Witten works. In research, teaching and in society. In - and at the interfaces of - health, economics and culture
Witten/Herdecke University (UW/H) was founded and officially recognised in 1982, and ever since has been a pioneer among Germany's higher education institutions. Over a period of 30 years, we have introduced significant innovations in research and teaching. Adhering to Humboldt's educational ideals, we perceive ourselves as an entrepreneurial university and strive to integrate research and student education, provision of scientific services, practical application and social responsibility.
Research at UW/H is interdisciplinary, highly diverse in methodology, and focuses on well-defined areas. As a private university with a moderate percentage of state funding in our budget, we feel obliged to contribute something to society in return for the funds we receive. The social relevance of our chosen fields of research is as important in this respect as is the transparent and generally understandable publication of research findings.
Education is much more than training for the job. In line with Witten didactic methods, student education is problem-oriented, state-of-the-art, and focused on practice. Personal growth is another one of our core objectives.
Interdisciplinary - undisciplined
Following Humboldt's educational concepts, UW/H students study in small groups with an excellent student-teacher ratio. Students are encouraged to think in wider contexts and to assume social responsibility in and beyond a chosen discipline. The economic, ecological and social challenges of the future will certainly not respect the boundaries of academic disciplines.
Witten - fundamental
Fundamental studies are a core element of the Witten/Herdecke identity. They foster out-of-the-box thinking. Here students tackle questions for which we have no ready answers, or for which there may be no answers at all. In an increasingly complex, rapidly changing and insecure world, prospective physicians, entrepreneurs, managers, politicians or consultants need methodical, social, ethical and cultural competences as much as subject-related expertise.
Witten gets involved
In addition to research and student education, civic engagement (the "third mission") has always been part of the UW/H identity. A dedicated spirit of personal development and devotion to the advancement of our society is an essential part of our philosophy and attaches equal importance to social responsibility, student education, and the generation of innovative research results.
Right from the start, Witten/Herdecke University has assumed social responsibility in many forms and at various levels. Taking into consideration our tender age and the comparably small number of 2,100 enrolled students and 400 staff, we have produced an impressive number of social, cultural, commercial and non-profit initiatives.
Witten lies within the boundaries of the Ennepe-Ruhr-Kreis (district) in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The city has a vibrant industrial history whilst at the same time being known as the "Green City" of the "Ruhrgebiet" (the "Ruhr district") - an immense agglomeration partly constituted by the cities of Dortmund, Bochum, Gelsenkirchen, and Essen. It is in Witten that the first coal mines in the region were discovered and that a whole era of the coal and steel industry originated. The early witnesses to this development in the 19th and 20th centuries can still be seen in Witten today: early coal mines and sites of early iron smelting can be found in the "Muttental" - a wooded valley in the southern part of the city.
Located directly at the river Ruhr and surrounded by forests and hills, the city offers beautiful views and various sports opportunities, including mountain and road cycling, canoeing, and climbing. At the same time, it is a centre of music and culture. The "Saalbau" (the city's concert hall) hosts regular concerts by world-famous orchestras and musicians, and the "Werkstadt" organises theatre performances and regional band contests. Not least because of the initiatives of Witten/Herdecke students, the "Wiesenviertel" has begun to emerge as the city's new young quarter, with bars and regular street activities.
The adjacent cities of Dortmund, Essen, Gelsenkirchen, and Bochum offer an even richer spectrum of culture and music, with a broad range of theatres, operas, concert halls, and festivals. Due to Witten's location in central Germany, several large German cities can be reached in a few hours both by train and car. Among these are Cologne (one hour), Bonn (one and a half hours), Frankfurt (two and a half hours), Hamburg (three hours), and Berlin (four hours).
Nevertheless, living expenses in Witten are relatively low and it is easy to find accommodation close to the campus. Various malls in Witten, Dortmund, and Bochum, as well as the city centres, offer shopping opportunities. Thanks to the large number of ethnic groups living here, a colourful variety of foods are available in this university city and its surrounding region.
See also: https://www.uni-wh.de/en/study/applicants/student-life/
Initial contact between new students and Witten/Herdecke University usually takes place in the video-interview during the selection process. As the selection process is accompanied by students who are already enrolled at Witten/Herdecke University, applicants get to know future fellow students on this occasion and develop first personal contacts with the student community. When they then arrive at Witten/Herdecke University for the start of their studies, freshmen have already tapped into the student network. In many cases, fellow students help with a pick-up service from the airport or from the train station, accommodate new students in their shared flats or arrange for private accommodation in order to integrate them into the network. This has the positive side effect that hotel expenses may not be necessary.
Before classes start, second-year students arrange two so-called "welcome weeks" for new students. Participation of freshmen is voluntary, but almost all new students attend these welcome weeks. In the first week, all students spend time together at a separate location in order to get to know each other and to start student life with common experiences. In the second week new students are introduced to the university and surroundings and the university presents itself to the students.
On the first day of classes, the faculty welcomes the new students in an informal ceremony.
Services and support for international students
International students receive support from the international relations coordinators of the respective faculty. This support includes the sending of a welcome package including information on registration, important semester dates, contact persons, as well as life in Witten. Furthermore, international coordinators and student assistants organise a pick-up service at the airport or the train station and help with administrative issues such as registration, opening a bank account or visiting local authorities for visa issues. Witten/Herdecke University offers German language courses at beginners' and advanced level free of charge for registered students. Foreign languages can be learned in a Tandem System, which pairs native speakers with non-native speakers. Course programme coordinators assist with course registration and study plan issues.
Witten/Herdecke University does not run a dormitory, but nearby towns provide many opportunities for flat renting. The student union (Hochschulwerk) runs a platform with information on available accommodation in Witten and surroundings. Furthermore, international relations officers and student assistants help in finding off-campus accommodation, e.g. in shared flats. As new students come to Witten/Herdecke University for the selection process, they make contact with student community networks on this occasion and can also receive help from fellow students in finding private accommodation.