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Study information

Frequently asked questions about study arrangements

In the interests of the health and safety of our students and staff, the University has asked our teaching staff to prepare to deliver the first four weeks of Semester 2 in remote teaching mode.

Key points

We are committed to providing as much face-to-face learning as we safely can as soon as the health situation allows.

The University has asked our teaching staff to prepare to deliver the first four weeks of Semester 2 (from Monday 9 August) in remote teaching mode. Only critical teaching activities which cannot be delivered remotely will continue, with COVID-safe arrangements in place. For students who wish to, there will be options to withdraw from a unit or transfer to a different unit. Please check the student website for further guidance.

  • We remain hopeful that some on-campus classes may return from Week 5 of Semester 2 as soon as the health situation allows. Further updates will be provided as more information becomes available.
  • Arrangements for your classes will be confirmed via Canvas before the start of semester. You do not need to make any changes to your enrolment at this time.
  • Remote delivery of teaching and assessment will continue as long as possible for students who are overseas or otherwise unable to return to campus. If you are doing so from your home country, you should be aware of the Australian Government’s travel advice and restrictions.
  • The Australian Government has advised that this change in delivery will not impact compliance with visa conditions for international students.

In response to COVID-19, the University of Sydney has reviewed the availability of courses to be delivered remotely for students commencing their studies in 2021. Some units of study and courses require students to study in-person at the relevant University of Sydney campus/es and host locations for placements and will not be available remotely once on-campus classes return.

Please check the course page for the latest information.


Semester 2, 2021

The NSW Government has extended the current stay-at-home restrictions across Greater Sydney to Friday 30 July. All Semester 2 orientation activities which were planned in the lead up to classes commencing on 9 August will now be conducted remotely.

While we remain committed to providing as much face-to-face learning for students on campus as we safely can, we have asked our teaching staff to prepare to deliver the first four weeks of Semester 2 (from Monday 9 August) in remote teaching mode. This request is in the interests of the health and safety of our students and staff in these unpredictable times.

We remain hopeful that some face-to-face classes may return from Week 5 of Semester 2 (from Monday 6 September onwards), though it is also possible that the health situation in NSW will mean that we will need to continue learning remotely beyond this initial 4-week period.

The University does not have a general exemption, however critical learning activity that a student cannot undertake remotely will continue to be conducted on campus with mandatory masks in indoor settings, physical distancing where possible and Service NSW QR code check in and out of buildings.

In the current lockdown period and for the first four weeks of Semester 2, 2021, only critical practical classes that are unable to be conducted remotely will proceed on campus with the necessary precautions in place, as advised by your Unit of Study Co-ordinator.

There is no need to change your enrolment at this time. Please continue to enrol as you usually would. This means if you are planning to attend classes on campus this semester, please select on campus units. Arrangements for your classes for Semester 2, 2021 will be confirmed via Canvas before the start of semester. You will be contacted via your student email if circumstances change.

We are committed to providing as much face-to-face learning for students on campus as we safely can. For students who wish to, there will be options to withdraw from a unit or transfer to a different unit. Check the student website for further guidance.

Yes, if your research must continue and cannot be conducted remotely, you can continue to conduct it on campus. Please talk to your research supervisor.

Study with us in 2021

In response to COVID-19, the University of Sydney has reviewed the availability of courses to be delivered remotely for students studying in 2021. Some units of study and courses require students to study in-person at the relevant University of Sydney campus/es and host locations for placements and will not be available remotely once on-campus classes return.

The University intends to offer as many units of study as possible in a remote as well as face-to-face learning method of delivery in 2021 subject to ongoing border closures and public health orders impacting attendance on campus. However, some units of study and courses require students to study in-person at the relevant University of Sydney campus/es and host locations for placements and will not be available remotely.

Please check the relevant course pages for the latest information regarding courses available remotely and those that require in-person on campus study.

On-campus learning

Remote delivery of teaching and assessment will continue throughout 2021 while Australian borders are closed for students who are overseas or otherwise unable to return to campus for the majority of programs which do not have components that cannot be delivered entirely via remote delivery.

The eventual return to in-person classes for students who can attend campus will not impact the delivery of a high-quality remote learning experience while Australian borders are closed. Students unable to attend campus will have the opportunity to achieve the same learning outcomes.

We are mindful of students offshore and those unable to come to campus. We will communicate directly with students enrolled in units with activities that cannot be conducted entirely via remote delivery, and who are unable to join us on campus. 

If you are considering travel outside of Australia, for example to return home for the holiday period, there are very important considerations to be aware of, including potential risks to your ongoing ability to study.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, travelling overseas involves considerable uncertainty and may affect your studies in significant and unforeseeable ways.

The University strongly recommends that you consider carefully all relevant circumstances before deciding to travel overseas.

Strict border controls, quarantine requirements and other conditions of international travel are likely to continue for some time and you may be unable to return to Australia in time to resume your studies or fulfil certain course requirements, such as placements or in-person elements.

Up-to-date information about travelling to and from Australia is on the Department of Home Affairs website.

We understand restrictions on travel have created difficult situations for international students and their families. Find out about the various support services for students, including financial support and support for mental health and wellbeing.

The University will continue to follow government advice in regards to the opening of spaces on campus. Currently most on-campus services are closed due to the current Public Health Order, with remote access available where possible. Refer to the access to campus services information for the latest updates.

