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Bachelor of Arts - Undergraduate Program

Integrated Social Sciences (ISS) - The Program

Handbook valid until Batch 2019/Class of 2022! ➤ NEW PROGRAM: Society, Media and Politics (SMP)

The BA-program Integrated Social Sciences (ISS) integrates the social sciences necessary to tackle the key challenges of our globalized world in a digitized context. Sociology, media studies and political sciences are learned from a problem-solving and research-oriented, student-centered perspective. ISS was top ranked in the CHE Rankings 2018.

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WHY Study at jacobs

  • Train your intercultural skills by studying with talents from more than 100 countries and excellent study abroad options.

  • Benefit from highest standards in teaching, interdisciplinary learning, early research involvement, and hands-on education.

  • Connect with Alumni to broaden your professional network & start your career with our individual career service support.

Key Facts


Jacobs University
Bremen, Germany

Fall Intake 2022:

June 1 (global) and July 15 (for applicants who do not need a visa) for the new study program Society, Media and Politics (SMP)


3 years full-time


€ 20,000 per academic year (two semesters)
+ € 9,000 on-campus housing


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.

Financing Options:

Each admitted candidate will receive an individual financial package.


Jacobs University offers study programs that comply with the regulations of the European Higher Education Area. All study programs are structured according to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), which facilitates credit transfer between academic institutions. The three-year under-graduate program involves six semesters of study with a total of 180 ECTS credit points (CP). The undergraduate 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 the 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. A unique feature of our curriculum structure allows students to select their major freely upon entering Jacobs University. The Academic Advising Coordinator offers curricular counseling to all Bachelor students independently of their major, while Academic Advisors support students in their decision-making regarding their major study program as contact persons from the faculty.

To pursue ISS as a major, the following CHOICE modules (15 CP) need to be taken as mandatory modules:

  • CHOICE Module: Introduction to the Social Sciences 1: Politics and Society (7.5 CP)
  • CHOICE Module: Introduction to the Social Sciences 2: Media and Society (7.5 CP)

In these modules, students learn about key issues of Integrated Social Sciences and receive a thorough introduction to sociology, media studies and political science, covering basic concepts and schools of thought in the respective disciplines.

The remaining CHOICE modules (30 CP) can be selected in the first year of studies according to interest and with the aim to allow a change of major until the beginning of the second year, when the major choice becomes fixed.

In their second year, students take a total of 45 CP from a selection of in-depth, discipline-specific CORE modules. Building on the introductory CHOICE modules and applying the methods and skills acquired so far (see 2.3.1), these modules aim to expand the students’ critical understanding of the key theories, principles, and methods in their major for the current state of knowledge and best practice.

To pursue ISS as major, at least 30 CP from the following mandatory elective CORE modules need to be taken:

  • CORE Module: Systems of Social Inequality (5 CP)
  • CORE Module: Comparing Mass Media Systems (5 CP)
  • CORE Module: Systems of Democratic Governance (5 CP)
  • CORE Module: The Sociology of Conflict and Crisis (5 CP)
  • CORE Module: Crisis, Conflict and Media (5 CP)
  • CORE Module: International Resource Politics (5 CP)
  • CORE Module: Consumer Culture and Society (5 CP)
  • CORE Module: Media, Culture and Digitization (5 CP)
  • CORE Module: Mass Beliefs and Civil Society (5 CP)

15 CP in CORE modules can be selected in the second year of studies according to interest and with the aim to pursue a minor in a second field of studies.

Details of every individual study plan are discussed with the study program chair or the academic advisor.
Students are free to deepen their disciplinary knowledge by focusing more on one of the disciplines involved or by concentrating on one of the more topical perspectives offered in the three units: “Systems”, “Conflict” and “Culture”. The units consist of three modules, each of which contributes the perspective of one of disciplines. But these modules can be combined, independent of the unit they are part of, too.

The unit “Systems” concentrates on a more systemic (and, accordingly, more theory oriented) perspective, deepening students’ knowledge of understanding of society, media and politics. The sociological module focuses on the issues of inequality, while the media-oriented module delves deeper into the inner workings of mass-media systems with an international comparative perspective. Political science is involved with a module that studies democratic governance.

The unit “Conflict” discusses the conflicts and crises our societies are confronted with on a global, national and local level. The sociological module, for example, focuses on global conflicts and traces back their impact on societies all the way down to the local level. This, in the past, has typically focused on refugees and the problems of integration and xenophobia they suffer, ending in specific experiences in a local context. The political science perspective scrutinizes the conflict potential of international resource politics while the module “Crisis, Conflict and Media” critically analyses how these same conflicts are reflected in (or at times even brought about by) mass media.

The unit “Culture” consists of a sociological seminar that studies aspects of consumer culture on a societal level and a research-oriented seminar on Media, Culture and Digitization that focuses on social media. A third module looks at mass beliefs and civil society from a political science perspective.

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 ISS students to take Specialization modules within their discipline, but also focuses on the responsibility of students beyond their discipline (see Jacobs Track).

The 5th semester also opens a mobility window for a diverse range of study abroad options. Finally, the 6th semester is dedicated to fostering the students’ research experience by involving them in an extended Bachelor thesis project.

