Academic leave / semester of academic leave
The application for academic leave for the subsequent semester is available in your STiNE account under "Studium" > "Anträge." Please submit the application via your STiNE account. Applications must be submitted within the application deadlines stated below.
You must submit relevant proof to attest that there are compelling reasons forcing you to apply for academic leave, e.g., a medical certificate (Attest) in the case of illness. You upload the documents proving your reasons in the application form in STiNE. Without the upload of documents, the application cannot be sent.
Universität Hamburg usually accepts the following reasons as grounds for academic leave:
- an illness which makes a regular study routine impossible
- care of children younger than eighteen or nursing other relatives
- a study period at another German university or abroad
- an internship
- Students enrolled in degree programs outside of the bachelor's and master's system that are not subject to ongoing examination (e.g., those leading to the Staatsexamen) may take one semester of academic leave in order to prepare for their final exams.
Notification that your application has been accepted will be made available to you in your STiNE account under "Studium" > “Dokumente” once the decision has been made. A rejection notice will be sent by regular mail.
Usually, applications are submitted for one semester. The application can also be submitted for several semesters in a row, provided that the proof submitted shows that the grounds require a longer leave of absence.
Deadlines for application
The application for academic leave must be submitted online via STiNE before the following deadlines:
- by 31 January for a summer semester
- by 30 June for a winter semester
In addition, the supporting documents for the application must be uploaded in the application form.
Applications submitted thereafter will only be processed for a fee of 30 Euro. Exceptions are possible if the reason for academic leave occurred after the end of the deadline.
The fee must be paid via bank transfer using the following payment details:
Recipient: Universität Hamburg
Bank: Deutsche Bundesbank
Reference number: 100022322
Purpose: Student ID number TZ/BU
Do I have to pay the semester contribution while academic leave?
Students must pay the full semester contribution during academic leave.
If the application for a leave of absence is submitted and approved for several semesters in a row, you do not have to pay the part of the contribution covering administrative expenses (50 Euro) for those semesters. This only applies in the case of an application for several semesters in a row, not in the case that several applications are submitted in a row.
Please note: Should submission of your application for academic leave and payment of the semester contribution overlap, semester documents may be be issued with your status prior to application submission. After your status has been changed, you will automatically receive new proof of enrollment (Semesterbescheinigung) detailing your academic leave status.
Applying for academic leave during a semester
Should important reasons prevent you from continuing your studies, you may apply for academic leave after the above stated deadlines if the reason you provide is deemed sufficient evidence that you are unable to pursue a normal course of study.
Outgoing students, who will be unable to use their semester public transport ticket while abroad, may be reimbursed the cost of the ticket by the Studierendenwerk (student services).
Further information can be found on the website of the Studierendenwerk Hamburg on the subject of semester ticket reimbursement (German only).
Am I allowed to keep on studying?
Periods of academic leave do not count as subject semesters. While on academic leave, students are prohibited from completing coursework or exams, with the exception of final exams. Acceptable reasons for completing a degree during a period of academic leave are:
- resitting exams failed in the previous semester
- completing coursework or exams commenced during the previous semester
- sitting exams for which registration took place before the grounds for academic leave existed
- sitting exams during periods of study abroad
Special regulations for students of medicine and dentistry
Students of medicine and dentistry who are planning to write their doctoral dissertations prior to completing their degree may apply for a maximum of three semesters of academic leave. In such cases, please ensure that your application for academic leave includes certification of your doctoral status from the Office of the Dean in the Faculty of Medicine (see certification of doctoral status to apply for academic leave (only available in German)).
Possible effects to esidence permits and financing your studies
Please note that changes to your student status may have consequences on other areas, for example, BAföG, child benefits, or residence permits. In order to avoid complications, please seek advice from the respective authorities, or even request them to approve your change of status in advance.
We have provided information on some of the authorities responsible for such matters below:
- Registration Office for Foreigners (Ausländerbehörde): A residence permit for study purposes (Section 16 subsection 1 of the Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz, AufenthG) only applies to the higher education institution and degree program named therein. Students who change their status without prior approval may lose their residence permit. For this reason, you must secure approval from the Registration Office for Foreigners responsible for you before making any changes to your student status.
Students can apply for one semester of academic leave per degree program without seeking prior approval from the Registration Office for Foreigners (once during a bachelor's and once during a master's degree program). This is inadmissable, however, if you apply for more than one semester of academic leave within the course of a single degree program. If you are planning to take more than one semester of academic leave, you must secure permission from the Foreigners Registration Office before applying for academic leave.
For further details, please see our Information on transfers and degree program changes.