Leave of Absence

  Empty lecture hall © Martin Braun

Gathering practical experiences, spending a semester abroad, assuming care of a child – there are many reasons to take a leave of absence from your studies for a certain period of time. What a semester of leave is, how to get it approved, and what reasons are recognized by RWTH Aachen are below.


Acceptable Grounds for a Leave of Absence

  • Illness (please also note the detailed information on Re-entry Coaching for Students With Long-Term Illnesses)
  • An internship or practical activity that serves the purpose of your studies
  • the project "A Good Academic Start in Engineering"
  • Study abroad at a university or language school
  • Committee work
  • Military or civil service
  • Care and accomodation, first and foremost, for affiliated individuals (spouse, partner, children, relatives, in-laws)
  • Pregnancy or care of children not yet of school age (Note: You can request a maximum of 6 semesters of leave per child)
  • Term of imprisonment
  • An economic emergency that handicaps the expected academic performance in the respective semester (Note: This is only possible if you did not have a leave of absence in the previous semester for the same reason)
  • Comprehensible intention to start a business
    (please contact us in advance at )
  • Other important reasons, that can be verified by your contact person in the Registrar's Office

Please note that your reason for the leave of absence must be proven to apply for the majority of the semester.


Submit the application for a semester of leave either via mail, in person or as a scan via email. The request must be made during the re-enrollment deadline using the template provided by the University and must include suitable documentation. In some exceptions, the request can be made till the end of the first month of lectures.

The application must always be submitted during the respective re-enrollment period, preferably by . If you do send the application by e-mail, please make sure that the application for leave of absence is received in PDF format together with the appropriate supporting documents.

If you wish to send the application by mail, please use the following address:

Studierendensekretariat der RWTH Aachen
Templergraben 57
52062 Aachen

If you wish to submit it in person, please use our appointment booking tool in advance.


Common Questions About Leaves of Absence

Can I get a leave of absence every semester?

No, leaves of absence are only possible starting in the second course semester for Bachelor, Master, or Diplom courses of study.  An exception is that you can apply for a semester of leave for the first course semester in a Master course of study, if you will be studying abroad or completing an internship during that first semester.

Do I have to provide evidence supporting my reason for a leave of absence?

Yes. When applying for a leave of absence, you must prove or credibly demonstrate that the stated reasons exist, for example, by submitting an acceptance certificate from your host university abroad, your child's birth certificate, your internship contract, or a medical certificate (confirming that you are unable to study during the semester in question). Please note that emails are not deemed sufficient proof.

When do I apply for a leave of absence?

During the registration period for the following semester.

Can I take exams during a leave of absence?

Yes, it is possible to take exams during the semester of leave.

Does a leave of absence affect my student status?

No. You enrollment at RWTH Aachen remains unaffected, meaning you remain a member of the univeristy with all the same rights and obligations. If you take a leave of absence for more than one semster, your rights and obligations, such as your right to vote, are suspended.

The reason for my leave of absence is now inapplicable or nonexistent. What now?

Should the reason for your leave of absence prematurely end - if, for example, you do not start your internship or you have to end early - you must tell your designated contact person in the Registrar's Office. This is in accordance with the enrollment guidelines.

Does a leave of absence effect my right to BAföG?

You cannot receive BAföG funding during a leave of absence. Students who receive BAföG should immediately inform the Student Services' funding department of their plans to take a semester of leave.

If you have questions about BAföG, please contact Studierendenwerk Aachen.

Do I have to pay the semester fee during my leave of absence?

If you are on a leave of absence in the upcoming semester, please transfer the fee indicated in RWTHonline. This may vary depending on your reason for the leave of absence. You can apply for a refund of the mobility fee at  AStA afterward. Please contact AStA directly to request your refund.