Ruprecht Karls University, Heidelberg, Germany

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The University
Specific Research Opportunities
Language and Culture

The University

Founded in 1386, Universität Heidelberg is Germany's oldest university. In the course of its history the University has es itself as a centre of excellent research and teaching, where many renowned scholars and scientists – among them eight Nobel laureates – worked and still work. Today more than 31,000 students study at the University’s 12 faculties. About 5,500 foreign students from more than 130 different countries as well as hundreds of visiting professors and researchers contribute to its international atmosphere.

Heidelberg University offers a wide range of high quality study programmes in the life sciences, the natural sciences, law, economics, the social sciences and the humanities. A large number of research centres within the university as well as independent institutions in Heidelberg like the German Cancer Research Centre, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and four Max-Planck-Institutes add to a research environment that is unique in Germany.


Heidelberg is one of Germany’s most beautiful cities. Lying on the gentle foothills of the Odenwald, the ruin of the castle reigns majestically over the narrow alley ways of the Old Town where the Neckar River calmly flows by. For centuries, the charms of this beautiful place have attracted admirers from all over the world.

But there’s more to Heidelberg than just a romantic image. The city also is the classical German student town. With every 5th resident (among 150,000) being a student, it is bustling with life and manifold cultural, sports or other leisure activities. Its academic community influences life in the city to such an extent that there is a saying that Heidelberg does not have a university, but is a university. And the large number of international students, faculty members and guest researchers contribute very much to the open and cosmopolitan atmosphere of the city. In this relaxed and safe environment, everybody tends to feel at ease quickly.

Another great thing about Heidelberg is its location. It is situated in the South-West of Germany, one of the sunniest and warmest parts of the country, close to the borders of Switzerland, France and Austria and just an hour’s train ride south of Frankfurt airport.

Specific Research Opportunities

The University of Heidelberg puts a focus on interdisciplinary cooperation and networking, both in the sciences and in the humanities.

This is exemplified by the Centre for Molecular Biology, the Interdisciplinary Centre for Scientific Computing, the Centre for Biochemistry and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Neurosciences. The Centre for Astronomy, involving the Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics, the Astronomical Computer Centre and the Königstuhl Observatory ensures that Heidelberg's astronomers continue to operate at the cutting edge in one of the most dynamic present-day research fields. Another example for the pooling of creative potential from different areas is the BIOQUANT research network, where research groups from the biosciences cooperate at a door-to-door level in a special building with teams supplying the required know-how in mathematics and scientific computing for modeling and simulation of the complex processes involved in experimental biomedical science. Only recently the former University of Heidelberg Institutes of Zoology and Plant Sciences were merged into a new Center for Organismal Studies. which aims to understand molecular mechanisms in the context of the entire organism of both plants and animals.

The interconnected nature of subjects addressed in cultural studies, the social sciences and economics is strikingly exemplified by the Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Stuides which examines the processes of cultural exchange between Asia and Europe. The Heidelberg Center for American Studies, established in 2003, investigates the history of and present-day developments in the USA, while also providing a forum for public discussion. The establishments of the Centre for European Historical and Cultural Studies, the Centre for East Asian Studies and the Institute of Ancient Studies underline that interdisciplinary cooperation has become a major concern also in the humanities.

Language and Culture

The objective of this course is to provide the students with a first grasp of spoken and written German to enable them to deal with basic linguistic demands both within the university and in everyday life. (Students who have already acquired a certain level of proficiency in German may enter an advanced language course.) By means of the texts dealt with in this course, students will also get an overview of German civilization and culture in a European context.

Duration 15 weeks; 4 hours language instructions (optional: 8 hours).

Students who wish to improve their German language proficiency before they start their studies may attend a 4 weeks’ (80 hours) preparatory German language course in September or March (8 ECTS) or participate in the International Summer School for German Language and Culture in August (4 ECTS).

Ruprecht Karls University, Heidelberg, Germany - Practical Information


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