmatism reigning in the other universities of the day. Halle was “the first German university to use the vernacular (in Thomasius’ lectures), to grant ‘academic freedom’ of teaching, and to proclaim a rationalistic and critical theology founded on the new science”. Halle was the largest of the four Prussian universities (the others were Königsberg, Frankfurt/Oder, and Duisburg), and the premier German university of the 18th century, rivaled only by the newly-formed Göttingen [graph].
During the reign of Frederick Wilhelm I (1714-1740), Halle was also the center of Pietism [glossary], and provided the theological foundation for the other three Prussian universities. Theology and law were the major faculties, and there was no philosophy faculty (philosophy lectures occurred in the other faculties). In the early years, roughly 2/3 of the students were in law, and 1/3 in theology, while by the end of the 18th century these proportions were reversed, with medicine including 5-8% of the students.
During the War of the Third Coalition, student opposition to Napoleon led to the closing of the university at Halle for three semesters (20 October 1806 until 9 March 1808), and in 1807 Halle was separated from Prussia by the Treaty of Tilsit, joining Göttingen, Marburg, Rinteln, and Helmstedt as universities in the Kingdom of Westphalia (Prussia founded the new university at Berlin in part to offset this loss of Halle). In 1817, Halle was merged with nearby Wittenberg University, and during the Nazi period was renamed the Martin-Luther-University of Halle-Wittenberg. [Eulenburg 1904, 146-47; Paulsen 1906, 50; Matriculation records: Juntke 1960]
Patron: Count Elector of the Palatinate (1385), later Baden (1803).
Religion: Catholic (1385), then Reformed (1544), then Lutheran (1578), then Catholic/Jesuit (1629), then Reformed (1652).
Heidelberg is the oldest of the German universities in what is now Germany (Prague was the first German-speaking university in Europe, followed by Vienna and Heidelberg). After the reformation it became a bastion of Calvinism, thus receiving an influx of Swiss students. Enrollment reached a peak in 1588 with 385 students, while the average for the years before the Thirty Years War was 245. The number of foreigners was at that time around 39%, which was unusually high. One-third of the students lived in dormitories, most of these on scholarships. The Thirty Years War had totally destroyed the university, closing it between 1631-51. Not many decades after re-opening, the city was destroyed and the university fled to Frankfurt and Weinheim, where it remained from 1693 to 1700. Upon its re-founding in 1700, the Catholics were given special privileges, and the Jesuits occupied several chairs. The medical faculty was re-established in 1743. In 1784 a Cameralist school was re-located to Heidelberg, but not joined with the university. [Eulenburg 1904, 112-13, 167-68; Clark 1986, 619]
Patron: Duke of Brunswick-Wolffenbüttel (1576), then King of Westphalia (1806).
Founded by Julius, the Duke (Herzog) of Braunschweig-Wolffenbüttel, it was modeled after Wittenberg. One of the largest universities at the beginning of the 17th century and thus an important center of Protestant learning, it was nearly destroyed in the Thirty Years War, making a comeback near the end of the century. Known for its strong law faculty, it drew many students from Holstein until the university at Kiel was founded (in 1665). Competition from the newly founded university at Göttingen led to its eventual demise, and in 1810 was incorporated into that university. [Eulenburg 1904, 86, 158; Clark 1986, 620; Matriculation records: Hillebrand 1981]
Patron: Duke of Nassau (1584), then Duke of Orange (1743), then Nassau (1806).
Herborn was in many ways more a Latin school than a university. It offered instruction in all four faculties, but did not grant degrees; an imperial privilege had been written for it, but the fees (amounting to 4,100 florins) were never paid, and so the school never received official university status. Apart from this, it lacked the population base to thrive as a university. [Eulenburg 1904, 159-60; Clark 1986, 338, 620]
Patron: Duke of Bavaria, Count & Elector of the Palatinate.
For its first century Ingolstadt was the only university in Bavaria. After the Reformation, it was one of three universities that subjects of the Austrian Crown could attend (the others were Vienna and Freiburg), and its enrollment remained fairly constant around 400-450 students. The Jesuits taught here since 1549, and by 1588 the philosophy faculty was entirely controlled by the Jesuits. By the 18th century most of the students were drawn from the province. It moved in 1800 to Landshut, and then again, in 1826, to its current home in Munich. [Eulenburg 1904, 61, 114-15, 172-73]
(1669-1782, 1792-1810, 1826-)
Patron: Holy Roman Emperor (1669), then Bavaria (1805), then Austria (1815).
