The University of Hagen is a public research university that is primarily focused on distance teaching. While its main campus is located in Hagen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, the university maintains more than 50 study and research centers in Germany and throughout Europe. According to the Federal Statistical Office of Germany it is Germany's largest university. The university was founded in 1974 as a public research university by the state Nordrhein-Westfalen and began its research and teaching activities in 1975. It was founded following the idea of UK's Open University to provide higher and continuing education opportunities through a distance education system in Germany.
The university awards the same qualifications as other German on-campus universities and maintains the same high requirements. Initially, the university had only three faculties with 1,304 full and part-time students, but today the university has developed into Germany's leading institution for distance education and is the only full university in that field with a student body of 83,536 students in the summer term of 2013 and 86,889 students in the winter term 2013/14. Besides the substantial number of off-campus students, a considerable number of full-time postgraduate research students as well as more than 1,800 members of academic and research staff are based on the University of Hagen's main campus in Hagen.
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