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Reduced study load (student visa holders)

Your student visa requires you to complete your course within the time specified in your electronic confirmation of enrolment (eCoE). This means you need to be enrolled in a full-time study load of 24 credit points per semester. However, in certain circumstances you may be able to apply to reduce your study load.

Eligibility

In some circumstances you can apply to reduce your study load for compassionate or compelling reasons, such as:

  • serious illness or injury
  • death of a close family member
  • if your faculty or school is unable to offer any other units of study because of the structure of your program
  • if you are currently on the progression register and an academic adviser from your faculty or school recommends your study load be reduced to make sure you successfully complete your remaining units of study. In this case your faculty or school may implement a formal intervention strategy.

You cannot reduce your study load for reasons relating to finances or work (outside your studies). You will need to provide supporting documents with your application. A request without evidence of compassionate or compelling circumstances will not be approved.

If receiving a waiver has reduced your study load, speak with an academic adviser about enrolling in a unit in its place.

Receiving credit for previous study or completing a Summer or Winter School unit is not a valid reason alone for reducing your study load. If you have 24 credit points available to enrol in for each semester, then you are required to undertake them. However, if none of your remaining units are available to make up 24 credit points, then you may apply to reduce your study load. This will likely be in your final semester.

Remember that reducing your enrolment load may lengthen the time it takes for you to finish your course. This may mean you need to request another eCoE to extend your visa.

When to apply

You can apply to reduce your study load once you have enrolled, up until the DF deadline. You should apply as early as possible. If you’re granted a reduced study load, the outcome will depend on when you applied. 

  • If you apply before the census date, you will be withdrawn from your selected units without financial or academic penalty.
  • If you apply after the census date, but before the DC deadline, you will be given a grade of Discontinued not to count as failure (DC). You will be financially liable for the unit but it will not count as a fail on your transcript and does not affect your Weighted Average Mark (WAM).
  • If you apply after the DC deadline but before the DF deadline, you will be given a grade of Discontinue fail (DF). You will be financially liable for the unit and will receive a grade of zero. 

How to apply

Before applying, you should seek some advice from an academic advisor or compliance officer.

If you decide to reduce your study load, you need to apply through Sydney Student (go to ‘My studies’, ‘Units of study’, then ‘Apply to reduce your study load’).

Supporting documents

When applying to reduce your study load, you’ll need to provide the following supporting documents. Your faculty or school may require additional documents, in which case they'll email you once you've submitted your application.

An overseas medical certificate issued in a language other than English needs to be translated into English by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) or an overseas notary department with a common seal.

Reason for application

Type of documents needed

Serious illness or injury

Professional Practitioner’s Certificate (pdf, 320KB) or a signed letter from an appropriate doctor on letterhead

Compelling circumstances that have resulted in you missing two weeks of study or more

Any relevant documents such as doctor’s certificates, statutory declarations or police reports

You have previously been identified as not meeting academic progression requirements

Evidence of an Academic Progression and Advice session (provided by faculty)

You are unable to enrol in a full-time load due to availability of units of study

Supporting documents not necessary

You have previously completed a unit of study in Summer or Winter School and you are in your final semester of study

Supporting documents not necessary

What happens next

Your application will be assessed within 10 working days. We will email you the outcome of your application to your University email address.

If you are granted a reduced study load, you will be withdrawn from or granted a DC or DF grade for your selected unit based on the date you applied. If the requested unit is a requirement for any other units you are enrolled in, you may also be withdrawn from these units. 

A reduced study load may extend the duration of your course and could mean you need to apply for a new electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) to extend your visa. The University may need to notify the Department of Home Affairs.

If your application is declined, you will be provided with the reason for this decision. You will remain enrolled in your units of study. 

Help and support

Before you apply to reduce your study load, speak with our compliance officers for advice about your student visa or eCoE. You can contact an academic adviser for advice about how reducing your study load may impact your enrolment and course progression.

If you’re struggling academically or personally, the University has many services that can support you, such as the Learning Centre or Counselling and Psychological Services.

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Opening hours: 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Extended in-person opening hours first two weeks of semester and during exams.

Last updated: 04 February 2019

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