University of Erfurt

University of Erfurt


The first universities founded in the German-speaking world were Prague (1348), Vienna (1365), and Erfurt (1379). The University of Erfurt is thus considered to be the oldest university in today’s Germany.

Key dates in the history of the University of Erfurt

(compiled by Dr. Steffen Rassloff)

  • 1293 Consortium of all monastic and convent schools in the form of a so-called studium generale
  • 1379 Pope Clement VII grants the charter for the University of Erfurt, making it the oldest university in today’s Germany
  • 1389 The Great Schism required a renewal of the charter by Pope Urban VI in Rome
  • 1392 The university opens its doors in downtown Erfurt
  • 1396 The Archbishop of Mainz becomes the first provost of the University of Erfurt
  • 1398 Official bylaws of the Law School take effect, followed by those of the Schools of Philosophy (1412), Theology (1412), and Medicine (1417)
  • 1412 Amplonius Ratingk de Bercka donates his personal library
  • 1436 The Collegium universitatis becomes the Collegium maius
  • 1501-05 Martin Luther is a student and master in Erfurt
  • 1511-50 Rebuilding of the Collegium maius, destroyed in 1510
  • 1515 The first issue of the Letters of Obscure Men (Epistolæ Obscurorum Virorum) appears
  • 1516 The Erfurt circle of humanists meets in the Engelsburg under the leadership of Eobanus Hessus
  • 1521 Martin Luther visits Erfurt, is greeted by a triumphal procession; “parson storm” in Erfurt
  • 1530 Treaty of Hammelburg between the Archbishop of Mainz and the city of Erfurt permits the practice of both Catholic and Protestant worship
  • 1561 The Protestant Grammar School is founded in the Augustinian monastery
  • 1582 Students and instructors flee from an outbreak of the plague
  • 1657 The six-volume Theologia scholastica by Augustine Gibbon de Burgo is published
  • 1664 The University of Erfurt becomes the official university of the Electorate of Mainz
  • 1681 The Collegium maius becomes the main location of the university
  • 1754 The Academy of Sciences of the Electorate of Mainz is founded
  • 1755 Creation of the anatomical garden, medical clinic, and botanical garden
  • 1778 Christoph Martin Wieland writes an appraisal on reforming the university; Dalberg’s attempt at reform ends without success
  • 1816 University closed by the Prussians
  • 1952 Philosophical-theological study program called “Erfurt at the cathedral” founded
  • 1953 Teaching Institute of Erfurt founded (renamed in 1969 to become the Erfurt Teachers College)
  • 1954 Medical Academy of Erfurt founded
  • 1994 Free State of Thuringia reopens the University of Erfurt
  • 1999 First courses taught on the Nordhaeuser Street Campus
  • 2001 Fusion with the Erfurt Teachers College
  • 2003 Integration of the previously independent Theology Studies department as the Faculty of Catholic Theology
  • 2013 Erfurt School of Education, Forschungszentrum Gotha und Willy-Brandt-School estabilshed as central units

The University of Erfurt is simultaneously the oldest and the youngest public university in Germany today.



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