Groningen University

Groningen University

University of Groningen
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Latin: 'Academia Groningana'
Motto Verbum domini lucerna pedibus nostris
Motto in English "The word of the Lord is a light for our feet"
Established 1614
Type State University
President Professor Sibrand Poppema
Rector Professor Elmer Sterken
Academic staff 5,000 employees
Students 27,699
Location Groningen, Netherlands

The University of Groningen (Dutch: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen), located in the city of Groningen, was founded in 1614. It is one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands as well as one of its largest. Since its inception more than 200,000 students have graduated. It is a member of the distinguished international Coimbra Group of European universities.

In April 2013, according to the results of the International Student Barometer, the University of Groningen, for the third time in a row, has been voted the best University of the Netherlands. In 2014 the university celebrates its 400th anniversary and has planned various activities in and around the city of Groningen. For one month, from May 15 till June 15, Groningen is immersed in a festive program RUG400 around the theme "For Infinity" (4 ∞).[1]

The University of Groningen has nine faculties, nine graduate schools, 27 research centres and institutes, and more than 175 degree programmes.


The University of Groningen (Dutch: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, RUG) is organized in nine faculties that offer programmes and courses in the fields of Humanities, Social Sciences, Law, Economics and Business, Spatial Sciences, Life Sciences, and Natural Sciences and Technology. Each faculty (cf., College in the USA or School in Europe) is a formal grouping of academic degree programmes, schools and institutes, discipline areas, research centres, and/or any combination of these drawn together for educational purposes. Each faculty offers Bachelor's, Master's, PhD, and Exchange programmes, while some also offer short certificate courses.

Facts & Figures[2]

Template:Infobox world university ranking

  • 27,500 students (incl. 3750 international students)
  • 6,213 first-year students (10,3% share of Dutch market)
  • 48% of the 1,500 PhD students are international
  • 6,500 employees (almost 20% international)
  • 498 professors, 69 associate professors, 92 professors by special appointment (including University Medical Center Groningen, UMCG)
  • 49 bachelor's and 146 master's degree programmes
  • 19 bachelor's degree programmes are taught in English
  • 101 master's degree programmes (of which 10 double degree programmes) are taught in English
  • 16 research master's programmes
  • 9 faculties, 9 graduate schools
  • 597 mln euro annual turnover

The University of Groningen is in the top 3 of European research universities in the fields of: Ecology, Material Sciences, Chemistry and Astronomy. Other strong research groups are in: Nanoscience, Physics, Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Medical Sciences, Neurosciences, Sociology, Philosophy, Theology, Archaeology and Arts. Every year more than 5,000 research publications go to print and an average of 260 PhD students are awarded their PhD degree.

  • The University of Groningen is a member of the so-called Excellence Group of the best universities in Europe. The Excellence Group has 56 members, which is 1.3 percent of the approximately 4,500 European institutions of higher education.[3]
  • The University of Groningen belongs to the top 100 large comprehensive research universities in the world.[4]
  • In 2013–2014, the University of Groningen ranked 98th in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.[5]
  • The University of Groningen is worldwide on shared position 92 of the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). ARWU is a global Top 500 published annually by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University.[6]
  • The University was ranked 75th in the world in 2012 by the National Taiwan University that publishes the Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities.[7]
  • Groningen was internationally ranked by and gained the position of 97th (2013).
  • The University of Groningen holds the 18th position in the European ranking ( 94th wordwide) of Webometrics.[9]
  • The University of Groningen has its own newspaper: the Universiteitskrant.[10]

The university's Center for Information Technologiey (CIT) houses an IBM Blue Gene/L supercomputer for the LOFAR project and a Virtual Reality and 3D-visualisation center.[11]


The founding of the University in 1614 – at that time still a college of higher education – was an initiative taken by the Regional Assembly of the city of Groningen and the Ommelanden, or surrounding region. There were four faculties – Theology, Law, Medicine and Philosophy. The first 75 years of its existence were very fruitful for the University with about 100 students enrolling every year. Almost half of the students and lecturers came from outside the Netherlands – the first Rector Magnificus, Ubbo Emmius, came from East Frisia in modern day Germany, for instance – but at the same time there was already a close relationship between the University and the city and the surrounding region.

The development of the University came to a standstill at the end of the seventeenth and during the eighteenth century because of theological differences of opinion, a difficult relationship with the Regional Assembly and political problems that included the siege of the city by ‘Bommen Berend’ in 1672. On average two to three hundred students were registered with the University at any one time during this period. Petrus Camper, though, was a shining academic example during the second half of the eighteenth century and was famous far beyond the city limits as an anatomist, a fighter against rinderpest and the founder of the first outpatient’s clinic for surgical medicine.

