Jacobs University Bremen

Jacobs University Bremen (abbreviated JU Bremen or JU) is an international, private, residential, doctorate-granting research university located in Vegesack, Bremen, State of Bremen, Germany. It offers study programs in engineering, humanities, natural and social sciences, in which students can acquire bachelor's, master's or doctorate degrees. On top of this, there are preparatory programs for degree courses. Its students come from more than 100 countries,[2] among which about 75% are foreign students.[3] Along with ca. 33% international faculties, these make it one of the most international universities. The name Jacobs University is original, rather than a translation from German word Universität.

Jacobs University Bremen
Logo of Jacobs University Bremen
Other name
JU Bremen or JU
Former name
International University Bremen (IUB)
MottoInspiration is a Place
Established2001 (2001)
PresidentProf. Dr.-Ing. Michael Hülsmann
Academic staff
251 (of which 76 are Professors)
Administrative staff
170 (2018)
Students1466 (2018)[1]
Undergraduates867 (2018)[1]
Postgraduates232 (2018)[1]
259 (2018)[1]
Other students
74 (2018)[1]
LocationBremen, State of Bremen, Germany
CampusSuburban, 80 acres (0.32 km2)


Back in 1996, the International University Bremen was founded with the support of the University of Bremen, Rice University in Houston, Texas, and the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, with study programs beginning in 2001.[4] After the university faced some financial problems, the Jacobs Foundation invested € 200 million in the institution in November 2006, thus taking over a two-thirds majority of the partnership share. Following this, the university changed its name to Jacobs University Bremen at the beginning of 2007.[5]

The campus is on the site of the former Roland Barracks in Bremen-Grohn. The site was erected in 1938 during the National Socialist period, but after the Second World War a refugee camp was set up there by the International Refugee Organization under the management of the American forces. It was later taken over by the Bundeswehr. The armed forces left the site in 1999, making way for the university.[6][7]

Financing and restructuring

At the end of a four-year plan (2014-2017) for realignment, Jacobs University generated revenues of € 50.2 million in fiscal year 2017, an increase of € 2.8 million (5.9 percent) over the previous year.[8]Compared to the reference year 2012, Jacobs University was able to continuously reduce its losses.[9]As part of its restructuring, the university cut a total of 65 jobs in 2014.[10]

The long-term financing of Jacobs University is a subject of heated debate in Bremen in particular. It gets its income from various sources, including study fees, donations, third-party funding and contributions from the Jacobs Foundation. The funding from the state of Bremen, which amounts to three million euros a year, expired in 2017.[11][12]

In June 2018, the Jacobs Foundation decided to support the private university until 2027 with a maximum of another 100 million Swiss francs. Also in June 2018, the city of Bremen decided that they would take over a loan from the start-up phase of the university in order to strengthen the financial abilities of the institution permanently.[13]


The university is managed by a not-for-profit company Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH. In line with the statutes, it is composed of four organs: the Councilors, the Board of Trustees, the Board of Governors and the Executive Board, which comprises the Managing Director and the President. The Board of Governors is the central decision-making committee for all the fundamental questions of the university's development, including the appointment of the president and the professors. Christian Jacobs, the eldest son of the entrepreneur and patron Klaus J. Jacobs (1936–2008), is a member of the board of trustees of the Jacobs Foundation.[14][15]

University Leadership

On January 15, 2018 Prof. Dr. Michael Hülsmann took over as President of the University from Prof. Dr.-Ing Katja Windt. She succeeded Heinz-Otto Peitgen, who announced his early resignation as University President on November 6, 2013.[16] The Chairman of the Board of Governors is Prof. Dr. Antonio Loprieno, President of the All European Academies (ALLEA) und former rector of the University of Basel (Switzerland). Further members of the Board of Governors are among others: Prof. Dr. Patrick Aebischer, Foundation Board Member of Jacobs Foundation and former President of the ETH Zurich, Dr. Jörg Dräger, Board Member of the Bertelsmann Stiftung and former Senator for Science and Research of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Martin Günthner , Senator for economy, work and ports Bremen, Lavinia Jacobs, President of the Jacobs Foundation, Dr. Philipp Rösler, CEO of the Hainan Cihang Charity Foundation in New York and former Vice-Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany.[17]

The company is now led by Prof. Dr. Michael Hülsmann (Chairman of the Management Board) and Dr. Michael Dubbert (Managing Director).[18]


Jacobs University is also the first and now the only private institution in Europe providing comprehensive study programs. The approximately 34-hectare site of the campus university is home to four residential colleges, buildings for administration, lecturing and research, an Information Resource Center (IRC) with a library and digital resources, sport, leisure and park facilities, and apartments for guest academics.

