University of Passau

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Template:Infobox University

The University of Passau (Universität Passau in German) is a public research university located in Passau, Lower Bavaria, Germany. Founded in 1978, it is the youngest university in Bavaria and consequently has the most modern campus in the state. Nevertheless, its roots as the Institute for Catholic Studies date back hundreds of years.

Today it is home to four faculties and 37 different degree programmes at undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral level.


The university was established on 1 January 1973 at the behest of the Bayerischer Landtag (Bavarian State Parliament). However its history goes back to 1622 when an Institute for Catholic Studies was incorporated into the Gymnasium founded by Fürst Leopold in 1612. In 1773 the university was renamed fürstbischöfliche Akademie, a name that highlighted its relationship to the bishop. Nevertheless, in 1803 it was downgraded to a kurfürstliches Lyzeum and lost its university status. After a period of abandonment, it was refounded as Passauer Lyzeum. This lyceum grew over the years until it became a philosophical-theological university in 1923. During the Nazi era the university was forced to change its logo, but in 1950 a new seal was introduced, representing Mary with The Child Jesus vanquishing evil. Due to its strong religious significance, it was deemed inappropriate for the new university and replaced with a neutral logo. In 1969, the city council initiated negotiations to establish a university out of the old Faculty.

The Campus

thumb The campus of the University of Passau is probably unique in Germany. With the exception of the Department of Catholic Theology, which is in the city centre, all faculties are situated on a single campus along a single street. This is advantageous for the internal communication of students and staff, particularly because the university offers many interdisciplinary courses. Hence it is not uncommon for law courses to be held in the Arts and Humanities faculty building and vice-versa. The campus is stretched out along the left bank of the Inn river, making it an idyllic place to study. Furthermore, there are many gardens and meadows that are popular with students in the summer.

thumb The Nikolakloster is the oldest building, existing long before the university was established. It is also the only building that breaks with the university's otherwise modern architecture. Today, this former convent is home to the language centre. On the opposite end of the campus one finds the IT Centre and International House building (ITZ), which was completed in 2006 and is currently the most recently built structure on campus. A new building, housing the Centre for Media and Communication, is currently under construction and scheduled for completion in 2013.

The university's sports facilities include four gymnasiums, a football pitch and an athletics field with a race track. thumb A wide range of sports courses are offered throughout the semester and are free to staff and students, including football, volleyball, basketball, rowing, martial arts and aerobics.

The University of Passau has an award-winning refectory with a seating capacity of 560. The campus additionally has four cafeterias, which offer sandwiches, confectionery, coffee, soft drinks and beer.

The university's nursery is open to children of students and staff. It is unusual for a German university to have day care facilities, but the reasonably priced service is well used by students with young children.


The library was established together with the university in 1978 and opened its doors to students and citizens of Passau the same year. The central library is the main library of the university and, together with the five faculty and institute libraries, constitutes the university's library system. Its Director is Dr Steffen Wawra. The university library currently has two million books and 3,050 journals. There are a total of 1,000 places for visitors in the reading rooms, which are open 16 hours a day.



The directorate is the 'executive body' of the university, headed by the president of the university, Professor Burkhard Freitag. The directorate consists of the head of administration, Dr Andrea Bör, and three vice-presidents, Professor Robert Obermaier, Professor Wolfgang Hau (Vice-President for International Relations) and Professor Dirk Uffelmann (Vice-President for Academic Matters).

The Senate is the 'legislative branch' of the university. The president and vice-presidents are senators ex officio, as are the deans of the faculties, and the university's equal opportunities officer.



The University of Passau has four faculties: Arts and Humanities, Law, Computer Science and Mathematics, and Business Administration and Economics. The Faculty of Arts and Humanities is further subdivided into five departments, viz. Catholic Theology; Education; Cultural Studies; Governance and Historical Studies; and Languages, Textual Analysis and Media.



