Students who wishes to interrupt their studies or are unable to participate in the regular course of study during the upcoming semester are required to apply for a semester-long leave of absence `Urlaubssemester´ (Section 14 of the Bylaws on Academic Matters "Satzung für Studienangelegenheiten" of Freie Universität Berlin).
Leave semesters do not count as study semesters ´Fachsemester´; therefore, they do not count toward the standard study period in a degree program ´Regelstudienzeit´, which is used as the basis for examination deadlines. They are solely considered toward the total number of university semesters ´Hochschulsemester´. A leave of absence status applies simultaneous to all your study subjects (including in the case of multiple enrollment) and is recorded on your certificate of enrollment.
Reasons for leave of absence are listed below:
Students have to pay the full semester fees and contributions during their leave of absence. Information on possibilities of exemption from the social contribution by reason of internships abroad, studying abroad or maternity leave can be obtained through the Student Administration office.
Since there may be a refund in contributions you should consider submitting your bank account details with the application for leave of absence. Please note that the refund can only be transferred onto the bank account of the depositor.
Your semester ticket transportation pass is valid throughout your leave of absence. However, once on leave of absence you may be reimbursed the cost of the ticket via the “Semesterticketbüro” if you choose to hand in your application together with your original student ID card with the annotation that you are on academic leave. For further information about the amount of refund and deadlines please contact the Semesterticketbüro directly.
For each leave of absence reason you will need to hand in the following relevant proof:
If you are re-registered and already have received your blue semester documents (student ID card, enrollment certificate, study book and receipt for payment) you must submit these along with your application for leave of absence. Once your leave of absence has been granted a new set of blue semester documents with the annotation that you are a student “on leave” is issued.
A period of academic leave generally comprises one full semester. Usually you will have a limit of two consecutive semesters. Overall you can only be “on leave” for half of the standard period of study time (“Regelstudienzeit”) in the relevant course of study (e.g., within Bachelor programs you can be “on leave” for 3 semesters in total). This limit may be exceeded with one additional semester in justified exceptional cases.
However, leave of absence due to the following reasons: illness, maternity leave, caring for a child younger than four years of age and nursing relatives in need of care is exempt.
While on leave of absence due to illness or full-time employment you must not attend courses that includes proof of performance and credit points. Other rights, such as the right to take examinations, remain. Special regulations do apply to studying parents (see Dual Career & Family Service).
Careful consideration should be paid to the effects it may have on other aspects outside of university. These may include, but are not limited to: grants or scholarships, social insurance contributions, tax matters, child benefit and allowances. Statutory health insurance should maintain during academic leave. BAföG-payments are not provided unless you are receiving BAföG to studying abroad. If you are employed full-time during a semester of academic leave you need to provide social insurance contributions.