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.

You can read about how to submit your application on your study portal under the section Student Guidance / Exemption.

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)

  • 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

Planning of the parental leave

You can apply for an extension of your maximum period of study corresponding to the length of the maternity/paternity leave. In other words, if you wish to take maternity/paternity leave for two semesters (12 months), you can apply to postpone your maximum period of study by two semesters (12 months).

Your right to maternity/paternity leave ceases on the date on which your child turns one. As a general rule, your maternity/paternity leave must be completed no later than the semester in which your child turns one. If you are in the process of the Master's thesis your maternity/paternity leave will stop no later than the date where your child turns one. Read more about the rules for maternity/paternity leave in connection with Master's thesis below.

Distribution of the 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).

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.

Parental leave during your thesis

The thesis may be suspended during the period in which you wish to take maternity/paternity leave. 

The mother or primary parent can have their Master's thesis suspended for up to 12 months. As a rule, the father or the co-parent may put his Master's thesis on hold for up to six months. However, this will always be based on an individual and specific decision.

Your maternity/Paternity leave expires no later than the date on which your child turns 1 year. When your maternity/paternity leave ends, you have the period left of your current Master's thesis trial, which you had back when you started your maternity/paternity leave.

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.

New parental leave rules, valid from 1 February 2023

If you are going on parental leave after 1 February, please note that the maternity/paternity rules will be adjusted.

We expect that the new rules will result in the following guidelines.

Parental leave as a student

  • As a parent, you can take maternity/paternity leave for up to two semesters.
  • This means that you can postpone your maximum degree completion time by up to two semesters in connection with maternity/paternity leave and be withdrawn from courses for a corresponding period.
  • Your maternity/paternity leave must be completed by no later than the semester in which your child turns 1 year.

Parental leave during your thesis

  • As a parent, you can put a commenced Master's thesis on hold for up to nine months in connection with a maternity/paternity leave.
  • This means that your submission deadline can be postponed by nine months.
  • If you are a single parent or had maternity/paternity leave transferred to you, a commenced Master's thesis can be suspended for up to 12 months.
  • Maternity/paternity leave during a commenced Master's thesis must be completed by no later than the date that your child turns 1 year.
  • If you are giving birth during a commenced Master's thesis, you can start your maternity/paternity leave four weeks before your due date. As a co-parent you can start your maternity/paternity leave from the due date.

The final rules will be published on the study portal in the beginning of January 2023.