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Bachelor of Science - Undergraduate Program

Chemistry and Biotechnology (CBT) - The Program

Handbook valid starting from Batch 2020/Class of 2023!

Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with elements and compounds composed of atoms, molecules, and ions: their composition, structure, behavior and the changes they undergo during a reaction with other substances. Biotechnology is the application of biology to the solution of real-life challenges, where an element of profit is a prerequisite. The two disciplines are connected by their molecular approach and by their vast commercial importance.

The transdisciplinary CBT study program offers chemistry modules that include organic, inorganic, analytical, and physical chemistry; students are also taught the relevant aspects of mathematics, engineering, and industrial practice. The focus of biotechnology in this study program is to learn how the industry can take advantage of biocatalysts and biomolecules in order to contribute to a more sustainable future. Biorefining, i.e. the uses of renewable rather than fossil resources, is another major aspect of CBT; this will introduce students to the concept and practice of the “circular economy”.

The degree program Chemistry and Biotechnology equips students with the knowledge, research techniques, and the problem-solving skills necessary for a career in chemistry and/or biotechnology, and for further studies at the Master or PhD level.

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Career Perspectives

Career opportunities of CBT students are diverse and abundant. In general, the combination of chemistry and biotechnology increases employability, since biotechnological applications in chemical industry are increasingly important.

Key Facts

Program Start Date 2021:

last week of August (orientation week), first week of September (classes)


€ 20,000 per academic year
+ € 8,000 living expenses


All applicants are considered for merit-based scholarships of up to € 15,000 per year.
EU students are eligible for a minimum guaranteed scholarship of €4,000.

Application Deadlines 2021:

June 1 (global) and July 20 (for applicants who do not need a visa)


3 years full-time


Financing Options:

Each admitted candidate will receive an individual financial package.

5 Reasons

5 reasons why you should study Chemistry and Biotechnology (CBT) at Jacobs University

  1. Study a truly transdisciplinary program to learn all relevant aspects of your field
  2. Benefit from a focus on biotechnology for a solid industry career perspective and employability
  3. Benefit from academic excellence for further studies at Master or PhD levels or a career in research
  4. Benefit from small classes, a favorable student-to-teacher ratio, approachable professors and excellent labs and facilities
  5. Live and learn within an international community with talents from more than 100 nations


The three-year undergraduate program involves six semesters of study with a total of 180 ECTS credit points (CP). The curricular structure follows an innovative and student-centered modularization scheme - the 3C-Model - that groups the disciplinary content of the three study years according to overarching themes:


Study program structure

The first study year is characterized by a university-specific offering of disciplinary education that builds on and expands upon students’ entrance qualifications. Students select introductory modules for a total of 45 CP from the CHOICE area of a variety of study programs, of which 15-30 CP will be from their intended major. Students can still change to another major at the beginning of the second year of studies if they have taken the corresponding modules of the study program in the first year of studies.

CBT students take the following discipline-specific CHOICE Modules in their first year of study:
  • CHOICE Module: General Biochemistry (7.5 CP)

    Students gain solid first-year level understanding of biochemistry and learn how to apply and analyze basic concepts of biochemistry. In the laboratory course, students develop their practical skills and acquire basic proficiency in the use of laboratory equipment.
  • CHOICE Module: General and Inorganic Chemistry (7.5 CP)

    The module gives an introduction to the general and inorganic chemistry covering the areas of chemical foundations, atoms, molecules, and ions, stoichiometry, types of chemical reactions and solution stoichiometry, gases, atomic structure and periodicity, bonding: general concepts, covalent bonding: orbitals, chemical equilibrium, acids and bases, and acid-base equilibria. Furthermore, students learn the practical foundation principles of chemistry, including e.g. basic laboratory techniques.
  • CHOICE Module: Introduction to Biotechnology (7.5 CP)

    The goal of the module Introduction to Biotechnology is to provide the relevant fundamentals in microbiology (cell structure, nutrition and growth, diversity/evolution, genetics, molecular biology, and genetic engineering). The focus is on prokaryotic and eukaryotic model microorganisms. A brief introduction to metabolism, enzymes, and metabolic engineering is also included.
  • CHOICE Module: General Organic Chemistry (7.5 CP)

    This module provides an introduction to Organic Chemistry and begins with general reactivity patterns and the supportive concepts of resonance, conjugation and aromaticity, which come from applying knowledge of orbitals. Carbanion, alcohol, and amine nucleophiles are introduced and this allows carbonyl additions resulting in: alcohol, acetal, imine, enamine, oxime, and hydrazone formation to be discussed. The student is then exposed to the relationships between equilibria and rates of reaction to better understand mechanistic investigations. This is followed by an introduction to conformational analysis and stereochemistry which allow the transition states within the subsequent chapters on substitution, elimination, and addition reactions to be understood.