Religion: Catholic (Jesuit until 1773). [Clark 1986, 621]
Patron: Duke of Saxony.
The university at Jena succeeded a Gymnasium there (Academia Johan-Fridericana, 1548), some of whose students went directly into the university. Because the province was so small, it was geared to attracting students from neighboring areas, putting it in competition with Wittenberg. Its enrollment rose steadily until the Thirty Years War, then rose again to over 800 students towards the end of the 17th century. Its significance lay in theology (especially Professors Mayr, Gerhard, and Himmel — the three “Johannes”), and in the first half of the 18th century it was viewed as one of the traditional schools (alongside Wittenberg and Helmstedt) where a proper education could be had, in Latin. This reputation for tradition also led to declining enrollments, such that by mid-century there were more law students than theology.
Beginning with the second half of that century it sought to modernize its programs in philosophy and theology, hiring J. C. Hennings [bio] in philosophy and E. J. Danovius [bio] in theology. A new professorship in philosophy was created in 1770, and a preliminary inquiry was made to Kant to see if he would be interested — see Danovius’ letter to Kant, dated 12 January 1770 (#49, AA 10:887-88). Jena later became an important early center of Kant's critical philosophy; see especially C. G. Schütz [bio], C. C. E. Schmid [bio], and K. L. Reinhold [bio]. [Eulenburg 1904, 83-85, 148-49; Clark 1986, 621; Hinske/Lange/Schröpfer 1995]
Patron: Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel.
Kassel remained a small university with only six professors (three in theology and one each in law, medicine, and philosophy), and on the average matriculated only 30 students per year, resulting in a student population of around 50. It merged with Marburg in 1652. [Eulenburg 1904, 89-90; Clark 1986, 609, gives the dates: 1633-53]
Patron: Duke of Holstein-Gottorp (1665), then Dukes of Schleswig-Holstein (1773).
An exceptionally small school, whose enrollments depended upon foreign students, of which there were few. In the late 1700s the theology faculty drew the largest number of matriculants per year (27), followed by law (22), medicine (4), and philosophy (3). [Eulenburg 1904, 156-57; see Georg Friedrich Schumacher’s memoirs of his student days in Kiel during the 1780s, reprinted in Ellwein 1992, 99-101, 105-7]
Patron: Archbishop Elector and the Town Council of Cologne.
Religion: Catholic (Jesuit).
Köln was the largest of the Catholic universities, and one of the largest overall prior to the Reformation. Its enrollments declined significantly prior to the Thirty Years War, reaching 250 students; after the war it rose back to an average of 420 students. There was strong resistance to new ideas, and so was viewed as exceptionally backward. It was one of the first to fall after the French revolution. [Eulenburg 1904, 117-18, 166; Clark 1986, 610, claims it was closed in 1798; Paulsen (1906) claims 1794]
Patron: Duke in Prussia (Albrecht), later the Elector of Brandenburg and King in Prussia (1701).
Herzog Albrecht (1490-1568), the last Prussian Grand Master of the Deutschen Order (Teutonic Knights), founded a Partikularstudium in Königsberg in 1541 in answer to growing educational needs, and after three years it was chartered as a university, modeled closely after the university at Wittenberg by Melanchthon’s son-in-law Georg Sabinus (the school’s first rector). It initially drew no more than about 150 students (total population). During the first 80 years there were no graduations in the higher faculties. Since Königsberg was spared the horrors of the Thirty-Years War, the school’s fortunes improved, and by the early 1640s, enrollment was over 600 students (despite the competition from Dorpat to the north, founded in 1632). In 1719, the number of theology chairs was increased from four to six. In 1726 the King reformed the theology faculty towards the Pietism of Halle, and a large number of the teaching faculty received their degrees from Halle.
A description of the Albertina can be found in the [glossary].
