Current Undergraduates - Frequently Asked Questions

Questions Index

  1. When can I change my units of study?
  2. How do I change my units of study?
  3. Where can I find out about academic honesty, plagiarism, how to reference etc.?
  4. What is Special Permission and how do I get it?
  5. How do I defer/suspend/discontinue my degree?
  6. How do I re-enrol after a suspension?
  7. How and when do I apply to transfer to another Science degree or Faculty?
  8. I have a problem and need some advice. Can I see the Associate Dean?
  9. I’m worried about my exams, what do I need to do?
  10. Where do I find credit for prior tertiary study information?
  11. I need to apply for special consideration for an assessment/exam, how do I do it?
  12. Where is the Faculty of Science Office and what are its opening hours?
  13. Can I study part-time?
  14. I need some information about cross-institutional study. Where can I find it?
  15. I need some information about non-degree study. Where can I find it?
  16. Where can I find information about the WAM and the SCIWAM calculator?
  17. For some degrees a Credit average is needed - what does this mean?
  18. Where can I find information about semester and exam dates?
  19. Where do I get a copy of the Science Handbook?
  20. Where can I find information about textbooks?
  21. When will I receive my completion letter?

When can I change my Units of Study?

Visit the Important Dates page to view Deadlines for changing your units of study.

There are various penalties associated with discontinuing from a unit of study after a certain date. You should be aware that the following definitions apply to variations of enrolment made by students who are considered local (ie. Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and NZ citizens):

Withdraw (W)
No academic or financial penalty.

Discontinue - Not to count as failure (DNF)
No academic penalty, BUT you remain liable for the relevant HECS charge. (You may, however, be able to recoup this amount under certain circumstances. For further details, please contact the Taxation Office.)

Discontinue - Fail (DF)
You will be automatically assigned a mark of fail (graded DF on your academic record) for that unit of study. For SCIWAM purposes a grade of 0% will be used. You will, in addition, be liable for the relevant Commonwealth Assistance liability or tuition fees for that unit of study.

How do I change my Units of Study?

Students who wish to vary their enrolment should first try to do so online via their MyUni account; information to help you vary your enrolment.

If the system does not allow you to vary your enrolment online, you may need special permission to enrol in the unit of study.

If you are unable to vary your enrolment online you will need to visit the Faculty of Science Office to vary your enrolment.

Where can I find out about academic honesty, plagiarism, how to reference etc.?

There is some great information about academic honesty in the First Year Roadmap which has been created by the University Library. The interactive First Year Roadmap contains useful resources that will help you get started in your studies and research. Through interactive tutorials you can learn about what is considered plagiarism, how to correctly reference materials you use in your research, how to find relevant journal articles, as well as how to effectively use the library to find the information you need.

What is Special Permission and how do I get it?

You will need special permission if you are studying an Advanced unit of study or if you fail to meet the prerequisite or corequisite requirement for that unit. (You will need a special permission form if you have failed a prerequisite unit of study.)

You will need to download the special permission form, and then get it signed at the relevant School or department before bringing it to the Faculty of Science Office.

How do I defer/suspend/discontinue my studies?

It is important to be aware of the differences between deferring, suspending and discontinuing your studies.

  • At the University of Sydney, when we refer to DEFERMENT, we are referring to students who have not yet started their studies, and wish to delay their starting date. Information and instructions about deferring your studies is usually supplied to you with your UAC offer. If you wish to defer and delay your start date, you usually do this via UAC.
  • SUSPENSION refers to students who have already started their degree and wish to pause their studies for one or two semesters. To suspend your studies, you are required to complete and submit a suspension application form to the Faculty of Science. Information and instructions about how to suspend your studies.
  • RECOMMENCEMENT is restarting your studies after a suspension. If you have suspended your studies for one or two semesters and wish to recommence studying again, you are expected to notify the Faculty of Science when your suspension comes to an end. Information and instructions about how to notify the Faculty of your recommencement.
  • DISCONTINUATION refers to stopping your studies completely. Students who have decided not to study any further, who have transferred to another degree, another Faculty or another University must discontinue their Science degree. Information and instructions about discontinuing your Science degree.

Visit the Deferment, Suspension, Discontinuation and Recommencement information page for detailed information about the procedures involved in each of these processes.

How and when do I apply to transfer to another Science degree or Faculty?

Read about all aspects of transferring here: Transferring to/from the Faculty of Science

How do I re-enrol after a suspension?

All suspended students need to contact the Faculty to recommence their studies when their suspension period comes to an end.

Step 1
Notify the Faculty of your intention to recommence your studies by downloading and completing a Recommencement form.

Step 2
After you have returned the Recommencement form to the Faculty Office you will receive a letter indicating when you must come in to re-enrol.

Step 3
Re-enrolling (choosing your subjects and paying your fees). Suspended students must re-enrol in person or send a proxy to re-enrol for them.

Students intending to return to their studies in Semester 1 need to submit their completed recommencement form to the Faculty Office by the first week of February.

