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The Universities of Education in Baden-Württemberg - Institutions Specializing in the Educational Sciences - Unique in Europe

The Universities of Education – A forward looking Concept

Baden-Württemberg is the only federal state in Germany to have a type of university specializing in the educational sciences: the six Universities of Education (PHs) in Freiburg, Heidelberg, Karlsruhe, Ludwigsburg, Schwäbisch Gmünd and Weingarten/Württemberg. When in the other federal states of Germany teacher training was integrated into the universities in the 1970s and 1980s, Baden-Württemberg retained the Universities of Education, so that these were able to strengthen their profile in educational, teaching and learning research. The courses of study offered at the Universities of Education aim to promote the academic professionalization of the whole range of educational professions. On the one hand, they are responsible for the academic qualification of the teachers of tomorrow and in particular have become high-powered centres of teaching and research in the field of subject didactics. On the other hand, they offer numerous Bachelor´s and Master´s courses of study in the educational sciences, for example in the areas of childhood pedagogy, cultural and health education, interculturality and multilingualism, German as a second and foreign language, media studies and environmental education.



The Universities of Education are characterized by intensive activities in basic research focusing on educational science and also applied research related to education in a wide range of disciplines. This includes, for example, empirical teaching/learning research, institution-related educational research, classroom research and research into professionalization.

Research is carried out at Universities of Education at a national and international level and in cooperation with other universities and research institutions. For this purpose, several million euros of external funding are raised every year by the Universities of Education. External funding sources are, for example, the German Research Foundation (DFG), the EU and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).


Advancement of Young Researchers

Universities of Education are entitled to grant degrees at both the doctoral and postdoctoral level. They therefore ear a great responsibility for the advancement of young researchers in the fields of educational science and subject didactics. The relevant discipline-based, interdisciplinary and, in some cases, inter-university research seminars at the PHs provide numerous doctoral students and young postdoctoral researchers with an outstanding environment for academic exchange. A special feature is the Graduate Academy graph which is shared by the six Universities of Education. Their summer and winter schools, organized on an annual basis, are in demand throughout the region and are also popular with young researchers from universities further away. Students have the opportunity, at an early stage, to “learn by doing research” and to participate in various research projects.


Courses of Study

The courses of study offered at the Universities of Education aim to promote the professionalization of the entire range of educational professions, thus providing the qualification for educational professions in all areas of society and for all age groups. The academic content is geared to the rigorous requirements of the subsequent fields of work. Here, questions of upbringing and education are closely linked with subject didactics, subject science, and also everyday practice in schools. One of the principal strengths of the Universities of Education lies in this interlinking of practice with in-depth subject knowledge. Practical experience is integrated in the course of studies from the first semester onwards.

The courses of study offered range from studying for the teaching profession at primary schools, secondary schools, vocational schools and in special need education. The Universities of Education are integrated in studies for the teaching profession at grammar schools by means of cooperation agreements with the non-specialized universities. In the case of qualification for the teaching profession in vocational schools – offered at five Universities of Education in cooperation with Universities of Applied Sciences – there is in each case a variety of different focuses, for example Mechatronics, Automation Technology, Energy Technology or Production Technology. Studying special needs education, which is offered at two Universities of Education, is geared to the requirements of the upbringing and education of children, young people and young adults with a need for special education, counselling and support; this also includes learning about effective cooperation and inclusion processes. In addition, three Universities of Education offer the European teaching certificate for primary schools and two offer the European certificate for Secondary Level I; these are the only under-graduate course of studies anywhere in Germany for bilingual teaching and learning, attracting students interest in the programme from all over the country. The course of studies qualifies students to teach a subject bilingually, in the languages English and French.

In addition, the Universities of Education offer a comprehensive range of courses in educational science for Bachelor´s and Master´s programmes dealing with out-of-school activities. In this area each PH has its own priorities and its own profile.


Further Education

All the Universities of Education offer an excellent range of advanced scientific education, in particular in the field of further and in-service training. Some of these are provided by the university´s own institutions, associated academics or further training centres. The offerings range from in-house further training to advanced courses of study where a Bachelor´s or Master´s degree can be obtained.


International Activities

All the Universities of Education cultivate intensive research and training contacts with numerous partner universities in Europe and around the world. There is a lively exchange between students, teachers resp. scientists, which is coordinated by the International Office of each university. The numerous internationally established research projects also include EU projects which are coordinated by the Universities of Education, or in which they participate as partners.


Detailed information about the various Universites of Education can also be found at the shared Internet portal