In their second year, students take 45 CP in-depth, discipline-specific CORE modules. These modules aim to extend the students’ critical understanding of the key theories, principles, and methods in their major at the current state of knowledge and best practice.

To pursue CBT as a major, the following 45 CP of CORE modules need to be taken:
  • CORE Module: Physical Chemistry (5 CP)
  • CORE Module: Industrial Biotechnology (5 CP)
  • CORE Module: Advanced Inorganic Chemistry (5 CP)
  • CORE Module: Scientific Software and Databanks (5 CP)
  • CORE Module: Advanced Organic/Analytical Chemistry Lab (5 CP)
  • CORE Module: Advanced Organic Chemistry (5 CP)
  • CORE Module: Bioprocess Engineering (5 CP)
  • CORE Module: Advanced Biotechnology Lab (5 CP)
  • CORE Module: Inorganic/Physical Chemistry Lab (5 CP)
Minor Option
CBT students can take CORE modules (or more advanced Specialization modules) from a second discipline, which allows them to incorporate a minor study track into their undergraduate education, within the 180 CP required for a Bachelor degree. The educational aims of a minor are to broaden the students’ knowledge and skills, support the critical reflection of statements in complex contexts, foster an interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving, and to develop an individual academic and professional profile in line with students’ strengths and interests. This extra qualification will be highlighted in the transcript.

As a rule, a minor in another field of study requires a CBT student to:
  • take mandatory CHOICE modules (15 CP) from the desired minor program in the first year
  • substitute the mandatory elective CBT CORE modules "Scientific Software and Databases" and “Advanced Biotechnology Lab” and the mandatory elective METHODS module “Plant Metabolism and Natural Products” in the second year (15 CP in total) with the minor CORE or Specialization modules of the minor study program.
    The module “Advanced Biotechnology Lab” must be taken in the third year, when selecting the minor option.


During their third year, students prepare and make decisions about their career path after graduation. To explore available choices and to gain professional experience, students undertake a mandatory summer internship. The third year of studies allows CBT students to take Specialization modules within their discipline, but also focuses on the responsibility of students beyond their discipline.

The fifth semester also opens a mobility window for a diverse range of study abroad options. Finally, the sixth semester is dedicated to fostering the students’ research experience by involving them in an extended Bachelor thesis project.

CBT students take major-specific or major-related, advanced Specialization modules to consolidate their knowledge at the current state of research in areas of their choice.

CBT students can choose four of the following Specialization Modules:
  • Specialization: Advanced Organic Synthesis (from MCCB) (5 CP)
  • Specialization: Organometallic Chemistry (5 CP)
  • Specialization: Microbial Engineering (5 CP)
  • Specialization: Chemical and Pharmaceutical Technology (5 CP)
  • CORE MCCB: Medicinal Chemistry (5 CP)
  • CORE EES: Environmental Geochemistry (5 CP)

The Jacobs Track, another important feature of Jacobs University’s educational model, runs parallel to the disciplinary CHOICE, CORE, and CAREER modules across all study years and is an integral part of all undergraduate study programs. It reflects a university-wide commitment to an in-depth training in scientific methods, fosters an interdisciplinary approach, raises awareness of global challenges and societal responsibility, enhances employability, and equips students with extra augmented skills desirable in the general field of study. Additionally, it integrates (German) language and culture modules.

Methods and Skills modules
Methods and skills such as mathematics, statistics, programming, data handling, presentation skills, academic writing, and scientific and experimental skills are offered to all students as part of the Methods and Skills area in their curriculum. Students are required to take 20 CP in the Methods/Skills area.

CBT students take the following Methods modules:
  • Methods Module: Mathematical Concepts for the Sciences (5 CP)
  • Methods Module: Physics for the Natural Sciences (5 CP)
  • Methods Module: Analytical Methods (5 CP)
  • Methods Module: Plant Metabolites and Natural Products (5 CP)
The module Plant Metabolites and Natural Products can be replaced with a CORE module from another study program in order to pursue a minor.

Big Questions modules
The modules in the Big Questions area intend to broaden the students’ horizons with applied problem solving between and beyond their chosen disciplines. The offerings comprise problem-solving oriented modules that tackle global challenges from the perspectives of different disciplinary backgrounds and that allow, in particular, for a reflection of the acquired disciplinary knowledge in economic, societal, technological, and/or ecological contexts.

