Studying in special circumstances

The University of Konstanz intends to remove barriers and to improve the study conditions for all students. We therefore support individual students in special circumstances, particularly those with physical and / or mental impairments or chronic illnesses.

Our representatives for students with disabilities and chronic illnesses provide you with answers to your questions about study and life situations as well as compensation measures for the disadvantaged.

Support with accommodations, study financing, and financial assistance

The Sozialberatung des Seezeit Studierendenwerks Bodensee (social services of the Seezeit Bodensee Student Services) answer your questions about accommodations, study financing, and financial assistance.

Accommodations for students with disabilities

The Jan-Hus-Haus , a student residence hall operated by Seezeit Student Services in the Rheingutstrasse provides seven single apartments for students requiring disability access. The Petershauser Bahnhof residence hall also has a shared apartment that is barrier free and handicapped accessible.

Disadvantage compensations measures for study and examinations

Study regulations that apply to all students can be disadvantageous for students with disabilities and chronic illnesses. These additional difficulties and impediments are to be compensated for by additional measures. They are crucial instruments of equal opportunity and create the ability to overcome existing barriers for studying, researching, and teaching. They do not create favouritism or privilege, nor do they diminish the quality of expected achievements.

Who can take advantage of disadvantage compensation measures at the university?

All students who experience difficulties in carrying out their studies due to individual disabilities or chronic illnesses.

The legally binding definitions of disability and chronic illness are:

"People are disabled if their bodily function, mental capacity or psychological health are very likely to digress more than six months from the typical conditions for their age and, therefore, impair their participation in society." (§2 para. 1 German social security code IX)

This definition includes chronic, i.e. prolonged diseases, as well as diseases with an episodic course (e.g. mental illness, epilepsy, cardiovascular diseases). It covers visible and invisible impairments and so-called learning disabilities, such as dyslexia and dyscalculia.

What are possible disadvantage compensation measures?

Disadvantage compensation measures can facilitate admission to the university and reduce difficulties, during studies and when completing academic performance assessments. They may be granted in a single circumstance or permanently. They should always be verified for specific circumstances, assessed for the individual requirements of a student, and discussed with the individual student.

Examples of disadvantage compensation measures in regards to academic performance assessments:

  • providing extra time when taking tests or completing essays or theses (e.g. for students with dyslexia, motor impairments, concentration loss due to illness, ADS, Asperger syndrome etc.)
  • providing rest breaks during testing (e.g. for students with visual impairments, concentration impairments due to medication etc.)
  • providing individual working space during examinations (e.g. for students with concentration impairments due to illness, Asperger syndrome etc.)
  • dividing an academic performance assessment into multiple components
  • providing personnel or technical assistance when taking examinations (e.g. sign language interpreters)
  • replacing one examination form with another (e.g orally instead of in writing, an individual exam rather than a group exam, essay instead of a presentation)

Examples of disadvantage compensation measures during the course of study:

  • providing sound and video recordings of class meetings
  • replacing mandatory attendance requirements (e.g. for students with chronic illnesses)
  • providing lecture notes and handouts for preparing and reviewing class material
  • modifying internships

How do I request a disadvantage compensation measure?

To request a disadvantage compensation measure, students usually must:

  • submit an informal request along with
  • a medical certificate.

The certificate may be signed by therapists, specialists or general practitioners. In some cases, a medical certificate from the occupational health service is required. Diagnostic tests (e.g. for students with dyslexia) should not be older than 5 years.

The application and the certificate should contain the following:

  • important information about the disease,
  • the resulting, specific impediments for your studies and
  • recommendations for individual disadvantage compensation measures.

A diagnosis must not be provided in either document.

The documents should be submitted to the responsible director of the department administration or the relevant examination office.

Important: Please consider the application deadlines - applications for disadvantage compensation measures for academic performance assessments must be submitted in due time!

Information for teaching staff

According to nationwide surveys from the German National Association for Student Affairs, about 8% of students have impairments that make studying difficult. Nevertheless, only a few of those individuals claim this right, out of concern for special treatment, stigma, suspicion of abuse and/or being labelled unsuitable for study. Counteract these fears as a teacher, ensure transparency in circumstances requiring disadvantage compensation measures and inspire courage in those students that need it the most! Disadvantage compensation measures can prevent additional difficulties and allow students with disabilities and chronic illnesses to complete their studies more carefree and successfully.

Advice for students:

- Seek advice and support if you have questions uncertainties.
- Think about what effect your impairments may have on your studies and what disadvantage compensation measures could spare you additional difficulties.
- Take important deadlines into consideration when applying for disadvantage compensation measures.

Students in wheelchairs

The University of Konstanz strives to create and maintain helpful study conditions for students in wheelchairs. Almost all rooms in all buildings can be accessed via lifts and ramps. There are several phones and toilets adapted for use by students with disabilities. Special parking for people with an impairment can be found directly in front of the main entrance of the university.

Parking permits and bus transfer

Parking permits for special parking space in front of the main entrance building, which are reserved for students studying with impairment, can be obtained at the Gebäudeservice der Universität (Campus Services). Your point of contact there is Waldefried Hurrle.

Transportation to and from the university is also possible through social services such as the Malteser Hilfsdienst (Malteser aid agency).

Information materials