Study Programs

Within these focus areas, 16 undergraduate programs and 7 graduate programs are offered. In addition, Jacobs University also offers a preparatory and orientation year, the Foundation Year Program. This serves to support students in deciding on their future path of study and to meet international admission criteria. With the one-year Medical Preparatory Program (MedPrep) for German students and the Medical Natural Science Program (MedNat) for international students, Jacobs University offers young people targeted preparation for the study of medicine in Germany and other European countries.[19]

Degrees can be completed to the academic levels of Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MSc), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Most programs and courses are taught in English. The Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS) is a joint graduate school founded by Jacobs University and the University of Bremen. It offers three doctorate programs.

Both teaching and research are divided into three thematic areas:[19]

Mobility (of People, Goods, and Information):

Health(Focus on Bioactive Substances):

Diversity(in modern Societies):

Tuition and fees

The annual tuition fee for undergraduate programs is 20,000 euros, plus additional costs for accommodation, meals and others. A system of grants and loans aims to ensure that all applicants admitted to bachelor programs are able to take up their places. The costs of the graduate and preparatory programs vary.[20]

Student Body

The international nature of the student body is one of the defining characteristics of Jacobs University. Currently 1,399 students from 110 nations are matriculated at the school (status as of December 2017).[21] Exchange programs with a total of 26 international partners help to foster this international atmosphere.[22]


In 2017 Jacobs University professors acquired an average of 209,500 euros in third-party funding.[23] Mathematics professor Dierk Schleicher received more than 2.3 million euros in EU research funding for a five year (2016–2021) project.[24]


University rankings
THE World[25] 251–300

In 2017 the university was included in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for the first time in the 251–300 category. The 2019 ranking also ranked Jacobs University 251–300 overall. It was also ranked 151–175 in engineering and technology, 176–200 in life sciences and 251–300 in physical sciences.[26]

In the CHE University Ranking 2018, the university achieved top ratings in geoscience, political science and social science. It previously received top ratings in 2017 for economics and industrial engineering, in 2016 for biology and psychology, in 2015 for geoscience, computer science, physics and political science, and in 2014 for economics.[27]

In the international university ranking U-Multirank, Jacobs University was ranked in the top five German universities in 2017. It received top ratings in the categories of international alignment and research.[28]

According to USNWR's 2019 indicator rankings, Jacobs University was ranked as #364(tie) in Europe, #57 in Germany, Subject Chemistry #535(tie) worldwide.


The university has close cooperations with 35 local and international partners, including students exchange, faculty mobility, joint programs, and research collaborations. The partners include world-renowned institutions,[29] e.g.:

  • North America(now US only):
Carnegie Mellon University
Rice University
New York University
University of Pennsylvania
Cornell University
Case Western Reserve University
University of Notre Dame
  • Europe:
University of Edinburgh, UK
University of Warwick, UK
University of Groningen, The Netherlands
Sciences Po, France
Uppsala University, Sweden
University of Oslo, Norway
St. Petersburg State University, Russia
  • Germany:
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), Bremen
Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Marine Microbiology, Bremen
University of Bremen
  • Asia(Far & Middle East):
Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Israel
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Ritsumeikan University, Japan
University of Nottingham Ningbo, China
Fudan University, Shanghai, China

Alumni Association

The Jacobs University Alumni Association was founded in 2004. It comprises around 2,400 members; around 70 percent of graduates have joined the Alumni Association. In 2008 a limited company was founded as Jacobs University Bremen Alumni & Friends GmbH, laying the legal foundations to give the alumni a say in the university's development. The limited company, which is 99-percent owned by the Alumni Association, with one percent owned by the university, is one of three shareholders in Jacobs University and owns a sixth of the shares in the school.[30]


Jacobs University has combined features of typical US and German higher education institutions.

