Zeppelin University

Zeppelin University (German: Zeppelin Universität, ZU) is a small and highly selective[1][2] private research university located at Lake Constance in Friedrichshafen, Germany. It is named after the German general and airship constructor Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin, whose foundation is the main financier of Zeppelin University.[3] The university was established in 2003 and is known for its avant-garde character as well as for a sophisticated selection. On 10. September 2011, ZU was being bestowed the right to award doctorate and habilitation.[4] This comes along with the right to use the title "university" (German: Universität).

Zeppelin University has the legal form of a non-profit, limited liability organization and calls itself "university bridging business, culture and politics". Thus it stresses the multi-disciplinary character of research and teaching that is an integral part of its self-image. The university is accredited nationally by the Academic Council of the Federal Republic of Germany (Wissenschaftsrat). The undergraduate major courses are accredited by ACQUIN, a German higher education accreditation agency.

Coordinates: 47°39′31″N 9°26′02″E / 47.65861°N 9.43389°E

Zeppelin University
Logo of Zeppelin University
Motto"Bridging Business, Culture and Politics"
EstablishedJune 2003
PresidentProf. Dr. Insa Sjurts
Administrative staff
224 (2018)
Students1,060 (2018)
Location, ,
CampusLake Campus, FN
ZF Campus, FN
Professors28 (2019)


Zeppelin University has two main campuses in Friedrichshafen: One right on the banks of Lake Constance (the LakeCampus or SMH) and the nearby ZFCampus (or FAB3), which was built from 2013 to 2015 to create more space for the quickly growing university. It was funded by a donation of the partner ZF Friedrichshafen of 20 million Euro. Both campuses are modern, designed by well-known architects, and contain classrooms, lecture halls, offices, cafeterias, a library, a fitness studio and a wing free to use solely by students as a coworking space. From 2007 to 2008 (until the closure of the airport), Zeppelin University had an additional location in the foyer of Tempelhof International Airport in Berlin, the so-called “Institute for the Art of Swimming on Air”.

In 2018 the Fallenbrunnen campus was honored with an architecture award of the Deutschen Architekturmuseums for being one of four new exceptional constructions in Germany.[5] Morover the university was also honored with the "Deutscher Hochschulbaupreis 2018" from the Deutschen Universitätsstiftung.[6]

Academic profile

Students can graduate with the academic degree of a Bachelor of Arts (B.A. with 240 ECTS - 8 semesters) and a consecutive, as well as a non-consecutive, Master of Arts or Master of Science (M.A. / M.Sc. with 120 ECTS - 4 semesters). Furthermore, the university also offers dual executive programs, as well as development programs for companys.

The university offers Bachelor courses in the field of Liberal arts education.

Starting from fall semester 2011, the Zeppelin University converted the duration of all its undergraduate studies into 4-year programs. Accordingly, the ECTS amount increased from 180 to 240 credits, whereby Bachelor graduates can finish their postgraduate studies after 2 semesters (60 credits). The additional year is intended to be used as "Humboldt-year", a one-year research project at one of the partner universities. In order to allow this, the academic calendar of the Zeppelin University is oriented towards the international term plans.

Partner universities

The Zeppelin University holds partnerships with some 85 partner universities[7] all around the world, some of which are:

Tuition fees and scholarships

The tuition for the undergraduate programs amounts from 4.140 to 4.740 Euro per semester, varying the area of expertise. In total the amount for the hole studies sums up to 33.120 Euro or 37.920 Euro. For the postgraduate programs, the tuition amounts between 4.380 Euro and 7.612 Euro per semester.

Students which don't get a scholarship are nevertheless offered a student loan of Sparkasse Bodensee, that is offered at a relatively low interest rate and is used by more than two thirds of the students.[8] Alternatively, students can apply for the "ZU-Bildungsfonds", which funds the students in a reversal generation contract format.