Tests, exams and assessments will continue to be conducted online unless otherwise advised. 

Unit of study outlines will be updated with assessment details and students will be notified via Canvas, as well as through ongoing communication with their unit coordinators and faculty where appropriate.

Refer to tests, exams and assessment information for the latest updates.

Many placements are going ahead in 2021 in both in-person and virtual formats, subject to relevant government restrictions and policies set by our partners. Contact your Faculty or School for more information.

Students joining the University in 2021

Most courses are only being offered remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic period. You will generally only be able to complete remotely outside the COVID-19 period if the course is normally offered online.

The majority of our programs are normally delivered face-to-face, and in-person attendance requirements will resume when it’s safe and possible, following our return to on campus teaching and learning. We will continue to provide updates, dependent on future government advice, including available options for remote learning if travel bans remain in place beyond 2021.

There are many ways to be a part of student life from home. As a student, you will have access to the University of Sydney Union (USU). You can start exploring their events, and the clubs and society activities taking place online. We encourage you to login to the new virtual platform where you can browse clubs, join online and chat with fellow members. 

Our students and clubs and societies are also active across #usydonline. Join us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and WeChat to get a taste of student life, and the creative ways we are staying connected, while apart.

For information related to international applicants, including admissions requirements and visas, please refer to our information for international students and visas.


Studying remotely in 2021

Visit our student website to find out everything you need to know about the student services, resources and events that are available to you whilst studying remotely.

The University is providing students with resources and support to help with the transition to remote study arrangements. Your learning resources and activities will run through Canvas, and may use other tools such as Zoom, Echo360 and Turnitin.

A few key tips to help you effectively learn are:

  • Communicate regularly with your lecturers, tutors and classmates
  • Set up your calendar and create a daily routine
  • Check your student email and unit of studies' Canvas site daily
  • Make sure all of your equipment and technology is working and up-to-date
  • Take regular breaks and keep to regular hours.

For more tips on learning effectively while off-campus, see our guide.

You can also search for help using other tools online through ICT's Knowledge Base.

You will need to log in to Canvas to access learning resources for your unit of study. You will also need to access other tools including Echo360 for streamed and recorded lectures, and Zoom for online tutorials. Find out how to download these apps.

For help using Canvas, visit the Canvas Student Guide to find out how to make the most of common tools that your unit might use, including Zoom, Echo360 and Turnitin. You can also access 24/7 Canvas support via chat - click on the "Help" button in the left hand menu from anywhere in Canvas.

You can also search for help using other tools online through ICT's Knowledge Base.

There are several features in Zoom that you can use to manage participants for a secure session.

You can set up a password on your Zoom session to register participants and you can use a waiting room to ensure you let in only the intended guests.

Misbehaving participants can be kicked out of a Zoom session. Meeting hosts can also lock the session after it has started to prevent anyone new from joining.

Find out more about managing Zoom participants.

The University will remain accessible and the Wi-Fi network, libraries, computer labs, research and study spaces will be available to staff and students who need to use them. For more information see updates on campus operations.

Students are able to use a VPN service free of charge which is approved for use in China and accessed via UniKey.

Most students located in China will be able to access the majority of their core teaching and learning tools without a VPN, and we encourage you to try this first. If you encounter any issues, download and use the new VPN solution using the instructions for either Windows or MacOS. This service is free of charge and accessed via your UniKey.

The initial download may take some time, but once the VPN client is downloaded and set up, your connection to University resources will be much faster.

Visit our online resources for students in China page for more information about accessing and using these tools.

Please only use this VPN for access from within mainland China.

If you enrol in a unit of study where the location is remote (location code ‘RE’ in Sydney Student), these units will be delivered online and you will not be required to attend classes in-person.

You are expected to still attend all interactive classes at the scheduled time on your timetable. Some units of study are unable to be delivered remotely, and these have adapted face-to-face requirements to accommodate social distancing and to allow for students to progress through their degree.

Check your unit outline for specific participation and attendance.

The annual SSAF will continue to be collected to fund essential support services, student advocacy organisations and non-academic programs for students. It covers a large range of activities and a large proportion is used to fund student organisations' day-to-day operations. including orientation, legal services, advocacy, support services, financial, employment and accommodation advice, sporting activities, student publications and cultural programs. Funding is also used to support student clubs and societies. While most of these services are delivered through the student organisations, careers advice is delivered by the Careers Centre and the Parents Network support is delivered by the STAR team.

This year, the SSAF will allow our student organisations - Students' Representative Council (SRC), Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association, University of Sydney Union (USU) Cumberland Students Guild (CSG) and Sydney University Sport and Fitness (SUSF) - to operate online and provide services and support to students remotely.

Information about SSAF allocation Is published online. The 2021 funding allocation details will be available later in the year.

We are working to ensure all lectures are recorded and available to view in your own time. 

In some circumstances, a class may not be able to be recorded. Students will be notified in advance where possible and provided with alternative resources to access the material.

Some tutorials rely on an interactive format, including group discussions. It is recommended students join these tutorials online at the time they are scheduled. Where this is not possible, attendance will generally not be mandatory, and some of the material may be available for viewing at another time.


Suspending your studies

Applications for suspending studies remain unchanged and must adhere to key enrolment dates. Find out more information about:

Last updated July 2021

Contact us

Students can submit a query via the Coronavirus Enquiry form.
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