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Study without barriers

Studying with a handicap

Everyone is different – which is why the OWL University of Applied Sciences and Arts offers individually tailored advice and support for prospective and current students. Together with technical and administrative staff and teaching staff, the best possible solution is sought for each individual situation.
We offer you help before and during your studies.

Young people with (non-)visible disabilities/chronic illnesses are at a disadvantage in our education system if they do not find appropriate conditions. This is why there are so-called "compensation for disadvantages", which are intended to compensate for disadvantages in school and university.

This group includes in particular people with

  • Mobility impairments
  • Visual impairments
  • Hearing impairments
  • Speech impairments
  • Mental illnesses (for example eating disorders, depression)
  • Chronic illnesses (for example rheumatism, Crohn's disease or diabetes)
  • Legastenia/dyslexia
  • and other partial performance disorders

Information brochure

Special applications before studies

Information for prospective students

The following compensation for disadvantages, also known as "special applications", are available for various situations.

Cases of hardship

The OWL University of Applied Sciences and Arts reserves up to 5 percent of study places for cases of exceptional hardship. Within the scope of this quota, the recognition of a hardship application without consideration of the selection criteria (average grade, waiting time) leads directly to admission before all other applicants.

Hardship applications are reviewed very strictly. Not every impairment, even if it is perceived as severe, justifies admission as a hardship case. Rather, there must be such serious health, social or family reasons that it is unreasonable to wait even one semester for admission.

Compensation for disadvantages to improve the average grade

Under certain circumstances, this special application can be used to improve the average grade of the school leaving certificate.
Performance impairments that have prevented an applicant from achieving a better average grade when acquiring the higher education entrance qualification can be compensated for in this way.

Compensation for disadvantages to improve the waiting time

As part of the selection procedure, the number of waiting semesters that have elapsed since obtaining the higher education entrance qualification (for example Abitur) is also taken into account. However, there may be circumstances that have delayed the acquisition of the school-leaving certificate and the applicant may therefore have fewer semesters of waiting time.
If these circumstances are recognized, an earlier date of acquisition of the university entrance qualification may be taken as a basis and thus more waiting semesters will be credited. The applicant therefore participates in the selection process with a waiting period that would probably have been achieved without the delays.

Comprehensive information on special applications that can be taken into account for admission to studies can be found in the information on special applications.

Please note that your personal situation should be clearly illustrated by the enclosed documents so that an external person can understand your arguments on the basis of the documents. Please send the completed application form and supporting documents by post to the Enrollment Office of OWL University of Applied Sciences and Arts by July 15th of each year.

Compensation for disadvantages during studies

Information for students

Compensation for disadvantages is intended to compensate for individual disadvantages caused by impairments. Students with disabilities or chronic illnesses have a right to compensation for disadvantages in their studies and examinations. Compensation for disadvantages during studies must always be agreed individually between the student with a (non-)visible disability/chronic illness and their own university. They are intended to ensure that a course of study can be completed within the student's own capabilities. This is not a facilitation of studies or an advantage over non-disabled students, but rather a compensation for the disadvantages of studying due to a disability. 

Possible examples of compensation for disadvantages in studies and/or examinations could be the following regulations:

  • Time extension for written exams
  • Change of examination performance (examination modifications), for example written to oral or vice versa (change from presentation to term paper or from group to individual work, etc.)
  • Requesting (additional) rest periods in examination situations
  • Equalization of studies
  • Separate examination room for written examinations
  • Extension of deadlines for term papers or final theses.
  • In addition, "new (individual) paths" can also be taken if it becomes clear that previously made or already existing compensation for disadvantages does not help the student with a (non-)visible disability/chronic illness. Only those who can prove and document impairment-related disabilities can claim compensation for disadvantages.

Special needs of students with disabilities or chronic illnesses are also taken into account in BAföG through various compensations for disadvantages. Students can find further information on the website of the Deutsches Studierendenwerk.

All TH OWL students can find more information on topics relating to inclusion and accessibility in theILIAS course run by the Representative Body for Disabled Students. In future, this will be a place of exchange and information for everyone at the TH.

Representative for students with disabilities or chronic illnesses

Arnd Miels advises on issues relating to compensation for disadvantages during studies and examinations, regardless of department. If necessary, he offers support and mediates between students and lecturers or the administration.
Your personal details will be treated in strict confidence.

Arnd Miels 
Phone: +49 5261 702 6254
E-mail: arnd.miels(at)

Further contacts at the TH OWL


You can also contact the dean of your faculty directly if you have any questions about compensation for disadvantages during your studies (for example equalization of your studies).
For questions regarding compensation for disadvantages in examinations (for example time extension for written examinations), please contact the examination board of your degree program.

Central Student Advisory Service

Students with initial questions about studying with a disability can also contact the Central Student Advisory Service. We will be happy to help you get in touch with the responsible contact person at the university.
Your personal details will be treated in strict confidence.

Phone: +49 5261 702 2535
E-mail: studienberatung(at)

Website Central Student Advisory Service

Career Service

Career entry with disabilities, chronic or mental illnesses – students who have disabilities or suffer from a chronic or mental illness and are wondering how to deal with this, for example in a job interview, are cordially invited to contact the Career Service of the university. The staff will be happy to advise and support you on this and related questions.

Phone: +49 5261 702 2536
E-mail: career-service(at)

Website Career Service​​​​​​​


Should I say it?

Unsure whether you should talk about your impairment?
The University of Cologne has developed a self-test that can help you,

  • Sort out your thoughts,
  • collect arguments for and against disclosing your health impairment (based on scientific research),
  • give you a personalized evaluation of your answers and thus support you in your decision.

To the self-test