| University of Freiburg
Beginnings (15th Century): In 1457 the Freiburg Cathedral was the site of the foundation of a university. The financier and figure after whom the institution was named was Archduke Albert VI, of whose dominion, Western Austria, Freiburg was then a part. The “Albertina” was founded as a comprehensive university, including all important faculties of the time: Theology, Law, Medicine, and Philosophy. Its purpose was to educate young theologians and administrators. Some of the first students lived in “Bursen” (hostels) on the site of what is now known as the “Old University,” where the first lectures also took place. Classes were held in Latin.
Success (16th Century): A number of well-known humanists studied and taught at Freiburg’s university. They were dedicated to the ideals of education and tolerance and understood the invention of the printing press as a signal. One of them was Martin Waldseemüller, the first person ever to use the name “America” for the recently discovered continent in his world atlas. The Reformation was a topic of heated debate at the University of Freiburg, the authorities finally opting for Catholicism and loyalty to Austria. Aristocrats and bourgeois who sent their sons to the university to prepare for a diplomatic or military career ushered in new trends: French became popular, the university hired fencing and dancing teachers.
Jesuit Influence (17th Century): The 17th century was marked by the rivalry between the confessions. In 1620 the Catholic rulers introduced the Jesuit Order at the faculties of theology and humanities. Although the order was regarded as modern and strong in education, its influence also led to severe restrictions in the curriculum. The Jesuits introduced theater to the University of Freiburg and strengthened the tradition of debating (How many angels fit on the tip of a needle?). The building known today as the “Old University” (after its destruction in World War II and its subsequent reconstruction) was originally built by the Jesuits over the course of several decades and served as their theological college.
Reforms (18th Century): The enlightened government administration had an ever increasing need for civil servants with practical skills, and the upper classes demanded a professional education. In 1768 Maria Theresa thus introduced an extensive reform which curtailed the financial independence of educational institutions in the empire, including the University of Freiburg. The reform increased competition among students by adding more examinations, limited the length of semester breaks, introduced modern textbooks and practical instructional materials, and replaced the instructional form of reading verbatim from books with explanatory lectures – in German. In 1773 the Pope dissolved the Jesuit Order (temporarily) in response to threats from several countries, and their theological college on Bertholdstraße was given to the university.
- Faculty of Theology
- Faculty of Law
- Faculty of Economics and Behavioral Sciences
- Faculty of Medicine
- Faculty of Philology
- Faculty of Humanities
- Faculty of Mathematics and Physics
- Faculty of Chemistry, Pharmacy, and Earth Sciences
- Faculty of Biology
- Faculty of Forest and Environmental Sciences
- Faculty of Engineering
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