Parental leave

If you plan to take parental leave while enrolled in your degree programme, you have two options:

  • Dispensation
    You can apply for dispensation from your board of studies. Below you find more information about this. 

Dispensation for Parental Leave
Parental leave is granted for whole semesters. The board of studies’ decision will primarily take into account the maximum period of study. Depending on how far along you are in your degree programme, you may also need to apply for dispensation from other rules, such as those regarding first-year exams or the Master’s thesis.

Parental leave must be held during your child’s first year of life.

Dispensation from the rule on maximum period of study
You can apply for an extension of your maximum period of study relative to the duration of your parental leave. This means, if you wish to take parental leave for two semesters (12 months), your maximum period of study will be extended by two semesters (12 months).

It is a good idea to talk to a student counsellor. They can help you put together a plan for how to proceed with your studies when you return from parental leave.

Distribution of the parental leave
It is up to you as parents to decide how you wish to distribute your parental leave.

Typically, the mother applies for two semesters (12 months) and the father for one semester (6 months). If the parental leave starts in the middle of a semester, the mother can apply for an additional semester (six months), so that she takes three semesters (18 months) in total.

The father can also apply for two semesters (12 months) of parental leave. However, you must then document that the mother will only take one semester (six months) of parental leave. 

If you are in a same-sex relationship, the same allocation applies. This means that the primary parent (the “mother”) can apply for two to three semesters (12/18 months), and the co-parent (the “father”) can apply for one semester (six months).

Parental leave during your thesis
If you wish to take parental leave during your thesis period, in addition to the types of dispensation mentioned above, you can also apply for dispensation to extend your submission deadline by the number of months you plan to take parental leave.

As a main rule, the mother's (primary parent) thesis period can be suspended up till 12 months. The father's (secondary parent) thesis period can as a main rule be suspended up till 6 months. However, it the period will also be based on an individual and concrete assessment.

When you apply for dispensation in connection with parental leave, you must enclose one of the following types of documentation:

As the mother (primary parent)

  • a doctor’s certificate
  • your medical records
  • birth certificate
  • or confirmation of adoption.

As the father (co-parent)

  • a birth certificate that denotes you as the father
  • a copy of the medical records including confirmation from the mother that you are the child’s father.
  • or adoption records that denotes you as the father

The Education Grant and Loan Scheme (SU)
The board of studies’ decision regarding parental leave has no bearing on the decision made by the Danish Agency for Higher Education regarding the allocation of student grants and loans in connection with parental leave.

As such, please remember to check the rules of the Danish Agency for Higher Education regarding student grants and loans during parental leave. Find out more on the website of the Danish Agency for Higher Education.

General rules on pregnancy
It is important to distinguish between parental leave and pregnancy. Pregnancy is not regarded as “exceptional circumstances”, so it cannot be used as the grounds for dispensation. If you experience complications in connection with your pregnancy that affect your study performance, you can of course apply for dispensation. 

As a rule, dispensation in connection with parental leave/pregnancy can only be granted from the time the child is born and always within the first year of the child’s life.