Students intending to return to their studies in Semester 2 need to submit their completed recommencement form to the Faculty Office by the first week of June.

I have a problem and need some advice. Can I see the Associate Dean?

Appointments for interviews with the Associate Dean must be made through the in the Faculty Office. You will be advised to arrange an interview if you wish to:

  • study more than 30 credit points per semester
  • vary your enrolment in a way not usually permitted by Faculty regulations
  • undertake cross-institutional studies at another University
  • if you have been excluded from a unit of study or degree

Some students find it useful to make an appointment in order to discuss any personal or other difficulties that interfere with their studies.

Confused about your degree requirements?

Your first resource for queries like this is the Science Handbook – all the degree requirements are listed here and you need to carefully check these against what you are planning to study and what you have already studied. If you are still confused after doing this then email the with your specific query and we will either be able to help or advise you to make an Associate Dean appointment.

I’m worried about my exams, what do I need to do?

If you fail a unit you may be able to obtain special permission to progress to your next semester units of study after consultation with the relevant Schools or Departments. If this is approved you will need to bring the form in person to the Faculty of Science counter to have it added to your next semester's enrolment.

You may also be able to retake the Unit of Study. Consult the Science Handbook for more information. Again, you may need to complete a special permission form to re-enrol in a unit you have failed.

All students will need to keep in mind their degree requirements and structure when investigating their options.

After you have received your results you may want to contact your degree program co-ordinator or book an appointment to see an Associate Dean to discuss your options.

Where do I find Credit for Prior Tertiary Study information?

Visit the Credit for Prior Tertiary Study pages for information about credit for prior tertiary study, including an application form and frequently asked questions about credit.

Applying for Special Consideration for an assessment/exam

All students who wish to apply for Special Consideration for an assessment must read the Special Consideration information pages carefully before submitting their application.

  • Please supply all information requested in the application pack, including photocopies.
  • These must be supplied in person at the Faculty of Science office during our opening hours.
  • You may nominate a proxy if you are unable to travel to the University for any reason.
  • This information must be submitted within seven days of the date of the assessment.

Included in the application pack is a Professional Practitioner Certificate. This must be filled out by your doctor or counsellor, as the Faculty no longer accepts Medical Certificates.

Incomplete, incorrect, late or faxed applications are not accepted.

Visit the Special Consideration information pages for more information.

Where is the Faculty of Science Office and what are its opening hours?

Contact details and opening hours for the Faculty of Science Office

Where can I find contact details for staff/department locations/first-year offices?

You can look up the location of different Departments and Schools on our online map.

You can use the University Phonebook to search for staff or departmental contact details.

School or Department websites can also be helpful.

The Science Handbook contains contact information for each School.

First Year offices for Biology, Maths, Physics and Chemistry:
Biology: 5th Floor, Carslaw Building
Maths: 5th Floor, Carslaw Building
Physics: Level 2, Physics Building
Chemistry: Near Laboratory B, Chemistry Building

Can I study part-time?

Local students can study part-time. Generally, units of study are not available in the evening (ie. after 6pm). Students who receive government help or scholarships should check with the provider, as these often require students to be enrolled full-time.

International students are not permitted to study part-time without permission.

I need some information about cross-institutional study. Where can I find it?

Cross-institutional study - Outbound for current Faculty of Science students.

Cross-institutional study - Inbound for external students who wish to study in the Faculty of Science.

I need some information about non-degree study. Where can I find it?

Information on how to apply for non-degree study.

Where can I find information about the WAM and the SCIWAM calculator?

SCIWAM information and calculator

For information on how a DNF or Discontinue – Fail (DF) affects your SCIWAM, see When can I change my units of study?

If you are applying to another institution which uses a GPA or some other average mark calculation you will need to contact them directly and supply them with a copy of your academic transcript.

In order to progress in some degree courses I need to maintain a Credit average, what does this mean?

Generally this would mean that the mean average of your exam results in each year of enrolment must be 65% or greater. You will be contacted by the Faculty via post after the Semester 2 results are released if you do not meet this requirement.

When does the examination period start and finish & where can I find information about semester dates?

View the Faculty of Science Important Dates page.

N.B. Faculty Office counter opening hours remain the same during the exam period and university holidays - however, please be aware that the Faculty Office closes during the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

Where do I get a copy of the Science Handbook?

Students can view a copy of the Science Handbook online, at the Faculty of Science Office or in Fisher Library.

Past students of the Faculty of Science who are looking for unit of study descriptions for their degrees will need to contact the Fisher Library which holds copies of previous Faculty of Science Handbooks.

Where can I find information about textbooks?

You can check the Unit of Study descriptions in Chapter 10 of the Science Handbook.

The School or Department may also have more information.

When will I receive my completion letter?

You will normally receive your completion letter from the Faculty of Science in late December, after results are released. Please be aware that a completion letter is not your testamur (a testamur is the official degree certificate you receive at your graduation ceremony). The completion letter is an official record of your completion of your degree and is often used by graduates for applications for further study etc.