University of Vienna

Global Influence
Public university in Vienna, Austria

University of Vienna Featured Rankings

About University of Vienna

By James Barham, PhD

The University of Vienna was founded by the Habsburg ruler, Rudolf IV, Duke of Austria. This monarch was known as “Rudolf der Stifter” [Rudolf the Founder] on account of his fondness for building new cathedrals and monasteries, as well as the university. He may also have been motivated by rivalry with his Central European peers, the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles IV (who had established Charles University in Prague just a few years earlier, in 1348) and Casimir III (known as “Casimir the Great”), King of Poland (who had founded Jagiellonian University in Kraków one year earlier, in 1364).

Vienna is the oldest university, under continuous operation, in the present-day German-speaking lands (the oldest one in Germany proper being Heidelberg University, dating to 1386). Rudolf closely modeled its structure and curriculum on those of the University of Paris. Over the centuries, the school has experienced many ups and downs: at one point—during the first Siege of Vienna by Ottoman Turkish forces in 1529—its student body was reduced to a mere 30 souls.

Now, almost 500 years later, the university has certainly recovered handsomely: its present student population numbers around 94,000. Around one quarter of these are international students hailing from some 138 different countries.

As for notable alumni, during the early sixteenth century the influential Protestant reformer Ulrich Zwingli and the famous alchemist Paracelsus (Theophrastus von Hohenheim) both studied there.

The nineteenth century saw a long list of illustrious persons pass through the university’s gates, of which we may mention the following:

  • Poet, playwright, and novella-writer, Franz Grillparzer
  • Novella-writer and novelist, Adalbert Stifter
  • Gregor Mendel, the Augustinian monk who laid the foundations for population genetics
  • Marxist political thinker, Karl Kautsky
  • Physicist Christian Doppler, co-discoverer (with Hippolyte Fizeau) of the Doppler effect
  • Physicist Ludwig Boltzmann, founder of statistical mechanics
  • Composers Anton Bruckner & Gustav Mahler
  • Economist Carl Menger, co-discoverer (with W.S. Jevons and Léon Walras) of the subjective theory of value and founder of the Austrian School of Economics
  • Economist Eugen Böhm-Bawerk, Austrian Finance Minister and second-generation exponent of Austrian economics
  • Philosopher, Franz Brentano
  • Eminent physicist and philosopher, Ernst Mach
  • Founding fathers of psychoanalysis, Joseph Breuer and Sigmund Freud

During the twentieth century, some 20 University of Vienna–connected people have won the Nobel Prize, including:

  • Erwin Schrödinger—physics
  • Max Perutz & Hans Fischer—chemistry
  • Karl von Frisch and Konrad Lorenz—physiology or medicine
  • Friedrich Hayek—economics
  • Bulgarian-born essayist-memoirist, Elias Canetti—literature
  • Bosnian-born novelist, Ivo Andrić—literature

Other prominent, twentieth-century University of Vienna–connected persons include the following:

  • Composer, Anton Webern
  • Poet and dramatist, Hugo von Hofmannsthal
  • Influential satirist and cultural critic, Karl Kraus
  • Poet, Ingeborg Bachmann
  • Distinguished novelists, Stefan Zweig, Arthur Schnitzler, Joseph Roth, Hermann Broch, Heimito von Doderer, Gregor von Rezzori, & Elfriede Jelinek
  • Anti-Communist memoirist, novelist, and all-around intellectual gadfly, Arthur Koestler
  • Distinguished art historian, Ernst Gombrich
  • Film directors, Otto Preminger, Billy Wilder, & Michael Haneke
  • Second-generation psychoanalysts, Wilhelm Reich, Alfred Adler, Otto Rank, Erik Erikson, & Bruno Bettelheim
  • Existential psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl
  • Distinguished jurist and legal philosopher, Hans Kelsen
  • Philosopher, statesman, and first President of Czechoslovakia, Tomáš Masaryk
  • Economists, Ludwig von Mises & Joseph Schumpeter
  • Kurt Gödel, one of the greatest mathematicians and logicians of the twentieth century
  • Philosophers, Edmund Husserl, Alexius Meinong, Moritz Schlick, Rudolf Carnap, Otto Neurath, Karl Popper, & Paul Feyerabend
  • Physicists, Paul Ehrenfest & Lise Meitner

According to Wikipedia, The University of Vienna is a public research university located in Vienna, Austria. It was founded by Duke Rudolph IV in 1365 and is the oldest university in the German-speaking world. With its long and rich history, the university has developed into one of the largest universities in Europe, and also one of the most renowned, especially in the Humanities. It is associated with 21 Nobel prize winners and has been the academic home to many scholars of historical as well as of academic importance.

University of Vienna's Online Degrees

What Is University of Vienna Known For?

University of Vienna is known for it's academic work in the following disciplines:

University of Vienna's Top Areas of Influence With Degrees Offered

Who Are University of Vienna's Most Influential Alumni?

University of Vienna's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Psychology, Medical, and Earth Sciences. Here are some of University of Vienna's most famous alumni:

Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
An Austrian neurologist known as the founding father of psychoanalysis.
Max Weber
Max Weber
A German sociologist, philosopher, and political economist .
Karl Popper
Karl Popper
An Austrian-British philosopher of science and social and political philosopher noted for falsificationism and for criticism of Plato, Hegel and Marx as totalitarian opponents of open society .
Friedrich Hayek
Friedrich Hayek
An Austrian and British economist.
Kurt Gödel
Kurt Gödel
An Austrian-American logician, mathematician, and philosopher of mathematics .
Edmund Husserl
Edmund Husserl
A German philosopher, known as the father of phenomenology.
Erwin Schrödinger
Erwin Schrödinger
A Nobel Prize-winning Austrian-Irish physicist.
Ludwig von Mises
Ludwig von Mises
An Austrian-American economist.
Rudolf Carnap
Rudolf Carnap
A German philosopher.
Ludwig Boltzmann
Ludwig Boltzmann
An Austrian physicist.
Joseph Schumpeter
Joseph Schumpeter
An Austrian economist.
Alfred Adler
Alfred Adler
An Austrian psychiatrist and psychotherapist .

Image Attributions