Undergraduate Study - Frequently asked questions
What undergraduate programs does Jacobs University offer?
How long does an undergraduate program last?
Every undergraduate program lasts six semesters (three years).
Do you offer undergraduate programs in English?
Yes we do – all our undergraduate programs are taught entirely in English. The Medical Natural Sciences program is the only program that contains modules instructed in German to prepare students for the transition to German Medical Schools.
What does teaching and learning look like at Jacobs University?
Students usually learn through lectures, seminars, lab courses, tutorials, workshops, and excursions. Professors and lecturers provide individualized assistance, as each student is assigned a faculty member to act as their personal academic advisor for the duration of their studies.
Are internships and / or study abroad part of the undergraduate programs at Jacobs University?
Internships are possible and encouraged in our programs. Students in their fifth semester can choose between three options: a semester-long internship, an exchange semester abroad with one of our partner universities (World Track), or specialization courses at Jacobs University (Campus Track). More information can be found in the program handbooks which are available on the respective program pages.
Do I have to live on campus?
Yes, all our undergraduate students live on campus for the duration of their program. This is part of what makes studying at Jacobs unique, giving you an immersive educational experience. Nine months’ room and board, including a full meal plan, is provided for a subsidized fee of 6.000€. You will live in one of our four residential colleges, each of it has its own dining room, recreational lounge, study areas, and common and group meeting rooms. For more information, please visit here. In addition, you will have cooking facilities, your own private bedroom, and a bathroom which you share with one other student of the same gender.
General Application Questions
How can you apply for an undergraduate program?
You can only apply to an undergraduate program at Jacobs University through the “Common Application”, an online application platform that is widely used by universities worldwide. To begin your application, please take a moment to read through the how to apply guide on the common application website, create an application account and make sure you add Jacobs University to your ‘My Colleges’ list.
What is the “Common Application”?
The “Common Application” is an online application system that allows you to provide us with all the necessary application information in an almost entirely paperless and therefore environmentally friendly way. It will ask you about your educational background, standardized test results, personal contact details, and family information. Please note that simply filling out the “Common Application” without completing the Jacobs Writing Supplement will not allow us process your application.
The “Common Application” will also allow you to select your Teachers/Guidance Counselors/School Officials as recommenders. The chosen recommenders will then receive an email with instructions on how to create their own account within the “Common Application” system and submit their recommendation letters via the online platform. The system will guide them through the required phases, step by step.
If you have more questions about the “Common Application”, please visit the Common Application help center.
Is there an application fee?
No, Jacobs University does not charge an application fee.
What is Early Decision?
Early Decision is an early admission policy for admitting freshmen to Jacobs University’s undergraduate programs. Prospective students applying within the Early Decision plan consider Jacobs University to be their top choice. The Early Decision plan is binding, meaning that if you are admitted, you are obliged to accept our offer of admission and withdraw all applications made to other universities.
Why should I apply Early Decision?
You should only apply Early Decision if Jacobs University is your top choice. Besides increasing the change of being admitted, you will save on time and the expense of submitting multiple applications, and reduce stress by cutting the time spent waiting for a decision, as you will receive an admissions decision by December.
Early Decision applicants are eligible for financial aid and scholarships. However, it is important to take into account that those students who are counting on financial aid to attend Jacobs University are encouraged NOT to apply through Early Decision – we cannot guarantee that you will receive the financial package you need, but once admitted through Early Decision, attending Jacobs University is a binding commitment.
Can I send supplementary information?
Yes, certainly. Applicants often send in a summary of their work in PDF form via email (this ranges from photos of art work, award certificates and other relevant information). If you are sending us several additional documents, please be so kind to also summarize your distinctions in a list form. Please also be aware that supplementary documents should not be larger than 2.500 KB. Feel free to contact our Admissions Office if you have any questions.
What if I cannot answer the questions in the spaces provided?
You have to answer every question within the space provided. Pay close attention to the minimum and maximum word count on every writing section.
What am I supposed to do for the question that asks for: "Something that You Find Interesting"?