Selection process

Applicants are selected by the university in a two-step selection process: after a detailed written application, in which the first selection is made, candidates will be invited to an assessment day (Pioneers Wanted). Thereby, the candidates undergo a program consisting of several interviews with professors, students, alumni, and external reviewers, as well as written tests. Furthermore, they have to accomplish a realistic project which is introduced by an associated organisation, whereby a problem has to be solved as a group and must be presented afterwards in front of the assessment committee.[9]

The selection procedure of ZU is being considered as outstandingly sophisticated, also because of its deviating modalities compared to other universities: ZU deliberately refrain from the solely use of a numerus clausus (which is widely prevalent in German educational landscape), but instead tries to find personalities which - besides accomplishing the required performance - also fit to the university's character.[1] Therefore, the university currently has an undergraduate acceptance rate, which is lower than 10% and a graduate acceptance rate of about 16%.[10]

Engagement and student projects

There are some 59 student groups and projects, such as groups affiliated with political parties (LHG, Jusos, RCDS), a debating club (Soapbox), the Club of International Politics (CIP),[11] a Model United Nations group (MUN), which also organizes LakeMun, entrepreneurial groups, a cultural club which also organizes a music festival at the university (SeeKult), a student medical service(ZUFA), a filming group, several bands and many more - some of them are even known nationwide (e.g. RockYourLife). In 2008, the student radio station Welle20 went on air.[12] In the last few years new initiatives have emerged for example the "ZUtaten" career fair, or the student consulting group "Whyknot". There is also an ERASMUS group named "International Student Group" and the "Hochschulsport" club which organises several sport activities such as volleyball, cheerleading, lacrosse, rowing, etc.

Research institutes

The Zeppelin University has some integrated interdisciplinay research institutes which are partly funded by external donations. These include, among others the Leadership Excellence Institute Zeppelin (LEIZ), which is promoted by Karl Schlecht Stiftung, the Friedrichshafener Institut für Familienunternehmen (Institute for family business), the Forschungszentrum für Verbraucher, Markt und Politik (a research institute for consumers, markets and politics), and the European Center for Sustainability Research promoted by Audi and Rolls-Royce Power Systems.


Zeppelin University is a small and exclusive[1] private university and offers fewer programs than traditional universities in Germany. Due to its young age and small size, it typically goes unranked in international comparisons. Nevertheless,in the magazine Handelsblatt Karriere, edition 07/08 dated April 27, 2007, Zeppelin University has appeared in a university ranking for the first time. It has instantly reached eighth place with its economic program.[13]

In the most reputable German Ranking, the CHE University Ranking, which was published by ZEIT Studienführer 2014/15, the university was able to reach the first place with “Corporate Management & Economics” (CME), while Politics, Administration & International Relations (PAIR) was ranked among the three best Political Science programs. In 2011/12 the Communication & Cultural Management program was ranked first place by CHE.[14] The Sociology, Politics, and Economics degree is not ranked, due to its multidisciplinarity.


  1. ^ a b c SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg, Germany (17 April 2013). "Zeppelin Universität ist bekannt für ihr hartes Auswahlverfahren". SPIEGEL ONLINE. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  2. ^ "Mediathek". Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  3. ^ Regarding the official status, see Hochschulrektorenkonferenz, Hochschulkompass (German)
  4. ^ "Akkreditierte Studiengänge - Zentrale Datenbank". Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  5. ^ "DAM-Preis - Finalisten - DAM Preis 2018". www.dam-preis.de. Retrieved 2019-02-06.
  6. ^ "ZU Friedrichshafen erhält den "Deutschen Hochschulbaupreis 2018"". Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  7. ^ "Partner Universities". www.zeppelin-university.com. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
  8. ^ Am Strand der guten Hoffnung, in: brand eins, January 2005
  9. ^ ZU: Application
  10. ^ "zu in zahlen". Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  11. ^ "CIP". CIP. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
  12. ^ https://www.zu.de/studium-weiterbildung/das-studium/studentische-projekte.php
  13. ^ "Zeppelin University unter den Top 10 der deutschen Unis". Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  14. ^ "Rankings". www.zu.de (in German). Retrieved 2017-06-07.
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Lower Saxony
North Rhine-Westphalia

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