Pisanski [bio] gives a breakdown of the student population (by origin) at Königsberg in August of 1744 — the 200th anniversary of its founding — as follows: Königsberg (143), Germany (184), Poland (119), Lithuania (62), Danzig (13), Elbing (21), Thorn (17), “other Polish parts of Prussia” (31) [the previous localities were all considered part of Prussia, and the students “Prussian” by Pisanski], Curland (58), Liefland (62), Ingermannland (13), Russia (4), “Cosaken” (2), “Hochpolen” (17), Hungary (3), Transylvania (5), Pomerania (106), Mark Brandenburg (62), Madgeburg (5), Halberstadt (2), Hanover (1), Braunschweig (3), Pfalz (1), Holstein (7), Mecklenburg (5), Westfalen (8), Hessen (1), East Friesland (3), Swabia (2), Frankia (5), Saxony (11), Bohemia (1), Schlesia (27), Lausitz (8), Denmark (5), Sweden (7), Holland (1), Lothringia (1), France (3), Switzerland (1), Italy (1). Total: 1032. As for social rank: 1 Prince, 6 Grafen, 4 Freiherren, 73 Adliche, 948 Bürgerliche. By faculty: 591 in theology, 428 in law, 13 in medicine. By religion: 992 Lutherans, 21 Reformed, 13 Roman-Catholic, 6 Greek Orthodox. Pisanski’s total enrollment figures come nowhere close to those suggested by Eulenburg (which fall closer to 370). The discrepancy is perhaps due to the natural inflation during anniversary years, with perhaps a disproportionate number of non-students being matriculated. [Pisanski 1886, 472n; Eulenburg 1904, 83, 152; Gause 1996, ii.140; Matriculation records: Erler 1910-17]
Patron: Duke of Bavaria (1800), then King of Bavaria (1806).
The university moved from Ingolstadt, and in 1826 moved again to Munich. [Clark 1986, 624]
Patron: Landgraves of Thuringia (1409), then Duke & Elector of Saxony (1547).
Religion: Catholic (1409), then Lutheran (1539).
Founded by German-speaking students and faculty expelled from the university at Prague. After 1585, Leipzig’s enrollment surpassed Wittenberg’s making it the largest student population of all the universities. Throughout the 18th century, despite the strong growth of the new university at Göttingen (founded 1736) and the twin giants of Halle and Jena, Leipzig maintained a steady share of the total student enrollment (roughly 10%). Yet it clung to the traditional curricula (expelling Francke and Thomasius, and banning Pufendorf’s writings). Modernization began in early 18th century with new professorships in chemistry and natural law, and J. C. Gottsched [bio] arrived in 1724. Most of the students were in law and theology. [Eulenburg 1904, 108-10, 149-51; Clark 1986, 624; Matriculation records: Erler 1895-1902]
Patron: King of Poland (1661), then the Holy Roman Emperor (Hapsburgs) (1772).
Religion: Catholic (Jesuit from 1661-1773).
This was a German language institute after 1784. [Clark 1986, 625]
(1636- )(Listed by Conrad, Paulsen)
Land: Austria (Hapsburg)
Patron: Prince Bishop Elector of Mainz.
Religion: Catholic (Jesuit,1562-1773).
Information from its first century is lost, but from 1577 to the Thirty Years War the enrollment at Mainz was around 130-140, and courses were offered in all four faculties. It also graduated a fairly large number of its students (20% acquired the Baccalaureate, 20% the philosophical Magister) — Catholic universities in general placed a greater emphasis on granting degrees. After the war its enrollment climbed to around 170-180. In 1786 the school consisted of six faculties: 12 professors in theology, 8 in law, 8 in medicine, 8 in philosophy-mathematics, 6 in history-statistics, and 6 in political science. The university was abolished in 1797 with the secularization of the archbishopric. [Eulenburg 1904, 117, 166-67; Clark 1986, 626]
(1527- ) (web)
Patron: Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel (1541), then Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt (1624), then Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel (1645), then King of Westphalia (1806), then Hesse-Kassel (1815).
Religion: Lutheran (1541), then Reformed (1605), then Lutheran (1624), then Reformed (1653).
Marburg was the first university to affiliate itself with the Lutheran reformation, and for this reason drew students from a wider area (Switzerland, Denmark, Holland, and Sweden) as well as from its own province. The high point in enrollment was 1608 with 215 matriculants, but these numbers quickly dropped due to competition from the newly founded Gießen. Visitations by the plague caused the school to disband at various times to Beidenkopf, Grünberg, or Frankenberg. Pietism found a home here briefly, as did Cartesianism from French and Dutch influences. During Christian Wolff’s [bio] tenure at Marburg (1723-40) the annual matriculation increased by about half (to c.110-115), but then fell back to c.70-80 after his departure. Gottfried Achenwall [bio] also taught here briefly (1746-48). [Eulenburg 1904, 62, 118-19, 160; Clark 1986, 626-27]
Patron: Archbishop Elector of Cologne (1780), then Brandenburg-Prussia (1803).
