The university's history

Trace the university's journey from a teachers' seminary to a university of education entitled to award post-doctoral degrees (habilitation).

18th century - The beginnings

Teachers were already being trained in Karlsruhe in the middle of the 18th century. In 1757, the first training and examination regulations were issued for prospective teachers. In 1768, the teachers' seminary was founded in Karlsruhe. It was linked in terms of its organisational structure to what was then the "Gymnasium illustre" on today's Kaiserstraße between Marktplatz and the Kleine Kirche am Markt. Under the leadership of Johann Leonhard Waltz, years of consolidation followed from 1768 to 1791. From 1791 to 1802, J. Lorenz Boeckmann introduced a series of reforms.

19th century - New seminary building at Bismarckstraße 10

From 1802 to 1814, there was a decline in the number of applicants and in 1809 the teachers' seminary was temporarily closed. In 1807, the old building of the teachers' seminary on the Marktplatz was demolished. In 1823, the seminary was reopened as a Protestant teachers' seminary at Markgrafenstraße 48 under the direction of Wilhelm Heinrich Katz (1763-1851) and the pedagogical leadership of Wilhelm Stern (1792-1873), a student of Pestalozzi.

In 1829, a state ministry decree was issued that made attendance at the teachers' seminary compulsory for all Protestant prospective teachers in Baden. In the following year, the seminary was provided with its own building on the corner of Akademie- and Hans-Thoma-Straße with an adjoining boarding school. In 1865, the directorship of the seminary passed from Wilhelm Stern to Ferdinand Leutz.

In 1870, a new, larger seminary building was opened at Bismarckstraße 10, the current address of the main campus of the University of Education Karlsruhe. The neo-Renaissance style building was designed by the Karlsruhe architect, government building surveyor and university lecturer Heinrich Lang (1824 - 1893), a student of Heinrich Hübsch and Friedrich Eisenlohr. Lang was particularly famous for his outstanding achievements in designing school buildings, because he understood how to translate the requirements of the reformed educational system into functional architecture.

However, the increased number of young people interested in entering the teaching profession necessitated the opening of a second teachers' seminary as early as 1875, which was set up as a biconfessional teachers' seminary in view of the interdenominational school (Simultanschule) that was to be introduced as the standard school form in Baden the following year. In 1926, both teachers' seminaries as well as the female teachers' seminary (Prinzessin Wilhelm Stift), founded in 1873, were merged into the Karlsruhe Teachers' Training College. Unlike in Prussia, however, attending a teachers' training college was not yet considered completing a university programme, but rather a two-year course of training. (Source:

photo credit: "Schmuckbild Lehrerseminar 1888 bis 1891" Stadtarchiv Karlsruhe 8/PBS IV 292

The decorative image shows photographs from the years 1888 to 1891, when the university still was a teachers' seminary. It was taken from the estate of Philipp Scholl (bottom right picture) by courtesy of his granddaughter Gisela Forkert, née Scholl, who kindly made the document available to the Karlsruhe City Archive and our university.

20th century - The Teachers' Training College becomes the Karlsruhe University of Education

In the years 1931 to 1934, the Karlsruhe Teachers' Training College was closed due to the lack of career prospects for students. In the years 1936 to 1942, the college became a university of teacher education, which was called Staatliche Lehrerbildungsanstalt (State Teachers' Training College) from 1942 to 1952.

In 1944, during the war, the building at Bismarckstraße was destroyed in a bombing raid. In 1952, the State Teachers' Training College became the Pedagogical Institute.In 1957, the reconstruction of the building at Bismarckstraße 10 was completed.

The following year, the law on the training of primary school teachers (Gesetz über die Ausbildung der Volksschullehrer) established the legal basis for transforming the Pedagogical Institute into a university. 29 May 1962 is the official founding date of the Karlsruhe University of Education. In 1965, the statutes of the university were approved by the state government, and in 1971, all universities of education in Baden-Württemberg were transformed into independent academic institutions. In 1977, the law on universities of education (Gesetz über die Pädagogischen Hochschulen, PHG) consolidated this status by stipulating a specific research assignment in Educational Sciences and Teaching Methodology and awarding the limited right to confer doctoral degrees.

Ten years later, the PHG was amended to fully authorise the university to confer doctoral degrees, which was followed by the awarding of the limited right to confer post-doctoral degrees (habilitation) in 1995.The same year saw the adoption of the so-called "Fakultätsmodell" (faculty model), which involved the restructuring of the five faculties into three. In the following year, a cooperation agreement with the University of Karlsruhe (today: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, KIT) facilitated the awarding of a joint right to confer post-doctoral degrees (habilitation). In 1999, the first degree programme in Teacher Education - Bilingual Course (BLL/CLIL) was introduced.

Today - University Council, right to confer post-doctoral degrees and system accreditation

In 2000, the PHG is amended and the University Council is introduced as the university's supervisory body. One year later, the first degree programme in Teacher Education for Secondary Schools I is launched. Thanks to a new regulation in the act on higher education of the Land of Baden-Württemberg (Landeshochschulgesetz Baden-Württemberg, LHG), at the beginning of 2005, the universities of teacher education are fully authorised to confer post-doctoral degrees (habilitation).

In April 2007, tuition fees are introduced at all state universities in Baden-Württemberg. In the same year, the bachelor's programmes in "Physical Activity, Health and Recreation" (Sport-Gesundheit-Freizeitbildung) and "Language Promotion and Physical Education" are launched.

In addition, the extension subject and the certificate of advanced studies (CAS) in Islamic Theology/Religious Education are introduced. As the main campus at Bismarckstraße has become too small, the Institute of Social Sciences is moved to new premises at Erzbergerstraße. In July 2008, the trinational master's programme in Multilingualism is accredited and the first students are admitted in the winter semester 2008/2009. More new master's programmes follow, such as the one in Intercultural Education, Migration and Multilingualism (Interkulturelle Bildung, Migration und Mehrsprachigkeit), which was one of the first of its kind in Germany when it was introduced in the winter semester 2009/2010.

In September 2020, the university's quality management system successfully passes the system accreditation procedure. Since then, the university has been able to accredit its degree programmes itself – without the need for assessment by external third parties.

Last updated: 16.01.2024
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