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Photo: Myriam Lübbers

Photo: Johannes Pauly

Photo: Myriam Lübbers

Leave of absence

You may be granted a leave of absence from your course on request, if you can provide important grounds for this.

Important grounds are in particular:

  • Study at a foreign university
  • Other stay abroad that is a prerequisite for completion of your course
  • Voluntary internship in Germany that is a prerequisite for completion of your course
  • Absence from the university in the interests of the university or due to involvement in a research project
  • Military & voluntary service
  • Sickness
  • Pregnancy
  • Parental leave
  • Nursing care or caregiving for relatives
  • Foundation of a company
  • Other important grounds

Upon proof of important grounds, a leave of absence will be granted for the duration of one semester. In the case of a leave of absence of more than six months, all membership rights and obligations will be suspended for the duration of the period of absence.

Students taking a leave of absence are not entitled to complete any graded or non-graded work, to earn any admission criteria for examinations within the meaning of § 64, Para. 2 (2) of the North Rhine-Westphalia Higher Education Act (HG NRW) or any credits or to take any examinations. This does not apply to exam resits or to admission criteria for examinations earned during a semester abroad or practical semester for which a leave of absence is to be taken. It also does not apply if the leave of absence is to be taken to care for and bring up children within the meaning of § 25, Para. 5 of the German Federal Training Assistance Act (BAföG) or to care for a spouse, registered civil partner or immediate relative or in-law. If credits are earned on any work completed abroad during the semester of leave, the semester of leave will be counted as a semester of study.

A leave of absence can be granted only after receipt of payment of the relevant semester fees. The semester fees payable depends on the reason for the leave of absence. You can find more information here.

Please submit your application for a leave of absence for the summer semester by 21 March and for the winter semester by 21 September electronically via PAUL > Studying > Manage your studies > My Applications.

If you become eligible for a leave of absence (see above grounds for leave of absence) after these deadlines, the Central University Administration will decide whether or not to grant an exception. In such exceptional cases, please send an e-mail to Retrospective leaves of absence for previous semesters will generally not be considered or approved.

Leaves of absence will generally not be granted for a first semester of study, except for students on a masters degree programme or in the event of a serious illness during the first semester of study. 

Frequently asked questions

How long can I take leave of absence?

Leave of absence is only possible for one semester at a time. If you would like to take leave of absence for several semesters, a new application must be submitted for each of these semesters. If you would like to resume your studies in Paderborn after a semester of leave, you must re-register in due time. Important: If you are on leave of absence for more than 6 months, your membership rights and obligations are suspended.

What is the consequence if my application for leave of absence is not complete?

If further documents are required, they will be requested by e-mail (Unimail address). If missing documents are not submitted by the deadline, the application for leave of absence will be considered invalid and a leave of absence will no longer be possible.

What problems can arise when paying the reduced semester fees?

If the application for leave of absence cannot be granted, re-registration will not take place. The missing balance for re-registration must be paid into the university's account in due time in order to prevent the initiation of exmatriculation proceedings due to non-registration.

What happens when I have applied for leave of absence?

If your application has been approved, you will see this in your PAUL account as "Status: approved". You will receive your study certificates as usual. The status "leave of absence" is then noted on it. Please check the information and inform the Registrar's Office immediately of any errors.

If your application cannot be approved or if further proof is missing for the examination, you will receive a corresponding message by e-mail. It is therefore essential that you keep an eye on your e-mail inbox after submitting your application.

I do not need the semester ticket during my semester off. Can I have the mobility fee reimbursed?

Applications for reimbursement must be submitted online before the start of the semester of leave of absence.

What effects does a leave of absence have on my BAföG entitlement?

Before applying for a leave of absence, please enquire at the BAföG office about the effects of a leave of absence in your case.

During my stay abroad, I would like to have the mail addressed to me from the University of Paderborn sent to another address. Is that possible?

You can change your address yourself in your university account. To do so, click on "My data" in PAUL and then on "Address". Please remember to update your address again after your return.

The University for the Information Society