The university is home to the Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies, the Gotha Research Center for Cultural and Social Scientific Studies, and the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy.
The Gotha Research Library, which has one of Germany's largest collections of early modern manuscripts, is part of the university. The University Library is also the keeper of the Bibliotheca Amploniana, a collection of nearly 1000 medieval manuscripts collected by the scholar Amplonius Rating de Berka (c.1363-1435), who was a former Rector of the university.
The University of Erfurt was founded in 1379 in the Holy Roman Empire, in territory which is now modern day Germany. When the town of Erfurt became part of Prussia in 1816, the government closed the university after more than 400 years of operation.
Erfurt was in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) from 1949 to 1990. In December 1993, the State Government of Thuringia, Landtag of Thuringia, voted to re-establish the university. The university was re-founded on January 1, 1994. Lectures began in the winter term of 1999/2000. Shortly afterwards, the Rector who had overseen the founding, Peter Glotz, a politician in the Social Democratic Party, left the university. The position was taken over by Wolfgang Bergsdorf.
In 2001, the Erfurt Teachers' Training College (Pädagogische Hochschule Erfurt), founded in 1953, became part of the university. On January 1, 2003, a fourth faculty was added to the university: the Roman Catholic Theological Faculty, which had belonged to Erfurt's Philosophical and Theological Centre (Philosophisch-Theologisches Studium Erfurt).
The University of Erfurt is a liberal arts university with reform and socio-cultural profile. The close integration of the Philosophical, Educational Research, Governmental Studies, the Catholic Theological Faculty, and the Max Weber Center, promotes interdisciplinary alongside innovative approaches to research and teaching through a mentoring program.
The University of Erfurt has no tuition fees and represents the first institution of higher education to receive the family-friendly certificate for employers.