Bielefeld University
Universität Bielefeld
Established5 September 1969; 54 years ago (5 September 1969)
Budget€ 440 million[1]
ChancellorDr. Stephan Becker
RectorGerhard Sagerer
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Location, ,

52°02′16″N 8°29′35″E / 52.03778°N 8.49306°E / 52.03778; 8.49306

Bielefeld University (German: Universität Bielefeld) is a public university in Bielefeld, Germany. Founded in 1969, it is one of the country's newer universities, and considers itself a "reform" university, following a different style of organization and teaching than the established universities. In particular, the university aims to "re-establish the unity between research and teaching", and so all its faculty teach courses in their area of research. The university also stresses a focus on interdisciplinary research, helped by the architecture, which encloses all faculties in one great structure. It is among the first of the German universities to switch some faculties (e.g. biology) to Bachelor/Master-degrees as part of the Bologna process.

Bielefeld University has started an extensive multi-phase modernisation project, which is to be completed by 2025. A total investment of more than 1 billion euros has been planned for this undertaking.[5]

Bielefeld University
The central hall of the university
Bielefeld University on the north side of Teutoburg Forest
Bielefeld University building X


The university is located in the west of Bielefeld next to the Teutoburg Forest. The main building, which houses all the faculties and institutes, as well as the large library, is a functional concrete structure, typical of the 1960s. The main building with 154,000m² alone is one of the largest structures in Europe.[6]

Intercity trains running between Cologne/Bonn and Berlin stop regularly at Bielefeld, and the university can be accessed via city tram (Line 4) in about 10 minutes from the city center—or in about 15 minutes by car. The nearest airport, Paderborn/Lippstadt, is about 50 kilometres southeast of Bielefeld.[7]


Bielefeld University Library occupies most of the first floor of the main university building and contains over 2.2 million volumes. It is open every day of the year, from 08:00 until 01:00 Monday to Friday, and from 09:00 to 22:00 during weekends and public holidays.[8]

The library's projects include the development of tools to improve access to electronic resources. It works with commercial system suppliers to meet the needs of academic libraries—collaborations that have resulted in developments such as BASE (Bielefeld Academic Search Engine), by which metadata is collected from scientific repository servers and indexed, along with data from selected web sites and data collections, using the Solr framework.[9]

Academic profile

Central academic institutes

Oberstufen-Kolleg at the University of Bielefeld

The Oberstufen-Kolleg is a UNESCO Project School and as such it aims for international understanding and cooperation. Since 1998, the Kolleg has worked together with the German School of Guayaquil in a charitable project to help in the development of the town of Daular, Ecuador,[10] which project won a United Nations Award in 2006/2007 for its international concept.[11]


University rankings
Overall – Global & National
QS World 2024[12] 951–1000 45
THE World 2023[13] 201–250 23–26
ARWU World 2023[14] 701–800 41–42
QS Europe[citation needed]
QS Employability[citation needed]
THE Employability[citation needed]

In the QS World University Rankings for 2024, the university is placed within the 951–1000 range, ranking as the 45th institution at the national level.[12] In contrast, the university achieves a higher position in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, where it lands within the 201–250 bracket in 2023, and ranks between 23rd and 26th in the country.[13] According to the Academic Ranking of World Universities for 2023, the university's global rank falls within the 701–800 range, placing it between 41st and 42nd nationally.[14]

In 2017, Bielefeld University was ranked 22nd in the world by the Times Higher Education (THE) Young University Rankings,[15] and among the top 300 universities by the traditional Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

In the THE ranking of 2011 Bielefeld is placed among the top 50 universities in engineering and technology.[16]

In terms of mathematics, the Academic Ranking of World Universities of 2018 [17] places Bielefeld among the four best universities of Germany and 101–150 best universities in the world. The German Center for Higher Education Development Excellence Ranking, which measures academic performance of European graduate programs in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics, placed Bielefeld in the excellence group for mathematics.[citation needed]

Protests against tuition fees

Bielefeld University was one of the centers of student protests in the fight against the introduction of tuition fees. In the course of the protests, the central hall and the university president's office were occupied by protesting students for over a month. In a vote organised by the AStA and the students parliament, about 94 percent of the participants voted against the introduction of tuition fees, although only 22 percent of the students cast their vote. This is comparable to similar results at other German universities.

In its session of 12 July 2006, the university senate decided to introduce tuition fees of €500 per semester, beginning in 2007.[18][19]

In August 2006, a universal key for the university went missing during a senate session. After that, multiple cases of arson and defacement of university property were reported. University president Dieter Timmermann was a particular target of these attacks. The cost of the damage, mainly due to the replacement of thousands of locks, was estimated at over a million euros.

See also


  1. ^ "Daten.2016: Statistisches Jahrbuch" (PDF) (in German). Bielefeld University. pp. 55–62. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 February 2019. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Zahlen und Daten". University of Bielefeld (in German). Retrieved 18 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Zeittafel zum Aufbau der Universität Bielefeld". Chronology of the university's development (in German). Universität Bielefeld. Archived from the original on 20 June 2008. Retrieved 13 June 2008.
  4. ^ "Rektorat". University board (in German). Universität Bielefeld. Retrieved 13 June 2008.
  5. ^ "Campus Bielefeld: Campus Bielefeld 2025". Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  6. ^ "Renovation of the University of Bielefeld". Bielefeld University. Universität Bielefeld. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  7. ^ "First Contact". International Students. Universität Bielefeld. 30 July 2007. Archived from the original on 30 November 2007. Retrieved 13 June 2008.
  8. ^ "Library Profile". Bielefeld University Library. Universität Bielefeld. Retrieved 13 June 2008.
  9. ^ "About BASE". Bielefeld Academic Search Engine. Universität Bielefeld. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
  10. ^ "Kooperationsvertrag" (PDF). German School Guayaquil-University of Bielefeld (in German). Universität Bielefeld. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 May 2006. Retrieved 20 February 2009.
  11. ^ "Das etwas andere Abitur". Bielefeld Marketing (in German). Bielefeld Marketing. Archived from the original on 14 November 2008. Retrieved 20 February 2009.
  12. ^ a b "QS World University Rankings 2024". QS World University Rankings. Retrieved 16 July 2023.
  13. ^ a b "World University Rankings 2023". Times Higher Education World University Rankings. 4 October 2022. Retrieved 16 July 2023.
  14. ^ a b "2023 Academic Ranking of World Universities". Academic Ranking of World Universities. Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  15. ^ "Times Higher Education (THE) Young University Rankings 2017". Times Higher Education World University Rankings. 4 April 2017.
  16. ^ "Top 50 Engineering & Technology universities". Times Higher Education World University Rankings. 13 April 2015.
  17. ^ "ARWU in Mathematics – 2017". Academic Ranking of World Universities. Archived from the original on 1 July 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  18. ^ "Senat der Universität Bielefeld beschließt Studienbeiträge" (PDF). Senate of the University of Bielefeld decides tuition fees (in German). Universität Bielefeld. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 March 2009. Retrieved 13 June 2008.
  19. ^ "Einige wichtige Informationen zur Erhebung von Studienbeiträgen an der Universität Bielefeld" (PDF). Some important information about the collection of tuition fees at the University of Bielefeld (in German). Universität Bielefeld. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 March 2009. Retrieved 13 June 2008.