The German Fachhochschulen, some of which have been renamed Hochschulen für Angewandte Wissenschaften (universities of applied sciences), developed in the 1970s from engineering schools, academies and higher technical schools for design, social work and business. The establishment of Fachhochschulen as an independent type of higher education institution was agreed in a declaration of principle by the Minister Presidents on the establishment of Fachhochschulen on 5 July 1968. On 31 October 1968, the "Agreement between the Federal States of the Federal Republic of Germany on Unification in the Fachhochschule System" was adopted, laying the foundation for the establishment of these institutions. This was followed by the agreements of the individual federal states.Universities of applied sciences
Founding of the universities of applied sciences
The majority of West German Fachhochschulen were founded between 1969 and 1971. The first Fachhochschulen opened their doors to students in Flensburg, Lübeck and Kiel as early as August 1969, since Schleswig-Holstein had already signed the agreement. A year later, in 1970, Hamburg followed suit. They were joined by further institutions in 1971 after the federal states confirmed the agreement. Since 1991, Fachhochschulen have also been founded in the new federal states in the former East Germany.
Recently, some Fachhochschulen have changed their names to Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften (university of applied sciences) or Technische Hochschule (technical university). These name changes mostly reflect the academic and structural reorientation of the institutions. They hone the profile of the institutions and embed them more clearly in the higher education landscape.
Universities of applied sciences (whether under the name of Fachhochschule or Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften) have become an integral part of the German higher education landscape. They are characterised by a strong focus on practical applications. The range of subjects is mostly concentrated on engineering, economics and social sciences.
Today there are around 200 universities of applied sciences in Germany, as well as around 30 federal and state universities of applied sciences for public administration.