The second oldest university in Austria was founded in 1585 by Archduke Charles II of Inner Austria, initially with just two faculties, those of philosophy and theology in a Jesuit college; in 1778, the faculty of law was established. After the college had been turned into a lyceum, Emperor Francis I re-established the institution as Karl Franzens University in 1827, to which in 1863 a faculty of medicine was added. Today’s campus dates back to 1870.
The flourishing scientific life was severely damaged in 1938, when numerous teachers, amongst them Nobel laureates Otto Loewi, Viktor Hess and Erwin Schrödinger, as well as some third of the students were expelled by the Nazis. From the 1960s onwards, the number of students steadily increased.
After the Faculty of Medicine had become independent in 2004, a sixth faculty of Environmental and Regional Sciences and Education (URBI) was created in 2007.
- 1585 Archduke Charles II of Inner Austria founds the university with the faculties of philosophy and theology in a Jesuit college.
- 1778 Foundation of the Faculty of Law.
- 1782 Transformation into a lyceum, creation of medical-surgical studies.
- 1827 Re-establishment as the Karl Franzens University by Emperor Francis I.
- 1863 The Faculty of Medicine is established; thus begins the era of a university in its own right.
- 1895 Opening of the main building on the present campus on which new buildings are built from 1870 onwards.
- 1897 For the first time women are admitted to the faculty of philosophy of the University of Graz.
- 1938 17 percent of the teachers, amongst them Nobel laureates Otto Loewi, Viktor Hess and Erwin Schrödinger, as well as some third of the students are expelled by the Nazis for racial, religious and political reasons and driven away.
- 1949 Histologist Carla Zawisch-Ossenitz is appointed first female full professor at the University of Graz.
- 1999 The number of students increases to over 32,000, reaching a peak after continually increasing since the 1960s.
- 2004 The Faculty of Medicine becomes an independent university in the frame of the University Act 2002.
- 2011 Christa Neuper is elected first female rector at the University of Graz.