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Scope of a leave of absence

What is a sabbatical leave?

A sabbatical leave is a semester-long break from your studies.

In practice, being granted a sabbatical leave means that all deadlines, such as time limits, are postponed by up to 6 months at a time for each semester’s leave that you are granted.


When can a sabbatical leave begin and end?

Normally, a sabbatical leave is granted up to one semester at a time. Sabbatical leave is granted at the earliest from the time of submission of the application and it will always conclude at the end of a semester (31. August/31. January).  


  • Students enrolled in a programme organised into individual quarterly modules can be granted sabbatical leave for a period of up to two quarterly modules at a time.
  • If sabbatical leave is due to birth/adoption, the student can be granted up to 12 months of leave. Read more about parental leave here.
  • If sabbatical leave is due to compulsory military service/military deployment to a foreign country’s military, the student can be granted up to 12 months of leave.
  • If sabbatical leave is due to 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 granted sabbatical leave, the student must submit a new application and documentation that can explain the need for an extension. 

Sabbatical leave is only granted forwards and never retroactively.

Sabbatical leave can only be granted for a period when you are enrolled as a student. Leave cannot be granted if the requested period surpasses the deadline for when you must have completed your education at the latest. 


During sabbatical leave you are not allowed to be an active student

During the semester in which you take a sabbatical leave, you cannot participate in classes, prepare for examinations or submit assignments for grading. Please note; sabbitical leave can be granted although you have been active prior to you asking for a sabbatical leave. 

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

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


Sabbatical leave and a new programme

You cannot apply for sabbatical leave with the purpose of participating in another full-time programme. When on leave, you are still enrolled as a student at SDU and you can only be enrolled in one full-time programme at a time.

If you are admitted to a new programme while on sabbatical leave, you must withdraw from the programme to which you already are enrolled.


Returning to new or old curriculum

You are not entitled to return to the old curriculum after your sabbatical leave has ended.

When you return to your programme, you may find that the university have transferred you to the newest curriculum. The transfer will in most cases occur because courses and exams based on your old curriculum are no longer offered.


Part-time study and leave of absence

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


Do you need support? 

Contact Educational Law & Registration if you have any questions regarding the above mentioned rules. You can do this either via or by calling at 65501059 (between 10 a.m. and 12 a.m.).


Contact Student Services if you have questions about SU, Admission, SDU international, Syddansk Elite,  SPS and other services at SDU.

Contact the counselling at your studies if you need specific knowledge related to your study eg. knowledge about your study plan or how to write a dispensation application.

Contact the General Study counselling if you need guidance concerning general study topics such as study techniques, well-being or simply just find it hard to know who to go to with your questions. 

Last Updated 02.06.2021