Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg, Germany

Germany enjoys a remarkable reputation in the higher education sector. The Western European country boasts of more than 400 universities, with many ranking among the world’s top universities. Among them is the Heidelberg University (officially called Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg). 

RKU was founded in 1386. Heidelberg University is listed among the oldest universities in Germany and is also one of the leading research institutions in Europe. Today, the university looks back on six centuries of scholarly and scientific achievement. It’s an achievement that makes Heidelberg not only one of the world’s oldest universities but also one of the most renowned centres of learning.

As of 2020, the University of Heidelberg is ranked #56 in Best Global Universities and second Best Global Universities in Germany, making it a university of choice for anyone wishing to further their education in Germany.

History of the Heidelberg University

The Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg, authorized on October 23, 1385, by Pope Urban VI, only saw the light of day on October 18, 1386. The founder, Elector Palatine Rupert I, launched the university with three faculties: Theology, Philosophy, and Jurisprudence. The faculty of Medicine was only opened two years later by the institution’s pioneer rector, Marsilius Von Inghen.

Elector Palatine Otto Henry, the Prince Elector of the Palatinate, transformed the university into a reformed protestant institution with new statute establishments in 1558, which lasted until 1786. The enrollment at the university stood at 185 students by the year 1390. The prestigious institution, however, suffered a number of setbacks ranging from the suspension of classes between 1618 and 1648, the destruction of the campus by King Louis XIV’s, during the thirty years war. It equally witnessed a setback during the National Socialist Era, with the marginalization and dismissal of 59 academics of the university.

The end of the war marked a turning point in the life of Heidelberg University. Under the leadership of the new rector, the Surgeon Karl Heinrich Bauer, three more campuses were opened, notably: in Old Town which focuses on humanities; in Bergheim, concerned with medicine; and in Neuenheimer Feld, handling programs like natural science and medicine.

Between 1968 and 1974, the institution suffered a series of riots, born from the increased number of students and the division of the five faculties into sixteen.

The University of Heidelberg has since 2006, been known as the University of Excellence. It has constantly benefited from funding for its three graduate schools, two clusters, and its institutional strategy, “Heidelberg: Realizing the potential of a comprehensive University.”


The Heidelberg University is situated in the quaint town of Heidelberg, Toffin, Ohio, Germany, about two hours’ drive from Columbus, Cleveland, and Toledo. It covers a surface area of 125 acres and has three campuses in Heidelberg and one in Mannheim.


The alumni of the university include high profile academicians and philosophers, poets, theologians, jurisprudents, natural and social scientists. Fifty-six Nobel laureates, eighteen Leibniz laureates, and two “Oscar Winners” have their roots in the highly esteemed Heidelberg University.

Most political leaders of Germany are also products of the institution, some of which include several Federal Ministers, Prime Ministers, and five German Chancellors. Heads of states in different countries like Britain, Bulgaria, Greece, and Belgium, studied at the University of Heidelberg.

Prominent religious leaders like Pope Pius II, Cardinals, and Bishops, not leaving out main leaders of protestant reformation; Philipp Melanchthon and Zacharias Ursinus are equally part of the alumni of the school.

Legal minds affiliated with the university include the President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), two presidents of the European Court of Human Rights, a president of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, a vice president of the International Criminal Court (ICC), presidents of the Federal Courts of Justice, Finance, and Labor Courts.

In the field of arts, the university boasts of great classical composers like Robert Schuman, Literature Nobel Laureate, Carl Spitteler, Wilhelm Wundt, the “father of Psychology,” J. Willard Gibbs, “the father of Physical Chemistry,” and great inventors like Dmitri Mendeleev, who created the periodic table of elements, Alfred Wegener who discovered the continental drift, and many more. The list is inexhaustible.

Study Programs

No matter what students decide to study at Heidelberg, they will always be challenged, mentored, and inspired. By working with professors to create a unique academic pathway, every student has a personalized academic journey that fits their goals and dreams.