This is the part of the application where you can be creative and show us an interesting side of yourself that you have not been able to show through other sections of the application. This could be, but is not limited to, poems, drawings, or photographs. Please note that you must convert your file into a PDF document that is under 500 KB.
Do I have to choose my field of study in the application?
You have to indicate the major that you are primarily interested in, in the “General” section of the Common Application. However, you will have the two semesters following your matriculation at Jacobs University to declare your major.
Please be aware that this does not apply to students on our Medical Natural Sciences program, designed to prepare international students for applying to German medical school.
I will graduate from high school after the application deadline has passed. Can I apply regardless?
Yes, you can apply before receiving your high school certificate/diploma. We will evaluate your application based on all the grades available to date (usually the last 2 – 3 years of high school). If you are made an offer of admission, this will be conditional on your achieving final grades which reflect those shown on the transcripts you submit to us as part of your application.
What if I have not been in school for a while?
First, go into the “Education Interruption” section of the Common Application. Here, mention if you have taken time off academics within high school, if you graduated already, or if you are planning to take a gap year.
Second, go to the Jacobs University tab under “My Colleges”. Under the “Additional High School Information section”, download and complete the Educational History Form. In addition to your school information, make sure to mention what you have done after graduating, in chronological order. For instance, if you worked for a year after high school and then completed a year of university, we expect the names of institutions or companies to be listed here, with dates!
What if in my home country we are evaluated by leaving exams rather than term report cards, quarterly, or yearly evaluations for all classes? May I simply submit the leaving exam grade like my A-levels, Abitur or International Baccalaureate?
We understand that while secondary schools in some countries provide regular evaluations and that university acceptance is often partially dependent upon the accumulation of satisfactory grades (like in the United States), other countries like the United Kingdom, Germany or France focus on school leaving examinations for university admission. The more information you can provide us with regard to your grades, the better your chances of obtaining an offer of admission to our university. In the case of application files coming from countries (or educational systems) requiring leaving exams, we will continue to follow the American admission approach - evaluating grade reports, intermediate exams and predicted grades. The decision by our admission committee is regarded as conditional, reliant upon the final leaving exam report that is submitted to our office preceding matriculation. Naturally, if there is a large discrepancy between your last 2 -3 years’ worth of grades, and your final exam/school leaving grades, Jacobs University will have to reconsider your case for matriculation. If you are concerned about your test results after you have already indicated your intent to join Jacobs University, and would like to avoid any disappointments upon matriculation, then we suggest that you contact the admissions office as soon as you receive your final results.
If I am applying as a transfer student, do I have to show my previous secondary school grades?
Yes. We require all academic records from the last 2-3 years of education. This includes both your high school grades, as well as your university/college grades.
If I am applying as a first year student although I have already started university elsewhere, do I still have to provide my current university grades?
Yes. We require all academic records from the last 2-3 years of your education. If you are transferring to Jacobs University, we will be particularly interested in knowing how well you have done at your current institution, and why you are now interested in transferring to Jacobs University. If have not had the chance to sit through any exams/assessments at your current university, then you should be prepared to present some type of evaluation from your professors, which contains information about your performance at university level.
What do I do if I do not hear from you after submitting my Common Application?
Please be patient and avoid emailing/calling the admissions office to ask about the status of your application, as we are most likely still processing it. We receive a large number of applications, especially around deadlines, and it takes time to process and evaluate all of them. All applications go through a series of committees until a final decision on each case has been made. It takes 2 - 4 weeks from the time your application is completed for you to receive a final admissions decision. Please make sure you regularly log into your application dashboard to review the status of your application.
The Teacher/Guidance Counselor/School Official Recommendations
Who can write a letter of recommendation as a “guidance counselor”?
In some high schools, guidance counselors (also known as university advisors or career counselors) help students research their college/university options. If you are attending a high school that does not have a guidance counselor, as is often the case in countries like Germany, then you should ask a school official (principal, headmaster) to write a recommendation for you. An average letter of recommendation ranges between half a page to a full page. A three to four sentence recommendation is too short, as this letter is an assessment of the applicant’s academic and personal strengths.
