Important information on academic leave (“Vacation Semester”)

Academic leave is only possible for full semesters and for not more than four semesters in total. Periods of maternity leave, parental leave or compulsory military and alternative civilian service under Article 12a of the German Basic Law (Grundgesetz) are not affected by these regulations. Where leave is requested because of illness, a medical certificate (ärztliche Bescheinigung) must be submitted specifying the nature and expected duration of the illness. In the case of repeated requests for leave of absence due to illness, students must submit a specialist’s report (fachärztliches Gutachten) (not by a specialist in General Practice – Facharzt für Allgemeinmedizin). This must specify the nature, severity and extent of the medical condition (chronic illness or disability) and contain an opinion on the expected duration, effects and ability to study, as well as a prognosis for the possible resumption and completion of the course of study.

Vacation semesters do not count as study semesters (Fachsemester). Leave of absence normally excludes the possibility of gaining course credit (Leistungsnachweise) or sitting for examinations. It is however possible to re-sit failed examinations during leave of absence. Students who have been granted leave of absence under points 4 to 6 are permitted to take part in course modules and examinations. In the latter case, students must personally register for the examination(s) at the office of the relevant course and examination administration.

In the first study semester and during an ongoing semester, leave of absence can only be granted for maternity leave, parental leave or illness.

Leave of absence to prepare for a Diploma or Bachelor’s thesis cannot be granted.

Leave of absence to complete the internship semester – even in the context of a stay abroad – cannot be granted.

Leave of absence for a semester abroad which is a formal requirement of the study or examination regulations cannot be granted.

BAföG student loan recipients please note:

BAföG is not paid for a vacation semester. It makes no difference whether a vacation semester was applied for before the beginning of the semester or approved retrospectively by the University. Any BAfäG loan received for a vacation semester must be repaid to the BAföG office.

You can find further information on vacation semesters and BAFöG on the website of the Studentenwerk Frankfurt.