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Illness during Your Studies and Medical Certificates

During the course of your studies, you will also be in situations where you become ill. The University of Potsdam has developed procedures for long-term as well as short-term illnesses so as to not jeopardize the continuation or completion of your studies.

Short- and Long-Term Illnesses and Their Ramifications on Your Studies

By short-term illnesses we mean, for example, colds or gastrointestinal infections that are likely to require only a short period of recovery. The time it takes to recover from these diseases will generally not extend beyond a specific examination period within a semester.

By long-term illnesses we mean, for example, chronic illnesses such as Crohn’s disease or mental health problems. Disabilities have the same ramifications at the University of Potsdam as long-term illnesses. In this case, the duration of the illness or disability does not just extend across a specific examination period, but has a lasting effect.

Handling of Short-Term Illnesses

A short-term illness may have ramifications on your studies. When it comes to your examinations, for example, it is possible that you may not be able to take or complete an examination or that you become ill while working on a term paper or final thesis (Section 14 subsection 3 BAMA-O/BAMALA-O). In all of these cases, you will need to submit a medical certificate from a general practitioner or, in some cases, from a specialist. A medical certificate is a written statement describing the state of a person’s health. If a general medical certificate ("einfaches Attest") is required, a certificate from a general practitioner or family doctor is usually sufficient. A medical certificate from a specialist ("fachärztliches Attest") comes from a doctor who specializes in a certain medical field. Which specialist you need to consult depends on the illness in question.

As a rule, medical certificates for the purpose of examination organization are used to determine whether you were incapable of taking an examination during a performance evaluation process.

The following requirements apply to the submission of medical certificates to the Student Administration Center/ Examination Office:

Formal requirements of the certificate

Submission deadline

Content requirements of the certificate

Effectiveness, period of validity and legal consequences of a valid medical certificate

If an examination requirement is not produced or if the student drops out of the examination, the medical certificate must be issued no later than on the day of the examination. The same applies to final theses for the last day of the submission deadline. Backdated medical certificates are therefore not accepted, as a rule.

If the medical certificate certifies the inability to take an examination for a period of more than one day, and if the student takes part in an examination during this period, then the medical certificate also loses its validity after this examination.

The consequence of submitting a valid medical certificate (withdrawal) for an examination, such as a written or oral exam, is that you will be de-registered from the performance evaluation process. Once the receipt of your medical certificate has been entered into the system, your transcript will no longer show that you had registered for the examination. To take the examination at a later date, you will have to register for it again.

In the case of final theses, the submission deadline will be extended by the number of days that you were unable to work on your paper, as specified in the medical certificate.

Handling of Long-Term Illnesses

In the case of long-term illnesses, it may be necessary to put your studies on hold. You may want to consider a leave of absence from your studies. It may also be necessary to submit an application to the Examining Board for an extension of the examination deadline due to hardship or for equality measures. The Commissioner for Students with a Disability can advise you on such matters.