Studying with a family

Studying as a parent? Are you attempting to combine family responsibilities − either children or the care for a dependant − with your studies? The Family Services Office is on hand to provide advice and support.

Studying with a child or caring for other relatives? The Family Services Office of the HWR Berlin provides advice and information relating to the following issues:

  1. Childcare
  2. Maternity leave and parental leave
  3. Intermission
  4. Caring for dependants

Information about studying as a parent

If you need advice

You do not know what to do or who to turn to? If you are experiencing problems or have any questions, you can consult the Family Services Office of the HWR Berlin. Please note:

  • The exigencies of the current pandemic situation mean that the Family Services Office provides consultation services by telephone or e-mail only.
  • The office is unable to provide regular consultation hours – this depends on staff availability to answer the telephone.
  • The flexible childcare service cannot be provided during the foreseeable future.
  • The family rooms on both campuses are currently closed.

The Studierendenwerk Berlin is happy to provide advice

The Studierendenwerk Berlin provides comprehensive advice about financing your studies and is happy to answer general questions about combining study with responsibilities for children.

How we help

The HWR Berlin provides a number of services to help those with family responsibilities:

What is established?

The regulations of the HWR Berlin contain a number of specifications to enable students to combine their studies with family responsibilities.

The Students’ regulations establish:

  • Extended intermission for students with family responsibilities (see below)
  • That applicants prevented from taking up a place on a degree programme by family responsibilities will be accorded preferential treatment in any later admissions procedure.
  • How maternity leave is implemented.
  • How students can arrange an individualized part-time timetable in a full-time degree programme.

The Framework Study and Examination Regulations state that:

  • Family grounds will be accepted as a valid reason for missing or withdrawing from an examination.
  • Family grounds can be accepted as reasons for extending the completion time of a final thesis.
  • An application for disadvantage compensation can be made on the grounds of family responsibilities.
  • Students can take advantage of statutory maternity leave irrespective of normal regulations in force at the university.

Places in classes

Some of the larger degree programmes taught in the Department of Business and Economics reserve five places for students with children. Should demand exceed supply in this respect, admission will be decided by lottery. You will be required to prove the date of birth of your child to the Admissions and Enrolment Office in order to be entered in the award procedure.

Sitting examinations when pregnant

It has been established for the majority of degree programmes taught in Departments 1 and 2 and the BPS that the examination form and the date of the examination can be altered for pregnant students in cases of urgent need. Please enquire at the examination office.

Completing an internship part-time

The majority of degree programmes permit students to complete the compulsory internship in part-time. The duration of the internship will be lengthened to match the reduction in working hours.

What is established?

The ability of students to combine their studies with family responsibilities, care responsibilities and a career has been subject to successive improvement by recent changes in the law (Familienpflegezeitgesetz and Pflegezeitgesetz  PSG I and PSG II). Specifications to improve the combination of studying and care responsibilities have been incorporated in the Framework Study and Examination Regulations of the HWR Berlin.

Intermission semesters and information events for students responsible for caring for dependants

If you are responsible for the care of dependants, you can apply for up to six intermission semesters. The HWR Berlin organizes regular information events to provide students with care responsibilities with information and advice. They can also attend the advice sessions provided in collaboration with the Pflegestützpunkten Berlin. The dates are listed on the website of the Family Services Office.

The services of the Federal Ministry of Health

The Pflegeleistungs-Helfer of the Federal Ministry of Health provides information about the services of which you can take advantage, how you can apply for them and whether you can obtain further information. General information about the topics care, care insurance, sources of advice, the legal foundations and more, is available on the website of the Federal Ministry of Health.

The online advice service of the Diakonie Berlin

Online advice and information for young people and young adults in Berlin who provide care for a dependent suffering from ill health or disability is provided by the website Echt unersetzlich…!? of the Diakonie Berlin.

What is the duration of maternity leave?

The Gesetz zur Neuregelung des Mutterschutzrechts from 1 January 2018 established new maternity leave provisions which also regulate the situation of pregnant and breast-feeding students. Maternity leave starts six weeks before delivery and usually ends eight weeks after delivery. You will be granted leave from your studies during this time. You can continue to study in this period if you wish.

Tell us about your pregnancy in good time

Please inform the HWR Berlin – and in the case of an internal degree or a cooperative studies degree programmes, your training company or institution – about your pregnancy or breast-feeding period as early as possible, to enable calculation of the correct period of maternity leave, the performance of a risk assessment and the enactment of any protection measures. Please also discuss your situation with the examination office in order to decide how to proceed with your studies.

What is established?

Further information is provided in the Information sheet for maternity leave. Maternity leave is regulated in paragraph 10a of the Students’ regulations and paragraph 20 of the Framework Study and Examination Regulations. The HWR Berlin has also issued Regulations for the implementation of maternity leave.

Students can take up to six intermission semesters

Pregnant students, parents and students with responsibility for caring for dependants can take up to six intermission semesters. The intermission semesters must not be taken consecutively and can only be applied for one at a time. You can also apply for an intermission semester on the grounds of pregnancy in your first semester.

