Skip to main content

Request permission for a unit of study

In some cases you may need to request permission to enrol in a unit of study. This will take the form of departmental permission or special permission.

Departmental permission

Some units of study require faculty approval for any student wanting to enrol. This could be for a number of reasons, for example if it’s an advanced unit, a clinical placement, an offshore unit or has limited places.

Your handbook will indicate if a unit of study requires departmental permission.

You’ll be prompted to apply for departmental permission when you select your units of study in the enrolment task. You should identify an alternative unit to enrol in if your application is not approved.

If after Week 2 of semester you want to change from an advanced unit of study to a mainstream unit or from a mainstream unit of study to a fundamental stream unit covering the same material, you will need to submit a Unit of study downgrade request (pdf, 59KB).

You will need to submit this before the census date.

Special permission

If you want to enrol in a unit of study that you don’t meet the standard requirements for, or that doesn’t meet your course resolutions, you’ll need to apply for special permission.


You may choose to apply for special permission if:

  • you haven’t completed a required prerequisite or corequisite
  • you want to exceed the credit point limit in a semester
  • you want to exceed the credit point limit in your course
  • the unit of study isn’t offered in your course
  • you want to enrol in a unit of study out of sequence (eg, undertake a third-year unit in second year)
  • you’re enrolled in a postgraduate research course.

Before you apply look at the resolutions in your handbook and relevant faculty or school policies, for example rules for exceeding credit point limits. This can help you determine if you’re eligible.

If you’re on a student visa, you need to make sure that you will still be meeting your visa requirements if you apply to change your enrolment through special permission. If you need advice, contact our international compliance officers.

How to apply

To apply for special permission, you’ll need to have completed your unit of study selection in the enrolment task.

After you’ve enrolled, you can apply for special permission through Sydney Student.

  • If you’re a coursework student, go to ‘My studies’, ‘Units of study’, then ‘Other options’.
  • If you’re a research student, go to ‘My studies’, ‘Course details’, then ‘Apply for special permission in course’.

You will need to indicate why you’re applying for special permission and upload any relevant supporting documents, for example evidence you’ve previously completed a unit of study with similar content to a prerequisite. If you don’t submit appropriate supporting documents, your application will be rejected and you will need to resubmit.

You will also be able to nominate which unit of study you want to be withdrawn from if your application is approved. Note that if you withdraw from this unit before the application has been processed, your application for special permission will be cancelled automatically.

If you’re seeking a prerequisite waiver for a language unit of study, you may need to meet with the relevant unit of study coordinator if you can’t support your application with appropriate documents.

What happens next

After you submit your application it will be assessed by your faculty or school. You may be asked to provide additional supporting documents.

We will email you within 10 working days to let you know the outcome. If we approve your application, we’ll automatically enrol you in the unit of study you requested.

If your application is unsuccessful, we will provide reasons for this decision.


One outcome of the special permission process is the waiving of a prerequisite or corequisite. A waiver might be granted if you’ve already completed a unit of study that is substantially similar to the prerequisite or corequisite.

Unlike credit and Reduced Volume of Learning, waivers don’t reduce the duration of your award course and you’ll need to complete another unit in its place.

For more information about waivers, see our Coursework Policy 2014 and the course resolutions in your handbook.

If you’re studying in the School of Public Health, you can request a waiver by submitting a request for waiver form (pdf, 40KB).

All other students need to follow the standard special permission procedure, or contact your discipline for further information.

Student Centre

Level 3, Jane Foss Russell Building, Darlington Campus
Opening hours: 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday
Last updated: 03 October 2017

Website feedback

Tell us if you’ve spotted a typo or something else wrong with this page.

Thank you

Your feedback has been sent.

Sorry there was a problem sending your feedback. Please try again

You should only use this form to send feedback about the content on this webpage– we will not respond to other enquiries made through this form. If you have an enquiry or need help with something else such as your enrolment, course etc you can contact the Student Centre.