The University of Bonn (German: Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn) is a public research university located in Bonn, Germany. Founded in its present form in 1818, as the linear successor of earlier academic institutions, the University of Bonn is today one of the leading universities in Germany. The University of Bonn offers a large number of undergraduate and graduate programs in a range of subjects. Its library holds more than two million volumes. The University of Bonn has 525 professors and 27,800 students. Among its notable alumni and faculty are seven Nobel Laureates, two Fields Medalists, twelve Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize winners, Pope Benedict XVI, Heinrich Heine, Friedrich Nietzsche and Joseph Schumpeter.
The university's forerunner was the Kurkölnische Akademie Bonn (English: Academy of the Prince-elector of Cologne) which was founded in 1777 by Maximilian Frederick of Königsegg-Rothenfels, the prince-elector of Cologne. In the spirit of the Enlightenment the new academy was nonsectarian. The academy had schools for theology, law, pharmacy and general studies. In 1784 Emperor Joseph II granted the academy the right to award academic degrees (Licentiat and Ph.D.), turning the academy into a university. The academy was closed in 1798 after the left bank of the Rhine was occupied by France during the French Revolutionary Wars.
The Rhineland became a part of Prussia in 1815 as a result of the Congress of Vienna. Shortly after the seizure of the Rhineland, on April 5, 1815, the Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm III promised the establishment of a new university in the new Rhine province (German: den aus Landesväterlicher Fürsorge für ihr Bestes gefaßten Entschluß, in Unsern Rheinlanden eine Universität zu errichten). At this time there was no university in the Rhineland, as all three universities that existed until the end of the 18th century were closed as a result of the French occupation. The Kurkölnische Akademie Bonn was one of these three universities. The other two were the Roman Catholic University of Cologne and the Protestant University of Duisburg.
The new Rhein University (German: Rhein-Universität) was then founded on October 18, 1818, by the Prussian king Frederick William III. It was the sixth Prussian University, founded after the universities in Greifswald, Berlin, Königsberg, Halle and Breslau. The new university was equally shared between the two Christian denominations. This was one of the reasons why Bonn, with its tradition of a nonsectarian university, was chosen over Cologne and Duisburg. Apart from a school of Roman Catholic theology and a school of Protestant theology, the university had schools for medicine, law and philosophy. Inititally 35 professors and eight adjunct professors were teaching in Bonn.
The university constitution was adopted in 1827. In the spirit of Wilhelm von Humboldt the constitution emphasized the autonomy of the university and the unity of teaching and research. Similar to the University of Berlin, which was founded in 1810, the new constitution made the University of Bonn a modern research university.
During the second World War the university suffered heavy damage. An air raid on October 18, 1944 destroyed the main building. The university was re-opened on November 17, 1945 as one of the first in the British occupation zone. The first university president was Heinrich Matthias Konen, who was expelled from the university in 1934 because of his opposition to Nazism. At the start of the first semester on November 17, 1945 the university had more than 10,000 applicants for only 2,500 places.
The university greatly expanded in the postwar period, in particular in the 1960s and 1970s. Significant events of the postwar era were the relocation of the university hospital from the city center to the Venusberg in 1949, the opening of the new university library in 1960 and the opening of a new building, the Juridicum, for the School of Law and Economics in 1967.
In 1980 the Pedagogigal University Bonn was merged into the University of Bonn, although eventually all the teachers education programs were closed in 2007. In 1983 the new science library was opened. In 1989 Wolfgang Paul was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. Three years later Reinhard Selten was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics. The decision of the German government to move the capital from Bonn to Berlin after the reunification in 1991 resulted in generous compensation for the city of Bonn. The compensation package included three new research institutes affiliated or closely collaborating with the university, thus significantly enhancing the research profile of the University of Bonn.
School of Catholic Theology (German: 'Katholisch-Theologische Fakultät')
School of Protestant Theology (German: 'Evangelisch-Theologische Fakultät')
School of Law and Economics (German: 'Rechts- und Staatswissenschaftliche Fakultät')
School of Medicine (German: 'Medizinische Fakultät')
School of Humanities (German: 'Philosophische Fakultät')
School of Mathematics and Science (German: 'Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät')
School of Agricultural Science (German: 'Landwirtschaftliche Fakultät')
In the 2000s the university implemented the Bologna process and replaced the traditional Diplom and Magister programs with Bachelor and Master programs. This process was completed by 2007.
University of Bonn ranked 200th in the 2010 QS World University Ranking
University of Bonn ranked 154th in the 2011 QS World University Ranking