In the third year of their studies, students take 15 CP from major-specific or major-related, advanced Specialization modules to consolidate their knowledge and to be exposed to state-of-the-art research in the areas of their interest. This curricular component is offered as a portfolio of modules, from which students can make free selections during their 5th and 6th semester. The default specialization module size is 5 CP, with smaller 2.5 CP modules being possible as justified exceptions.

To pursue ISS as major, at least 15 CP from the following mandatory elective Specialization Modules need to be taken:

  • Specialization: The Sociology of Happiness (5 CP)

In this module, students will gain insight to the topic and learn about basic concepts of the sociology of happiness, thus intensifying their knowledge and skills in sociology in general. They will also discuss the influence of different factors and possible political strategies of improvement in a variety of nationally specific contexts.

  • Specialization: Applying Social Science in Research (5 CP)

The module aims at applying the theoretical and methodological potential students acquired to ongoing socio-political debates of our time and training them to translate it into state-of-the-art research designs. Students are encouraged to find projects of their own interest and professionally guided towards an efficient implementation of an adequate research design.

  • Specialization: A New Cold War? EU-Russian Relations (5 CP)

The seminar seeks to discuss the different aspects of the complex development of Russo-European relations. Keeping an eye on the historical context, the military aspects of cooperation and conflict, but also the new geostrategic perspective on economic, informational, demographic and societal relations are explored. Discussions also include an analysis of the media-coverage of current issues of EU-Russian Relations.

Further specialization modules can be taken from the following closely related offerings in other majors:

  • Specialization: A New Cold War? EU-Russian Relations (5 CP)
  • Specialization: The Sociology of Happiness (5 CP)
  • Specialization: Applying Social Science in Research (5 CP)
  • Specialization: China: Politics, Economy and Society (5 Cp)
  • Specialization: Managing Demographic Change in Organizations (2.5 CP)
  • Specialization: Science of Happiness (5 CP)

Available for ISS students that meet the pre-requisites

  • Specialization: Psychology of Food (2.5 CP)
  • Specialization: Oppression, Conformity and Resistance under Dictatorships (5 CP)

The Jacobs Track, an integral part of all undergraduate study programs, is another important feature of Jacobs University’s educational model. The Jacobs Track 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 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. The modules that are specifically assigned to each study programs equip students with transferable academic skills. They convey and practice specific methods that are indispensable for each students’ chosen study program. Students are required to take 20 CP in the Methods and Skills area. The size of all Methods and Skills modules is 5 CP.

To pursue ISS as major, the following Methods and Skills modules (15 CP) need to be taken as mandatory modules:

  • Methods Module: Academic Writing and Academic Skills (5CP)
  • Methods Module: Qualitative Research Methods (5CP)
  • Methods Module: Data Collection and Empirical Research Methodologies (5CP)

Further ISS students have to take one of the two mandatory elective Methods and Skills Modules:

  • Methods Module: Applied Statistics with SPSS (5CP)
  • Methods Module: Applied Statistics with R (5CP)

Big Questions modules
The modules in the Big Questions area (10 CP) intend to broaden students’ horizons with applied problem solving between and beyond their chosen disciplines. The offerings in this area comprise problem-solving oriented modules that tackle global challenges from the perspectives of different disciplinary backgrounds that allow, in particular, a reflection of acquired disciplinary knowledge in economic, societal, technological, and/or ecological contexts. Working together with students from different disciplines and cultural backgrounds, these modules cross the boundaries of traditional academic disciplines.

Students are required to take 10 CP from modules in the Area. This curricular component is offered as a portfolio of modules, from which students can make free selections during their 5th and 6th semester with the aim of being exposed to the full spectrum of economic, societal, technological, and/or ecological contexts. The size of Big Questions Modules is either 2.5 or 5 CP.

Community Impact Project
In their 5th semester students are required to take a 5 CP Community Impact Project (CIP) module. Students engage 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 the campus neighborhood, Bremen, or on a cross-regional level. The project is supervised by a faculty coordinator and mentors.

Study abroad students are allowed to substitute the 5-CP Community Impact Project with 5 CP of Big Questions modules.

Language modules
Communication skills and foreign language abilities foster students’ intercultural awareness and enhance their employability in an increasingly globalized and interconnected world. 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 the German language skills of international students as they are an important prerequisite for non-native students to learn about, explore, and eventually integrate into their host country and its professional environment. Students who meet the required German proficiency level (e.g., native speakers) are required to select modules in any other modern foreign language offered (Chinese, French or Spanish). Hence, acquiring 10 CP in language modules, with German mandatory for non-native speakers, is a requirement for all students. This curricular component is offered as a four-semester sequence of foreign language modules. The size of the Language Modules is 2.5 CP.


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

Career Perspectives

Studying ISS typically opens careers in the media, in non-governmental organizations, public administration, community development, international aid agencies, international business, the cultural sector, international youth and social work, fundraising and many other pursuits.

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Students & Alumni

I really didn’t expect that I could gain such a high degree of intercultural tolerance and understanding after the three years.

Yingzhao Zhu

Jacobs was truly an amazing experience.

Trevor Walker

I studied ISS at Jacobs and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Sarah Cleto

This area includes topics such as social cohesion, state systems, and the preservation of social welfare or the effects of regulatory systems on the individual, such as their impact on human rights. Diversity is thus regarded as a driving force behind development and progress.
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