Leave of absence

What are the requirements for special leave?

Guidelines for leave for ordinary students enrolled in full-time education

Would you like to apply for leave? Read below how you can do it. 

The requirements for special leave are:

  • That the leave is on account of illness, childbirth/adoption, military service/UN service and/or other special circumstances (e.g. a seriously ill child/parent/other close relative).

The application must always be accompanied by documentation e.g. in the form of a medical certificate, a pregnancy report or call-up papers. Based on the documentation, the university assesses whether you qualify for leave. Special leave is granted for a minimum of two months at a time. Special leave on account of childbirth/adoption may be granted for a period up to 12 months to the mother and up to six months to the father in accordance with the Danish SU regulations.

A processing time of approx. 7 working days can be expected. 

If your requested leave period exceeds your registered maximum period of study, please contact us before you submit your application for a leave of absence.

Questions regarding leave of absence should be sent to indskriv@au.dk.

Required documentation

In connection with an application for a leave of absence, you will always be asked to submit a doctor's certificate as documentation for illness or special circumstances.

The university will then assess whether the doctor’s certificate is relevant to the application for a leave of absence, and whether it fulfils the formal requirements for medical certificates.

The doctor’s certificate

A doctor's certificate is a written statement on a person's state of health. A medical certificate can be issued by a medical doctor on paper, electronically or in another legible medium and must contain the following:

  • The patient’s name, CPR-number and address
  • The doctor’s name, authorisation ID, company address and degree.
  • Specification of what information in the certificate is based on the doctor’s own examination of the patient, and what information derives from the patient him or herself, third parties or medical records, etc.
  • Information on the extent to which the patient normally consults with the medical doctor who has drawn up the certificate.
  • Information about the expected duration of the period of leave applied for.
  • Finally, the certificate must be dated and include the doctor’s signature or the equivalent.


Other types of documentation (special circumstances)

In individual cases, other types of documentation may be submitted in relation to special circumstances. Such documentation must be submitted and contain the following:

  • Information about the special circumstances in question (e.g. documentation from the municipality regarding compassionate leave, childcare leave or the like).
  • Information about the expected duration of the special circumstances in relation to the period of leave applied for.
  • Finally, the documentation must be dated and include the municipal authority’s signature or the equivalent.

Leaves of absence and exams


It is important to keep these rules in mind when you are applying for a leave of absence.

  • As a rule, you cannot participate in classes, take exams or submit written assignments during an academic term (semester or quarter) in which you are or have been on leave.
  • However, as of 1 September 2018, for students who conclude or discontinue their leave of absence in the course of an academic term (semester or quarter), the university may grant dispensation to register for courses and exams within the student’s degree programme in the current academic term.
  • If you want to request a dispensation to register for courses and exams under these rules, you should apply to your board of studies.
  • You can start a leave of absence during an academic term in which you have taken exams. The leave of absence must not start before the day after you took the exam.
  • If you have already registered for one or more exams when you apply for a leave of absence, your exam registration will be annulled when your leave is granted. However, please note that special rules apply to registration for the Master’s thesis. 

How do I discontinue my leave of absence?

  • You must make sure that your application to discontinue a leave of absence from a degree programme is received by Aarhus University no later than the day on which you wish to discontinue your leave of absence.
  • You must submit the application in writing to indskriv@au.dk from your AU mail address.
  • The university cannot discontinue a leave of absence retrospectively.

Leave and academic progression

Most degree programme are organised so that students progress through their elements in a particular order. In other words, you have to take courses and semesters in a particular order to achieve the degree programme’s learning outcomes. This means that you cannot simply change the order of courses and semesters as you like when you are planning the remaining course of your studies in connection with leave.

So before you go on leave, you should contact studies administration and/or a student counsellor on your degree programme for advice on the best way for you to return when your leave of absence ends. Please be aware that it is your responsibility to seek guidance on any academic progression requirements on your degree programme and practical help in planning your studies in connection with your leave of absence.

