I E - Academic Advising Service

Studying with children

Leave of abscense

Leaves of absence should be requested with the Office of Student Affairs when re-registering. In the ongoing semester, leaves of absence are only approved in especially justified exceptional cases and are then retroactively valid for the entire semester. Pregnancy and birth could be this kind of exceptional case. Leaves of absence to care for your own child can be requested by either the mother or father, and the parents can also alternate caring for the child by semester.

The number of semesters you can take a leave of absence for pregnancy and caring for a child is oriented on the childcare rights set down in the Parental Allowance and Parental Leave Act (Bundeselterngeld- und Elternzeitgesetz): In total (including maternity protection), 6 semesters can be taken up to the end of the child’s third year. A maximum of two semesters of the six can be taken until the end of the child’s eighth year.

Normally, during a leave of absence you do not have the right to attend courses, but if your leave of absence is to care for a child during the first six years of life for a maximum of three years, you may attend courses for up to six semesters. The courses attended may not exceed the limit for students not on a leave of absence. This is set down in Section 33 of the "Regulations on General Procedures for Studies and Examinations" (AllgStuPo).

Still, remember before submitting your request that many courses are only offered every other semester or must be taken in a certain order. When in doubt, discuss your plan for studying with the student advisory service in your faculty.

Compulsory attendance

Regular participation in courses in the sense of compulsory attendance is not required by any of the TU’s statutes or regulations. Because there are no regulations on attendance, there are also no binding exceptions to rules. If a course has a limit to the number of absences permitted, this will be announced during the first session at the beginning of the semester and/or the information can be found on the department’s website or in the module description. In general, though, the following applies: If you see that you won’t be able to fulfill the attendance requirements, talk to the instructor, explain your situation, and offer to do make-up work for the sessions you will miss.

If despite this there are problems with recognizing times you have missed or with the communication, you are not alone. We are happy to advise you!


If your child is sick when you are supposed to take a written or oral exam, the same procedure applies as when you are sick yourself. Until one day before the examination date, you can withdraw normally from the examination. To do so, you need to submit a written withdrawal form to the department and your Examinations Office. In cases of acute illnesses, you should bring a medical certificate that is dated no later than the examination day by the pediatrician to the Examinations Office within 5 days after the examination date.

The illness of your own child is also a justified reason for requesting an extension for working on a thesis. In this case, you need a medical certificate from the pediatrician and must confirm that no one else was available for childcare. You then submit these documents to your Examinations Office so that the deadline for your thesis is extended by the length of the illness.

The maternity protection period is also a justified reason for withdrawing from examinations or extending the time for working on your thesis. You must bring appropriate proof (e.g. your maternity “passport”) to your Examinations Office.

In general, the following applies: Talk to the Examinations Office in a timely manner, get advice, and ask about when you need to re-take the exams you missed. If one of the examinations you were supposed to take had the format “exam-equivalent coursework”, then make sure you contact the Examinations Office about how to proceed.

Compensation for disadvantages

The TU Berlin’s Regulations Governing General Study and Examination Procedures (AllgStuPO) provides for a compensation for disadvantages for pregnant students, students with children, students with relatives in need of care, and for students with a disability or chronic illness or other difficulties. (Sec. 67 AllgStuPO).

Students can submit a request for compensation for disadvantages if they cannot complete coursework or an examination in the set format due to pregnancy or caring for or raising a child up to 18 years of age. Here, the affected student can request compensation from the responsible examination committee, e.g. in the form of another date, a deadline extension, or another format that can be suggested by the student. However, there is no right to a certain form of compensation for disadvantages. Instead, the examination committee will determine what form of compensation is appropriate in light of the qualification goals of the respective module and the personal situation of the student with a family.

In order to request a compensation for disadvantages for coursework and examinations, you will need to prove that due to your family obligations it is not possible for you to complete the requirement as set down in the study and examination regulations. The coursework or examination to be done as the compensation for disadvantages must be equivalent.

You submit the request in writing to your examination committee and you will also be notified of the decision in writing. Please note that your request should be submitted as early as possible so that the examiners have enough time to organize another examination situation (e.g. by extending the exam time for breastfeeding breaks with a separate room booked for the breastfeeding time).

Studying with children

Claudia Cifire


+49 30 314-25605

Building Hauptgebäude
Room H 0072
Address Straße des 17. Juni 135
10623 Berlin
Advising sessionby appointment via e-mail or phone