Skip to main content

Part-time study

The University of Potsdam is committed to providing everyone who has earned their university entry qualification with an opportunity to earn a university degree, regardless of their social circumstances. The University of Potsdam’s mission statement, passed by the University Senate on June 16, 2010, states: “The University of Potsdam (…) takes diverse living situations into account for its course offerings.” One important step in the implementation of this mission is the opportunity of part-time study since the winter semester 2010/2011.

However, part-time study does not represent the legal right for a special part-time curriculum. Rather, it is an individual extension of study in existing full-time programs of study. It means that students invest no more than half of the time expected of a full-time student in the same program per semester. Students are integrated into the regular rhythm of study and courses; there is no adjustment of course times or scheduling for part-time students. Part-time study is only available in programs that have been determined to be suitable for part-time study. Combined program study is only available as part-time study if all of the involved programs have determined their suitability for part-time study. Dual and parallel degree study is not available as part-time study.

List of Subjects Suitable for Part-Time Study (Bachelor)

List of Subjects Suitable for Part-Time Study (Master)

Part-time study – for good reasons

If you are applying for part-time study, you must demonstrate important reasons for doing so. Proof must be provided for the time periods for which part-time study is requested. The following are considered important reasons:

  • family duties such as raising children under the age of 18, or care for family members with an illness or requiring care.
  • disability or chronic illness
  • outstanding social or civic involvement (e.g. professional sports, supraregional artistic activities; social, political or trade union activities)
  • committee work in student or academic self-government
  • regular employment of at least 14 hours per week

Other important reasons may be acknowledged upon review by the Examining Board in consultation with the program’s academic advising office. A retroactive permission for part-time study will not be granted.

Part-time study – specific features

Part-time study is approved for a minimum of 1 year of study (2 semesters), and it is valid for all components of your study. Part-time study is counted as half of a semester in a particular degree course (Fachsemester) and as a full semester of enrollment at the University. Part-time study may normally not exceed 30 credits (LP) per academic year. Taking into account exams that need to be retaken, a maximum of 39 credits (LP) is permitted. The semesters spent working on a final thesis as well as the practical training semester required in a teaching degree program (Lehramt) may not be completed in part-time study. The status of part-time students at the university is equal to that of full-time students. All rules and regulations for studying are also binding for part-time students. Semester fees and dues are to be paid in full.

The legal status of international students in the Federal Republic of Germany is normally tied to full-time study. Thus, international students from non-EU countries with a student residence permit must make arrangements with their Foreigners’ Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde) about the possibility to switch to part-time study.

Consequences of part-time study

The decision to enroll in part-time study must be considered carefully, as the status as part-time students may have repercussions on a number of other areas. If you are considering part-time study in order to be able to work more hours, you should seek advice whether it is really worth it. You should keep in mind that most of the reasons for part-time study are already considered in the rules and regulations on examinations in order to help disadvantaged students. Thus, part-time study may not be necessary, especially in light of the following possible consequences of part-time study:

No student aid (BAföG) for part-time students

Child benefit (Kindergeld) despite part time study?

Health insurance for part time students

Consequences under special circumstances

In summary one could say that the impact of a part-time student status on social benefits and other areas must be weighed carefully, and that it is highly recommended to consult with the respective authorities before making your decision to become a part-time student. We want to emphasize that we have only been able to briefly point to some important aspects and do not claim to have covered this topic exhaustively.

In any case, students from non-EU countries should contact the International Office before submitting their application.

Application – steps towards part-time study

If your desired program/s have been deemed suitable for part-time study, you, as a student, may apply for admission for part-time study during the re-registration period. Applications are accepted via your PULS-Account (Submit Applications).

If you are at the beginning of your studies and would like to apply for part-time study for the first semester in your degree program, your application for part-time study must be submitted together with your enrollment application (online via the University Admissions Portal).

For degree programs in which enrollment is possible for the first semester in the winter semester, students can apply for part-time study at the time of re-registration for each winter semester, and for degree programs in which enrollment is possible for the first semester in the summer semester, at the time of re-registration for each summer semester. 

Your reasons for requesting part-time study must be documented for the entire period for which you are requesting part-time study. If you are providing reasons that are not listed in the Rules and Regulations on part-time study, your application must be accompanied by an official statement that the Examining Board of your program/s of study has deemed your reason valid. Please allow enough time (ca. 6 weeks) for this process of validation, which must be requested from the Examining Board in writing. In addition, you must demonstrate that you attended the mandatory meeting with your program-specific academic advising (see next section).

Students from non-EU countries should contact the University’s International Office prior to their application.

Good advice – good decision

Planning your part-time studies can be challenging. Despite the validation of a particular program as suitable for part-time study, there are no special course offerings. Part-time students participate in the regular rhythm of the university. Attending a meeting with an departmental advisor in your program is therefore mandatory (if you are enrolled in more than one program, you must consult your adviser in each of those programs). Together you and your adviser will develop an individual course schedule that will reflect your interests.