Course of study - applying for leave of absence
If you would like to interrupt your study for private, health, financial or other reasons, then this has to be approved by the institution of higher education.
The prerequisite for this is that the application for an absence of leave normally has to be made before the start of the lecture period. In the case of illness or other serious reasons, it can also be made during the course of the semester. In such a case, please consult the regulations of your university.
The period for the absence of leave should normally not exceed two semesters. During an absence of leave semester generally no exams may be taken.
In deviation from the above, students who are on maternity leave or parental leave
- may take part in classes,
- submit coursework and take exams and
- use university facilities.
the respective institution of higher education
Reasons that normally lead to approval of leave of absence:
- Studying abroad
- Nursing or caring for a relation (spouse, direct relations, direct in-laws)
- Pregnancy, child education
- Serving a prison sentence
- Starting a practical occupation which serves to fulfil the aim of the study
Other important reasons can be explained during a meeting with the responsible department.
The prerequisites and the required documents for approval for an absence of leave can vary depending on the type of institution of higher education you attend. You can obtain information on the website of your institution of higher education or directly in the students' secretariat or the office of study.
Leave of absence has to be applied for in writing at your institution of higher education. A reason and, if applicable, supporting documents have to be attached to the application. You can obtain forms from your relevant department or they are available as a download depending on what is offered by your institution of higher education.
You will receive written notification. Positive notification will normally contain the reason for the vacation, the duration of the leave of absence and the last semester in which you were enrolled.
Contrary to this, students granted leave due to maternity leave (Mutterschutz) or parental leave (Elternzeit) may attend courses, do course achievements and examinations and use the facilities of the institution of higher education. Please take note that in such a case you are only registered to attend course achievements and examinations if you yourself apply to do so.
When taking leave of absence due to maternity leave and parental leave, please bear in mind that you are responsible for applying for participation in coursework and exams yourself.
You can find information in this respect in the forms of the respective university.
Depends on university.
Making enquiries concerning the deadline and possible regulations in exceptional cases: before start of lectures
You will receive a confirmation of enrolment as usual for your absence of leave semester. From the point of view of the social insurance, you are considered a student for the duration of the semester of study, unless you are employed for more than 20 hours a week.
Financial assistance, such as Grants for Students (BAFöG) or education loans, is not granted for the duration of the leave of absence. In addition, check with your child benefit office whether you lose your claim to child benefit if you take an absence of leave semester.
The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Wissenschaftsministerium released it on 28.04.2016. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts.
In cases of doubt or if you have any questions or problems, please contact the relevant authorities directly.