Westsächsische Hochschule Zwickau - University of Applied Sciences Zwickau

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Westsächsische Hochschule Zwickau - University of Applied Sciences Zwickau
GAB hell.jpg
Motto Technology, Economics and Quality of Life
Type Public
Established 1897
Rector Karl Schwister
Students 4.700
Location Zwickau, Saxony, Germany
Language German
Website www.fh-zwickau.de

The Westsächsische Hochschule Zwickau - University of Applied Sciences Zwickau is a vocational university of about 4700 students located in Zwickau. Saxony, Germany. It offers Bachelor’s, Master’s and traditional German Diplom degrees in three core areas: Technology, Economics and Quality of Life.[1] The university also has further campuses in Markneukirchen, Reichenbach im Vogtland and Schneeberg.


Zwickau’s tradition of higher education reaches back to the founding of a Latin school in the late thirteenth century. The origins of the vocational university, however, are more connected to the boom of mining and industrial production in Saxony in the early 1800s. The rise of coal production and processing in the region created a demand for workers with a high level of technical training and industry pushed for the development of educational training institutions. A Sunday training school for workers was opened in 1828, followed by the “Bergschule Zwickau,” a school to teach technical skills related to mining, in 1862. By 1949, the Bergschule Zwickau had developed into a full-fledged mining engineering school. Parallel to the development of the mining school, in 1897 the engineers Paul Kirchhoff and Leander Hummel founded an engineering school in cooperation with the local municipal government. In 1965, the mining engineering school and the general engineering school merged, eventually gaining the right to grant doctorates under the name “Ingenieur-Hochschule Zwickau.” In 1989, the institution assimilated a school for economics in Plauen and a plant-engineering and construction school in Glauchau, becoming a full technical university. After the reunification of Germany, there was an attempt to merge this engineering-focused technical university with Zwickau’s teacher training college into one small university. This idea, however, lacked political support in the Saxon government and did not succeed. The teacher training college was assimilated into the Technical University of Chemnitz and the engineering school was changed to a “Fachhochschule” or vocational university, with the right to grant Bachelor’s and master's degrees, but not doctorates. The name of the engineering school was then changed to the current “Westsächsische Hochschule Zwickau” or Westsächsische Hochschule Zwickau - University of Applied Sciences.


Auditorium of the University of Applied Sciences Zwickau, built on the area of a former monastery

Following the motto Technology, Economics and Quality of Life the university is organised into eight faculties:

  • Applied Arts Schneeberg
  • Applied Languages and Intercultural Communication
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Business Sciences
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Health and Healthcare Sciences
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physical Engineering and Computer Science


Campus Scheffelstraße, Zwickau
City center campus, Zwickau

The WHZ’s programs are divided into three core areas of focus: Technology, Economics and Quality of Life. The Technology category is the largest and incorporates a range of engineering disciplines, including many directly related to automotive production. The Economics category includes both traditional business administration and management courses as well as interdisciplinary programs such as Business and Engineering or Languages and Business Administration. Finally, the Quality of Life category includes a wide range of practical, interdisciplinary programs from various types of Design to applied Heath Sciences and Healthcare Management.The WHZ has two core campuses within the city of Zwickau as well as three satellite campuses in the towns of Reichenbach, Schneeberg and Markneukirchen. Schneeberg is home to the university’s Applied Arts programs, which include Wood Design, Fashion Design and Textile Arts. Markneukirchen, historically a centre for musical instrument production, hosts the program in Musical Instrument Construction. Reichenbach is home to the Institute for Textile and Leather Technologies.


Laboratory of the University of Applied Sciences Zwickau, used for electromagnetic compatibility testing

The university supports research efforts both in connection with both public funding programs and industry projects, with a focus on applied research to solve practical problems. It also supports a high level of knowledge transfer between the academic and business worlds through various industry partnerships. In addition to research by professors and students, more than 150 employees work exclusively on projects supported with third-party funding and generate several million Euros annually in nearly 50 unique fields. This group of projects allows for the continuation and expansion of modern research efforts with a focus on effective, practical results. It also gives the university access to extremely well-equipped laboratories and testing fields.[2]

Student Life[edit]

Lecture hall centre of the University of Applied Sciences Zwickau
Library of the University of Applied Sciences Zwickau by night

Outside of classes, the university also offers a number of extracurricular activities, including a student choir and a range of casual sport programs. Since 2006, one of the most significant student groups at the WHZ has been the Formula Student Team. The student team constructs a single seat, technically sophisticated race car and competes against other teams around the world at racing events. The competition also includes the business aspects of automotive manufacturing such as marketing and business planning. In 2008, the WHZ has been officially recognized as a “family friendly university.” It offers day-care and kindergarten places for the children of students, a mini children’s library, a children’s sports group and free meal cards in the cafeteria for children under 6. The university’s students’ union operates three student clubs, which host events throughout the school year.[3]


Website of the University of Applied Sciences Zwickau (german/english
Website of the University Library (german)
Website of the Formula Student Team (german)


Coordinates: 50°42′58″N 12°29′40″E / 50.71611°N 12.49444°E / 50.71611; 12.49444