Located in the central German region of Thuringia, Illmenau’s technical university has been in operation since 1894. The institution plays host to 7,000 students, with around a fifth of those international.
The university is divided into five departments: electrical engineering and information technology; computer science and automation; mechanical engineering; mathematics and natural science and economic sciences and media. It currently offers 19 bachelor’s degrees, 25 master’s and two diplomas.
The university has been responsible for a number of notable innovations, including the world’s most accurate precision scales and the world’s most efficient solar cells. Professor Karlheinz Brandenburg, who invented the MP3 audio encoding format, works at the institution.
Ilmenau is a relatively small town, with a population of around 30,000. The university plays a central part in town life, bringing technology companies to the region, as well as being one of the main employers. Ilmenau sits at the northern boundary of the Thuringian Forest, a leafy mountain range. It was well-loved by seminal German author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and there is a museum in the town dedicated to him and his relationship to the region.
The university offers some courses in English, with the most popular being a master’s in communications and signal processing. During what is called the Bergfest Week, there are a large number of student parties, as well as cultural events and soapbox races. Since 2005, the university has also had its own Formula Student car racing team.
For those interested in winter sporting activities, the nearby mountains offer skiing opportunities and the campus even has its own ice rink. The Thuringia Forest has a hiking route known as the Rennsteig, which dates back seven centuries and is visited by 100,000 walkers each year.