In which language should my recommendations be written?
We accept recommendations written in English or German only. If a recommendation letter is in another language, it will need to be officially translated.
How many recommendations can be submitted?
Officially, we need only one recommendation letter. However, you are also welcome to submit more recommendation letters in support of your application.
Should recommendations be completed online or offline?
We prefer all recommendations to be completed online via the Common Application, where you will need to add your recommender’s contact details and email address.
If your counselor or teacher prefers to complete the forms offline, you may leave the email address blank when adding the recommender in the respective Common Application section. Then, you will be able to print the recommendation form through the link provided, and deliver it to your recommender.
Your recommenders will have two options. They can send the forms via post to our offices, or alternatively, scan the completed forms and email them to us via email@example.com using an official school/university email domain. We will not accept documents sent from Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo etc. email addresses.
May I read or alter the recommendation letters?
No. Recommendation letters are to be submitted electronically via the Common Application, or if this is an offline recommendation, sent to the admissions office in a sealed envelope or emailed directly by the recommender. If the recommendation letter is in another language, it needs to be officially translated into English or German.
What if I have been out of school for so long that my teachers or school officials are not able to write a recommendation letter for me?
We do have some applicants who have worked for a few years before applying to Jacobs University. Such applicants must include a recommendation letter from an official educational institution. In addition, we will also accept a second recommendation from an employer.
If the period of time that you have been away from school has been so substantial that such recommendations are not possible, then we suggest that you consider taking some additional classes at a local university or college where you can be properly evaluated by a professor/faculty member. This will improve your chances of being admitted to our university.
What does it mean for a document to be certified?
When a document is certified it means that a school or organization official has approved it. Certification often comes in the form of a fresh seal or stamp and/or signature. The contact information of the certifier must also be included in the document. We do not accept photocopies of certified documents! Stamps and signatures must be original. Additionally, certified documents must be sent directly from the school or organization.
To which mailing address should recommendation letters (or other supporting documents) be sent?
Please send all your documents to this address:
Jacobs University Bremen
Office of Admissions
Campus Ring 1
School/University Transcript Questions
What is a School or University Transcript?
A transcript is an official list of the courses (or classes) you have taken and the grades you have earned in those courses during your academic career. Transcripts should be submitted by your recommender/counselor through their recommender account. If your recommender/counselor chooses not to submit a transcript through the Common Application, then it must be sent directly to the admissions office. The transcript must be certified with an official school stamp and signature of the recommender/counselor.
What if my school records are in a language other than German or English?
All academic records must be translated into English or German with a seal affixed by the translator stating that the translation is a true copy of the (original) academic record.
How many years of grade reports must I submit?
We require grade reports from your last two to three years of high school. We are aware of the grading systems for many countries, and evaluate accordingly. It is crucial that the applicants complete (or are in the process of completing) the highest level of high school education available in their country when applying to Jacobs University. Our admissions committee will consider all the grades that we receive and if a student is accepted, then we will issue a conditional offer of admission which is contingent on receiving a final school leaving exam grade or certificate. If the final grades differ drastically from the grade reports compiled from the preceding two to three years, then we may have to reconsider the ultimate matriculation of the student. All incoming students must provide certified documents of their final school leaving exams or certificates.
Should I provide any additional information about my school or university, like a school profile?
An updated copy of a high school profile is always appreciated by the admission committee, and this is often provided by the guidance counselor or school official. Any information we can obtain to learn more about the academic preparation offered at your school is always helpful, especially considering the global range of schools for which our admission team is responsible.
In the case of applicants coming from the German school system, we understand that the final Abitur grade report is only given around June of the year in which you may plan to enter university. While we request that all students arriving at Jacobs University for Fall Semester must provide proof of their final secondary school transcript before matriculating, students will still have to send us a record of their academic achievements (transcripts).
