Reducing Your Study Load

Here you can find information about reducing your study load as a UNSW International Student.

Application for Reduce your Study Load for T1 2019 will be opened after 5th December 2018


As an International Student visa holder you must complete your program within the duration specified in their Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE). Generally, this requires you to enrol in a full time study load or 24 units of credits per semester. Please note you are required to enrol in a full time study load (48 units of credit) over the three terms, until the completion of your program from 2019 onwards. For further information about this refer to the National Code Part D: ESOS standard 9

Reducing your study load may impact on your ability to complete your program within the duration specified in your CoE. UNSW can only issue a new CoE in limited and exceptional circumstances.

You will need to seek permission from Student Development International (SDI) to reduce your study load in any term other than your final term. Please note in most cases you will need to provide supporting documents to verify your application.

There are potentially serious consequences to your CoE and visa when reducing your study load. The Australian Government Office will only allow students to extend their visa in very limited circumstances and for reasons which must be documented.

A reduced study load can be approved in the following circumstances:

1. Core course/s not available

Courses you require for your Program or Major are not offered this term and no other reasonable options to maintain a full enrolment exist. An application to reduce your study load on these grounds will need to be supported by evidence of the lack of availability of course/s, timetable clash notice etc. and that no other suitable options are available.

2. Academic difficulties

If you have failed courses in previous terms and are below Good Standing you may be advised by either your Academic Advisor or International Student Advisor (ISA) to reduce your study load as part of an academic intervention strategy. An application to reduce your study load on these grounds will need to be supported by evidence of academic advice to reduce your study load and an intervention strategy. A copy of the intervention strategy will need to be attached to your application and a follow up appointment with an ISA may be required to monitor your progress.

If you are at risk of failing a course in your current term, provide evidence from course coordinator to indicate you have failed assessments. 

3. Compassionate and Compelling Circumstances

Serious medical, personal or other circumstances beyond your control may have put your course progress at risk. An application to reduce your study load on these grounds will need to be supported by appropriate documentation. Please have the authorising professional complete the attached form “Request for Reduced Study Load from UNSW Due to Illness or Misadventure – Professional Authority Form” identifying serious illness, disability or injury that demonstrates your inability to carry a full study load or from a Counsellordemonstrating your inability to carry a full study load.  They may also attach an additional statement if necessary.

4. Don’t meet prerequisite requirements or program rules

Failed prerequisite course/s in previous term which impacts on the progress of study plan. 

5. Granted transfer credits and able to complete by CoE end date

6. Ahead in you program and able to complete by CoE end date

You previously studied extra courses in summer term or by overloading. 

If you reduce your study load without permission or supporting documentation throughout your degree and then require an extension to your program, you may find that UNSW denies your request for an extension and refuses to issue you with a new CoE. This will mean you will not be able to extend your student visa, and you may not be able to complete your program at the University.

How to reduce study load

If you are considering reducing your study load please complete the following steps:

Step 1: Register with the SDI booking system and book to attend an Information Session to check if you are eligible to reduce your study load,
Step 2: Complete the Reduce Study Load Form (PDF, 166 KB, 2 pages),
Step 3: Print a copy of your academic transcript via myUNSW, prepare a personal statement and gather supporting documents to support your application.
Step 4: Have the form and study plan completed and signed by your Program Authority (Faculty or School Office),
Step 5: Submit your signed application and supporting documents to SDI front desk, Ground Floor, John Goodsell Building (F20).

Submit this form to Student Development International (SDI) at least 5 working days prior to census date, academic withdrawal and last day of teaching to ensure it’s processed in time. 

Step 6: Outcome of your application will be sent to your student email.
Step 7: Update your enrolment details on myUNSW before the Census date/specific deadlines. If you do not reduce your study load on myUNSW by the University deadlines you will be required to pay for these courses and there may be academic penalties.

PLEASE BE ADVISED: Each teaching period has specific deadlines for dropping courses in your program. Please refer to Late Enrolment for what those deadlines are, and the procedures for dropping after each deadline. Academic or financial penalties may apply after deadlines.