Illness during your degree programme

Illness in connection with a single exam

If you are ill and cannot take an exam, you are allowed to take the reexamination. It is a good idea to contact your doctor so that, if required later, you can document that you were ill during the exam period.

Long term illness

If you are affected by long-term illness or other exceptional circumstances that prevent or limit you from following your degree programme, you have two options:

1) To apply for special leave
When you are on special leave, you will not be able to attend courses or take exams. You will be deregistered from classes and exams in the relevant semester(s), and your maximum period of study with be adjusted.

2) To apply for dispensation
You can apply for dispensation from the rules and frameworks that usually apply to you as a student. You will continue to be enrolled on the degree programme, and, depending on your situation, you can apply to be deregistered from some or all of your classes and exams for a period of time.


Who can apply for what

You can apply for dispensation if you are ill or if your capacity to work is affected by illness or death in your immediate family.

For example, you may need to apply to:

  • Deregister (completely or partially) from classes and exams in the semester/semesters during which you are ill. It is important that you state clearly what you would like to be deregistered from. Your application to deregister from an exam must be received before the exam takes place.
  • Adjust your maximum period of study
    Read more about maximum period of study here
  • Postpone your first-year exam (if you are a Bachelor’s student)
    Read about the first-year exam here.

If you are writing your Master’s thesis, there are special rules that apply to you.

When you apply for dispensation, you must provide a doctor’s certificate. Below, you can read what information the board of studies requires the doctor’s certificate to contain.

Contact your student counsellor / make a study plan

It is a good idea to talk to a student counsellor about whether you need to apply for dispensation and, if so, which type of dispensation you should apply for. Together with your student counsellor, you can also put together a plan for how you intend to continue your studies when you return from your period of illness and/or whilst you are partly actively enrolled.  It is a good idea to include this plan when you apply for dispensation in order to show that you have a realistic plan for how you intend to complete your degree programme. The board of studies does not need to approve the plan, even if you change it later, as long as you comply with the rules (e.g. for the maximum period of study).

Doctor’s certificates

If you are applying for dispensation because you have a medical condition or illness that affects your ability to complete your study programme on the terms and conditions that are generally applicable, you need a doctor’s certificate.

Paying for the doctor' certificate is your own responsibility.

The purpose of a doctor’s certificate is to demonstrate how, to what extent and for how long your medical condition or illness will affect your ability to study/take exams.

A doctor’s certificate must answer the following questions:

  • How does your medical condition/illness affect you?
    The doctor must describe how your medical condition/illness affects your ability to carry out your study programme, including exams and comply with applicable rules. The doctor is not obliged to mention the medical condition or illness in question, but it is important that he/she describes the way in which it affects you, so that the university can decide whether there are grounds for granting you dispensation.
  • To what extent are you affected?
    The doctor may also provide an assessment of the extent to which your ability to study is affected (e.g. whether you are completely unable to study for a certain period, or whether you can study part time). The prognosis may also be relevant – is there a chance of improvement? In connection with part-time sick leave, the doctor should indicate how many hours per week you are able to study.
  • How long have you had the problem?
    It is also important that the doctor, with specific dates, states the period in which you have been ill, and perhaps how long the illness is expected to last.

These questions must be answered in relation to the rule from which you are applying for dispensation. The doctor must also state which information comes from their own examination, and which information comes from a consultation with you, from a third party, from your medical records, or from other sources.

The following information must also be included:

  • Your name, civil registration number and address.
  • The doctor’s name, official ID, company address and qualifications.
  • Information about who your family doctor is.
  • The date and the doctor’s signature.

The significance of doctor’s certificates

A doctor’s certificate is a medical assessment whose purpose is to give the university grounds for deciding whether you should be granted dispensation. The university are obliged to consider doctor’s certificates, but do not have to follow the doctor’s recommendations (if any are made).

If the university do not feel that they have sufficient evidence to assess your case, they may ask you to send further documentation. The university will not contact your doctor.

Response to your application

When your application for dispensation has been processed, you will receive a decision on your application via your e-Boks or AU email.

If we need additional information in order to make a decision on your case, you will be contacted via your AU email.

We will process your application as soon as possible, but be aware that it can take up to eight weeks (July not included). So we recommend that you apply well in advance.

SU in connection with dispensation

Read about SU in connection with dispensation here: