02 June 2009, No. 20/2009

Humboldt Rankings: Which are Germany’s internationally most attractive universities?

Munich dominates in the life sciences and natural sciences; Darmstadt heads the field in engineering, Berlin in the humanities

Natural Sciences (2004 to 2008)
Natural sciences (2004 to 2008)
Table: Humboldt Foundation
Humanities, law and social sciences (2004 to 2008)
Humanities, law and social
(2004 to 2008)

Table: Humbodt Foundation
Life sciences (2004-2008)
Life sciences
(2004 to 2008)

Table: Humboldt Foundation
Engineering sciences (2004-2008)
Engineering sciences
(2004 to 2008)

Table: Humboldt Foundation

What are the top addresses for first-rate foreign academics in Germany? The indicator for the Humboldt Rankings is the number of research stays undertaken by fellows and award winners sponsored by the Foundation at German research institutions. Between 2004 and 2008, Humboldtians took part in 5,128 extended research stays in Germany.

First place in the natural sciences goes to Munich’s University of Technology, TUM, with 105 research stays, followed by Munich University, LMU, in second place (99) and Heidelberg University in third (86). 

In the humanities, law and social sciences most Humboldtians chose Berlin Free University (125 research stays), ahead of Berlin’s Humboldt University (120) and LMU (109).

In the life sciences LMU is the front-runner (38 research stays), followed by TUM (29) and Freiburg University (26).

The most popular host for engineering scientists is Darmstadt’s University of Technology, TU Darmstadt (37 research stays), ahead of RWTH Aachen University which shares second place with Stuttgart University (29 each).

Every stay is the result of a decision to select a host and research partner in Germany and makes a statement about just how attractive Germany is in general for cutting-edge researchers from abroad; about the disciplines in which German research is so good that it wins the international contest for the best minds; and about which German scientists and scholars foster particularly intensive international contacts. Humboldtians do, after all, choose their own host and make their own decisions based on his or her academic performance and international visibility. So, being near the top of the Humboldt Rankings is an important indicator for international contacts and reputation.


The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation annually enables more than 1,900 researchers from all over the world to spend time researching in Germany. The Foundation maintains a network of some 23,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in 130 countries worldwide - including 41 Nobel Prize winners.


Kristina Güroff
Barbara Wieners-Horst
Kerstin De Giorgio
Press and Communications
Tel.: +49 228 833-144/257
Fax: +49 228 833-441

Georg Scholl
Head of
Press and Communications
Tel.: +49 228 833-258
Fax: +49 228 833-441

Further information