The school at Münster received a charter from Emperor Ferdinand I in 1631, but a university was not created until 1773 (with a new charter by Joseph II issued October 8). A creation of the Minister Fürstenberg, the university at Münster began with lectures on philosophy and theology, the medical faculty being slowed by lack of funds. Professors of medicine, and later of law, typically had to hold second jobs to support themselves. (One law professor is reported to having sold linen on the side.) In 1818 it lost its law and medical faculty to the re-opened university in Bonn, and reverted to the status of an Academy, offering preparatory courses in philosophy, theology, and general science. [Eulenburg 1904, 142-43; Bornhak 1900, 191; Clark 1986, 628]
(1581-1782, 1827-1855, 1855-1946)
Patron: King of Bohemia & Bishop of Olmütz.
Religion: Catholic (Jesuit until 1773).
Originally a Jesuit gymnasium, Olmütz was transformed into a university by Emperor Maximillian, and consisted of a philosophy and theology faculty (held by Dominicans), with a law faculty that was external to the university until 1670, when it was assimilated. The school was moved to Brünn in 1778-82, and changed into a Lyceum. Matriculation records have been lost. [Eulenburg 1904, 99; Clark 1986, 629]
Patron: Bishop of Osnabruck.
Religion: Catholic (Jesuit).
Osnabruck developed from a Gymnasium founded in 1623. Philosophy and theology classes were taught by Dominicans and Jesuits. The school was closed in 1633 after the city was taken by Swedish forces, and was never re-opened. [Eulenburg 1904, 94; Clark (1986, 629) gives the years 1632-33]
Patron: Prince Bishop of Paderborn.
Religion: Catholic (Jesuit until 1773).
One of the smaller universities, Paderborn developed from an earlier gymnasium (Academia Theodoriana Paderbornensis, founded 1585) into a two faculty university (Catholic theology and philosophy), beginning its operations with 46 auditors of philosophy, among whom were seven Benedictines and five Jesuits. The theology faculty in 1621 had nine Jesuits, with no one teaching law or medicine. Law was taught for the first time in 1774. The average matriculation per year was 65, giving an average student population of about 150. The Baccalaureate and Magister were in principle only exams taken at the end of the course of lectures on physics and metaphysics. In 1819 it turned into a seminary, teaching only philosophy and theology. [Eulenburg 1904, 94, 159; Bornhak 1900, 191; Clark (1986, 629]
Patron: King of Bohemia.
Religion: Catholic (1348), Lutheran (1609), Catholic (1622; Jesuit from 1622-38 and 1654-1773).
Prague was the first German-speaking university, founded by Kaiser Karl IV. Prior to its founding, German-speaking students had to study in Paris, Bologna, and elsewhere. The German-speaking faculty and students were expelled in 1409, and they emigrated to Leipzig to found a new university. [Clark 1986, 630]
Patron: Count of Holstein-Schaumberg (1621), then Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt (1647), then King of Westphalia (1806).
Rinteln developed out of a Latin school in Schaumberg. There is little information available. [Clark 1986, 630]
Patrons: Town Council & Duke of Mecklenburg (1419), Town Council (1760), Town Council & Duke of Mecklenburg (1789).
Religion: Catholic (1419), then Lutheran (1531 or 1546).
Rostock was known from its earliest years for its law program, as indicated by the large number of graduates in law. It was reformed in 1546, following Wittenberg. Attendance was helped by the city’s commerce, keeping an average of 400 students through the 17th century; this dropped to less than 100 by the mid-19th century. The appointment of a Pietist professor of theology was strongly opposed by the faculty and city, leading to the opening in 1760 of a new university in Bützow to house the Pietists. The province was far too small to maintain and populate two universities, however, and so Bützow was collapsed back into Rostock in 1789. [Eulenburg 1904, 59, 110-11, 156; Clark 1986, 631]
Patron: Archbishop of Salzburg (1625), then Grand duke of Tuscany (1803), the King of Bavaria (1806), then Austria (1815).
Religion: Catholic (Benedictine).
The university at Salzburg was founded from a need to maintain the many Benedictine monasteries in Schwabia, Bavaria, and Austria, receiving its papal privilege in 1620 and the imperial privilege in 1622. It was well-funded and so was able to bring in good professors. The medical faculty lacked students and was disbanded, but the overall enrollment was healthy (about 350-400 students). In the 18th century its average enrollment was about 450 students (thus one of the largest of the German-speaking universities). [Eulenburg 1904, 105-6, 176-77; Clark 1986, 631]
Patron: Town Council of Straßburg.
