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How the University of Bremen Supports Degree Starts

We will show you examples of degree programs that did well in the CHE Ranking

Prospective and current students can be sure: At the University of Bremen, you will be supported well when you start your degree. The Centre for Higher Education Development’s (CHE) current university ranking, which was published by the weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT in May 2021, has confirmed this once more. All of the nine assessed degree courses at the University of Bremen were in the top group in the category “Support at the Start of Studies.” We will provide you with a few insights into what this support specifically comprises.

Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Geosciences, Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, Political Science, and the dual degree program in Nursing Science. These nine programs placed well in the current CHE Ranking. Students from the third semester and above are asked to participate in the CHE Ranking. What is the support in the different fields like? We posed that question to four different degree programs.

Supplement Courses and First Semester Tutorials in Mathematics and Computer Science

“The Mathematics and Computer Science courses have placed a particular focus on shaping degree starts and have established supplementary classes that are well received,” says the Dean, Professor Rolf Drechsler. Many other disciplines also offer supplementary classes at the University of Bremen. They simplify the transition between school and university. Additionally, the faculty has introduced special first-semester tutorials during the semester. They take place weekly for all of the regular classes in the first semesters. The students are able to receive early feedback via regular completion of tasks and gain first experience with research-based learning. It was also possible to maintain many additional services during the pandemic and in fact, even expand on some of them with the help of digital tools. For example, there were question time sessions via video conference, a telephone hotline during the orientation days, live streams of the welcome events, and video tours.

Political Science Introduces Students to Academic Work Step-by-Step

Another example is Political Science. “Our teaching staff dedicate a lot of time to teaching students how to write their first academic term paper step-by-step,” says the Dean, Professor Susanne K. Schmidt. For example, this is done with practical introductions to the techniques of academic work. Additionally, the student body – thus the student representatives of the course – organizes events during the orientation week so that the political science students have a great start. Said events not only focus on subject-specific topics but rather on getting to know one another and networking.

O-Week for all Freshmen

The so-called o-week – the orientation week – takes place for freshmen in the fall. Students receive a great deal of information and support opportunities, for example from the Studierwerkstatt where you can receive help with how to write term papers or how to prepare and hold presentations. The Academic Advisory Offices are an important point of contact for students in all faculties. There they can clarify any issues they have with planning their studies and the relevant examination regulations. Despite the pandemic, the faculties also really put in the effort for the last o-week and not only had digital events but also some on campus and in the city. Of course, everything was carried out under adherence to the distancing and hygiene regulations.

The view from the Mensasee to the MZH Building at the University of Bremen. Mathematics and Computer Science - two subjects that also placed well in the current CHE Ranking - are located there.
© Matej Meza / Universität Bremen

Biology / Chemistry: Intercultural Work, “Mentor Program,” and Extra Tutoring

The information services offered by the Faculty of Biology / Chemistry are diverse. They span from a freshmen page with videos to individual consultation appointments. All questions are welcome and if required, individual courses of study will be discussed and support services offered. Recognition of work from previous degrees or fitting vocational traineeships will be processed quickly and in an uncomplicated manner. “It is important to us that our students understand the organization options they have with their degree, use that information, and can support each other. Diversity is a matter particularly close to our heart,” says the Vice Dean, Professor Janine Kirstein. In terms of “Intercultural Work,” students form small revision groups. As part of the “Mentor Program,” students meet up regularly with a professor, discuss aspects of the degree or perspectives, and receive an insight into research. As one needs math for these subject fields, special extra tutoring sessions are offered during the semester.

Nursing Science: Small Groups and Individual Accompaniment

“That the dual degree program Nursing Science did so well surely has something to do with the fact that we offer our students individual supervision due to the comparably small groups and we work closely together with student representatives,” explains Professor Ingrid Darmann-Finck, who leads this degree program. All teaching staff have an open ear for students’ matters. “Also, in times of the restrictions on campus due to protection against infection, we maintained contact to our students by means of several information events.” As most of the students work alongside their studies or have family obligations due to the comparably older students, the degree program tries to create regulations that are as flexible as possible so that the degree can be completed successfully.

“A Good Start Is Decisive for the Success of a Degree”

Vice President Academic, Professor Thomas Hoffmeister, is happy that the University of Bremen placed so well in the CHE Ranking. “I am pleased that we have once more improved in comparison to last year.” One year ago, the majority of the degree programs investigated at the time placed at the top in this category. Now it is all of them. “The current results confirm again that it is extremely important to the University of Bremen that it supports new students well,” explains the Vice President. A great start is decisive for the success of a degree.

“It is extremely important to the University of Bremen that it supports new students well.” (Vice President Academic, Professor Thomas Hoffmeister)

That is why the University of Bremen has spent a great deal of money on support programs for the start to degree courses. Additionally, the university implements differentiated quality assurance in the field of teaching and studies. So-called student monitoring regularly takes place and the faculties use the results to further develop targeted offers and measures to support their students. There are a number of special preliminary classes, tutorials, and individual consultation services for freshmen. “It is great to see that this work is reflected so positively in the CHE Ranking again,” states Thomas Hoffmeister.

About the CHE Ranking

The CHE ranking examines more than 300 universities and universities of applied sciences throughout Germany. It collates information on a total of 30 subjects and each subject is re-evaluated every three years. Many prospective and current students take careful note of the CHE ranking. The subject fields of business studies, institutional economics, economics, information systems and management, engineering and management, economic law, social work, law, and for the first time ever – economic psychology – were assessed this year. The weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT published the entire ranking results in the ZEIT study guide for 2019/20 and on the ZEIT CAMPUS ONLINE website.

Further Information:

Information on the University of Bremen in the CHE Ranking (in German only)

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