University of Halle-Wittenberg

University of Halle-Wittenberg
Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg
Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Latin: Universitas hallensis
Motto Prosteritas per traditio
Established 1502
Type Public university
Rector Prof. Udo Sträter
Admin. staff 5,017 (of which 335 tenured university professors)
Students 17,500 (as of 2010)
Location Halle, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany
Campus Urban
Colors Emerald green     
Mascot Lions
Affiliations Global Compact

The Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg (German: Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg), also referred to as MLU, is a public, research-oriented university in the cities of Halle and Wittenberg within Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. MLU offers German and international (English) courses leading to academic degrees such as B.A., B.Sc., M.A., M.Sc., Ph.D., D.Sc., and Habilitation.

The university was created in 1817 through the merger of the University of Wittenberg (founded 1502) and the University of Halle (founded 1691). The university is named after the Protestant reformer Martin Luther, who was a professor in Wittenberg. Today, the university itself is located in Halle, while the Leucorea Foundation in Wittenberg serves as MLU’s convention centre (and hotel) for seminars as well as for academic and political conferences. Leucorea also hosts the Wittenberg Centre for Global Ethics, founded in 1998 at the initiative of Andrew Young, former US Ambassador to the United Nations, and Hans-Dietrich Genscher, former German Foreign Minister. Both Halle and Wittenberg are about one hour from Berlin by ICE high speed train.



The University of Wittenberg was founded in 1502 by Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony.[1] Under the influence of Philipp Melanchthon, building on the works of Martin Luther, the university became a centre of the Protestant Reformation. Notable attendees include George Müller, Georg Joachim Rheticus and – in fiction – William Shakespeare's Prince Hamlet and Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus.

The University of Halle was founded in 1694 by Frederick III, Elector of Brandenburg, who became Frederick I, King in Prussia, in 1701. Halle subsequently became a centre for Pietism within Prussia.

Leucorea Foundation, Wittenberg.
University of Halle in 1836.

In the 17th and 18th centuries the universities were centers of the German Enlightenment. Christian Wolff was an important proponent of rationalism. He influenced many German scholars, such as Immanuel Kant. Christian Thomasius was at the same time the first philosopher in Germany to hold his lectures not in Latin, but German. He contributed to a rational programme in philosophy but also tried to establish a more common-sense point of view, which was aimed against the unquestioned superiority of aristocracy and theology.

The University of Wittenberg was closed in 1813 during the Napoleonic Wars. The town of Wittenberg was granted to Prussia in the Congress of Vienna in 1815, and the university was then merged with the Prussian University of Halle in 1817.


Following the continental European academic tradition, MLU has 9 faculties, regrouping academic staff and students according to their field of studies (as opposed to the anglo-Saxon collegiate university model):

  • Faculty of Theology [2]
  • Faculty of Law and Economics [3]
  • Faculty of Medicine [4]
  • Faculty of Philosophy I (social and cultural studies, history) [5]
  • Faculty of Philosophy II (ancient and modern languages, communication studies, music) [6]
  • Faculty of Philosophy III (peadagogy) [7]
  • Faculty of Natural Sciences I (biochemistry, biology, pharmacy) [8]
  • Faculty of Natural Sciences II (physics and chemistry) [9]
  • Faculty of Natural Sciences III (agriculture, geology, mathematics, computer science) [10]

Points of interest

Cooperating research institutions

MLU's Lions' Hall ("Löwengebäude"), decorated with neoclassical frescos.
Central lecture hall ("Auditorium Maximum", in the background) and entry of Lions' Hall (in the front).
Thomasianum (office of MLU’s president and chancellor).

MLU is enclosed by a variety of research institutions, which have either institutional or personal links with the university or cooperate occasionally in their respective fields of studies:

Collegium musicum

Even though MLU is an academic, research oriented institution, not an academy of music or conservatory, the university has an academic orchestra (founded in 1779) and a rather prestigious[2] choir (founded in 1950), which together constitute the so called Collegium musicum. Members are mostly gifted students of all faculties, but also academic staff and alumni. The university choir regularly performs at the international Handel Festival in George Frideric Handel’s birthplace, Halle.

Partner universities

MLU has many international partner universities, including:

Notable scholars

University Hospital, Halle.
Melanchthoneanum (on the right) and faculty of law (on the left).

Given the history[4] and reputation[5] of the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, numerous notable personalities attended the institution, such as Nobel laureates Emil Adolf von Behring, Gustav Ludwig Hertz, Hermann Staudinger and Karl Ziegler, as well as Anton Wilhelm Amo (the first colored Sub-Saharan African known to have attended a European university), Dorothea Erxleben (the first female medical doctor in Germany), Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, the Patriarch of the Lutheran Church in America, and his son, Frederick Muhlenberg (the first Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States), Hans Dietrich Genscher (Germany’s longest serving Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor), and:


  1. ^ Britannica, vol 12, p.719
  2. ^ In 2007, the "Johann Friedrich Reichardt University Choir", led by MLU’s musical director Jens Lorenz, was awarded the overall distinction "Gold – Excellent" in the "18th International Competition of Choral Music" in Verona, Italy for its performance with spiritual and secular a cappella works from the renaissance, baroque and romantic periods and the 20th century. In addition, the choir was awarded one of three special awards for the best interpretation of the compulsory piece "As Torrents in Summer" by Edward Elgar. Source: Martin Luther University (2008): MLU Yearbook 2007, p. 138
  3. ^ Schiebinger, L. (1990): "The Anatomy of Difference: Race and Sex in Eighteenth-Century Science" pp.399, Eighteenth Century Studies 23(3) pp.387-405
  4. ^ Speler, Ralf-Torsten (2003): 'Die Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg', Erfurt: Sutton, ISBN 978-3-89702-482-3
  5. ^ Due to rather homogeneous standards of teaching and research, German university rankings generally are far less significant than for many other countries. Nevertheless, for example, MLU’s faculty of economics outranks University of Heidelberg, the oldest (and often considered as the foremost) German university, in 13 of 19 tested categories, according to the 2007 survey of German Academic Exchange Service.[1]


  • The New Encyclopædia Britannica, 15th Edition. Chicago, 1988.

See also

  • List of early modern universities in Europe

External links

Coordinates: 51°29′11″N 11°58′08″E / 51.48639°N 11.96889°E / 51.48639; 11.96889

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  • Halle — is a noun that means hall in the German language. It may also refer to:Geographical locationsIn Germany* Halle, Saxony Anhalt, also called Halle (Saale) or Halle an der Saale * Halle, North Rhine Westphalia, or Halle (Westfalen) * Halle, Bentheim …   Wikipedia

  • Wittenberg — /wit n berrg /; Ger. /vit n berddk /, n. a city in central E Germany, on the Elbe: Luther taught in the university here; beginnings of the Reformation 1517. 54,190. * * * ▪ Germany       city, Saxony Anhalt Land (state), north central Germany. It …   Universalium

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  • university — universitarian /yooh neuh verr si tair ee euhn/, n., adj. /yooh neuh verr si tee/, n., pl. universities. an institution of learning of the highest level, having a college of liberal arts and a program of graduate studies together with several… …   Universalium

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