The university at Straßburg developed from a gymnasium founded in 1566. In the 17th century it enjoyed an average enrollment of about 200 students; by the end of the century, however, all faculties declined due to the French taking of the region in 1688. French and Lothringian nobility studied here, but it also drew students from southern Germany. Law and philosophy were the strongest of the faculties. [Eulenburg 1904, 88-89, 168-69; Clark 1986, 632]
Patron: Duke of Württemberg.
Founded by the capricious Karl Egon, who wanted to extend his Carls-Schule into a university, and was intended for these pupils and others from Wittenberg. The school suffered from quite low enrollment and was soon closed. [Eulenburg 1904, 141]
Patron: Town Council.
Religion: Catholic (Jesuit, 1561-1773).
The university at Trier opened as a Jesuit university in 1561, in which year we also have enrollment numbers: 30 theology students, 4 auditors of Logic, 7 of Rhetoric, and 24 of the Humanities. It had all four faculties, but from 1614 the Jesuits offered instruction only in the classes of the Gymnasium and in theology and philosophy at the University. [Eulenburg 1904, 116, 167]
Patron: Count of Württemberg.
Religion: Catholic (1477), then Lutheran (1534).
Tübingen introduced humanistic studies with its reformation in 1536. The arts faculty was below the higher faculties, and its members didn’t sit on the Faculty Senate; they also received the least pay. It became a stronghold of Lutheranism, with professors like Andreae, Herband, and Osiander. An endowment was established to provide scholarships for children from the province (the “Tübinger Stift”). A greater percentage of the students graduated at Tübingen than elsewhere (in the 17th c.), although apparently the program of courses (the Kurse) was longer than normal.
Tübingen modernized its curriculum at the beginning of the 18th century, cutting back on the classics, and added five new chairs in philosophy (logic and metaphysics, ethics and natural law, physics and mathematics, Greek and Hebrew, and general and German history). About two-thirds of the students were in theology (half of whom lived in the Stift for free), with very few in medicine. Notable alumni of the Stift include Hegel, Schelling, and Hölderlin. [Eulenburg 1904, 115-16, 169-70; Clark 1986, 633]
Patron: Archduke of Austria.
Religion: Catholic (Jesuit, 1622-1773). [Clark 1986, 633]
Patron: Duke & Elector of Ernestine Saxony (1502), Duke & Elector of Albertine Saxony (1547), Brandenburg-Prussia (1815).
Religion: Catholic (1502), then Lutheran (1533).
Wittenberg introduced the new humanistic studies of Melanchthon’s reform movement and became the model for the other Protestant universities, standing as the premier German university from the mid-16th century to the early 17th century. During the early years (1520-40) it led the other schools in enrollments (the yearly average at Wittenberg was 226 matriculants, while Leipzig had only 150). It was re-established in 1536 with various reforms, especially in the theology faculty. Its enrollment reached 1065 in the late 1560s. But the school resisted modernizing its curriculum until the end of the 18th century, which likely led to its steady decline. In 1817 it was combined with Halle. [Eulenburg 1904, 106-8, 158-59, 319; Clark 1986, 329, 634]
Patrons: Prince Bishop of Würzburg (1402, 1582), King of Bavaria (1803), Grandduke of Tuscany (1806), Bavaria (1815).
Religion: Catholic (Jesuit, 1582-1733).
Founded by Prince-Bishop Julius, Würzburg was a Bishop’s seat and the university was closely controlled by the Cathedral bureaucracy, more so than at other Catholic schools. For instance, the rector was always chosen from this bureaucracy, never from the professorate. Law and medicine were eventually added, the latter becoming especially prominent. Enrollment prior to the Thirty Years War was about 150; in 1631 the city fell to Sweden, and the university was temporarily closed. The orthodoxy seems to have lessened its hold in the 18th century, and the school gradually acquired the character of a state institution. By the end of the century, even Kant’s philosophy was being taught. Given these changes, the lifting of the Jesuit order had little affect on the university. [Eulenburg 1904, 95-96, 170-71; Paulsen 1906, 35; Matriculation records: Wendehorst/Wendehorst 1900]
[Brief Descriptions of 18th Century German Universities]
Copyright ©2006 Steve Naragon (Manchester University)
Last modified: 2 Mar 2014
Please send comments and questions to: email@example.com