Information for pregnant students and new mothers
The regulations of the maternity protection act (Mutterschutzgesetz, MuSchG) also apply to university students. This page provides information on the regulations concerning pregnant students and new mothers, such as risk assessments and disadvantage compensation for examinations.
Notification of pregnancy and risk assessment
For your protection, TH Köln is obliged to determine if you are exposed to any relevant risks during your studies at TH Köln. This assessment is comparable to the assessment for employees. We are obliged to inform the regional authority (“Bezirksregierung”) of your pregnancy as well as the results of the risk assessment. The risk assessment refers to your pregnancy as well as, if applicable, the period of breastfeeding. We thus depend on you to inform us of your pregnancy as soon as you find out that you are pregnant.
To do so, please complete the form 'notification of pregnancy' and submit it along with a medical certificate indicating your expected due date or a copy of your “Mutterpass” to your Office of Student Services. You may also send scans of your documents by email to your Office of Student Services.
Research and student assistants as well as student employees are required to additionally notify TH Köln’s Department of Human Resources.
Based on the information you provided, our team in charge of occupational safety, environmental protection and health promotion (‘Arbeitssicherheit, Umweltschutz und Gesundheitsförderung’) will issue a risk assessment. If you named any potential risks related to your studies, your faculty will also be informed. In case of potential risks we will get in touch with you to discuss possible further measures. If you do not hear back from us you can assume that no additional measures need to be taken for you to continue with your studies.
Courses with compulsory attendance
During the maternity protection period (i.e. six weeks before your estimated due date and 8 weeks after giving birth, in German usually referred to as “Mutterschutz”), you are exempt from courses with compulsory attendance, excursions as well as lab work or internships. If you still want to participate in any or all of these activities, you need to declare to the person in charge of the course or other activity that you waive your right to protection. Please use the form which is available in the downloads section of this page. You may revoke your decision at any time.
Examinations during the maternity protection period
Based on the maternity protection act, we assume that you will not take any exam during the maternity protection period (i.e. six weeks before your estimated due date and 8 weeks after giving birth) However, you may decide to take one or more exams during this period and waive your right to protection. In practice, this means:
- You can register for exams which are scheduled to take place during your maternity protection period. In this case you declare with your registration, that you are waiving your right to maternity protection. This can be done for each exam individually, i.e. You may take one or more examinations while not registering for others.
- You may revoke your registration at any time. This means that during your maternity protection period you may de-register or withdraw from examinations on short notice and you are not bound by the usual de-registration deadlines. Please contact the Office of Student Services in case the regular deadline for de-registrations has already passed. Again, you can make a decision for each exam individually.
The same regulations apply in case the deadline for your final thesis is during your maternity protection period. In this case you may withdraw from writing your thesis at any time. Please note that to extend a submission deadline, a medical certificate is required and that the deadline can only be extended as stated in the examination regulations.
In certain cases it is possible to apply for disadvantage compensation for examinations or individual courses.
You are entitled to disadvantage compensation in case of examinations, internships or courses with compulsory attendance where you cannot fully participate or show your actual potential due to the fact that you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Please contact the respsonsible examination board (in case of examinations as far in advance as possible) to apply for disadvantage compensation. The examination conditions will be adapted individually to ensure equal opportunities without lowering any standards or causing any advantages. Please submit a medical certificate detailing the kind of limitations you are experiencing. Your doctor may also include a suggestion on promising measures to compensate for your disadvantage.
TH Köln’s statements and regulations regarding disadvantage compensation for students with health impairments apply accordingly to pregnant and nursing students.
Leave of absence
You may take a leave of absence to raise your child. In this case you are still entitled to accumulate credits and take examinations.
If you want to apply for a leave of absence due to your pregnancy, you can only do so if the estimated due date is during the respective semester. In this case you need to apply for a leave of absence during the re-registration period. Apart from that you may always take a leave of absence if you are not able to pursue your studies or only with restrictions (medical certificate is required).