Encyclopedia of International Higher Education Systems and Institutions

Living Edition
| Editors: Pedro Teixeira (Editor-in-Chief), Jung Cheol Shin (Editor-in-Chief)

Higher Education Systems and Institutions, Germany

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-9553-1_369-1

Higher Education Systems Development

The German system of higher education is widely known as the “Humboldtian system,” an ideal developed by Wilhelm von Humboldt around the turn of the eighteenth to the nineteenth century and to some extent embodied in the foundation of the University of Berlin in 1810. The model is characterized by the unity of teaching and research, the close community of scholars (i.e., students and academic staff), and academic freedom, i.e., the right of universities to regulate their academic affairs and the right of academic staff to choose their research topics and do their teaching based on these. Of course, the oldest universities in Germany were much older than the University of Berlin having been established toward the end of the fourteenth and beginning of the fifteenth century.

Today German higher education is characterized by three essential principles. The first principleis that the 16 German states are responsible for all educational matters...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. BMBF. various years. Grund- und Strukturdaten. Bonn: BMBFGoogle Scholar
  2. Borgwardt, A. 2013. Hochschulräte und Hochschulsteuerung. Zwischen Beratung und Kontrolle. Berlin: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.Google Scholar
  3. Boyer, E.L., P.G. Altbach, and M.J. Whitelaw. 1994. The academic profession: An international perspective. Carnegie Foundation: Princeton.Google Scholar
  4. Buschle, N., and C. Haider. 2016. Private Hochschulen in Deutschland. In Wista, ed. Statistisches Bundesamt, 1, 75–86.Google Scholar
  5. Destatis. 2015. Finanzen der Hochschulen. Fachserie 11, Reihe 4.5. Wiesbaden: Destatis.Google Scholar
  6. Destatis. 2016a. Personal an Hochschulen. Wiesbaden: Destatis.Google Scholar
  7. Destatis. 2016b. Studierende an Hochschulen. Wiesbaden: Destatis.Google Scholar
  8. Destatis. 2016c. Prüfungen an Hochschulen. Wiesbaden: Destatis.Google Scholar
  9. Destatis. 2018. Bildung und Kultur. Studierende an Hochschulen. Fachserie 11, Reihe 4.1. Wiesbaden: Destatis.Google Scholar
  10. DZHW. 2016. Finanzierung der Hochschulen in Deutschland. Hannover: DZHW.Google Scholar
  11. Fumasoli, T., G. Goastellec, and B.M. Kehm, eds. 2015. Academic work and careers in Europe: Trends, challenges, perspectives. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  12. Hochschulrektorenkonferenz. 2015. Hochschulen in Zahlen 2015. https://www.hrk.de/uploads/media/2015-05-13_Final_Hochschulen_in_Zahlen_2015_fuer_Internet.pdf. Accessed 27 Mar 2017.
  13. Imboden-Bericht. 2016. Internationale Expertenkommission zur Evaluation der Exzellenzinitiative. Endbericht. www.gwk-bonn.de/fileadmin/Papers/Imboden-Bericht-2016.pdf.
  14. Kehm, B.M. 1999. Higher education in Germany. Developments, problems, and perspectives. Bucarest/Wittenberg: UNESCO-CEPES/Institut für Hochschulforschung.Google Scholar
  15. Kehm, B.M. 2014. New forms of university governance in Germany: Autonomy, self-governance and the distribution of authority. In International trends in University governance. Autonomy, self-government and the distribution of authority, ed. M. Shattock, 17–33. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Kehm, B.M. 2015. Academics and new higher education professionals: Tensions, reciprocal influences and forms of professionalisation. In Academic work and careers in Europe: Trends, challenges, perspectives, ed. T. Fumasoli, G. Goastellec, and B.M. Kehm, 177–200. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  17. Kehm, B.M., and U. Lanzendorf, eds. 2006. Reforming university governance. Changing conditions for research in four European countries. Bonn: Lemmens.Google Scholar
  18. Kehm, B.M., and P. Pasternack. 2008. The German ‘excellence initiative’ and its role in Restructurring the National Higher education landscape. In Structuring mass higher education: The role of elite institutions, ed. D. Palfreyman and T. Tapper, 113–127. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Krücken, G., A. Blümel, and K. Kloke. 2009. Towards organizational actorhood of universities: Occupational and organizational change within German university administrations. Speyer: Deutsches Forschungsinstitut für Öffentliche Verwaltung.Google Scholar
  20. Schneijderberg, C., and N. Merkator. 2013. The new higher education professionals. In The academic profession in Europe: New tasks and new challenges, ed. B.M. Kehm and U. Teichler, 53–92. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Teichler, U., and E.A. Höhle, eds. 2013. The work situation of the academic profession in Europe: Findings of a survey in twelve countries. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  22. Teichler, U., A. Arimoto, and W.K. Cummings. 2013. The changing academic profession. Major findings of a comparative study. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Whitchurch, C. 2008. Beyond administration and management: Reconstructing the identities of professional staff in UK higher education. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management 30 (4): 375–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Woisch, A., and J. Willige. 2015. Internationale Mobilität im Studium 2015. Projektbericht. Hannover: HIS.Google Scholar

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Education, Robert Owen Centre for Educational ChangeUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Barbara M. Kehm
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Education, Robert Owen Centre for Educational ChangeUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUnited Kingdom