When on leave …

  • You cannot study actively in other degree programmes as an ordinary student.
  • You cannot be enrolled as a credit student or a student under further and continuing education in courses that form part of the degree programme from which you have been granted leave.
  • You have no right to vote for governing bodies and cannot stand for or be a member of any governing body.
  • You cannot print out an enrolment confirmation if enrolled at the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Health , the School of Business and Social Sciences or the Faculty of Science and Technology. Upon expiry of the period of special leave, your status will be changed to ‘active’, and you will once more be able to print out an enrolment confirmation.

Special leave and the State Education Grant and Loan Scheme in Denmark (SU)

You do not qualify for SU while on leave. If your leave commences on the first day of a month, the SU ceases with effect from that month. Otherwise the SU will cease with effect from the following month. Any SU paid out during the period of special leave will have to be repaid, in which case it will not count as a monthly grant and loan.

The university advises the SU board about special leave periods.

Your earnings ceiling will be increased during the months on which you are on special leave. The earnings ceiling is the same as if you choose not to receive SU.

If you are on special leave for seven months or less, the payment of SU resumes as a rule when your special leave expires. If you are on leave for a longer period of time, if you interrupt your leave before the originally planned date, or if the last day of your leave is within the leave period, you must apply for a resumption of SU. The resumption naturally requires that you are entitled to receive SU.

The earnings ceiling is not the same when on special leave as it is if you withdraw from the university. If you withdraw from the university, you have a higher earnings ceiling than if you are on special leave or deselect a monthly grant and loan. If you withdraw, you can re-enrol in accordance with current rules.

For further details go to www.su.dk.

Special leave and Master’s thesis

Special rules apply if you are granted a leave of absence during the period in which you are registered for your Master's thesis. If you have already signed your Master’s thesis contract, please note that it is up to you to arrange a new submission date for your thesis. In particular, please be aware that at some faculties, you may be automatically registered for the Master's thesis in connection with your enrolment in the Master’s degree programme.

Once the thesis period officially has commenced, it is not possible to deregister from the Master’s thesis. In the case of a leave of absence, the thesis period can only be extended by the specific period of the leave of absence, after which the thesis period automatically continues.

Contact your study centre for more information.

Monthly grant and loan on account of childbirth

Please note that if you apply for special leave on account of childbirth, you are not entitled to SU assistance. If you wish to take special leave during a period where you would be entitled to assistance from SU, special rules may apply regarding the number of monthly grants and loans to which you are entitled. You should therefore contact the Students’ Grants and Loans Scheme Office for further information.


If you consider applying for special leave on account of illness, please contact the Students’ Grants and Loans Scheme Office beforehand for information about the possibilities of obtaining an SU extension on account of illness.

The office's contact information can be found on their website.

Study residence permit and leave of absence

Non-EU/EEA citizens with a study residence permit in Denmark must inform the Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment in case of leave of absence. As the student is no longer considered an active student, the agency will determine whether or not the student may retain his or her study residence permit during his/her leave of absence.

As a rule, only students on maternity leave are allowed to reside in Denmark during their leave of absence. If you wish to reside in Denmark during your maternity leave (or other types of leave), you must submit an application to the Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment regarding this matter yourself. 

Please be aware that Aarhus University is also obligated to inform the Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment when a non-EU/EEA student is granted a leave of absence, but is unable to make any requests or applications regarding your residence permit in Denmark on your behalf.

If your study residence permit is withdrawn, you are required to leave Denmark and must reapply for a new study residence permit from your own home country to be able to enter Denmark and resume your studies after your leave of absence.

How do I apply for special leave?

You must apply no later than the day on which you wish to commence your special leave, as the university does not grant special leave with retroactive effect.

You apply for leave via the mitstudie.au.dk/en website where you will find a link to Aarhus University’s self-service STADS. Once you are logged in, click on the English flag, select the menu Enrollments and choose Leave.

How do I terminate my special leave?

  • Aarhus University must receive your request for termination not later than the day you wish terminate your special leave of absence.
  • The university cannot terminate a special leave period retroactively.
  • Kindly send your request to indskriv@au.dk using your AU email address.

When your leave of absence ends

The day after your leave of absence ends, your enrolment will automatically be reactivated. However, you must contact us well in advance of the end of your leave of absence in order to make arrangements to resume your studies, including registering for courses and exams within the set deadlines. Contact your study centre for an overview of your course and exam registration.