Grade reports are only one part of the application. We definitely look at students' test scores, recommendation letters, essays and extra-curricular activities before making a final decision on any application file.
Applicants with the following grade ranges have been most successful in our application process:
German Abitur Score Range: 1.0 – 2.0
US High School Diploma Range: Letter Grades: A+ – B+; GPA: 4.00 – 3.33
IB Diploma Candidates: 34 – 45 points
AP Diploma: Score of 4 and 5 on all AP exams taken
These averages are here to provide a sense of the average secondary schools grades we favor. This certainly does not mean that a student with grade averages falling within these ranges will automatically be admitted. Overall, we are trying to find students who are highly dedicated to their studies and who will be able to perform well in our challenging academic program. At Jacobs University, we do not have any particular minimum grade requirement (as you might see at other universities with, for example, IB scores and particular majors). Because of the diversity in transcripts we see each year, we truly rely on all parts of the application to make final decisions on our applications.
Are there any particular course or grade requirements when indicating a preferred major on the Jacobs University application form?
Every accepted student at Jacobs University is expected to have performed very well academically and on all university entrance exams before matriculating at Jacobs University. As explained above, we do not have grade or score minimums (except for the English language proficiency exams), but the higher the grade or score, the better one's chances of admission. We also do not require particular subjects for any of our majors, realizing that students have the right to change their minds regarding majors two semesters into their Jacobs University studies. That being said, one should realize that there will be an advantage for an applicant if the courses taken in previous years resemble the primary fields of interest offered at Jacobs University. For instance, a student interested in Electrical Engineering or Computer Science will fare better in the admission process if they can demonstrate strong skills in mathematics and sciences like Physics and Chemistry. If a student has concentrated and performed very well on mostly science courses for the leaving exams, but demonstrates great interest in a social sciences major like International Relations, the applicant will not be at a disadvantage solely because of their high school course selection.
Standardized Testing (SAT/ACT) Questions
Do I need to take a standardized test for admission to Jacobs University´s undergraduate program?
The College Board's Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) or the ACT Assessment test are not required for students who graduate from high school with the German Abitur. All applicants whose high school leaving diploma does not directly allow them to study at an institution of higher learning in Germany (high school diploma not equivalent to the Abitur) according to the ANABIN information portal of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany (KMK), must submit results of the SAT or ACT in order for us to consider them for admission to Jacobs University. There is no official ‘passing’ grade for the SAT/ACT; however, below are the average scores of applicants to Jacobs University:
Total SAT score (SATs taken before March 2016): 1850
Total SAT score (SATs taken after March 2016): 1320
ACT Composite: 27
Can I take the test when I get to Jacobs University?
No, unfortunately not! Your application will be marked as incomplete and therefore not evaluated if you do not provide an SAT/ACT result.
If I am a non-native English speaker and I have already done an English proficiency test like the TOEFL or Cambridge Language Exam, do I still have to take an SAT or ACT?
Yes! If you are required to do the SAT/ACT, English proficiency tests like the TOEFL, IELTS or Cambridge CAE cannot be used to replace an SAT/ACT test.
When should I take this test?
Applicants who are required to complete SAT/ACT tests should take this test as early as possible, long before our admission deadlines to help ensure the possibility of submitting a complete application in time for the desired round of evaluation. We recommend that all potential students take the SAT/ACT exams no later than the fall of their final year of high school. For example, if you are expecting to enter Jacobs University in our fall 2017 semester, then it would be common to take these tests in the spring or the fall of 2016.
If I “pass” the SAT, am I automatically admitted to Jacobs University?
No, this test only represents one component of our admission process. Our admission committee pays particular attention to academic achievement in terms of secondary school grades and tests, as well as the recommendations, the common application essay as well as responses to the open questions in the Common Application Jacobs writing supplement.
What is the best way to have my test scores sent to Jacobs University? What is the institution code?
Students who want their SAT/ACT scores directly sent to Jacobs University should indicate the Code Number 3665 for the SAT and 5249 for the ACT.
Can I prepare for this test? Does Jacobs University provide such training?
