Procedures for Administering Graduate Programs
Jacobs University Bremen offers two kinds of Graduate Programs: PhD Programs, and Master’s Programs. A Master’s Program can be either an Academic Master’s Program, or a Professional Master’s Program. A PhD Program can be either an “Integrated PhD Program”, or a “Research-only PhD Program”. In addition, PhD Students may be admitted outside of Graduate Programs [23.].
The program character of the PhD Programs beyond the courses offered is constituted by their research activities and by their academic events such as seminars and colloquia, in which all Graduate Students have to participate on a regular basis.
Entry into an Academic Master’s Program requires a Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent. It is designed to take two years, including a Coursework Phase and a Master's Thesis as specified in [11.].
Entry into an integrated PhD Program requires a Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent. It is designed to take up to five academic years.
It begins with a Coursework Phase of up to three semesters, followed by a qualifying exam. The student develops a PhD Proposal, which is presented in public no later than eight months after the qualifying exam. A Research Phase follows which concludes with the writing of a PhD Thesis and a public Defense. No Master’s Degree is obtained.
Entry into a Research-only PhD Program requires a Master’s Degree or equivalent. It is designed to take up to three academic years.
It begins with the development of a PhD Proposal, which is presented in public no later than eight months after the entrance into the PhD Program. A Research Phase follows which concludes with the writing of a PhD Thesis and a public Defense.
Students can obtain a double PhD degree. The Double PhD Research/Thesis is supervised in common with the respective other university. The rules of the double PhD are defined by a mutual agreement between the two universities, which is based on the graduate policies and appendices of Jacobs University Bremen and the respective other university. The agreement needs to be defined at the beginning of the PhD program within the first 6 months.
Entry into a Professional Master’s program requires a Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent. The respective programs specify the duration and graduation requirements.
Every Graduate Program has a Steering Committee consisting of a chairperson, who is a professor at Jacobs University Bremen, and at least one further member. It carries the general responsibility for administering the Graduate Program.
All students in Graduate Programs at Jacobs University Bremen are called “Graduate Students”.
Every Graduate Student entering Jacobs University Bremen is assigned one Academic Advisor by the Steering Committee of the program. In PhD Programs, this Advisor is the PhD Advisor once the latter is determined. Any change of the Academic Advisor requires the approval of the old and the new Advisors. The Steering Committee of the program may appoint more than one Academic Advisor for a student.
In Integrated and Research-only PhD Programs, each student chooses a PhD Advisor and, in cooperation with this Advisor, a Dissertation Committee prior to the presentation of the PhD Proposal. The PhD Advisor is the Chairperson of the Dissertation Committee and replaces the initial Academic Advisor. At this stage, the Dissertation Committee consists of at least two Jacobs University Bremen Faculty members. The choice of the Dissertation Committee is approved by the Dean and communicated to the Steering Committee of the Graduate Program.
For the evaluation of the PhD Thesis and the Thesis Defense, the Dissertation Committee has to contain at least one external member. If such a member is not yet included, or if additional members from Jacobs University Bremen Faculty are required, the committee is enlarged accordingly. External Members are professors from other universities or researchers with a comparable level of expertise.
The Dissertation Committee can be changed subsequently in consultation with the Steering Committee of the Graduate Program. The changes need to be approved by the old and new members of the Committee. Changes of the PhD Advisor after the approval of the PhD Proposal additionally require the approval of the Dean.
The Graduate Courses are graded with the usual Jacobs University Bremen grades. Additional courses may be offered on a “pass/fail” basis. The Graduate Programs specify which undergraduate courses, if any, may be taken for Graduate Credit.
A Master’s Degree requires at least 120 ECTS credit points, including a Master’s Thesis of 15-30 ECTS credit points and, possibly, a credited Master’s Examination as specified by the Graduate Programs.
The Graduate Student writes the Master’s Thesis under the guidance of a Thesis Supervisor of his or her choice. For the evaluation of the Master's Thesis, the Steering Committee establishes an Examination Committee, which consists of the Thesis Supervisor and at least one other member. The other member(s) can be Jacobs University Bremen Faculty members or external members [9.].
The Master’s Thesis is graded according to the usual Jacobs University Bremen grading scheme by all members of the Examination committee. The Thesis is accepted if the resulting grade is 4.0 or better. If not, the Examination Committee decides whether the student is granted the right to resubmit within 3 months.
Professional Master’s Degrees may require less credit points, but no less than 60 ECTS credit points. The detailed Graduation Requirements are specified by the Graduate Programs.
The coursework requirements in PhD Programs are specified by these programs.
The Qualifying Examinations in Integrated PhD Programs take place before the beginning of the fourth semester, assuming that the student has completed the coursework requirements.
The programs specify the type of exam (written, oral, a combination of both, etc), and the professors involved in them. In case of an oral exam, at least three professors must be present, and the typical duration is no less than one hour. The Qualifying Examination has the outcome “pass” or “fail”.
Every student in a PhD Program develops a PhD Proposal in cooperation with a PhD Advisor. This Proposal is a written document, and it is presented in public upon invitation by the Dean at most eight months after the qualifying exam or after entrance into the PhD Program. The Dissertation Committee approves the PhD Proposal.
Every PhD Thesis is on public display in the IRC from the time of submission until the Defense. The Dissertation Committee evaluates the PhD Thesis. It is not graded. As a rule, three members of the committee, including one External Member, each furnish a written report. The Dissertation Committee may require additional reports. The Dissertation Committee approves the Thesis.
If a PhD Thesis is exceptionally strong on an international scale, the Dissertation Committee may recommend to the Faculty of the respective School or Center that the Thesis be awarded a Special Distinction.
