Leuphana University of Lüneburg

Leuphana University of Lüneburg

Sustainability research, cultural research, education, management and entrepreneurship: Through these four science initiatives, in course work and research, Leuphana University of Lüneburg addresses the challenges of civil society in the 21st century. The bodies responsible for these initiatives are the faculties newly established in 2010: Education , Culture , Business und Sustainability . There are research topics spanning multiple faculties – in keeping with developments of current and future relevance – devoted to the Democracy, Digital Media and Health.

Company details

Scharnhorststr. 1 , Lüneburg , D-21335 Germany

Locations Served

Business Type:
Industry Type:
University / Academia / Research
Market Focus:
Nationally (across the country)

Companion to the substantive quality of the curriculum, Leuphana places particular reliance on students' responsibility, curiosity and initiative, on a broad-ranging change in perspective that questions presumably settled knowledge, and on dialogue not only among the various disciplines but between science and practice. The course of study follows a degree model unique to the German higher-education landscape, a model that has already received multiple awards. With its launch of the Digital School in 2013, Leuphana also entered the age of the online universities, where it is setting new standards in social learning.

For its development as a humanistic , action-oriented and sustainable university, in 2007 Leuphana received an award from the business community's innovation agency for the German science system, the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, in its competition devoted to 'Excellence Strategies for Small and Medium-Sized Universities', and in 2010 from the Mercator Foundation and the Volkswagen Foundation for the nationwide competition on 'The Future of Instruction'.

To strengthen Lüneburg as a location for research and business, scientists and the business community are working side by side on visionary projects under unique conditions, as part of the EU-sponsored regional development project for Innovation Incubators. A total of nearly EUR 100 million is flowing into regional economic development. In more than 50 projects, there are some 300 firms in the former Lüneburg district working with teams of researchers on behalf of a broad range of new research and infrastructure projects and measures in education and training. The Incubator places the emphasis on the topics of Digital Media, Health and Sustainable Energy.

Currently a new main building is being built on the University campus as part of the Campus of the Future designed by architect and part-time Leuphana professor Daniel Libeskind.

Leuphana invites motivated and committed people to this workshop for change, individuals who want to become active and are willing to stake out a position on behalf of their convictions. People with passion and a thirst for responsibility, who want to learn from and with one another and discover new points of view – of the world, one another and themselves.

Which cultural foundations and changes leave their mark on our society? How can we preserve our scope of future formative action through sustainable action? How do corporate and social values develop? And how can we create optimal educational opportunities and chances for the future for all?

Culture, sustainability, entrepreneurship, and education – these are the four thematic focuses in research and teaching through which Leuphana University of Lüneburg addresses the future of social commitment to civil society in the 21st century.

Undergraduate studies at Leuphana follow an award-winning study model that is unique in the German academic landscape. Challenging, open, lively, and sustainable: Leuphana College offers students a diversely integrated, interdisciplinary bachelor’s program that allows students to think far beyond disciplinary boundaries. At Graduate School students can choose from various master’s programs with possibilities for interdisciplinary specialization. You can start preparing for your doctoral studies either while still being a master’s student or right after completion of your master’s studies. The Professional School offers those having already joined the job market a wide range of continuing education programs .

Leuphana sets great store not only on the quality of its programs of study, but particularly on the students’ responsibility, curiosity, and initiative as well as on frequently changing perspectives by questioning what seems to be known, and on the dialogue between different disciplines and between science and practice.

Research focuses on the four science initiatives in sustainability research , cultural research , management & entrepreneurship , and educational research/teacher education . To strengthen Lüneburg both as a research location and as an economic stronghold, Leuphana University will realize a large-scale EU project, the so-called Innovation Incubator , in the years ahead. Within the scope of this project, about 100 million euros will flow into the regional economic development. A number of projects have already been planned, such as cooperative research projects, training and continuing education activities as well as infrastructure projects. At the same time, a new central building will be built as part of the Campus of the Future designed by architect and visiting professor Daniel Libeskind.

In recognition of its development as a humanistic, proactive, and sustainable university, Leuphana received an award from the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft (German Science Foundation) within the scope of the competition on “Strategies for Excellence at Small and Medium-sized Universities” in 2007 as well as an award from the Mercator Foundation and the Volkswagen Foundation within the scope of the national competition on “The Future of Teaching”  in 2010.

Guiding principles

  • Humanistic
  • Sustainable
  • Proactive

Students and staff members

  • Students: 7,000 students, thereof approx. 6% international students
  • Intake: 1,800 undergraduate students per year; 700 graduate students per year
  • Professors: 160, thereof 130 full professors, 10 assistant professors, 20 professors receiving third-party salary, and another 5 extraordinary professors plus visiting and research professors
  • Research assistants: 440
  • Scholarship holders: 100
  • Associate lecturers: 300
  • Administrative and technical staff: 420

(Approximate numbers for 2012)


  • 4 faculties: Education , Humanities and Social Sciences , Sustainability , Business and Economics
  • 3 schools: College (bachelor’s studies), Graduate School (master’s and doctoral studies), Professional School (continuing education for professionals)
  • 6 research centers, 1 center of methods, 3 interfaculty institutions

