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University Chronicle

While many other universities founded in late medieval Germany owe their origins to the initiatives of prominent clerical and secular regents, it was the townspeople of Cologne who erected the city’s university. Hence, Cologne University is still today a city university in a twofold sense: it was founded by Cologne’s citizens and, even as a campus university, lies in the hub of the urban area. Its geographic location places it in the immediate vicinity of the sprawling Rhine-Ruhr industrial conurbation to the north and the city of Bonn to the south.


The University of Cologne is founded. After Prague (1348), Vienna (1365) and Heidelberg (1386), Cologne is the fourth city to establish a university in the late medieval German Empire. The deed of foundation is signed by Pope Urban VI in Perugia.


Reform measures: Integration of humanism


The University of Cologne is closed down by the French and turned into a central school.


Cologne’s Municipal Council re-establishes the University by expanding the commercial college, erected in 1901, to form the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences. As many as 1,299 students are enrolled and taught by 91 lecturers. The Faculty of Medicine is set up in the same year, with the Faculty of Law and the Arts Faculty following in the next. Only six years later, the University of Cologne has developed into the second largest university in Prussia, after Berlin.

1933 - 45

Under the influence of National Socialism, professors are also dismissed in Cologne, students are expelled and 66 lawfully acquired academic degrees are revoked; these revocations are cancelled as unlawful in 2005


The new university building, still the main edifice today, is inaugurated.


The University resumes its lectures. In rebuilding the destroyed premises, constructors successfully retain and augment the University’s campus character. The Philosophikum, the lecture building, the Universitäts- und Stadtbibliothek (university library), and the medical faculty’s hospital are newly erected along with numerous institutes.


The federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia assumes partial public sponsorship of Cologne University.


The Arts Faculty is split up into the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.


The federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia assumes full public sponsorship of Cologne University. The close ties to the city of Cologne are ensured through the Board of Trustees, a special university body existing in none of the other universities of North Rhine-Westphalia.


The two Cologne departments of the Rhineland College of Education are affiliated with the University of Cologne as the Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Special Education.


The University of Cologne celebrates the 600th anniversary of its foundation.


The University’s new Basic Order enters into force on 23 October. It establishes the “Rectorate” as governing body consisting of the Rector, who is chairman, three Pro-Rectors and the Chancellor. The Rector’s term of office is set at four years.


With over 63,000 matriculated students, the University becomes the largest in Germany.


The University headship signs Target Agreements I and II, setting the course for a future-oriented university structure.


In December, titles disallowed under the Third Reich are ceremoniously re-conferred.


The University participates in the Excellence Initiative launched by the German federal government and the federal states. It is invited in January to submit proposals for a graduate school and a so-called excellence cluster. Cologne University moreover participates equally with Bonn University in setting up a further graduate school.
In the summer term of 2006, 46,741 students are enrolled at the University, 12 percent of whom are international students from abroad.


The University signs Target Agreement III. The Autonomy of Universities Act (Hochschulfreiheitsgesetz – HFG) enters into force, conferring upon the University the status of a corporation under public law.


The University starts expansive building measures


CologneAMS is the new Centre for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) at the University of Cologne. A dedicated Tandem Accelerator with a maximum voltage of 6 MV and various analysis beamlines is erected at the Institute of Nuclear Physics.


The University of Cologne is a University of Excellence. In the last round of the Excellence Initiative Competition, the institutional strategy “Accepting the Challenge of Change and Complexity” has proved successful. In addition, 2 Clusters of Excellence and 2 Graduate schools are funded.


The University of Cologne celebrates the 625th anniversary of its foundation in 1388.


In the new round of the Excellence Initiative Competition four Clusters of Excellence are funded. Uoc enters the competition as a University of Excellence.


Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the majority of the courses do not take place in presence.

The university founds the "European University for Well-Being" together with seven European partner universities. EUniWell is selected as a “European University”.