Timetabling & enrolment issues

Requests for timetable changes  (Not relevant to this topic)      Advice on HECS/HELP and fees
Changes in enrolment   Unexpected enrolment increase
Census dates    
Adding or withdrawing from a unit      
Discontinuing units (DNF, DF)        
Suspension of studies    

Requests for timetable changes


It is inevitable that the timetable for your unit of study (UoS) will not be convenient for every student and that you will receive requests to change timetables for tutorials and so on once the semester has begun. Dealing with all the individual requirements for re-scheduling can be very stressful, particularly if you are teaching large classes.

Make students aware of procedures and set up efficient ways for them to organise their timetable changes.

  • Set clear rules for your students to follow when they want to make changes to minimise intrusion into your time, and to make sure timetables are sorted out early.
  • Announce these rules to the students in your UoS outline, in emails and in the first lecture.
  • Get your tutors to reiterate these proper processes to the students in their first tutorial.
Is your unit timetabled locally or centrally with the Timetabling Unit?

If your unit, or any component of it, is timetabled locally in your faculty, check with your administrative team for advice about how students can request timetable changes.

If your unit is timetabled centrally, as the majority of units are, here are some points to remember:

  • Changes to centrally timetabled units are handled by the University Timetabling Unit, in most cases until the end of Week 1. Include this link http://web.timetable.usyd.edu.au/changingTimetables.jsp in the UoS outline and in any early emails to students, as it details information for students on how and when to make timetable changes.
  • If a student alters any part of their timetable online this may re-organise their entire schedule. Students can view and print their personalised timetable via MyUni, and can request changes online. However, they should be aware that by reorganising their schedule they may be reallocated to less desirable times for some or all of their units of study. In some circumstances even viewing their timetable online again may reallocate a student's classes.
  • Staff from the Timetabling Unit offer in-person assistance to students for a limited period around the beginning of each semester. This is especially helpful if they have a timetable clash or wish to change classes for just one unit without affecting others. Students can check the times and venues for in-person assistance at the Changing Your Timetable section of the Timetable Unit website. The link is the same as listed above in the first point.
  • Students can also seek advice about their timetable from the University Student Centre.
  • It is likely that some students will still request changes directly from you or from other teachers in your unit, especially if they enrol after the end of Week 1, get a new part-time job, live a long way from campus or have responsibilities as a carer.
    Make sure you let both students and others in your teaching team know:
    a) if you will accommodate such requests and, if so, in what circumstances and what kind documentation you require (eg a letter from an employer).
    b) how students should apply, and what information they should give you (eg full name and SID, current time allocated, three alternative times they are available, contact details, etc.). Some coordinators find that it is useful to design a simple form to collect this information.
    c) how you will communicate your response to requests, and why you may not be able to accommodate all of them (eg because some tutorials are full).

Unexpected increase in enrolments

You may find that your enrolments unexpectedly increase, as some students will change their unit choices in the first two weeks of semester. This can present problems, particularly if your venues or tutorial / laboratory groups are already at capacity.

If this happens, consult your head or chair immediately about the possibility of putting on additional tutorials or labs, and seek assistance from your local admin team to try to arrange appropriate rooms. Make sure to keep your teaching team and students well informed about any new arrangements you make.

Changes in enrolment

Students will have several opportunities to vary their enrolment during semester following a framework of deadlines established by the University and the Commonwealth Government (see important dates).

Changes to enrolment are handled by the student administration office of the faculty in which the student is enrolled. Note that this may be different from the faculty that offers the unit.

Census Dates

The census date is the most important of the deadlines to vary enrolment. It falls on the 31 March for Semester 1, and 31 August for Semester 2. By this date, students are expected to have completed their enrolment requirements and will be liable for their student contribution, or fees for any units in which they are still enrolled.

Advice for students on fees

Deadlines for adding or withdrawing from a unit

The deadline for withdrawing from a unit of study is normally the census date. However, the last day to add a unit is at the end of the second week of the semester, up to three weeks before the census date.

  • It is very important that your students are aware of these deadlines, as dropping unit/s after the last day to add a unit may leave them with a reduced (i.e. non-full-time) load.
  • A reduced study load could impact on local students’ eligibility for Commonwealth financial support and, for international students, it may put their visa status at risk.

Discontinue without failure (DNF) & Discontinue with failure (DF)

Clarify, for your students, the last day that they can withdraw from the unit, or discontinue the unit without failing, and the implications of this as well as the admin processes involved.

  • Withdrawing from a unit after the HECS/HELP census date:
    Provided this happens before the last day to discontinue without failure (the end of Week 7 for each semester), the unit will appear on their transcript (marked as DNF), HECS/HELP or fees will be charged, but it will not be counted as a failure, nor as an attempt at the unit.
  • In cases of serious illness or misadventure:
    Students can apply for a DNF grade even after the last day to discontinue without failure (the end of Week 7), provided they can provide documentation proving serious illness or misadventure and are still enrolled in their degree program as a whole. Advise students to check with their faculty administration office regarding the deadline for this application.
  • Discontinuing a unit after the last day to discontinue without failure, with no illness or misadventure involved:
    In this case, the student should apply for a Discontinued Fail (DF) grade. This formalises their discontinuation from the unit. The unit will appear on their transcript (marked as DF), HECS/HELP or fees will be charged, and the unit will be counted as a failure.
  • If the student doesn’t apply for a Discontinued Fail, but does not complete all mandatory assessment tasks:
    a grade of Absent Fail will be recorded on their transcript.
  • If a student has not submitted assessment tasks that are due before the cut-off dates and has not requested special consideration:
    you may wish to send an email to the student, checking that they are OK and possibly suggesting that they consider withdrawal or discontinuation.

Suspension of studies

If a student wishes to suspend their studies for one or two semesters, advise them to check with their faculty’s student administration office about the procedures involved, as these may vary from faculty to faculty.

They must officially apply for any suspension of studies and withdraw from all units they are enrolled in before the census date (31 March (Semester 1) or 31 August (Semester 2)) using the appropriate forms that they can get from their faculty’s student administration office.