Axel Schölmerich studied Psychology and Educational Science in Heidelberg and Mainz, where he graduated 1980 after a year as a Fulbright-student at the University of Washington in Seattle. After working as a research assistant at the Technical University Darmstadt and the University of Osnabrück, where he received his doctoral degree (Dr. rer. nat.) in 1990, he was awarded a five-year Fogarty-Fellowship at the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, MD. In 1995 he received the venia legendi in psychology from the University of Mainz and became chair of developmental psychology at the Martin Luther – University Halle – Wittenberg. The Ruhr-University Bochum offered him a chair in 1997, which he accepted. An offer of a chair at the University of Vienna was declined in 2005.
He was co-editor of the European Journal of Developmental Science, managing editor of the Zeitschrift für Entwicklungspsychologie und Pädagogische Psychologie, continental European editor of the Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology as well as member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Behavioral Development.
His scientific interests focused on cultural, social and biological contextual influences on human development during infancy, early and middle childhood with emphasis on socio-emotional, temperamental, and relationship aspects.
At the Ruhr-University Bochum, Axel Schölmerich served as dean of the Faculty of Psychology, liaison officer for the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, member and chairperson of the Academic Senate, and was elected to be president of the University in 2015.