Zeppelin University

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Zeppelin Universität
Logo of Zeppelin University
Motto Zwischen Wirtschaft, Kultur und Politik
Motto in English
Bridging Business, Culture and Politics
Type PrivateResearch
Established 2003
President Prof. Dr. Insa Sjurts
Administrative staff
Students 1300
Location Friedrichshafen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Campus Lake Campus, FN
ZF Campus, FN
Capital Campus, Berlin
Professors 47
Colors Red, white
Website www.zu.de
Zeppelin University (LakeCampus)
ZF Campus

Zeppelin University (German: Zeppelin Universität, ZU) is a small and highly selective[1][2] private research university located at Lake Constance in Friedrichshafen, Germany. It is named after the German general and airship constructor Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin, whose foundation is the main financier of Zeppelin University.[3] The university was established in 2003 and is known for its avant-garde character as well as for a sophisticated selection. On 10. September 2011, ZU was being bestowed the right to award doctorate and habilitation.[4] This comes along with the right to use the title "university" (German: Universität).


Zeppelin University has the legal form of a non-profit, limited liability organization and calls itself "university bridging business, culture and politics". Thus it stresses the multi-disciplinary character of research and teaching that is an integral part of its self-image. The university is accredited nationally by the Academic Council of the Federal Republic of Germany (Wissenschaftsrat). The undergraduate major courses are accredited by ACQUIN, a German higher education accreditation agency.

Zeppelin University has two main campuses in Friedrichshafen: One right on the banks of Lake Constance (the LakeCampus or SMH) and the nearby ZFCampus (or FAB3), which was built from 2013 to 2015 to create more space for the quickly growing university. Both campuses are modern, designed by well-known architects, and contain classrooms, lecture halls, offices, cafeterias, a library and a wing free to use solely by students. From 2007 to 2008 (until the closure of the airport), Zeppelin University had an additional location in the foyer of Tempelhof International Airport in Berlin, the so-called “Institute for the Art of Swimming on Air”. Since 2011, there is a campus in Berlin again (CapitalCampus).

There are several student groups and projects, such as groups affiliated with political parties (LHG, Jusos, RCDS), a debating club (Soapbox), the Club of International Politics (CIP),[5] a Model United Nations group (MUN), which also organizes LakeMun, entrepreneurial groups, a cultural club which also organizes a music festival at the university (SeeKult), a student medical service, a filming group, several bands and many more - some of them are even known nationwide (e.g. RockYourLife). In 2008, the student radio station Welle20 went on air.[6]


Applicants are selected by the university in an arduous two-step selection process: after a detailed written application, in which the first selection is made, the most auspicious candidates will be invited to an assessment day (Pioneers Wanted). Thereby, the candidates undergo a program consisting of several interviews with professors, students, alumni, and external reviewers, as well as written tests. Furthermore, they have to accomplish a realistic project which is introduced by an associated organisation, whereby a problem has to be solved as a group and must be presented afterwards in front of the assessment committee.[7]

The selection procedure of ZU is being considered as outstandingly sophisticated, also because of its deviating modalities compared to other universities: ZU deliberately refrain from the solely use of a numerus clausus (which is widely prevalent in German educational landscape), but instead tries to find personalities which - besides accomplishing the required performance - also fit to the university's character.[1] Therefore, the university currently has an undergraduate acceptance rate, which is lower than 10% and a graduate acceptance rate of about 16%.[8]


Students can graduate with the academic degree of a Bachelor of Arts (B.A. with 240 ECTS) and a consecutive, as well as a non-consecutive, Master of Arts or Master of Science (M.A. / M.Sc. with 120 ECTS).

The university offers Bachelor courses in the field of Liberal arts education. Programs of Study are offered in:

There are Master programs in:

  • M.Sc. Corporate Management & Economics (CME)
  • M.A. General Management (GEMA)
  • M.A. Pioneering in Arts, Media & the Creative Industries (AMC) and
  • M.A. Politics, Administration & International Relations (PAIR).[10]

Furthermore, the university offers several Executive Master programs (E.M.A.) in:

  • E.M.A. Family Entrepreneurship (FESH)
  • E.M.A. Digital Pioneering (DIP) and
  • E.M.A. Business & Leadership for Engineers and Mobility Innovations (BEL).[11]

The tuition for the bachelor program amounts to 3,950.00 euro per semester or 675.00 euro per month, for the master programs from 4,000.00 euro to 4,900.00 euro per semester.[12] There are numerous merit-based scholarships by foundations and patrons as well as a student loan of Sparkasse Bodensee that is offered at a relatively low interest rate and is used by more than half of the students.[13]

Starting from Fall Semester 2011, Zeppelin University reorganized all of their undergraduate degree programmes, converting them into 4-year programs. The additional year is intended to be used as "Humboldt-year", a one-year research project at one of the partner universities. Accordingly, it has cooperation agreements for example with University of California, Berkeley, with Sciences Po in Paris, with Copenhagen Business School as well as with Goldsmiths College, London.[14]


Zeppelin University is a small and exclusive[1] private university and offers fewer programs than traditional universities in Germany. Due to its young age and small size, it typically goes unranked in international comparisons. Nevertheless, it has reached remarkable results in German Rankings: In the magazine Handelsblatt Karriere, edition 07/08 dated April 27, 2007, Zeppelin University has appeared in a university ranking for the first time. It has instantly reached eighth place with its economic program.[15]

In the most reputable German Ranking, the CHE University Ranking, which was published by ZEIT Studienführer 2014/15, the university was able to reach the first place with “Corporate Management & Economics” (CME), while Politics, Administration & International Relations (PAIR) was ranked among the three best Political Science programs. In 2011/12 the Communication & Cultural Management program was ranked first place by CHE.[16] The Sociology, Politics, and Economics degree is not ranked, due to its multidisciplinarity.

In 2014, the university was listed in an international ranking for the first time: in the U-Multirank it gained the best grade "excellent".


Stephan A. Jansen has managed ZU since its foundation and was (age 32 at that time) thereby the youngest university president in history.

Well-known professors include: Nico Stehr, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Helmut Willke, Joachim Behnke, Georg Jochum, Richard Münch, Jörn von Lucke, Lucia A. Reisch. In 2016, Daniel Dahm joined ZU as vice director of the European Center for Sustainability Research. In August 2007, Birger Priddat was appointed president and managing director of the Witten/Herdecke University.


  1. ^ a b c SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg, Germany (17 April 2013). "Zeppelin Universität ist bekannt für ihr hartes Auswahlverfahren". SPIEGEL ONLINE. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  2. ^ "Mediathek". Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  3. ^ Regarding the official status, see Hochschulrektorenkonferenz, Hochschulkompass (German)
  4. ^ "Akkreditierte Studiengänge - Zentrale Datenbank". Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  5. ^ "CIP". CIP. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
  6. ^ https://www.zu.de/studium-weiterbildung/das-studium/studentische-projekte.php
  7. ^ ZU: Application
  8. ^ "zu in zahlen". Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  9. ^ ZU: Bachelor-Programme
  10. ^ ZU: Master-Programme
  11. ^ ZU: Weiterbildungs-Programme
  12. ^ ZU: Tuition
  13. ^ Am Strand der guten Hoffnung, in: brand eins, January 2005
  14. ^ ZU: Info-brochure Archived February 17, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ "Zeppelin University unter den Top 10 der deutschen Unis". Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  16. ^ "Rankings". www.zu.de (in German). Retrieved 2017-06-07.

Coordinates: 47°39′31″N 9°26′02″E / 47.65861°N 9.43389°E / 47.65861; 9.43389