Jacobs University has a strong focus on research. This is documented by the annual output of peer-review articles (360 publications for 2018) and the number of third party funded projects from both industry and public funding authorities such as the German Research Foundation.
Among professors and postdoctoral fellows Jacobs University's PhD students, which constitute more the one-quarter of all students at Jacobs University, play a vital part in defining Jacobs University as a research institution.
There are two different approaches to obtain a PhD degree from Jacobs University:
- Individualized, research-oriented degrees and structured PhD programs such as the Bremen International School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS) which is offered in cooperation with the University of Bremen.
- Furthermore, Jacobs University is affiliated with the Max-Planck Institute of Marine Microbiology via the graduate program in Marine Microbiology (MarMic) and the Alfred Wegener Institut (Helmholtz Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung - AWI).
Completion of a PhD degree at Jacobs University usually takes 3 - 4 years depending on the field of research. PhD degrees may be obtained in natural sciences, mathematics, engineering disciplines, social sciences and humanities. Admission to PhD studies is highly selective and attracts scholarship holders from many governmental agencies such as the China Scholarship Council (CSC) to DAAD-funded students from all over the world. Prerequisite for admission is a field-related Master's degree (or equivalent).
Each year approximately 80 students complete their PhD degrees.