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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Reasonable adjustments

The objective of reasonable adjustments is to make it possible for students with disabilities and/or chronic medical conditions to complete their studies under adequate conditions and to sit exams without being at a disadvantage. The German version of the text shall always prevail. Last modified: June 2018

Legal basis

The Berlin Higher Education Act (BerlHG) in §§ 4, 9 and 31 requires universities to take into consideration the special needs of students with disabilities and/or chronic medical conditions.

These adjustments are not a simplification. They are designed to minimise the disadvantages faced by students with disabilities and/or chronic medical conditions in comparison to other students with regards to technical issues, not content.

Implementation at Humboldt-Universität

Reasonable adjustments for disabled students are governed by the General Admission, Study and Examination Regulations of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (ZSP-HU; pdf) in § 109. They state that reasonable adjustments may be made for a student, if said student has a disability and/or chronic medical condition and, as a result, cannot complete or can only partially complete an assignment or examination in the manner prescribed. The Regulations stipulate that a claim for reasonable adjustments must be made by the student in writing

  • either informally to the teacher (in the case of assignments)
  • or to the examination board (in the case of examinations) and the reason for the adjustment must also be proved.

The assignment or examination to be completed must be equivalent.

The examination board and/or teacher must then determine with the student and the examiner the measures that need to be taken, such as taking an equivalent examination with extra time, in a separate room, in another form or with the help of additional staff, technical support and suchlike. For this, the student should propose a specific form of adjustment.

For state examinations, the claim for reasonable adjustments must be submitted to the state examination office concerned. The claim must be submitted in good time.

Important information

Please contact the Disability Advisory Service beforehand if you need further information or help with your claim. You should contact the examiner and the examination board concerned at least four weeks before the day of an examination and contact the teacher before the deadline of a set assignment. The later you do this, the harder it will be to implement any adjustments.

There is no prescribed form of adjustment, nor can adjustments be implemented for several semesters. An adjustment must always be specific to the individual case, illness, study and examination regulations and current examination requirements and must also be described in exact terms. For this reason, there are no set criteria that specify which adjustments are possible/required for which illness.

Please consider which measure(s) could be appropriate and helpful for you.

  • Insufficient adjustment: "... extra exam time granted." Here it is not clear how much extra time has been granted.
  • Sufficient adjustment: "... 30% extra exam time granted." The extension is clearly defined. It would be even better to state the extensions granted for various exam times, e.g. 30 minutes for 90-minute exams, minutes for 120-minute exams etc.

Please also note the information regarding medical certificates (German)

Contact information

Commissioner for the disabled students and Disability Advisory Service

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Counselling Center
Unter den Linden 6
10099 Berlin


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