University of Graz
Universität Graz
Latin: Carolo Franciscea Graecensis
Established1585; 439 years ago (1585)
Academic affiliations
Coimbra Group, Utrecht Network
Endowment€230,7 million
RectorPeter Riedler
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Location, ,

47°04′41″N 15°26′57″E / 47.07806°N 15.44917°E / 47.07806; 15.44917
Nobel Laureates6

The University of Graz (German: Universität Graz; old: Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz) is a public research university located in Graz, Austria. It is the largest and oldest university in Styria, as well as the second-largest and second-oldest university in Austria.


Historic central building on the main campus

The university was founded in 1585 by Archduke Charles II of Austria. The bull of 1 January 1586, published on 15 April 1586, was approved by Pope Sixtus V.[2] For most of its existence it was controlled by the Catholic Church, and was closed in 1782 by Emperor Joseph II in an attempt to gain state control over educational institutions. Joseph II transformed it into a lyceum, where civil servants and medical personnel were trained. In 1827 it was re-instituted as a university by Emperor Francis I, thus gaining the name Karl-Franzens-Universität, meaning Charles Francis University. About 30,000 students are currently enrolled at the university.


The university is divided into six faculties, the two largest are the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and the Faculty of Natural Sciences. The other faculties are the Faculty of Law; the Faculty of Business, Economic and Social sciences; the Faculty of Environmental, Regional and Educational Sciences; and the Faculty of Catholic Theology. The Faculty of Medicine was separated from the university by state legislation in 2004 and became an independent university – the Medical University of Graz. The faculties offer a wide range of undergraduate (BA, BSc), graduate (MA, MSc), and doctoral degree (PhD) programmes, as well as special teaching degrees in their specific areas of expertise.

Since its re-installation, the university has been home to many internationally renowned scientists and thinkers. Ludwig Boltzmann was professor at the university twice, first from 1869 to 1873 and then from 1876 to 1890, while he was developing his statistical theory of heat. Nobel laureate Otto Loewi taught at the university from 1909 until 1938 and Victor Franz Hess (Nobel prize 1936) graduated in Graz and taught there from 1920 to 1931 and from 1937 to 1938. The physicist Erwin Schrödinger briefly was chancellor of the university in 1936.

The University of Graz does not have a distinct faculty of engineering, however, Graz University of Technology, which is focused on engineering and technology, offers inter-university undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in cooperation with the university's Faculty of Natural Sciences under the name "NAWI Graz". The main intention behind the cooperation was to avoid duplication of efforts and infrastructure, especially in cost-intensive subjects such as chemistry, industrial chemistry, physics, and geosciences, as both universities are located in close proximity to each other. Students enrolled in one of these programmes attend lectures and seminars at both universities and are awarded a combined degree at the end of their studies.

Because of the university's geographical location close to the Slovenian border and the two major Slovenian cities, Maribor and Ljubljana, it has traditionally attracted many students from Slovenia and served as a gateway to South-East Europe for Austrian scholars, scientists and businesses. The establishment of the Department for Slovene Language and Literature at the University of Graz, for example, laid the foundation for scholarly studies of Slovenian culture, literature, and language bundled in the so-called Slovene studies.[3]


Aerial photography of the main campus

The university has 6 faculties. Each of the 6 faculties is in turn divided into institutes and centers:[4]

  1. Faculty of Humanities
  2. Faculty of Catholic theology
  3. Faculty of Natural Sciences
  4. Faculty of Law
  5. Faculty of Social and economic sciences
  6. Faculty of Environmental, regional and educational sciences
"ReSoWi" building, home to the Faculties of Law and Social Sciences

In addition to the institutes and centers of the 6 faculties, there are other university and cross-faculty service areas:[5]

  1. Center for Digital Teaching and Learning
  2. Center for teaching competence
  3. Center for Pedagog:ic Education
  4. Center for Regional Sciences
  5. Center for Social Competence
  6. Center for Southeast European Studies
  7. the 7th faculty - center for society, knowledge and communication
  8. Doctoral Academy Graz
  9. Habilitation Forum Subject Didactics & Teaching Research
  10. IDea_Lab - The interdisciplinary digital lab of the University of Graz
  11. Confucius Institute
  12. Coordination Office for Gender Studies and Equality
  13. treffpunkt sprachen - Center for Language, Plurilingualism and Subject Didactics
  14. University Museums
  15. Vestigia - Center for the Study of Book and Scripture Heritage
  16. Polar Research Station Sermilik, Greenland[6]

International acclaim

University rankings
Global – Overall
ARWU World[7]501–600 (2023)
QS World[8]661–670 (2024)
THE World[9]501–600 (2024)
USNWR Global[10]=693 (2023)

The university ranks highest in Arts and Humanities, coming 287th in the 2018 QS World University Rankings, whereas all other subject areas lag behind, with the Faculty of Social Sciences ranking at 451–500 and the Faculty of Natural Sciences ranking at 401–450.[11]

Religious affiliation

Historically speaking, for most of its existence the University of Graz was controlled by the Catholic Church. Even after its re-installation in 1827, it took until 1848 for the university's basic principles to be readjusted in accordance with the ideals of Wilhelm von Humboldt and the Enlightenment, meaning that the university became autonomous from the state as well as from the church and their influence as far as possible.[12]

The Faculty of Catholic Theology has been retained as a part of the university ever since it was established, however, its importance in terms of number of students and its influence on the university board have been diminishing. Evidently, relations between the Catholic Church, especially the local bishop, and the university's Faculty of Theology remain strong, yet general policy is not influenced by these connections. To demonstrate the university's independence and its shift of focus, the Christogram IHS on the very top of the university's seal has been replaced with the sun, symbolising the Enlightenment and von Humboldt's ideas.[13]

Front view of the central building.

Nobel prize laureates

Notable faculty

Notable alumni

See also


  1. ^ a b c "University of Graz: Facts & Figures". University of Graz. Retrieved 13 March 2024.
  2. ^ "University of Graz". Catholic Encyclopedia (New Advent). 1909. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  3. ^ "Kultura in jezik". 24 October 2023.
  4. ^ "Faculties - University of Graz". Retrieved 23 July 2023.
  5. ^ "Inter-faculty Centres - University of Graz". Retrieved 23 July 2023.
  6. ^ "Sermilik-Forschungsstation in Grönland". Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  7. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2023". Retrieved 24 February 2023.
  8. ^ "QS World University Rankings: Karl-Franzens-Universitaet Graz". Top Universities. 29 June 2023. Retrieved 29 June 2023.
  9. ^ "University of Graz". Times Higher Education (THE). 28 September 2023. Retrieved 28 September 2023.
  10. ^ U.S. News. "University of Graz". Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  11. ^ "Subject rankings 2018". Top Universities.
  12. ^ History of the University of Graz
  13. ^ "The university's symbols: Coat of arms and hymn". University of Graz. Retrieved 13 December 2012.

Further studies