Zeppelin University


Zeppelin University
Zeppelin Universität-2450.jpg
Zeppelin University
Motto"Bridging Business, Culture and Politics"
EstablishedJune 2003
PresidentProf. Dr. Klaus Mühlhahn
Administrative staff
224 (2018)
Students1,060 (2018)
Location, ,
Coordinates: 47°39′31″N 9°26′02″E / 47.65861°N 9.43389°E / 47.65861; 9.43389
CampusLake Campus, FN
ZF Campus, FN
Professors28 (2019)

Zeppelin University (German: Zeppelin Universität, ZU) is a small and highly selective[1][2] private research university on the shores of 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 the university.[3] The university was established in 2003 and is known for its avant-garde character as well as for its sophisticated method of selecting students. On 10. September 2011, ZU was granted the right to award doctorates and habilitation.[4] Part of the grant includes the right to call itself a university (German: Universität).

Zeppelin University is a non-profit, limited liability organization and describes itself as a "university bridging business, culture and politics". The university is accredited nationally by the German Council of Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat). Undergraduate major courses are accredited by ACQUIN, a German higher education accreditation agency.


Zeppelin University has two main campuses in Friedrichshafen: one on the shores of Lake Constance (the LakeCampus or SMH) and the nearby ZFCampus (or FAB3), which was completed in 2015 to create more space for the university. It was funded by a donation of 20 million Euro from ZF Friedrichshafen. Both campuses are modern, designed by well-known architects, and contain classrooms, lecture halls, offices, cafeterias, a library, a fitness studio and a coworking wing for students. 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 named one of four new exceptional constructions in Germany by the German Architecture Museum.[5] The university was also presented with the "Deutscher Hochschulbaupreis 2018" by the Deutsche 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 or non-consecutive Master of Arts or Master of Science (M.A. / M.Sc. with 120 ECTS – 4 semesters). The university offers liberal arts courses, and also offers dual executive programs and development programs for companies.

In the fall 2011 semester, Zeppelin University converted all its undergraduate studies to four-year programs. The ECTS amount increased from 180 to 240 credits, whereby bachelor's degree graduates can finish their postgraduate studies after 2 semesters (60 credits). The additional year is intended to be used as a "Humboldt year", a one-year research project at a partner university. To enable this, the University's academic calendar closely mirrors international academic calendars.

Partner universities

Zeppelin University has partnerships with around 85 universities,[7] some of which are:

Tuition fees and scholarships

Tuition for undergraduate programs costs from 4,140 to 4,740 euro per semester, depending on the program. The cost for a complete program ranges from 33,120 to 37,920 euro. For postgraduate programs, the tuition costs between 4,380 and 7,612 euro per semester.

Students not in receipt of a scholarship are offered low-interest loans by Sparkasse Bodensee. More than two thirds of students avail of such loans.[8] Alternatively, students can apply for grants from ZU-Bildungsfonds.

Selection process

Applicants are selected by the university in a two-step selection process: after a detailed written application, in which the first round of selection is made, candidates are invited to an assessment day (Pioneers Wanted). Candidates go through several interviews with professors, students, alumni, and external reviewers. Written tests are also featured. Candidates have to complete a group project which is presented to the assessment committee.[9]

The university's selection procedure is considered sophisticated, and not just because its methods differ from those of other universities. It does not just use numerus clausus (which is widely used in Germany), but instead tries to find students who—beyond having the required academic qualifications— also fit the university's character.[1] The university's undergraduate acceptance rate is lower than 10%, and its graduate acceptance rate is 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 film group, several bands and many more – some of them are even known nationally (RockYourLife, for example). A student radio station Welle20 went on air in 2008.[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 various integrated interdisciplinary research institutes, which are partly funded by donations. These include the Leadership Excellence Institute Zeppelin (LEIZ), which is supported by the 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 supported 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. Because it is relatively new and small, it typically goes unranked in international comparisons. Nevertheless, Handelsblatt Karriere magazine, in edition 07/08 dated 27 April 2007, Zeppelin University appeared in a university ranking for the first time. Its economics program reached eighth place.[13]

In the most reputable German Ranking, the CHE University Ranking, which was published by ZEIT Studienführer 2014/15, the university's Corporate Management & Economics (CME) program ranked first, 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 by CHE.[14] The Sociology, Politics, and Economics degree is not ranked, due to its multidisciplinary nature.


  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 6 February 2019.
  6. ^ "ZU Friedrichshafen erhält den "Deutschen Hochschulbaupreis 2018"". Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  7. ^ "Partner Universities". www.zeppelin-university.com. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  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 7 June 2017.
  12. ^ "Studentische Projekte". www.zu.de.
  13. ^ "Zeppelin University unter den Top 10 der deutschen Unis". Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  14. ^ "Rankings". www.zu.de (in German). Retrieved 7 June 2017.