History of the University

  • 1477 Founding of the original four faculties: Theology, Law, Medicine, Philosophy
  • 1535/36 Founding of the Evangelische Stift school of divinity for Protestant Theology
  • 1817 Founding of the Economics Faculty and the Faculty of Catholic Theology
  • 1863 Founding of the first Faculty of Science at a German university
  • 1979 The number of students tops 20,000 for the first time
  • 1990 Founding of the Computer Science Faculty
  • 1990 Founding of the International Center for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities (IZEW)
  • 1999 Founding of the Center for Plant Molecular Biology (ZMBP)
  • 2000 Founding of the Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research
  • 2007 Excellence cluster in the excellence initiative: Werner Reichardt Center for Integrative Neuroscience (CIN)
  • 2012 Success in the German government’s Excellence Initiative with the new Graduate School on Learning, Educational Achievement, and Life Course Development (LEAD), the University’s Institutional Strategy, Research – Relevance – Responsibility, and continued sponsorship of the Center for Integrative Neuroscience (CIN) Excellence Cluster.


How the University was founded and named

Eberhard the Bearded, Count and later Duke of Württemberg, set the tone when he founded the University of Tübingen in 1477 – displaying a farsightedness that characterizes the University to the present day. Eberhard Karls Universität helps to shape the state's intellectual life and contributes to its further development with internationally-recognized achievements.


The University got the official name it bears today – Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen – in 1769, when Duke Karl Eugen added his own name to that of the founder.


The University's history is closely tied to the Evangelische Stift, founded in 1536 as a school of divinity, teaching Protestant Theology. A number of famous names studied at the Evangelische Stift – Johannes Kepler enrolled in 1587; other students here include the poets and writers Hölderlin, Hauff and Mörike and the philosophers Hegel and Schelling.

At the start of the 19th century, the University experienced remarkable growth; due to its renowned professors, its reputation spread beyond the borders of Württemberg. In 1817, faculties of Catholic Theology and Economics were added to the original four, and in 1863 Tübingen became the first German university to have its own faculty of Natural Sciences. The first University hospital was set up in 1805 in the Alte Burse. That building, constructed in 1478, is the oldest still used by the University.