In 2017 the Maternity Protection Act formally extended its scope to include students. The University of Münster can only offer these protections to you if you notify us about your pregnancy and prospective maternity leave. The Student Maternity Protection Coordination Office is the responsible contact partner for such matters. Click here for more information.
As an expecting mother and student, you are not obliged to tell us about your pregnancy. But if you work as a student assistant at the University, for example, you are required, as an employee of the WWU, to inform your supervisor of your pregnancy.
Leaves of absence due to maternity / parental leave
You can request a leave of absence from your studies to take maternity or parental leave at the Student Admissions Office. Click here for more information.
Please note that you are not permitted to complete any courses or examinations at the WWU if you choose to take a leave of absence for reasons of “pregnancy/maternity protection”. You are, however, permitted to take examinations if your reason for the leave of absence was a “parental leave”.
Maternity protection and examinations
Should you choose to inform the University of your pregnancy, you are entitled to the following protections when taking examinations:
In accordance with § 3 Maternity Protection Act (MuSchG), the University may not demand any academic work from you during your period of maternity protection. You are permitted to complete such work if you choose (as long as you are not on a leave of absence due to pregnancy/maternity protection). To this end, you must explicitly declare your willingness to complete academic work. The declaration would apply, for example, to registering for courses or examinations. The advantage of maternity protection is that you would not suffer any disadvantages if you unexpectedly couldn’t or didn’t want to complete academic work during your period of maternity protection.
If you registered to complete required coursework or degree-relevant examinations during your period of maternity protection but are unexpectedly unable to complete them, you can withdraw from these prior to the date of the examination for reasons of maternity protection. You need not provide any further reasons or proof. The important thing is that you inform the Examinations Office of your wish to withdraw before the examination begins.
If you start an examination but have to interrupt midway through, the abovementioned rules no longer apply. In this case, despite maternity protection, you would have to report and substantiate an acute inability to take the examination by providing a doctor’s certificate issued the same day to the Examinations Office.
If the time during which you are required to write your thesis falls in the maternity protection period, you have the option to postpone the thesis for the duration of the period of maternity protection. Here, too, you must inform the Examinations Office of your wish.
Maternity protection provides no grounds for exempting any rules defined by the examination regulations. For example, you are not allowed to arbitrarily change predefined examination forms, but rather must view them in the context of the rules provided in the examination regulations.
Studying while raising a child
For students with a child 12 years old or younger, the rules stipulated in our examination regulations apply to the same extent as for students with caregiving responsibilities:
The need to provide childcare can serve as grounds for extending the period allotted to you to complete your thesis. To substantiate your corresponding request, you can attach a copy of your family register.
Furthermore, if your child is 12 years or younger and falls acutely ill, this can serve as grounds for withdrawing from an examination. With your petition to withdraw, please include a doctor’s certificate confirming your child’s illness, as well as a copy of your family register.
Other justified reasons for withdrawing from an examination include other short-term parental obligations. Please contact the responsible administrator at the Examinations Office in advance to determine which type of certificates are required in such cases.
Studying while raising a child provides no grounds for exempting any rules defined by the examination regulations. For example, you are not allowed to arbitrarily change predefined examination forms, but rather must view them in the context of the rules provided in the examination regulations.
Planned appointments made in connection with your parenting duties are not recognised as good reason for withdrawing from an examination (e.g. medical check-ups).
For more information about studying while raising children, click here.