Taking Time Out for a Reason

Leaves of Absence

Taking a semester on leave means you are officially interrupting your studies. You need to provide a good reason when requesting a semester on leave. Semesters on leave are passive semesters that do not count towards the number of program-related semesters.


Reasons for a leave of absence

  • You want to study at a university abroad or a language school or you want to go abroad for a project related to your studies
  • You want to engage in a practical activity (e.g. an internship) that serves the goal of your studies
  • You have an illness and will be unable to attend courses and complete the expected requirements in the semester for which you request a leave of absence
  • You need to take care of or provide for your spouse, your registered partner or a relative in direct line or a first-degree in-law, given there is a documented need for care or provision
  • Pregnancy may also be a valid reason if you are unable to complete the expected requirements
  • You need to take care of underage children
  • Your involvement in the family business is required
  • You are active in institutions of the University, the student body or the Studierendenwerke
  • You serve as chairperson, deputy chairperson or treasurer in one of the student councils
  • You are absent in the interest of the University
  • Economic hardship may qualify as a reason if your studies up to this point have progressed in an orderly manner and if you are predicted to finish your degree program successfully
  • You have already completed all examinations in the previous semester and all that is left to do in the semester for which you request a leave is waiting for the results
  • You want to perform Federal Voluntary Service
  • You are a top-level athlete and need to take a semester on leave for athletic reasons, especially for preparing for important championships

Download application for a leave of absence

Download the application form, complete, sign and email back (from your University email account) to the Student Registry along with the necessary documents.

More information

A leave of absence is usually granted for one semester. You may apply for up to three consecutive semesters of leave at a time if you submit the required documentation.

The maximum amount of leave that can be granted is ten semesters. This also includes semesters on leave granted by other German universities. In cases of severe illness, additional semesters may be granted as an exception if applicants can submit a letter of approval issued by the University of Bonn’s representative for students with disabilities.

  • While on leave, students enrolled at the University of Bonn or admitted as cross-registered students are not entitled to complete coursework or examinations. Neither are they permitted to receive course assessments, satisfy attendance requirements as described in § 64 para. 2 no. 2 Higher Education Act, earn credit points or take examinations.
  • This does not apply to repeating failed exams as well as to course assessments and attendance requirements that result from a stay abroad or practical semester for which leave was granted. Neither does it apply if the semester on leave is granted for the purpose of caring for and educating children as described in § 25 para. 5 BAföG and for the purpose of caring for your spouse, your registered partner, or a relative in direct line or a first-degree in-law.
  • If your leave of absence is longer than six months, your membership rights and obligations are suspended.  This means you are not allowed to vote at the University of Bonn during that time and you may not be elected into office.

If you are on leave because

  • you are abroad as part of your studies
  • you are performing Federal Voluntary Service
  • you are so ill that you will not be able to complete your studies as planned

you only have to pay a reduced semester fee.

Alternatively, if you want to use your student transit pass while on leave, your leave of absence may technically be granted for another important reason.  In this case, you will need to pay the full semester fee. Please include the documentation for requesting leave at the reduced rate with your application for a leave of absence and check “other important reason” as your reason for requesting a leave of absence on the form.

Applications for a leave of absence must be received by the reregistration deadline (end of February for the summer semester and end of August for the winter semester).

Exceptions are possible if the preconditions for a leave of absence occur at a later date. Applications for a retroactive leave of absence must be submitted by May 15 at the latest for a summer semester and November 15 for a winter semester. The same deadlines apply if you want to change your reason for requesting a leave of absence.

It is not possible to take a leave of absence in the first semester of an undergraduate degree program.

If you want to apply for a leave of absence in the transition period between your bachelor’s and master’s degree studies, you may do so if the relevant University department supports granting a leave of absence for students staying abroad as part of their studies, completing a relevant internship, or waiting for their examination results to be released. Technically, your leave of absence will then still be part of your (completed) bachelor's degree program. In that case, however, you must apply for admission in your first active master’s semester and will only be permitted to begin your master’s degree studies if you have been admitted to that program.

If you want to apply for a leave of absence in the first semester of your master’s degree studies because you care for and educate children as described in § 25 para. 5 BAföG or because you care for your spouse, your registered partner, or a relative in direct line, a second-degree relative in a collateral line or a first-degree in-law, an exception to this rule may be made because it is legally possible for you to complete coursework and examinations if you are on leave for one of these reasons.


Contact Information

Team Studierendenservice

+49 228 73 4464 o. 4491

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