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Leave of absence

New rules in effect

The new rules on leave of absence take effect as of 11 May and apply to all students enrolled in full-time programmes at SDU.

Leaves of absence that were granted before 11 May 2016 will not be cancelled.

If you wish to extend a leave of absence that you were granted before 11 May 2016, you must submit a new application for a leave of absence with documented evidence of your need for an extension, cf. the new rules on leave of absence. 

Who can apply for a leave of absence?

You can apply for a leave of absence if you are admitted to a full-time programme. If you are admitted to a part-time programme or open university, you are not covered by the rules for leave of absence.

You can only be granted a leave of absence if it is justified because you are under the following exceptional circumstances: birth/adoption, military service/UN service, c.f. the centrally defined rules.

The university may also grant a leave of absence:

  1. If the student will be participating in an undergraduate research training (undergraduate research period) at the Faculty of Health Sciences.
  2. If the student is an elite athlete.
  3. If the student is under exceptional circumstances.

“Period of leave” defined

Leaves of absence are granted either from 1 September or 1 February. See the section “For how long can you take a leave of absence?” below. You cannot take a leave of absence for just July/August. Leaves of absence are never granted retroactively.

For how long can you take a leave of absence?

As a general rule, you can be granted a leave of absence for up to one semester at a time.

Exceptions:

  • Students taking programmes that are organised into individual quarterly modules can be granted a leave of absence for a period of up to two quarterly modules at a time.
  • If taking a leave of absence is justified by birth/adoption or military service/UN service, the student can be granted up to 12 months of leave.
  • If taking a leave of absence is justified by the student’s involvement in an undergraduate research period, the student can be granted up to 12 months of leave.

If a student wishes to extend a leave of absence they have been granted, the student must submit a new application for a leave of absence with documented evidence of their need for an extension.

You cannot apply for a leave of absence so that you can be admitted to another programme. Even if you take a leave of absence, you are still enrolled as a student and you can only be enrolled in one full-time programme at a time. If you are admitted to a new programme, you must withdraw from the programme in which you were already enrolled.

You are not entitled to return to the same curriculum after your period of leave has ended.

Consequences of taking a leave of absence:

During the semester in which you take a leave of absence, you cannot participate in classes, prepare for examinations or submit assignments for grading.

Nor can you participate in classes or examinations if you discontinue your leave of absence in the middle of a semester.

During your period of leave, you cannot be enrolled in the same programme and pay part-time status fees.

You cannot participate in elections for the university’s governing bodies or serve as a member of such bodies during your period of leave.

If you wish to discontinue your leave of absence

If you wish to discontinue your leave of absence you must do so in writing via www.sdu.dk/spoc by no later than the date on which you wish to discontinue your leave of absence. You cannot cancel your leave of absence retroactively.

Cancelling your leave of absence

If you do not wish to take a leave of absence after all, you can cancel it within 14 days. In such case, you must do so in writing via www.sdu.dk/spoc.

Financial reasons to apply for a leave of absence

Before you apply for a leave of absence, you should consider whether it would be better to opt out of your monthly grant instead. For example, this might be an option if you want to raise the limit you are allowed to earn at a job that you are working alongside your studies, but still want to be able to sit the examination.

The State Education Grant and Loan Scheme in Denmark (SU)

You are not entitled to receive SU grants or loans during a period of leave. Your SU grant will no longer apply starting from the end of the month in which you were granted a leave of absence. If you are granted a leave of absence on the 1st of the month, your SU grant will no longer apply starting from this date. You must be aware that you cannot receive an extra grant for maternity leave if you are already on a leave of absence.

Since monthly SU grants are paid in advance, you might receive an SU grant at the beginning of your period of leave. Since you are not entitled to this grant, you will have to pay back this amount to the SU Agency.

If your period of leave lasts longer than six months, you must re-apply for the SU grant. 

You must also re-apply for the SU grant if you cut short/discontinue your leave of absence. 

The mid-level limit on earnings will apply for you during your leave of absence. 

If you have any questions about receiving an SU grant while on a leave of absence—especially regarding maternity leave—please contact Student Services – SU.

Assistance/allowances

Normally you should not expect to receive supplementary benefits while on a period of leave. You can obtain further information on this from your local municipal office or your unemployment insurance fund. 
If you hold a bachelor’s degree, you may be granted membership to an unemployment insurance fund as a graduate. To be eligible to receive a subsistence allowance, you must meet a series of criteria. You can obtain information on this and on your options for receiving a subsistence allowance while on a leave of absence by contacting your unemployment insurance fund.

Students with non-EU/EEA citizenship

Students who are citizens of non-EU/EEA countries and who hold a residence permit as a student in Denmark are obligated to inform the Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment if they are taking a leave of absence. Since a student is not formally active in their studies during their period of leave, the Agency will determine whether the student is allowed to keep their residence permit as a student in Denmark during their period of leave.

As a general rule, permission to stay in Denmark is only granted for those on maternity leave. If you wish to stay in Denmark during your maternity leave (or other form of leave), you must apply for this on your own at the Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment.

The University of Southern Denmark is obligated to inform the Agency of leaves of absence taken by non-EU/EEA students. The University of Southern Denmark cannot apply to the Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment Agency on your behalf in matters concerning your residence permit.

If you lose your student residence permit due to taking a leave of absence, you must leave Denmark and apply from your home country for a new student residence permit in Denmark in order to be able to enter Denmark and resume your study programme after your leave of absence has ended.

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