Despite the assertion that one should not have to study for this test as it assesses basic reasoning skills, there are some students that find they are able to improve their scores substantially by taking exam preparation courses or practicing test questions provided in a variety of different study guides. In some American or international schools, university guidance departments may provide information sessions to familiarize pupils with the test structure. Jacobs University does not provide such services. In order to get a better idea of what the tests may look like, please visit the SAT or ACT websites. A simple internet search for the latest preparation guides may also provide an example of certain ways to possibly improve results.
When will applicants be informed about the outcome of their application?
You will be informed about our decision within 2 - 4 weeks from the completion of your application.
Is there a separate application process for international (non-German) applicants?
No, the application process is the same for all students. However, there may be different application deadlines depending on an applicant’s visa requirements. For more information on the application process, please visit here.
English Language Requirements
Who must submit an English proficiency test score?
The following policy generally applies; all applicants who:
o are native English speakers OR
o have been instructed exclusively in English for a minimum of 6 years OR
o have scored 580 or higher on the SAT Critical Reading section (for SATs taken before March 2016) OR
o have scored 600 or higher on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section (for SATs taken after March 2016) OR
o have scored 25 or higher on the ACT Writing section
may qualify for an English-language proficiency test waiver. If you meet any of the above conditions, please contact the office of admissions via firstname.lastname@example.org or +49-421-200-4200 to check whether you qualify for a waiver.
Applicants that do not meet the above conditions will need to provide English proficiency test scores.
Do I have to take an English proficiency exam if I can prove that I am a native English speaker?
No. If you have grown up in an environment in which you use standard English as your primary language, and where English is considered a national language, then you will be exempt from additional testing. We nevertheless always pay attention to English grades and score reports and should we have reason to question your language skills, you may be requested to provide additional proof of your ability to carry out university-level academic work in English.
If I have taken the SAT or ACT, do I still need to take an English language test?
You can be exempted from an English language test only if you scored 580 or higher on the Critical Reading section (for SATs taken before March 2016), or 600 or higher on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section (for SATs taken after March 2016).
What is the most common English language proficiency test?
The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), with a minimum score of 575 in the Paper based test or 90 on the internet based test.
What is Jacobs University´s TOEFL code?
TOEFL scores can be sent directly to the institutions the student has specifically designated. Jacobs University’s code number is 9024.
Which kinds of English Proficiency tests are accepted at Jacobs University and what are the minimum scores needed for each test?
A list of all accepted English language proficiency tests and the minimum scores required for each is shown in the table below:
Exam - Minimum Score
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Paper based - 575
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Internet based - 90
MELAB (Michigan Test) - 80+
British Council IELTS (Int'l. English Language Testing System) - 6.5
ELPT (English Language Proficiency Test) - 965
GCSE (British General Certificate of Secondary Education) - A or B
CIE O Level English (first language) - A or B
Cambridge EFL Examinations - Certificate of Proficiency in English - A, B, C and C1 pass
Cambridge EFL Examinations - Certificate in Advanced English - A, B and C
Cambridge EFL Examinations - First Certificate in English (extended certification) - A
International Baccalaureate English A Literature & English A: Language and Literature - 6+
SAT Critical Reading (Old SAT) - 580 +
SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (New SAT) - 600+
ACT Writing - 25 +
Tuition and Other Fees
How much is the tuition fee for an undergraduate program at Jacobs University?
Tuition for all undergraduate programs, excluding Medical Natural sciences, is currently set at €20,000 per academic year (9 months).
Tuition for our Medical Natural Sciences program, designed to prepare international students for applying to German medical school, is currently set at €30,000 per academic year (9 months).
Are there any other fees besides the tuition fee?
Yes, undergraduate students pay €6,000 for full room and board for a 9-month period (September – May). This includes a single bedroom, a shared bathroom for two students, standard Internet and utility costs, plus three meals a day.
Additional fees, e.g. semester ticket fee and university fee are also payable. Please follow this link for more information.
I am a German applicant. Do I get a reduction on the tuition fee?
