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Suspend your studies

Suspending your studies allows you to take a break from studying while keeping your place in the course.

Overview

If you've started your studies but would like to take a break, you can suspend your studies for a semester, research period or for a full academic year.

If you want to suspend your course for longer than one year, your application will be forwarded to the relevant associate dean for approval. 

If you haven't started your studies (and have not enrolled in your course) and would like to postpone your start date you will need to request a deferral.

It is important that you seek academic advice from your faculty/school or course director before you suspend, to help understand how this may impact your studies.

If you're a research student and want to take leave for less than a full research period, you should submit a leave of absence request.

You can apply to suspend your research for a maximum of one year during your candidature. Further suspensions are only granted in compelling circumstances, at the discretion of the associate dean.

As a research student, a period of suspension will always affect your earliest and latest thesis submission dates. You should ensure that your progress plan and any previously agreed milestones are adjusted accordingly.

You can contact the Higher Degree by Research Administration Centre for advice about your submission dates. Once your suspension is approved, your updated submission dates will be available in Sydney Student (go to 'My studies', then 'Research details'). 

If you have a scholarship or are receiving any financial assistance from the University, you need to notify the Higher Degree by Research Administration Centre about your decision to suspend your course.

If you have a scholarship or are receiving any financial assistance from the University, you will need to notify us about your decision to suspend your course.

If you are unable to continue with your studies due to compassionate or compelling circumstances beyond your control, you can apply to suspend your studies. Circumstances include:

  • 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
  • a traumatic experience
  • childcare/maternity
  • military service in your home country
  • failure to obtain a student visa if you are a currently enrolled student. If you're a new student you'll need to request to defer your start date
  • if your faculty or school is unable to offer any other units of study because of the structure of your program.

You cannot suspend your studies for reasons relating to finances or work (outside your studies).

Undertaking an internship does not qualify as a compassionate and compelling circumstance under ESOS. If your degree requires an internship, this will be part of the structure of your course and you will not be required to suspend your studies.

Supporting documents

You will need to provide the following supporting documents with your application. Your faculty or school may require additional documents.

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).

You will need to upload all evidence when you submit your request through Sydney Student. We will not approve any requests without the required documents.

Reason for application

Type of documents needed

Serious illness or injury

  • Professional Practitioner’s Certificate (pdf, 320KB) or a signed medical certificate with appropriate letterhead from a doctor stating that you are unable to attend classes.

    Medical certificates should:
    • be issued within three months of the suspension start date
    • have a clear duration of recommended time away from studies and 
    • should indicate that you will be impacted for a substantial period of the semester.
Mental health issue

Report issued by psychologist with a clear treatment plan. Report should be less than three months old.

Death of a close family member

  • Death certificate/medical certificate
  • Proof of relationship

No units of study are available because of the structure of your course

Confirmation letter from faculty or school

A traumatic experience

Police or psychologists' reports

Childcare/maternity

Doctor's certificate or hospital statement with expected due date. Medical certificates should be issued within three months of the start date of the suspended period.

Military service in your home country
  • Passport
  • Fomal conscription letter that is less than three months old, with translation
Failure to obtain a student visa
  • Ticket of travel
  • Original visa grant letter
  • Evidency of visa lodgement

If you suspend your studies, the University will notify the Department of Home Affairs and your eCoE will be cancelled. Your visa may be cancelled and you may be required to leave Australia. To find out how your visa will be affected, you will need to contact the Department of Home Affairs.

You can contact our international compliance officers for general advice relating to your suspension such as, eligibility, supporting documents, or eCoE duration.

Documents and eligibility

Your faculty or school may need you to provide supplementary documents as part of your request to suspend, for example, a recommencement study plan. You should review the information on suspension in your faculty or school handbook.

If you are an undergraduate coursework student and would like to have a third or fourth semester of suspension, you will need to provide supporting documents or a supporting statement for the Associate Dean's consideration.

If you are completing honours and would like to suspend your studies, you need to get written permission from your supervisor or honours coordinator. Submit a suspension request through Sydney Student and upload a copy of the written permission. You can only suspend for one semester. If your suspension is approved, you'll need to complete your studies within five consecutive semesters.

If you are a postgraduate coursework student and suspend your studies for one or two semesters, the same length of time will be added to the maximum time in which you are normally required to complete your studies.

If you are an undergraduate student or undertaking the Master of Teaching, you can be granted a suspension for a period of one year (two semesters). Suspensions of only one semester are not permitted due to the structure of your course.

You cannot be granted a suspension to undertake other study.

Bachelor of Laws

You are only able to suspend your Law studies for one year, except in cases where you are planning to undertake honours in your first degree or in exceptional circumstances. Check the course resolutions in the Sydney Law School handbook for more information.

If you decide to take a break from your studies, it’s important that you apply for a suspension before the census date rather than fail to enrol, as this will result in a lapse of candidature. As the Bachelor of Laws doesn’t exist as a standalone degree, a lapse of candidature means that you will not be able to re-apply for admission to the degree.

It is important to note that you need to complete your combined degree requirements within 10 calendar years. This includes any semester(s) of suspension.

Juris Doctor

If you are studying full time, you are not able to suspend your studies in Year 1 of the program. If you are studying part time, you are not able to suspend your studies in Years 1 or 2 of the program.

You can suspend your studies for a maximum period of two calendar years in total.

It is important to note that you need to complete your degree requirements within 10 calendar years. This includes any semester(s) of suspension.

You should discuss your intention to suspend with the program director for your degree before submitting an application. If you have not completed your principal study (instrumental and vocal students), you may need to organise a diagnostic audition before recommencing your studies.

Undergraduate coursework students

If you would like to take a third or fourth semester of suspension you will need to provide supporting documents in your application.

Postgraduate coursework students

If you are a postgraduate coursework student (except for Graduate Diploma in Psychology students) you will need to provide approval from your course director to support any period of suspension that you wish to take.

Graduate Diploma in Psychology students

If you would like to take a third or fourth semester of suspension you will need to provide approval from your course director to support your suspension.

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Last updated: 20 May 2019

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