Opportunities and threats followed on each other’s heels during the nineteenth century. In 1815, at the same time as Leiden and Utrecht, the University gained recognition as a national college of higher education, but this was followed by discussions about closure. The situation improved markedly when a new main university building, the Academiegebouw, was constructed in 1850, a building that was largely financed by the people of Groningen. This made the fire that completely destroyed this building in 1906 even more poignant.

In the meantime, the Higher Education Act of 1876 had radically improved the position of the University, which was renamed the "Rijksuniversiteit Groningen" (RUG). Teaching now took place in Dutch as well as in Latin and the University was given a research as well as an educational duty. This laid the foundations for the present research university.

The University of Groningen developed apace during the first decades of the twentieth century. The number of faculties and courses grew steadily while the number of students showed an explosive growth. When the University celebrated its first 300 years in 1914 there were 611 registered students; this had already grown to 1000 by 1924. After a drop back during the Depression, and in particular during the Second World War, the number of students grew rapidly from 1945 to reach 20,000 in 1994. At the present time there are about 26,500 students registered at the University of Groningen with the number of foreign students again growing steadily, and following the tradition set by the first Rector Magnificus, the number of German students and researchers has grown strongly in recent years.

Coat of arms

The coat of arms of the university was confirmed by the States of the City and County of Groningen in 1615. It consists of the provincial arms, charged with an open book inscribed with the abbreviated words VER/BVM/DNI LV/CER/NA, short for Verbum Domini Lucerna Pedibus Nostris. The shield is surmounted by a golden crown of five leaves and four pearls.


Economics and Business Website
Arts Website
Law Website
Theology and Religious Studies Website
Philosophy Website
Behavioural and Social Sciences Website
Medical Sciences Website
Mathematics and Natural Sciences Website
Spatial Sciences Website

Degree programmes

Main article: Degree programmes of the University of Groningen


Research Centres and Institutes

Humanities and Social Sciences

  • Center for Language and Cognition Groningen (CLCG)
  • Globalisation Studies Groningen (GSG)
  • Centre for Religious Studies (CRS)
  • Groningen Institute of Archeology (GIA)
  • Groningen Institute for Educational research (GION)
  • Groningen Research Institute of Philosophy (GRIPH)
  • Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG)
  • Heymans Institute
  • Interuniversity Center for Social Science Theory and Methodology (ICS)
  • Urban and Regional Studies Institute (URSI)


  • Centre for Law, Administration and Society (CRBS)
  • Groningen Centre of Energy Law (GCEL)

Economics & Business

  • SOM

Life Sciences

  • Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCN) / UMCG
  • Biomedical engineering, Materials science and Application (BMSA)
  • Center for Behavior and Neurosciences (CBN)
  • Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies (CEES)
  • Graduate School for Drug Exploration (GUIDE) / UMCG
  • Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology (GBB)
  • Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy (GRIP)
  • Northern Center for Healthcare Research (NCH)

Science & Technology

  • Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Engineering (ALICE)
  • Center for Energy and Environmental Studies (IVEM)
  • Centre for Isotope Research (CIO)
  • Centre for Theoretical Physics
  • Institute of Mathematics and Computing Science (IWI)
  • Kapteyn Astronomical Institute
  • Nuclear-physics Accelerator Institute (KVI)
  • Stratingh Institute for Chemistry
  • Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials[12]

Graduate Schools[13]

The University of Groningen’s Graduate Schools are organized somewhat different from its international counterparts. The main difference is that the Graduate Schools do not contain all Master’s programmes; Graduate Schools manage and facilitate the two-year Master's programmes: top Master's degree programmes and Research Master's degree programmes.

  • Graduate School of Behavioural and Social Sciences[14]
  • Graduate School of Economics and Business[15]
  • Graduate School of Humanities[16]
  • Graduate School of Law[17]
  • Graduate School of Medical Sciences[18]
  • Graduate School of Philosophy[19]
  • Graduate School of Science[20]
  • Graduate School of Spatial Sciences[21]
  • Graduate School of Theology and Religious Studies[22]

Notable alumni[23]

See also


External links

  • Scholarships
  • Practical information
  • Grant finder
  • University virtual tour
  • Webcam Academic Building
  • Aerial photographs of the University of Groningen
  • International Alumni

Coordinates: 53°13′9″N 6°33′46″E / 53.21917°N 6.56278°E / 53.21917; 6.56278