CBT students take BQ Module Ethics in the Sciences and Technology (5 CP) as a mandatory Big Questions module and select 1-2 modules (5 CP) from a broad portfolio of Big Questions modules.

Community Impact Project
In their fifth semester Students engage with the Community Impact Project in on-campus or off-campus activities that challenge their social responsibility, i.e., they typically work on major-related projects that make a difference in the community life on campus, in its campus neighborhood, Bremen, or on a cross-regional level. The project is supervised by a faculty coordinator and mentors.

Language modules
Jacobs University supports its students in acquiring and improving these skills by offering a variety of language modules at all proficiency levels. Emphasis is put on fostering German language skills of international students as they are an important prerequisite for non-native speaking students to learn about, explore, and eventually integrate into their host country and its professional environment.

All students take four language courses in the first and second year.

Study Abroad Option
Students have the opportunity to study abroad for a semester to extend their knowledge and abilities, broaden their horizons and reflect on their values and behavior in a different context as well as on their role in a global society. For a semester abroad (usually the fifth semester), modules related to the major with a workload equivalent to 22.5 CP must be completed. Modules recognized as study abroad CP need to be pre-approved according to Jacobs University study abroad procedures. Several exchange programs allow students to directly enroll at prestigious partner institutions worldwide. Jacobs University’s participation in Erasmus+, the European Union’s exchange program, provides an exchange semester at a number of European universities that include Erasmus study abroad funding.

The curriculum of the study program is outlined in the schematic study plan:


THE Young University Ranking 2019 Jacobs University has been top-ranked # 26 of 351 universities worldwide younger than 50 years, #11 in “Teaching” among the young universities worldwide as well as #1 in “International Outlook” and “Teaching” in Germany

CHE Ranking 2019 Jacobs University achieved top results in numerous other areas of the CHE ranking 2019. The most detailed university ranking in the German-speaking region not only takes into account facts on the range of courses but also questions students themselves.

Chemistry Student Society

The Jacobs Chemistry Student Society is an organization founded by current and former Chemistry undergraduate students at Jacobs University in order to create a common platform for all those who have a love of Chemistry.

As a society, they aim:

  • to promote the communication between students and faculty.
  • to form a bond between all Chemistry majors studying at Jacobs, from Bachelors to PhD.
  • to improve the undergraduate Chemistry program in general for future students.
  • to be a support group for students of Chemistry and similar majors.
  • to bring the Jacobs Community together as a whole by organizing collective events, mostly in collaboration with other societies present on campus.

Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker (GDCh)
As students of a German university, here at Jacobs, you have the opportunity to be a member of Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker (GDCh), which is the German Society of Chemists. It can provide opportunities for internships, scholarships, events, etc.
Every member of GDCh is encouraged attend a monthly meeting of the society at University of Bremen.

Students & Alumni

The professors are knowledgeable and eager to help, and the practical work made all the science tangible.

Megi Mustafai

The scholarship shows me that I made the right decision.
As an exceptionally gifted student, Lisa has been awarded the August Wilhelm von Hofmann scholarship of the German Chemical Society (GDCh)

Lisa Tichagwa

Designing solutions for a healthier world has always been one of the great challenges of science. Food, plants and marine algae can have a positive effect on health similar to that of conventional medicine. However, scientists first have to identify and isolate bioactive substances and explore their safe application.
Life on campus
Jacobs Students come from all over the world to live and learn at Jacobs University. Our student body represents 120 nations. They form an ambitious campus community whose internationality is unprecedented in Europe. Jacobs University’s green and tree-shaded 80-acre campus provides much more than buildings for teaching and research.
THE 2019 Young University Ranking: Jacobs University Bremen is one of the best young universities in the world
Once again, Jacobs University performed excellently in a university ranking. In the 2019 Times Higher Education (THE) Young University Ranking for universities which are younger than 50 years, the international, English-language campus university ranks 26th...
Lisa Tichagwa: An exceptional chemistry student
Medicine? Yes! Engineering? Yes! But chemistry? Better not. "When people in Zimbabwe say that they want to study chemistry, most people ask: ‘What will you do with it?’ ", tells Lisa Tichagwa. "They normally suggest...
Ulrich Kortz, Professor für Chemie an der Bremer Jacobs University, und sein Mitarbeiter Dr. Saurav Bhattacharya mit einem POM-Modell. (Quelle: privat)
Researchers at Jacobs University Bremen discover a new class of heterogeneous catalysts based on precious metals
It is stable and recyclable: a team of scientists from Jacobs University led by Ulrich Kortz, Professor of Chemistry, has developed a new class of materials in close cooperation with researchers from the Carl von...

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