Taking leave of absence

If you are studying at the University of Konstanz and are unable to study for an extended period during the semester due to special circumstances, then you can request a leave of absence (§ 61 para. 1 and 2 Landeshochschulgesetz (state law on higher education).

The Student-Service-Centre (SSZ) provides you with a written response to your requestand informs the relevant departments of your leave of absence (§ 7 para. 2 Sentence 1 and para. 6 ZImmO). The leave of absence applies to the entire semester. The leave of absence should not exceed two semesters.

Refunding fees and contributions

A refund of the administrative costs, the student service or student body fees due to reasons of a leave of absence is not required by either, the state law of higher education (LHGebG) or the Seezeit Bodensee student services schedule of fees, as well as the University of Konstanz student body schedule of fees.

When can I request a leave of absence?

Important reasons include (§ 7 para. 1 sentence 1 ZImmO):

  • Study abroad
  • Voluntary internship that serves the study goal
  • Illness
  • Caring for a child under the age of 5 if it lives in the same household as the student and the student has custody of the child
  • Time due to maternity / parental leave until the child 3rd birthday
  • Time due to providing nursing care for a close relative e.g. parents, spouse, life partner
  • Service obligation for voluntary military service (conscription law), the federal voluntary service (federal voluntary service act ) or other voluntary services according to the (youth volunteer service act)

Mandatory internship or study abroad

For an internship or study abroad, that are considered obligatory during your normal study period, you cannot take a leave of absence (§ 7 para. 1 sentence 2 ZImmO). During the 1st semester, you cannot usually take a leave of absence unless an unforeseen hardship occurs after your studies begin (§ 7 para. 5 ZImmO ).

When should I apply for a leave of absence?

You have to apply for a leave of absence immediately after the occurrence of the reason for the leave of absence and before or within the lecture period of the semester in question. You must provide the appropriate documentation to support your request for a leave of absence (§ 7 para. 2 sentence 1 and 2 ZImmO).

If you want to take a leave of absence due to unforeseen circumstances, you may receive a grace period lasting until the end of the semester (§ 7 para. 2 sentence 3 ZImmO).

A retroactive leave of absence for an already completed semester will not be granted (§ 7 para. 2 sentence 4 ZImmO).

Additional information for law students

If you study law, you must also immediately provide an official medical examination certificate that includes the necessary medical documentation for your inability to carry out your studies. This is the only way to receive permission to take a “Freiversuch” (voluntarily taking an exam early) or to improve the grade via the Landesjustizprüfungsamt (state office for law examinations) (§ 22 para. 2 no.1 or § 23 para. 1 sentence 1 of Juristenausbildungs- und Prüfungsordnung - JAPrO, as prescribed in their current versions).

What am I not allowed to do as a student on leave of absence?

Even if you are taking a leave of absence, you remain enrolled at the University of Konstanz. However, the following limitations apply (§ 7 para. 4 ZImmO.):

  • You are not permitted to attend any courses .
  • You are not permitted to complete any academic performance assessments for any courses that take place during your semester leave of absence.
  • You are not permitted to take part in the internal administration of the university.
  • You have neither active nor passive voting rights. You can only be voted into office when the term of office is supposed to begin after your leave of absence. You may only use the services of the Communications, Information, Media Centre (KIM), which includes the IT and library services.

Important: The extension of a leave of absence period requires a new application and usually the submission of additional documentation supporting the reason for the need of the additional leave of absence (§ 7 para. 3 Zulassungs- und Immatrikulationsordnung der Universität Konstanz - ZImmO (University of Konstanz Admission and Enrolment Requirements)).

Exceptions:

Students who have received leave of absence due to maternity / parental leave or nursing care leave are not affected by the exclusion from courses and academic performance assessments. You can fully participate in lectures, complete study requirements or academic performance assessments and use university facilities. In regards to other exceptions, the relevant examination board will decide on a case-by-case basis when official requests are submitted. Non-in-course intermediate, final and repeat examinations for courses in previous semesters can be completed during a leave of absence. These include final examinations and the writing of theses.

What should I be aware of when I am already in an ongoing examination process?

If you no longer want to take part in an examination due to a leave of absence after you have already successfully registered for an examination, you must submit an official request to withdraw from the examination.

If you completed exams before filing the request then the results remain valid (§ 7 para. 4 sentences 6 and 7 ZImmO).

Do I need to re-register during the leave of absence?

You must re-register for the following semester if you want to continue your studies at the University of Konstanz (§ 6 para. 1 sentence 1 ZImmO).

Am I entitled to federal student aid (BAföG) during a leave of absence?

The BAföG regulations state that during calendar months for which you are on a leave of absence, financial assistance will not be paid (§ 9 para. 2 Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz - BAföG (federal law on student aid) in conjunction with No. 9.2.1 of the general administrative provisions for BAföG - BAföG VwV). An exception to this may be a study-related stay at a university abroad (§ 5 BAföG).

The decision about whether BAföG will be paid is made by the relevant BAföG office of Seezeit Bodensee student services upon prior written request.

Special reasons for a leave of absence due to maternity / parental leave or nursing care leave.

Maternity Protection

Pregnant students can request maternity leave for 6 weeks before and 8 weeks after birth (§ 3 para. 1 and § 6 para. 1 Mutterschutzgesetz (maternity protection act)).

This leave of absence can also be requested during the 1st semester. Your leave of absence will be granted for the entire semester if you were not able to achieve your study objective during the semester.

If you submit a request for a leave of absence for maternity protection: Please submit the original "Mutterpass" (record of prenatal and natal care) and one copy of the pages with the expected delivery date, or an official letter from the doctor that confirms the expected date of birth, or an original as well as a copy of the birth certificate.

Parental leave

Per national statutory parental leave provisions, you may request a leave of absence for all or part of the first three years of the child’s life (maximum of 6 semesters).

You may also take 2 semesters of parental leave at a later point in time up until the child's eight birthday. Both parents may take parental leave at the same time (§ 15 para. 1 to 3 Bundeselterngeld- und Elternzeitgesetz (act on parental leave allowance and partental leave)).

If you submit a request for a leave of absence for maternity protection: Please submit the original "Mutterpass" (record of prenatal and natal care) and one copy of the pages with the expected delivery date, or an official letter from the doctor that confirms the expected date of birth, or an original as well as a copy of the birth certificate.

Even after taking a leave of absence for parental leave, you can request further leave of absence to take leave to care of a child until he or she turns five years old. However, you may not attend any lectures or complete any coursework or academic performance assessments during this time.

Nursing care leave

If you care for close relatives who are in need of nursing care in accordance to the eleventh book of the German social code (SGB XI), you will receive upon request a leave of absence for the duration of the nursing care period (§ 4 para. 1 and § 7 para. 3 Pflegezeitgesetz (German act on care leave)). As a rule, the medical service personnel authorised by the health care insurance company determine the long-term nursing care needs. The duration of the nursing care period is limited to 6 months. As proof that you are providing the nursing care and that the close relative needs this care, please provide a current certificate from the relevant nursing care insurance provider.

The durations of leave of absences due to maternity/parental leave or nursing care leave will not be combined with leaves of absences for other reasons (§ 61 para. 3 Landeshochschulgesetz (state law on higher education)).