Postponing the start of your studies

If you are unable to start your studies due to pregnancy, maternity leave, parental leave, the need to care for a child under the age of 18 or the need to care for a dependant, you will be accorded preferential treatment in the following admissions procedure. This applies to the first and second subject-specific semester of degree programmes with once-annual enrolment.

Participating in classes when on an intermission semester

Students on intermission due to the need to perform childcare are permitted to take classes, sit examinations and achieve credits given agreement of the competent examination board. Further information is provided in paragraph 10 of the HWR Berlin students’ regulations.

Semester fees will be reimbursed

You can apply for an intermission semester upon re-enrolment or eight weeks before the end of the semester at the latest. You will be required to pay the semester fees in full, but can apply to the competent Admissions and Enrolment Office for refund of the semester fee and to the Asta for refund of the costs of the semester ticket.

Not enough time for your studies?

Should family responsibilities such as the need to care for a child under the age of 18, pregnancy or the need to care for dependants make studying difficult, you can apply for disadvantage compensation.

Applying for and substantiating disadvantage compensation

Applications for disadvantage compensation are to be made to the examination board; they require substantiation. You will be required to provide corresponding proofs. Grounds for disadvantage compensation include e.g. the closure of childcare facilities, the illness of a child, difficulties during pregnancy or chronic illness.

How is the disadvantage compensation provided?

Disadvantage compensation can include extensions to deadlines, alteration of the examination form, replacement work or postponement of an examination.

Three family rooms

The HWR Berlin provides three family rooms. Students and members of the university and teaching staff can use these rooms to perform childcare; pregnant students can use them to relax. The rooms are fitted with a sofa, child’s bed, baby changing and breast feeding facilities, a refrigerator, a baby food heater and a range of toys.

Baby changing facilities in barrier-free toilets at the HWR Berlin

You can obtain the key or transponder for the family rooms from the porter’s lodge; you need only show your CampusCard and/or pay a deposit. These rooms are accessible with pushchairs. Further baby changing facilities are provided in the majority of barrier-free toilets at the HWR Berlin.

The location of the family rooms

  • Schöneberg Campus House A, Room 0.55 / House B, Room 3.43
  • Lichtenberg Campus House 1, Room 1.0083

The HWR Berlin provides its students, doctoral students and members of the university and teaching staff with additional childcare facilities in order to improve the combinability of study and working with family responsibilities. To this end, the university has concluded a cooperation agreement with “Die Kinderwelt GmbH”, a childcare service provider.

Applying for flexible childcare

You can apply for use of the flexible childcare services to cover emergency situations or to cover normal childcare for the duration of a semester. This includes examination periods. If you make an application for flexible childcare, you must provide grounds for the need to the HWR Berlin family service. Such grounds can include the cancellation of regular childcare during periods in which you need to attend a class or work.

Exchanging useful information and experience

This moodle course provides a range of useful information about studying with children, e.g. childcare services and financing or organizing your studies. It provides you with the opportunity to network with other parents enrolled at the HWR Berlin and to share experiences.

How can I register on the course?

Those interested in participating in the course should send an e-mail to the Family Services Office:

What services do the HWR childcare facilities provide?

The Studierendenwerk Berlin runs a childcare facility in Building C of the HWR Berlin:

  • Childcare places for children aged 0 to 6 years
  • The childcare facility operates a mixed age policy
  • Opening hours are adapted to the needs of students:
    Mon., Tues., Wed., Fri. from 7.30 to 18.00
    Thurs. 7.30 to 16.00
  • Office hours: Tues. 13.00 to 15.00; information is available by telephone under +49 30 93939-8460

Please register early

We recommend that prospective parents register for childcare a year in advance. Even applicants who have not yet been awarded a place to study on a degree programme at the HWR Berlin can join the reservation list. Information and tips about applying for a childcare voucher is available here:

Finding other childcare facilities

Students can also use the services of the childcare facilities provided by the Studierendenwerk Berlin. You can also make use of other childcare services.

Children under the age of six eat free-of-charge in our dining halls

All the dining halls operated by the Studierendenwerk Berlin provide children under the age of six with a free meal.

Keeping children occupied

Members of the university who take their children with them to the university can make use of a games box to keep their children entertained. Containing books, cuddly toys, a range of puzzles and colouring pencils and paper, the contents of the box is suitable for children up to the age of 2.

Where can I obtain the games box?

Simply show your ID card to the porter and sign for the box. Go to:

  • Schöneberg Campus The Porter’s lodge in House A and B
  • Lichtenberg Campus Library services

Every year in November, the Children’s uni Lichtenberg (KUL) organizes lectures for children from the age of eight. Professors from the HWR Berlin and other Berlin universities hold entertaining lectures suitable for inquisitive children.

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Funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research

This project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research under the funding number 01PL11035 Responsibility for the contents of this page lies with its author.