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  • Student Services
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  • Counselling and contact
  • For prospective students
  • For Students
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    • lecture period
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    • HCU card & Semester ticket
    • Leave of absence
    • Part-time studies
    • Change of contact details
    • Health Insurance
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    • Re-registration after interruption
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  • Examination Office
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Leave of absence

The HafenCity Universität Hamburg (HCU) offers the option to apply for a leave of absence during the studies for students who are unable to contribute at least 50 % of their time to their studies. The regulations are stated in the current version of the Immatrikulationsordnung. The leave of absence will be granted for the whole semester. It is possible to apply for two consecutive semester at the same time. Usually the leave of absence will only be granted for a maximum of four semesters.

Reasons for a leave of absence

The following reasons for a leave of absence will be accepted:

  • Severe illness
  • Pregnancy, maternity protection, taking care of children younger than eight years old living in the same household as the caregiver according to the Elternzeitgesetz
  • Taking care of a close relative in need of care
  • Studying at another university either in Germany or abroad
  • Internships either in Germany or abroad

Applicaton and deadlines

If you want to apply for a leave of absence for one or two semesters please use the relevant form that is available in your ahoi account during the re-registration period.


As a first step, please fill out the form online and submit it electronically. Then hand a signed hard copy along with the necessary documents to proof your reasons for the application in at the Student Service Center.


Documents to proof the reasons for your application:

  • Severe illness: medical certificate where a doctor confirms that you can contribute less than 50% of your time to your studies and that they recommend the leave of absence
  • Pregnancy, maternity protection, taking care of children: medical certificate that confirms the pregnancy or the duration of the maternity protection, birth certificate(s) and a registration certificate (Meldebescheinigung) that confirms that the child or the children live in the same household as you
  • Taking care of a close relative in need of care: a declaration that there is no other caretaker available, a care certificate and/or notice of assessment of the nursing degree and/or a certificate from the Pflegekasse and or a certificate from the medical service of the health insurance company
  • Studying at another university: a confirmation from the International Office or from the host university
  • Internship: a confirmation letter from the internship business that states the duration of the internship

Please keep in mind that the application is only possible during the re-registration period. It is not possible to apply for a semester that has already ended.


Only under certain conditions is it possible to apply for a leave of absence during the semester:

  • Pregnancy, maternity protection, taking care of children
  • Severe illness
  • Taking care of a close relative in need of care

Exams during the leave of absence

Sabbatical semesters do not count as full study semesters. That means it is not possible to take any exams during the leave of absence.


The only exceptions are:

  • Re-taking exams that you failed in the previous semester (please indicate in your application if you want to re-take exams during your leave of absence or not).
  • Completing coursework or exams commenced during the previous semester
  • Taking exams during a study exchange at another university (either in Germany or abroad). After your return, you can apply for the recognition of the academic achievements for your studies at the HCU.

It is not possible to write the thesis during a sabbatical semester, the thesis semester has to be a full study semester. The thesis examination during a sabbatical semester is not allowed.

Student counseling

If you already had two or more sabbatical semesters or if you will exceed the number of two sabbatical semesters with your current application you need to attend a student counseling. You must hand in proof of the student counseling along with your application documents. The form for the student counseling can be found here.


Students who apply for a leave of absence because of an illness, pregnancy, maternity protection, caretaking of a child or caring for a close relative need to attend a student counseling within one semester after the end of the sabbatical semester. To make an appointment for the counseling please contact the person in charge for your degree program. The Person in charge can be found here.

Semester contribution and re-registration

For the re-registration to the coming semester, you must pay the full amount of the semester contribution.

If two consecutive sabbatical semesters will be granted, you will not have to pay the administrative fee in the second semester. According to § 6a Abs. 1 of the Hamburgisches Hochschulgesetzes (HmbHG) the administrative fee will be waived for the second semester. The semester contribution notification will then automatically show the reduced amount.


If you cannot use the HVV semesterticket during your sabbatical semester, you have the option to apply for a refund of the amount for the ticket from the Semesterticket Härtefond.