Bachelor Programs

Presently, the university has 28,653 students enrolled for different degree programs including:

  • Bachelor of Sciences in Applied Computer Sciences
  • Molecular Biotechnology–Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelors in Physics
  • BSc. in Biology
  • Bachelors in Chemistry
  • Bachelors in Biochemistry
  • Business Administration and Management
  • Health Science/Applied Health/Health Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Accounting
  • Health and Wellness
  • Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Administration
  • Political Science and Government
  • Athletic Training
  • Communication
  • Sports and Fitness Administration/Management
  • Computer Science
  • History
  • Junior High/Intermediate/Middle School Education and Teaching
  • Early Childhood Education and Teaching
  • Writing
  • Mathematics
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Mass Communication/Media Studies
  • Criminology
  • Economics
  • Education/Teaching of Individuals in Elementary Special Education Program
  • Mathematics Teacher Education
  • English Language and Literature
  • Computer and Information Sciences
  • English/Language Art Teacher Education
  • International/Global Studies
  • Religion/Religious Studies
  • Music Teacher Education
  • Social Studies Teacher Education
  • Biology Teacher Education
  • Education
  • Spanish Language and Literature
  • Philosophy
  • Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts
  • Music
  • Music performance.

Master Programs

MBA programs at the University of Heidelberg have a 44 ranking. It has a total enrolment of 30,875 students. Below is a list of courses offered at the Master’s level, classified under subcategories:

Under the Social Sciences, the university offers masters programs such as:

  • American Studies
  • East Asian Art History
  • Economics
  • Health and Society
  • Ibero-American Studies
  • Japanese Studies
  • Near Eastern Archaeology
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • South Asian Studies
  • Transcultural Studies.

Placed under the Natural Sciences and Mathematics are:

  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Clinical Medical Physics
  • Mathematics,
  • Medical Biometry (Biostatistics)
  • Molecular Biosciences
  • Molecular Biotechnology
  • Physics
  • Translation of Medical Research.

Under Humanities, the university has the following programs:

  • American Studies
  • Development
  • Environment
  • Societies and History of South Asia
  • East Asian Art History
  • English Studies
  • South Asian Cultural, Religious History (Classical Indology)
  • South Asian Studies
  • Transcultural Studies,
  • Literature and Language Contact within the francophone area and Translation Studies.

Under the Medicine and Health sector, Heidelberg University offers eight major and other minor programs:

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Clinical Medical Physics
  • Health Care Research and Implementation Science in Health Care Systems
  • Health and Society in South Asia
  • Medical Biometry (Biostatistics)
  • Medical Education (MME); Informatics, Translational Medical Research.
  • Business and Management; Governance of Risk and Resources, and Mathematics.
  • Computer Science and IT; Medical Informatics and Scientific Computing.
  • Environmental Studies; Development Environment Societies and History of South Asia, Governance of Risk and Resources.
  • Education and Training; Medical Education (MME).
  • Engineering and Technology; Biomedical Engineering.
  • Journalism and Media; Translation Studies.

Entry Requirements

The basic requirements for admission into the University of Heidelberg are as follows:

1. Applicants are required to submit a secondary school leaving certificate, which is equivalent to the German “Abitur.” Translation of certificates is not necessary.

2. An official transcript for all post-secondary schools or institutions attended and must indicate courses taken, student’s average, and the certificate acquired. This certificate should be in either German, English, or French. In a case where the certificate is translated into the above languages, the certificate, in its original language, should accompany the translated document.

3. Proof of English language proficiency is required for non-native speakers of English, though this is not mandatory. It could be an IELTS, TOEFL, or Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE).

4. The applicant’s curriculum vitae.

5. A letter of intent of about 500 words. This should state your reason, your preparedness for the field chosen, future career plans, and what you find most interesting in the institution. You may equally present some background information about yourself.

6. Letters of recommendation from referees, which can either be uploaded by the applicant or sent as a PDF document only, by the referee to [email protected] You are to notify the admission office of the submission of both Letters of Motivation.

7. Prospective PhD students, who have already been accepted should fill in and upload their statement of acceptance as PhD students in the field, “Academic Records.”

