Bielefeld University was founded in 1969 with an explicit research assignment and a mission to provide high-quality research-oriented teaching. Today it encompasses 13 faculties covering a broad spectrum of disciplines in the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and technology. With about 20,000 students in 107 degree courses (in German) and about 4,500 staff members (including approx. 1,700 academic staff) it is one of Germany's medium-sized universities.
Since its foundation the University has been guided by the paradigm of interdisciplinarity, as today's complex problems can no longer be adequately tackled through mono-disciplinary approaches alone. Here interdisciplinarity stands for a spectrum of multiperspectival approaches of different kinds and intensities. As the architectural expression of its interdisciplinarity, the University unites - uniquely in Germany - almost all its departments in a single building. This striking structure brings people working in different disciplines together in close proximity. The culture of communication fostered between students and teaching staff as well as between researchers, management, and administration is characterised by great openness towards new and unconventional ideas. This culture formed the backdrop to important course-setting decisions and has contributed decisively to the University's successes. The establishment of the Faculty of Technology in 1990 and of the Faculty of Health Sciences - the only such Faculty of its kind in Germany - in 1994 are both prominent examples of the University's capacity for institutional renewal.
The University's research profile pursues major scientifically and socially relevant themes, focusing primarily on the extremely productive interfaces between disciplines. In teaching as well, Bielefeld University stands out through its specific, transdisciplinary, and highly networked profile.
All major rankings and evaluations confirm that Bielefeld has one of the best and most service-oriented university libraries in Germany.