After graduating from secondary school, Ursula von der Leyen studied economics at the University of Göttingen, the University of Münster and the London School of Economics and Political Science. From 1980 to 1997 she attended Hanover Medical School (MHH). After obtaining her licence to practise medicine, she worked at the Clinic for Obstetrics and Gynaecology. She obtained her Dissertation in Medicine in 1991 and was awarded the degree of Dr. med.. In 1992, Ursula von der Leyen and her family moved to the United States. She returned to Germany in 1996. From 1998 to 2002 she worked as a research assistant at the Department of Epidemiology, Social Medicine and Health System Research at Hanover Medical School and completed her Master’s degree in Public Health in 2001.
Ursula von der Leyen started her political activities in 1990 when she became a member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). From 2001 to 2003 she held various political offices at municipal level in the Hanover region. In 2003 she became a member of the Lower Saxony state parliament and was appointed State Minister of Social Affairs, Women, Family Affairs and Health. In 2005 Ursula von der Leyen started her career in federal politics as Federal Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. In 2009 she became a Member of Parliament (Deutscher Bundestag) and was appointed as Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs. After her election as member of the CDU Executive Committee she was elected as party vice chairwoman in 2010. In 2013 she was appointed as Minister of Defence.
Ursula von der Leyen was born in Brussels in 1958. She lives near Hanover. She is married with Professor Heiko von der Leyen. The couple has seven children.