In 2010 the Department of Catholic Theology and the Chair of Philosophy became inactive for a planned 15 years, a highly controversial decision, as the academic staff of the faculty have received numerous awards in recognition of their research achievements. The Department of Catholic Theology now offers catholic theology education as a specialisation for students enrolled in a teacher education programme and a Master's programme in Caritas Science.

Associated institutes

  • Centre for European Law (CEP)
  • Institute for the Didactics of Law
  • Institute for International and Comparative Law
  • Institute for Market and Economic Research, including:
the Centre for Market-Oriented Research in Tourism (CenTouris)
the Centre for Market Research
  • Institute for Private Financial Planning (IFP)
  • Institute for Applied Ethics in Business, Professional Training and in Continuing Education (ethik WAW)
  • Institute for Eastern Bavaria Area Studies (IKON)
  • Institute for Intercultural Communication (ink.up)
  • Institute for Interdisciplinary Media Science (IFIM)
  • Institute for Information Systems and Software Engineering (IFIS)
  • Institute for IT Security and Security Law (ISL)
  • Institute for Software Systems in Technical Applications of Computer Science (FORWISS Passau)

Research centres

  • Research Centre for Human Rights in Criminal Proceedings
  • Research Centre for IT Law and Internet Policy
  • Research Centre for Basic Research in Cultural Studies
  • Research Centre for Early Modern German Literature
  • Centre for Pedagogical Research
  • Mathematics and Informatics Education Unit


The University of Passau is well-known beyond the borders of Bavaria and Germany for its international orientation and atmosphere. The university has co-operation agreements in place with 160 foreign universities in Latin America, USA, Europe, Asia and Australia, enabling students enrolled at the university to spend part of their degree studies abroad. The partner universities include King's College and the University of Stirling in the UK, the Autonomous University of Barcelona and Autonomous University of Madrid in Spain, Lund University in Sweden, Texas A&M University in the United States, the Universidad del Salvador in Argentina, the University of Santiago, Chile, the Université Laval in Canada, Kyoto Sangyo University in Japan, Zhejiang University in China, Thammasat University and University Chiang Mai in Thailand, Universitas Indonesia in Indonesia as well as the National University of Vietnam and the Lahore University of Management Sciences in Pakistan.

Student Life

Student associations

The university supports a number of student groups in various fields of interest. Among them are eight political groups, two drama societies, three university orchestras, two choirs, several NGO’s groups such as Amnesty International, Unicef and AIESEC, several departments of specialised European student organisations such as AEGEE and ELSA, five societies dedicated to fostering international relations and cultural exchange, several subject-orientated groups, an association of cultural studies students, a debating society, a student-run management consulting group, and two religious student groups.


Despite of the wide range of sports offered in the Sports Center of the university, there are only two teams that play at a competitive level. However, it should be kept in mind that unlike other countries, Germany does not have a long tradition of inter-university sports competitions.

  • American Football - Passau Red Wolves
  • Lacrosse Passau


Fraternities have a long-standing tradition in Germany's student life, although having a very different meaning as in the United States. Students who are member of fraternities often have highly conservative political attitudes, sometimes combined with traditional religious views. For this reason fraternities are a contentious issue among students. There are five fraternities in Passau:

  • Corps Budissa Leipzig
  • K.St.V. Boiotro (affiliated with the Kartellverband katholischer deutscher Studentenvereine)
  • Burschenschaft Hanseatia
  • Akad. Burschenschaft Markomannia Wien (affiliated with the Deutsche Burschenschaft)
  • K.D.St.V. Oeno-Danubia im (affiliated with the Cartellverband der katholischen deutschen Studentenverbindungen)


thumb A nice tradition for first-year students in Passau, many of whom come from outside Bavaria, is a welcome reception in the refectory with typical Bavarian foods: Leberkäse, Bavarian Pretzels (which are different from the American ones) and beer. The welcome speech is held by the president of the university and the mayor of Passau.

Another traditional part of Passau's student life are the Orientation Weeks, intended to acquaint new students with Passau and its university. During those weeks students are offered guided tours through the university, libraries, the city and of course the bars and clubs.

See also

  • List of colleges and universities
  • Passau

External links

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Notes and references