After the PhD Thesis is approved, it is defended to the university public upon invitation by the Dean. At least three members of the Dissertation Committee, including one external member, have to be present. The Defense includes a presentation by the candidate, a discussion of the research, and questions on the discipline in which the Degree is to be granted. The Dissertation Committee approves the Defense.
Dissertations must be published within one year after the Defense in the form accepted by the Dissertation Committee. Minor editorial amendments are possible. The conferral of the degree is dependent on the fulfillment of this requirement.
Graduation requirements for a PhD Degree are the following:
- coursework as prescribed by the programs [13.]
- a passed Qualifying Examination in integrated PhD Programs [14.]
- an approved PhD Proposal [15.]
- an approved PhD Thesis [16.]
- an approved Thesis Defense [17.]
- an approved publication of the PhD Thesis [18.]
- and any further requirements as specified by the Graduate Programs.
- Exceptions are possible for advanced students [22.].
A Graduate Student in an Integrated PhD Program may at any time request to work for a Master’s Degree. The student has to satisfy all Graduation Requirements as specified above [11.]. The Master’s option is applicable only to students who do not already hold a Master’s Degree in the respective subject. Under extraordinary circumstances the Dean may approve exceptions. It may be exercised whether or not the student plans to continue work towards his/her PhD.
In case the student continues to work towards a PhD Degree, the Master’s Thesis may consist of an initial piece of work for the PhD Thesis. It is possible that individual PhD Proposals meet the requirements for Master’s theses [11.]. The Graduation Requirements for PhD Degrees [22.] are unaffected.
Failed Examinations may be retaken once, at most one semester later. If a student has failed the Qualifying Exam twice, the student may no longer work for a PhD. The Dissertation Committee may allow the student to exercise the Master’s Option.
If the PhD Proposal is not presented within eight months after the qualifying exam or after admission to the PhD Program, the Dissertation Committee decides whether the Student may get a prolongation of three months. If not or if the PhD Proposal is not presented within the prolongation period, the Student may be exmatriculated.
If the PhD Proposal is not approved, the Dissertation Committee decides whether the student may present a modified Proposal within three months. If not, the student may exercise the Master’s Option or be exmatriculated.
If the PhD Thesis is not approved, then the Dissertation Committee may decide to allow resubmission within a specified period of time. In the negative case, or if the PhD Thesis is again not approved, then the PhD project has failed and the student may exercise the Master’s Option.
If the PhD Defense is not approved, it may be repeated once within three months. If it is again not approved, then the PhD project has failed and the student may exercise the Master’s Option.
In all cases where a student works for the Master’s Option because of failed Examinations or approvals, he or she has one semester to satisfy all Graduation Requirements. The Master’s Option is available only for eligible students as specified in [20.].
Students with advanced background may be admitted into Graduate Programs at an advanced level, or they may proceed faster within the program. In particular, students holding a Master’s Degree or equivalent may be admitted into an Integrated PhD Program so that the Qualifying Exam is waived altogether; the student begins by writing a PhD Proposal, which is then defended at most one semester later.
PhD Students may engage in graduate study within or outside of Graduate Programs. The academic and administrative rules and the treatment by Jacobs University Bremen apply to all Graduate Students alike, whether they are within a Graduate Program or not, and irrespective of their sources of funding (Jacobs University Bremen fellowship, external stipend, project support, self-supported, etc).
If a PhD Student is in employment unrelated to his/her PhD process at Jacobs University an annual administrative fee of € 5.000.- will be charged. All other terms of the "Procedures for Administering Graduate Programs" remain unchanged.
During the Coursework Phase of Academic Master's Programs and Integrated PhD Programs, the Academic Advisor monitors the progress of each student. In order to make satisfactory progress in any given semester, students in the Coursework Phase must earn at least 20 ECTS credit points with an average grade of 3.0 or better. Any Graduate Student whose semester grade point average in any given semester is worse than 4.33 will automatically be suspended.
In all PhD Programs, after the presentation of the PhD Proposal, the Dissertation Committee monitors the progress of each Graduate Student. At the end of every semester, the chairperson of the Dissertation Committee informs in writing the Steering Committee of the program, the Dean and the Registrar whether the student has made appropriate progress. In the negative case, the Dean and the Dissertation Committee decide, in consultation with the Steering Committee of the program, whether the student is allowed to continue his or her education at Jacobs University Bremen, and if so, under which additional conditions.
The Graduate Programs, or the individual Dissertation Committees, may require that their students write a progress report annually or every semester, or give a progress presentation, before deciding whether the progress was appropriate.
Students may complete the Degree Requirements at any time of the year. Upon successful completion of the requirements of an Academic Master's or PhD Degree, the student obtains a formal document stating that he or she has earned that Degree. The certificate will be conferred at the next graduation date. If necessary, the student may petition to the Registrar's Office to receive the certificate prior to the graduation ceremony. In Professional Master's programs, there may be special ceremonies conferring the Degrees.
The academic responsibility for the quality of the Thesis research rests with the Dissertation Committee and especially the PhD Advisor; they enjoy freedom of research. The entire Faculty of a Graduate Program (or a research field) shares the responsibility for the success of their Graduate Students.
This document contains the following appendices:
- Appendix A: Graduate Degrees Offered at Jacobs University Bremen
- Appendix B: Admission and Enrollment
- Appendix C: Administrative Details to Graduate study at Jacobs University Bremen
- Appendix D: Tuition and Finance for Graduate Study
- Appendix E: Granting of a doctorate honoris causa
In addition, all Graduate Programs have documents about Academic Rules and Policies, which are specific to these Programs; these handle all matters not ruled by this document. For Graduate Students outside of Graduate Programs, a Faculty Committee from the respective field of study decides these matters.
Changes and modifications of the Graduate Policies and Appendices are decided upon, according to the Constitution of Jacobs University Bremen, by consultation with the Faculty.