US universities can be public or private, which typically offer 4-year undergraduate programs with charging very expensive annual tuition fees and providing accommodations so that students can live in the campus. At the meanwhile, most German universities are public. They offer 3-year undergraduate programs after Bologna Process, which charge mostly no tuitions but only fees for board and traffic ticket per semester, and don't provide accommodations. Dormitories and meals are managed by Studentenwerk, a municipal student service organization independent to universities. Due to the limited numbers of rooms, not every student will be offered a place after application. Now Jacobs, a private university, offers 3-year undergraduate programs with less expensive tuition fees, providing residential campus for every students. It can be the first and the only private institution to provide comprehensive higher education programs with residential campus in Germany.

A typical 4-year US program includes physical educations, taking around 4-5 courses per semester. Along with German universities, Jacobs's 3-year program takes sports as one of the optional extracurricular activities, while average 30 ECTS per semester means more than 6 courses including soft skills training(e.g. language courses as additional competences). Jacobs also provides career adivising as mandatory courses.

An admission process of a typical German university is overall not selective. Domestic students with Abitur(University Entrance Qualification) can enroll a zulassungsfrei(literally, admission-free) program without any application. It can be a bit selective or necessary to wait for places by zulassungsbeschänkt(literally, admission-limited) or NC programs, due to the limited educational resources. An application to a US university can be complicated, typically with supplying SAT/ACT scores, English test score for non-native speakers, GPA of school years, recommendation letters, and an essay, extracurricular activities. It can be very selective. For example, Rice University has an admission rate at about 15%. Jacobs is using an admission process similar to US universities.

Alumni and Faculties



Cooperation with Business

Part of the new orientation is enhanced networking with business. Jacobs University offers companies various opportunities for cooperation, which include long-term research collaborations, the provision of scientific services as part of short-term research and development projects, or training of junior and managerial staff. This gives students an early connection to practical applications.[31]


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  3. "Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH". Top Universities. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  4. "Jacobs University: Die Drehtür zur Welt - brand eins wissen". www.brandeins.de (in German). Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  5. "manager magazin: Großsponsor: Jacobs-Stiftung rettet mit 200 Mio. Euro Bremer Privatuni. [Major Sponsor: Jacobs Foundation Rescues Bremen Private University with 200 Million Euros] November 1, 2006". Manager Magazin. 2006.
  6. "Facts & Figures". Jacobs University - Inspiration is a Place. 2015-05-28. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  7. "Pressestelle des Senats - International University Bremen kauft Roland-Kaserne in Bremen-Grohn". senatspressestelle.bremen.de (in German). Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  8. Brandt, Patricia. "Jacobs University macht weniger Miese" (in German). Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  9. "Jacobs University macht weniger Verluste". buten un binnen (in German). Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  10. Nordwest-Zeitung. "Jacobs-University In Bremen: Privat-Uni kommt nicht aus dem Minus". NWZonline (in German). Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  11. Sundermann, Sara. "„2018 wird es für die Jacobs-Uni kritisch"" (in German). Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  12. "Erfolgreiche Restrukturierung: Jacobs University auf Wachstumskurs". Jacobs University - Inspiration is a Place. 2017-08-15. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  13. "Geschäftsbericht: Jacobs-Universität steigert Umsätze und macht weniger Verlust". www.kreiszeitung.de (in German). 2018-08-18. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  14. "Governance". Jacobs University - Inspiration is a Place. 2015-05-28. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  15. "Board of Trustees - Jacobs Foundation". Jacobs Foundation. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  16. "Neue akademische Leitung für die Jacobs University: Katja Windt wird Provost und Vice President". idw-online.de (in German). Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  17. "Neuer Aufsichtsrat an der Jacobs University Bremen". Jacobs University - Inspiration is a Place. 2018-08-21. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  18. "Powerfrau im Outfittery Management und weitere Personalwechsel | Crosswater Job Guide". crosswater-job-guide.com (in German). Retrieved 2018-10-01.
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  20. "Fees & Finances". Jacobs University - Inspiration is a Place. 2015-02-25. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  21. "Facts & Figures". Jacobs University - Inspiration is a Place. 2015-05-28. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  22. "Über uns". Jacobs University - Inspiration is a Place. 2015-04-09. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
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  24. "ERC-Porträt: Prof. Dierk Schleicher, PhD - EU-Büro des BMBF". www.eubuero.de (in German). Retrieved 2018-01-23.
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  28. "U-Multirank: Jacobs University among the Top Five". Jacobs University. 2017-03-31. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
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  30. "Alumni". Jacobs University - Inspiration is a Place. 2015-03-13. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  31. "Business Solutions". Jacobs University - Inspiration is a Place. 2017-04-21. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
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