University of Rostock

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University of Rostock
Universität Rostock
Siegel Universität Rostock 1419.png
Logo of the University of Rostock
Latin: Universitas Rostochiensis
Motto Traditio et Innovatio
Motto in English Tradition and Innovation
Established 13 February 1419
Type Public
Chancellor Mathias Neukirchen
Rector Professor Wolfgang D. Schareck[1] (906th rector)
Admin. staff 6,335 (2008, including University Hospital)
Students 15,312 (2012)
Location Rostock, Germany
Campus Urban
Affiliations EUA
Rostock University Logo 2009.png

The University of Rostock (or Rostock University, German: Universität Rostock) (German pronunciation: [ uːniːvɛʁziːtɛːt ʁɔstɔk ]) is the university of the city Rostock, in the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

Founded in 1419, it is one of the oldest universities in the world – and the oldest and largest university in continental northern Europe and the Baltic Sea area. It is the third oldest university in Germany in continuous operation. The university has also been associated with 5 Nobel Prize laureates. In winter semester 2011/12, 15,312 students were matriculated at Rostock University.


University of Rostock's main building

It was founded in 1419 by confirmation of Pope Martin V and thus is the oldest university in Northern Europe.

In Germany, there are only five universities that were founded before, while only Heidelberg and Leipzig operated continuously since then: Heidelberg (1386), Cologne (1388), Erfurt (1392/1994), Würzburg (1402/1582) and Leipzig (1409). That makes Rostock University the third oldest German university in continuous operation.

Throughout the 15th century, the University of Rostock had about 400 to 500 students each year, a large number at that time. Rostock was among the largest universities in Germany at the time and many of its students also came from the Low Countries, Scandinavia or other states bordering the Baltic Sea.

In the course of political struggles and pressure from the church, the university moved to Greifswald in 1437 and remained there until 1443. From 1487 to 1488 teaching took place in Lübeck.

Detail of the central building depicting the coat of arms of Mecklenburg-Schwerin

A few years later the city of Rostock, its university also became Protestant in 1542. Humanism and Lutheranism were defining characteristics of the university. After the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648), the University of Rostock played only a regional role. When the "ownership" of the university moved from the city to the state (Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin) in 1827, however, things changed for the better. The end of the 19th century saw generous building activity in Rostock's alma mater and the university soon regained its old reputation amongst German universities.

On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the university, Albert Einstein and Max Planck received honorary doctorates on 12 November 1919. This made the University of Rostock the world's first institute of higher learning to award this honour to Einstein. Interestingly enough, the doctorate was not revoked during the Nazi rule in Germany (1933–1945), despite such orders by the Nazis. The reason for this remains unknown. David Katz, Hans Moral (committed suicide) and others lost their posts in 1933.

The end of the Second World War in 1945 brought many changes. The university, now finding itself in the Soviet Zone of Germany (the later German Democratic Republic), was re-opened on 24 February 1946. The Faculty of Law was closed in 1951, a Faculty of Agriculture was introduced in 1950 and in 1951 saw the opening of a Department of Shipbuilding (renamed Faculty of Technology in 1963). The University of Rostock was the first traditional university in Germany to open a technical faculty. In 1952, the Faculty of Aviation was opened, but eventually relocated to Dresden.

In 1976 the university was renamed Wilhelm-Pieck-Universität after Wilhelm Pieck, the first president of the German Democratic Republic. The renaming was annulled after the German reunification.

In 1978, the university engaged in a partnership with the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT), to help design the course structure and support the development of the Department of Ship Technology at CUSAT. Also, a group of Rostock faculty members were sent to Cochin University of Science and Technology to improving the university's teaching facilities, remaining there until the late 1980s. The prominent place of Cochin University of Science and Technology's Department of Ship Technology in the world maritime industry is thus largely credited to the extensive support of the University of Rostock.

Institute of Zoology (Zoologisches Institut)


Institute of Anatomy (Anatomisches Institut)

Like many continental European universities, the University of Rostock is divided into academic faculties (German: Fakultät). Those can be sub-divided into academic departments (German: Institut) and chairs (German: Lehrstuhl).


It is divided into the following nine faculties:

  • theology (Protestant)
  • philosophy (and arts)
  • mathematics and natural sciences
  • law
  • mechanical engineering and marine technology
  • agricultural and environmental sciences
  • medicine
  • economic and social sciences
  • computer science and electrical engineering


The university co-operates with several independent research centres. Among those:

The University Clinic of Rostock[edit]

The university operates a teaching and research hospital, The University Clinic of Rostock.[2]

The hospital operates several teaching and research institutes. Among those:

Points of interest[edit]

Partner Universities[edit]

university restaurant/cafeteria
university library

Although cooperation and student exchanges are possible with many more institutions, the university has signed cooperation agreements with the following international universities:




Joachim Gauck, current President of Germany, studied in Rostock

In nearly six centuries numerous notable students and professors have had ties with the university, for instance:

See also[edit]


External links[edit]