NOTE: You need a German Student Visa to study at this establishment if you are a foreign student. Also, you need to create a German Bank Blocked account before arriving in Germany. You must register at a German Residence Office to stay in Germany as a foreign student. Also, you need a German work permit to work in Germany.

Admission Procedure

When the candidate’s eligibility is checked, the respective group leaders carry out a further evaluation. Students who were shortlisted are then granted an interview at Heidelberg University. The interviews are held with group leaders and three faculty members. At this interview, the student has to do a verbalized presentation of his past, present, and future research projects, within 5-7 minutes.

A question and answer session then proceeds. Next is a written evaluation of about 2 hours, more or less like the Graduate Record Examination. Students who are not accepted at this stage are opportune to meet with the principal investigators through whom they applied. When all is said and done, accepted candidates receive their admission letters shortly after.

Tuition Fee

Many students would likely prefer the University of Heidelberg due to the assistance provided to students and their families by the Financial Aid Office. Students from all economic backgrounds would stand the chance of benefiting from the best educational empowerment while benefitting from the various forms of financial assistance offered by the school. The costs and fees are as follows:

Undergraduate Tuition Fees Distribution

Direct charges for 2020-2021

  • Tuition = $31,700
  • Room and Board = $10.900
  • Technology Fee = $600

Total direct charges = $43.200.

Part-time Tuition for 2020-2021

  • Tuition per credit hour = $900

Estimated Expenses

  • Books = $1.000
  • Personal needs and travel = $1.500

Graduate Tuition Fees

Graduate tuition fees vary with the Master’s degree program solicited. The costs per program and per hour are as follows:

Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC).


  • $29.900 school track
  • $35.880 clinical track

Education Endorsement-K12 Reading.

Tuition: $4.584

Masters of Business Administration (MBA).


  • $34.230 full-time
  • $32.040 part-time

Master of Education (MME).

Tuition: $17.940

Additional Fees and Charges.

  • Books and course materials: Estimated at $1.500
  • Personal and travel fees: $1.500
  • MAC Lab fees: $25/credit hour (for some specific courses)
  • MAE Practicum Report Printing fee: $25
  • Class Auditing: 75% of semester tuition
  • Graduation fee: $120 for participants and $40 for non-participants.

Student Life and Available Accommodation

According to the United States Department of Education (College Scorecard), the University of Heidelberg enjoys social and diversity, as it comprises Whites, Blacks, Hispanic, Asians, and people of more races. Whites cover a percentage of 75%, Blacks 10%, and 15% is covered by the other races. 

The environment is education-friendly with students open to possibilities that would enable them to contribute to an environment that triggers creative thinking and imagination and would embrace a spirit that promotes good moral values and social cohesion. It is simply a milieu where the spirit of excellence is found, as says its motto.

The cultural diversity gives birth to a cultural blend, as there is a mutual sharing of cultural values and beliefs amongst students. Most of its students consider it home. Students take on social and recreational activities such as sports, clubs, and performances, in the company of friends. Resident Assistants are in charge of resident halls and plan co-events in collaboration with other heads.

Students are allowed to join any group or association of their choice, be it religious, social, or academic. This justifies the existence of numerous groups on campus like the Catholic Newman Club, Online Radio Station, Health Science Organization, Greek Life Council, Alpha Phi Tau, Chamber Orchestra, Anime Club, just to name a few.

Students residing on campus are allowed to receive guests at any hour, provided the latter identify themselves properly with campus security agents.

The bedrooms are fully equipped with all the necessary tools and furniture for students, including the Internet and technological facilities.

A kitchen, lounge, or rec where students can meet and study in all ease is also available at the University of Heidelberg. Good laundry facilities are sound in the basement of the buildings, with free-use laundry in all the blocks.

Some student housing is available through Studierendenwerk, a public organization that provides accommodations and other services to university students.

The Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg can only be compared to the Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich and Technical University of Munich in Germany. These are the 3 best German Universities as of now. Go through their various programs before making a final decision on which to settle.

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