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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.


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, you need to apply to the relevant associate dean. A maximum suspension of two years can be granted.

It is important that you seek academic advice before you suspend, to help understand how this may impact your studies.

A suspension is different from a deferral because you have already started your degree and are pausing your studies rather than postponing the start date.

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.

Once you have been enrolled for at least one year and have passed your probation, you can apply to suspend your research for a maximum of one year during the remainder of your candidature. Further suspensions are only granted in compelling circumstances, at the discretion of the dean or 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 use the Equivalent Full Time Study Load (EFTSL) values for each research period to understand how a period of suspension will impact your date for thesis submission.

For example, if your latest date for submission is 30 September and you take an approved period of suspension in Research Period 2, you will add 0.333 (four months = the duration of RP2) to your latest date. This means your new thesis submission date will be 31 January.

Find the EFTSL value for each research period.

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 for compelling personal, medical or compassionate reasons, you may (under strict conditions) be eligible to apply for a leave of absence or suspension of studies.

For example, serious health issues that prevent you attending class, required military service in your home country, misconduct requiring suspension or failure to obtain a student visa.

You will need to provide supporting documents with your application. This may include medical certificates, statutory declarations, or immigration notices. 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.

You will need to upload all evidence when you submit your request through Sydney Student.

If you suspend your studies, the University will notify the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) 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 DIBP.

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.

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 time in which you are normally required to complete your studies.

If you are undertaking a diploma or postgraduate coursework, you can suspend for up to two semesters in total.

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 allowed.

You cannot be granted a suspension to undertake other study.

You should discuss your suspension request with your Course Director or year adviser before submitting an online application. It is your responsibility to manage your studies and progression to make sure you're eligible to graduate.

If you’re a Graduate Entry Master’s student you need to have completed at least one semester to be eligible for a suspension. Newly enrolled students need to discontinue their course and reapply the following year.

Bachelor of Laws

You are only able to suspend your Law studies for one year, except in cases where you are also 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 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.

Student Centre

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Last updated: 03 October 2017

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