Programs of study

  • College: 12 major subjects, 16 minor subjects (a total of approx. 100 possible combinations of subjects)
  • Graduate School: 3 master’s programs with a total of 14 majors
  • Professional School (studying while working): 10 master's programs , 2 bachelor's programs ,  certificate's programs
  • About 30 institutional partnerships with foreign universities plus about 65 Erasmus partnership universities


Total annual budget: approx. €110.68m Euro (plan for 2013), allocated as follows:

  • Federal state funds: approx. €54.16m
  • Co-financing of EU project 2010-2015: €2.45m
  • Special funds: €10.83m
  • Third party funds: approx. €29.35m
  • Student tuition fees: approx. €4.75m
  • Other: approx. 11.6m

“Innovation Incubator Lüneburg“ EU Project 2010-2015:

  • total of approx. €98m, of which €86m funded by the EU and the Federal State of Lower Saxony.


  • Main Campus on Scharnhorststrasse: 24 buildings with a total floor space of 37,754.34 m², carbon-neutral, environmentally certified, car-free in the future
  • Campus at Rotes Feld: 3 buildings with a total floor space of 9,540.16 m²
  • Campus at Volgershall: 3 buildings with a total floor space of 10,007.77 m²

Honors and awards

  • 2011: 'Place in the Country of Ideas' (Incubator)
  • 2010: International Sustainable Campus Excellence Award
  • 2010: The energy efficient central building planned by Daniel Libeskind is selected for presentation at the German Pavilion at Shanghai World Expo 2010.
  • 2010: Leuphana College wins the “Bologna – the Future of Teaching“ competition funded by the Volkswagen Foundation and the Mercator Foundation in recognition of its bachelor’s study model.
  • 2010: The installation of CO2 traffic lights in seminar and conference rooms is honored as a “Place in the Country of Ideas.”
  • 2009: The planned central building designed by Daniel Libeskind wins the “Architecture with Energy“ design competition of the German Ministry for Economics and Technology in recognition of its sustainable energy concept.
  • 2009: The Lunatic Festival, a sustainable and environmentally friendly music festival, is honored as a “Place in the Country of Ideas.“
  • 2009: The Leuphana Summer Academy, which supports secondary general school students, is honored as “Place in the Country of Ideas.”
  • 2008: The “KUNTIKUM – Vacation in Climate Change” project is honored as a “Place in the Country of Ideas.”
  • 2007: The University wins the “Profile and Cooperation – Strategies for Excellence for Small and Medium-sized Universities” competition of the Stifterverband für die deutsche Wissenschaft (German Science Foundation) and the Heinz Nixdorf Foundation for its development strategy.

Leuphana University of Lüneburg bases its development on an all-encompassing idea of education and on the content and value oriented implementation of its activities. The University sees itself as a

  • Humanistic university
    In its understanding of education, Leuphana combines personal and academic development while placing the process of acquiring knowledge into a concrete context.
  • Sustainable university
    Through its education and research, Leuphana contributes to the sustainable development of society. Leuphana fosters competencies in dealing with complexity, problem-solving in an interdisciplinary manner, engaging in responsible and self-directed learning, developing a readiness and willingness to take on social responsibility or shaping the future in a sustainable manner.
  • Proactive university
    Leuphana fosters the development of responsible and proactive individuals who demonstrate the creativity and thoughtfulness as well as the willingness and ability to creatively shape society. Leuphana contributes significantly to the solution of social problems through research, education, continuing education, and academic services.

The university is called Leuphana University of Lüneburg. What hides behind the name?

In the second century A.D., the Greek scholar Claudius Ptolemy created a detailed map of the world as it was known at the time and called it Geographiké Hyphégesis. This 'geographical manual' was a masterpiece. Even centuries later, it was still regarded as the standard reference work for geography – and it also served as the source of the latitudes as used today. It is in this standard reference work that the name of Leuphana – a settlement in northern Germania near the lower reaches of the Elbe River – was first mentioned. Eventually, Leuphana was identified as the city of Lüneburg in the second edition of Johann Georg Theodor Gräss’ index of the most important Latin place and country names dated 1909.  

Given that the Ptolemaic atlas was composed nearly a thousand years before the city of Lüneburg was founded, this allocation is not entirely uncontroversial. Today it is well known that even the most accurate maps from the time of the Roman Empire do not meet modern standards of accuracy. Thus, the connection between Leuphana and Lüneburg is – as is the case with so many things in science – not hard evidence but remains a hypothesis. 
The opportunities to explore the world were much more restricted at Ptolemy’s time than they are today. Nevertheless, this could not Ptolemy from using what he knew of the world to construct well-grounded theories. The Ptolemaic world view dominated the thinking of mankind for more than a thousand years. Today we know better: In the sixteenth century Copernicus corrected the Ptolemaic model by placing the sun rather than the earth at the center of our planetary system. Nevertheless, the precision of Ptolemy’s calculations of the motion of the planets remained unequalled for nearly 100 years later.

Even today, the passion and curiosity that once distinguished Ptolemy remain one of the most important prerequisites for dynamic scholarship – along with the willingness to learn, to question established knowledge, to test it critically, and to further develop it. By its name of Leuphana, the University of Lüneburg feels strongly committed to the searching spirit of research and studying.