Life doesn’t always go according to plan. Or maybe you just want to devote yourself to other things, like an internship or work-and-travel abroad. That’s why it is possible to take a so-called semester leave of absence. In the following few questions, we will explain exactly how this works:
How does a semester leave of absence work?
You can take a leave of absence for up to two semesters at the University of Bremen throughout your entire course of studies without any special reason. Specifically, this means that you do not attend seminars or lectures, but remain enrolled. If you continue your studies after the leave, your place at the university and your previous examinations will be retained. However, you are not allowed to complete any coursework or examinations during your leave of absence; this means that you are not allowed to attend any courses or seminars or submit any papers. Please also note that a semester leave of absence counts as a university semester, but not as an actual study semester. This may be relevant for various benefits such as BAföG loans or child allowance.
What deadlines do I need to keep in mind?
You must submit your leave application together with all necessary supporting documents online in the MOIN portal for an upcoming winter semester by August 15. The due date for a summer semester is February 15. It is not possible to apply for a leave of absence retroactively. It is also not possible to take a leave of absence in the first semester of your studies.
Does this apply to all students?
In principle, all bachelor’s and master’s students enrolled at the University of Bremen can take advantage of the semester leave of absence. However, this does not include students with a special status, such as doctoral students, visiting students, or students of the Preparatory Studies Program. Students requiring a visa also need a permit from the immigration office.
Are more than two semesters of leave possible?
If you want to put your studies on hold for more than two semesters, you can do so, but only with a valid reason – for example, due to illness. This requires submitting a doctor’s note. And in this case, you can only be granted a leave of absence for the regular degree duration, not longer. Parental leave also counts as a valid reason for putting your studies on hold for more than two semesters. Here, you have to submit some verification. In the event of a leave of absence due to parental leave, you are allowed to do coursework and take exams during that period.
Do I have to pay tuition fees and my semester ticket?
As you are an enrolled student during your leave of absence, you must pay your tuition fees on time – otherwise, you risk being withdrawn from the university. If you do not wish to use the semester ticket, you can indicate this in your application for leave of absence in the MOIN portal.
Wouldn’t it be easier to just not attend lectures instead of applying for a leave of absence?
It all sounds pretty bureaucratic at first, not to attend lectures or take exams for a semester. However, officially applying for a semester of leave is especially sensible if you receive BAföG loans. Because doing so will make it easier for you to ensure you do not exceed the regular degree duration, as the leave of absence does not count as a semester of study. Your BAföG loans will be discontinued if you exceed the regular degree duration.
More detailed information, such as the required pieces of verification, can be found on the University of Bremen website.
The Student Office would also be happy to advise you on this. The in-person office hours are Monday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., on the ground floor of VWG.
You can also reach the Student Office outside office hours by phone at +49 421 218-61110 or by using the contact form.
Studierendenwerk Bremen (Student Services) offers advice on BAföG loans.