Frankfurt School is one of Europe’s leading business schools delivering German excellence in management and finance education.
The Frankfurt School and Critical Theory
The Frankfurt School, known more appropriately as Critical Theory, is a philosophical and sociological movement spread across many universities around the world. It was originally located at the Institute for Social Research (Institut für Sozialforschung), an attached institute at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany. The Institute has founded in 1923 thanks to a donation by Felix Weil with the aim of developing Marxist studies in Germany. After 1933, the Nazis forced its closure, and the Institute was moved to the United States where it found hospitality at Columbia University in New York City.
The academic influence of the critical method is far-reaching. Some of the key issues and philosophical preoccupations of the School involve the critique of modernity and capitalist society, the definition of social emancipation, as well as the detection of the pathologies of society. Critical Theory provides a specific interpretation of Marxist philosophy with regards to some of its central economic and political notions like commodification, reification, fetishization and critique of mass culture.
Some of the most prominent figures of the first generation of Critical Theorists were Max Horkheimer (1895-1973), Theodor Adorno (1903-1969), Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979), Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), Friedrich Pollock (1894-1970), Leo Lowenthal (1900-1993), and Eric Fromm (1900-1980). Since the 1970s, a second generation began with Jürgen Habermas, who, among other merits, contributed to the opening of a dialogue between so-called continental and the analytic traditions. With Habermas, the Frankfurt School turned global, influencing methodological approaches in other European academic contexts and disciplines. It was during this phase that Richard Bernstein, a philosopher and contemporary of Habermas, embraced the research agenda of Critical Theory and significantly helped its development in American universities starting from the New School for Social Research in New York.
The third generation of critical theorists, therefore, arose either from Habermas’ research students in the United States and at Frankfurt am Main and Starnberg (1971-1982), or from a spontaneous convergence of independently educated scholars. Therefore, tthird generation of Critical Theory scholars consists of two groups. The first group spans a broad time—denying the possibility of establishing any sharp boundaries. It can be said to include also scholars such as Andrew Feenberg, even if he was a direct student of Marcuse, or people such as Albrecht Wellmer who became an assistant of Habermas due to the premature death of Adorno in 1969. Klaus Offe, Josef Früchtl, Hauke Brunkhorst, Klaus Günther, Axel Honneth, Alessandro Ferrara, Cristina Lafont, and Rainer Forst, among others, are also members of this group. The second group of the third generation is instead composed mostly of American scholars who were influenced by Habermas’ philosophy during his visits to the United States.
What were the main aims of the Frankfurt School?
According to the now canonical view of its history, Frankfurt School critical theory began in the 1930s as a fairly confident interdisciplinary and materialist research program, the general aim of which was to connect normative social criticism to the emancipatory potential latent in concrete historical processes.
The Campus at Adickesallee is centrally located in Frankfurt’s Nordend and is part of the „Campusmeile“ that connects Frankfurt’s universities and libraries. The Danish office Henning Larsen Architects has designed the campus making it an architectural highlight in the city.
The building is formed through five towers each slightly offset to create a canyon-like space, the “Zeil of Knowledge”– a special characteristic of the campus. This mall acts as the central meeting place and all major facilities like the auditorium, Learning Centre, restaurant, deli, student & alumni relations as well as the seminar rooms are linked to the mall.
Frankfurt School is an international business school with students from all over the world. Currently, students from almost one hundred countries and from all five continents study at Frankfurt School. The campus aims to reflect this international outlook. A new design, representing the American, European, African, Asian and Australian continents respectively, was created and is showcased at selected walls in each tower of the campus. In the campus garden five mini-landscapes portray the continents. The groups of trees and shrubs reflect the international spirit of Frankfurt School and its students. Pine trees and oaks represent Europe, the Tokyo cherry symbolises Asia and eucalyptus stands for Australia
Frankfurt School is a community of aspiring and inspiring individuals. This spirit is present in our various student initiatives, sport & business competitions, the work of our Student Council, and other shared projects and events.
Contribute to the Frankfurt School Student Life – by contributing to our blog, by participating in one of our many events, by engaging as a member of a student initiative, by leading a student initiative as a head or by serving on the student council.
Don’t see an initiative that interests you? Create your own! New ideas are always welcome. Found a new student initiative and help make Frankfurt School Student Life even more exciting and colourful.
With the FS Spirit Award Frankfurt School want to show its appreciation for all the time and energy students invest in everything they do outside their studies to make Frankfurt School a truly great place to be and who bring the Frankfurt School spirit and code of honour to life.
The first step of our application process is to complete the online application form. We strongly recommend you apply as early as possible, however no later than May 31st if you would like to be guaranteed a spot in our Bachelor of Science programme. You are required to provide us with all necessary documents and successfully complete our application process.
Applications after May 31st will still be considered, however, places will be assigned depending on availability and academic merit.
You will need to upload the following supporting documents:
- Recognised secondary school diploma (Abitur, IB Diploma, High School Diploma, European Baccalaureate, etc.)
- Letter of motivation (optional, maximum 500 words)
- A copy of your passport or ID card
- Other documents if applicable (references/letter of recommendation, extracurricular activities, certificates, awards, etc.)
- Proof of English or German language knowledge (depending on the language of instruction for the concentration you are applying to)*
*This does not need to be handed in with the online application. You must however hand it in by July 15th latest.
If your application is successful, you will be invited to one of our Assessment Centres. This may be waived if you can provide one of the following test results: SAT, ACT or TestAS (core test and Economics module).
We arrange multiple Assessment Centres each year for your convenience. These take place on our campus and consist of an interview, a knowledge test, an analytical test and a mathematical test. The Assessment Centre is free of charge.
If you are not able to attend an Assessment Centre here in Frankfurt, it may be possible to organise one to take place in your own country. Please select this option when filling out the online application form and we will try our best to make it happen.
We focus on careers!
At Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, Career Services represent a gateway between the business school’s academic activities and entry into the jobs market.
Working closely with students and businesses, our Career Services team provides the platforms and access pathways that keep information flowing smoothly between Frankfurt School, our students and alumni, and existing or prospective employers. The result is a virtuous circle that benefits all parties involved.
And of course our Career Services team provides advice and support to students and future graduates while they are still studying, equipping them at an early stage with the knowledge and skills they will need to make successful starts to their careers.
Our Career Services team also offers an event management service and in-house Jobs Board, so students can engage directly with interesting employers, attractive jobs or exciting career opportunities.
But our team also offers a portfolio of professional services to businesses of all sizes, giving them direct access to the talents they will need in the future.
Very simply, our aim is twofold: to build bridges between students and their future employers, and to network with Frankfurt School alumni.
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