No. Jacobs University charges flat fees for all student regardless of origin.
Scholarships and Financing Options
What kind of scholarships are available at Jacobs University?
Jacobs University is renowned for its extensive and generous scholarship program. Therefore, each applicant is automatically considered for a merit-based scholarship when they submit their application. Depending on availability, additional scholarships sponsored by external partners are also offered to highly gifted students.
Additionally, Jacobs University also offers financial assistance to students who demonstrate a need for financial support. This is offered in the form of grants and/or tuition deferral plans.
Please be aware that our Medical Natural Sciences program, designed to prepare international students for applying to German medical school, is not eligible for scholarships or financial aid.
Do I have to apply separately for a merit-based scholarship?
No, you don’t have to apply separately. Applicants are automatically considered for a merit-based scholarship during the application process. The applicants will be informed about a possible merit-based scholarship after admission.
What financing options are available at Jacobs University?
Besides the merit-based scholarships, there are other financing options available in the form of tuition deferral plans and/or grants. More information can be found here.
Please be aware that our Medical Natural Sciences program, designed to prepare international students for applying to German medical school, is not eligible for scholarships or financial aid.
Can I work alongside my studies?
Yes. At Jacobs University, you will find a wide range of job opportunities for Student Assistants or Teaching Assistants including: research assistance, conference preparation, interviews, data analysis, literature review, assistance with the organization and management of events, administrative support, technical services support, conducting experiments, working in labs, or assistance with book processing and interlibrary loans ....
Contact our Campus Jobs team at email@example.com for further information.
Who should I contact for advice about financing my studies?
Do I require a visa to begin my studies at Jacobs University?
How do I obtain a visa?
After being admitted and having secured your place in one of our undergraduate programs by transferring the enrollment deposit, you should check our Visa Information System about the visa application process in your home country. To have access to our Visa Information System, please visit here. If you require a visa, your admission documents will contain a confirmation (Zulassungsbescheid) for the German embassy which can be used to apply for a visa.
How long does it take to obtain a visa?
If you have prepared all required documents, the process can take from 10 days to 8 weeks, depending on availability of appointments in each embassy.
Can I work alongside my studies?
Yes. At Jacobs University, you will find a wide range of job opportunities for Student Assistants or Teaching Assistants including: research assistance, conference preparation, interviews, data analysis, literature review, assistance with the organization and management of events, administrative support, technical services support, conducting experiments, working in labs, or assistance with book processing and interlibrary loans . Contact our Campus Jobs team at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Can I work in Germany after my studies?
Yes. International students in Germany are entitled to apply for an 18 months residence permit after graduating, in order to look for work.
Does Jacobs University offer accommodation on campus?
Yes. All our undergraduate students live on campus for the duration of their program. This is part of what makes studying at Jacobs unique, giving you an immersive educational experience.
How much is the fee for room and board?
The fee for room and board is €6,000 per academic year (9 months). This includes a single bedroom, a shared bathroom for two students, standard Internet and utility costs, plus three meals a day.
What does campus accommodation consist of?
Jacobs University offers accommodation in four residential colleges on campus. Each college has its own dining room, recreational lounge, study areas, and common and group meeting rooms. For more information, please visit here. In addition, you will have cooking facilities, your own private bedroom, and a bathroom which you share with one other student of the same gender.
What does Jacobs University offer students during leisure time?
Jacobs University not only offers an excellent academic education but also many opportunities for students outside the classroom. The various student-driven social and cultural activities encompass events throughout the year. Student clubs range from arts to sports and community groups. For more information please visit here.
What student welfare support is available to students?
Jacobs takes student welfare very seriously. Each college has its own Resident Mentor whom students can approach with welfare concerns. The Resident Mentors are professionals who live on campus and are strongly committed to ensure the health and interpersonal, academic, and social well-being of our undergraduate community. Other services we offer students include psychological counseling, cross-cultural and life coaching, mediation, support groups, workshops, awareness campaigns and much more. All are free and confidential.