Enrolment changes - International students

Reducing load

Under ESOS legislation student visa holders are required to complete their course within the duration specified in their electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCOE). Therefore students are required to stay enrolled in a full-time study load (24 credit points). However there are exceptional circumstances where a student visa holder may apply to reduce his or her study load.

Some examples of exceptional circumstances are:

  • Compassionate or compelling reasons, which may include:
    - serious illness or injury, where a medical certificate states that the student was unable to attend classes.
    - bereavement of close family members such as parents or grandparents.
    - major political upheaval or natural disaster in the home country requiring emergency travel when this has impacted on the student's studies.
    - a traumatic experience
  • Due to the structure of the program, the faculty is unable to offer a prerequisite unit
  • The faculty has implemented an intervention strategy where an academic adviser believes that the reduction of study load will ensure successful completion of remaining units.
  • You have been granted credit(s) from previous studies and will complete your studies on time
  • You have completed a Summer/Winter School unit of study to ensure on time completion

You must apply for reducing your load with your faculty and you will be required to provide supporting documentation for your application, such as medical certificates, evidence of academic counselling, itinerary etc.

Reducing your enrolment load may affect your expected course duration and may result in you requiring a new electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCOE) for visa renewal purposes. The International Student Advisers are able to provide further advice on how a reduced load may impact your eCOE and consequently your student visa as well as general advice regarding your welfare. See "How to schedule a meeting with us" if you wish to meet with an International Student Adviser.


Online / distance elearning

Student visa holders may undertake no more than 25% of their total course by distance and/or online learning and must not enrol in exclusively distance or online study in any compulsory study period.

If you are a recipient of the US Federal Direct Loan you must not enrol in any units of study offered by online or distance delivery if you wish to remain eligible for federal student aid. An educational program is not an eligible program for purposes of US Federal student aid if it is provided by correspondence or distance education in whole or in part. For more information please go to International Loans & US VA Benefits or contact the .


Leave of absence / suspension

If you are unable temporarily to continue with your studies for personal or medical reasons you may be eligible to apply for leave of absence or suspension of studies. Please contact your respective faculty advisers for approval. If you are requesting a Leave of Absence or Suspension for medical, compelling or compassionate reasons, you must provide supporting documentation to the faculty.

If you suspend your studies your eCoE will be cancelled. Therefore you may be required to leave Australia and you may be subject to visa cancellation.

You may be required to reapply for your visa when you are ready to resume study. Students who are resuming studies following an approved Leave of Absence or Suspension are advised to fill in the online recommencement form at least two months before commencing in order to obtain a new eCoE.


Discontinuation / withdrawal from the degree

Students must apply to their faculty for a Total Discontinuation of Study (Withdrawal).

Transferring to Another Institution within the First 6 Months.

In accordance with Australian government regulations, international students wishing to transfer to another education provider within the first six months of their course must obtain a “release letter” from the University of Sydney.

In order to be provided with a release letter you must first advise your faculty that you wish to withdraw from your course. Then complete the application for a release letter that can be obtained through the International Student Office and attach the following documents:

  • offer letter from another provider
  • statement outlining the reason/s why you are seeking release or other documentation explaining reason/s for release request
  • if under the age 18, a copy of written approval from a parent or legal guardian supporting the transfer is also required.


You must notify the University of the change of education provider within 7 days of receiving the electronic Confirmation of Enrolment or evidence of enrolment.


Early completion

In some situations students may be able to complete their course early. For example students may be granted credit towards their degree from previous studies. Students who complete their course more than three months before the end date of their eCoE are identified as early completion. The University is required to notify the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) of these students' early completion and their eCoE will be cancelled.