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Academic progression

The University is committed to providing the support and advice you need if you encounter academic or personal challenges in completing your studies.

Academic progression

Academic progression is the way we describe the progress you are making towards completing your degree requirements.

While it’s important you’re aware of your own learning and whether you are meeting course requirements, we monitor each student’s progression so that we can identify and support students who are at risk of not meeting requirements.

To assess your progression, we look at how well you are meeting the essential academic requirements laid out in the policy, the requirements of your award course, and the units of study you take as each semester passes. We also look at how well you are progressing in your studies in relation to the maximum allowable time limit you have for completing your course. These are outlined in Part 4 of the Coursework Rule (pdf, 484KB).

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The progression process is outlined in Part 15 of the Coursework policy.

When monitoring your progression we may consider whether you have:

  • attended or completed compulsory teaching and assessment components of a unit of study
  • made recurring requests for special consideration or late discontinuation under special circumstances
  • over-enrolled in an attempt to catch up on failed units of study
  • shown significant variations in your academic performance across different units of study suggesting you may not be academically suited to those units
  • taken any action to address identified issues with your academic progress. This includes whether you’ve consulted with an academic adviser.

How it works

At the end of each teaching period, there are a range of indicators that help us to identify students who are potentially having difficulty with their studies and may need academic advice or other support for their learning. If you’re at risk of not meeting these indicators, you'll be advised by email that you are at risk of not meeting the academic requirements of your course.

We may identify you as at risk if:

  • you have only successfully completed 50 percent or less of the credit points attempted
  • you fail a barrier unit of study, compulsory unit, field work, clinical work, practicum or other professional experience for the first time
  • having reached the mid-point of the maximum time limit for completion of your award course, you have not attained 50 percent of the credit points necessary to obtain the award.

What happens?

  1. You'll get an email after results are released (or after a change to a grade) notifying you that you've been identified as being 'at risk' of not meeting progression requirements.
  2. In the email, you’ll be advised of the support and resources available to you and you may be asked to talk to an academic adviser to help identify what’s impacting your studies and discuss strategies to help you early. Even if it’s not required, this is always recommended as an important first step in helping you get back on track.

If you’re not meeting the academic requirements of your course you will be identified as not meeting progression.

Generally, if it’s the first occasion you will receive an academic caution.

You’ll receive an academic caution if:

  • you have only successfully completed less than 50 percent of your credit points after attempting:
    • 48 or more credit points in an award course at AQF level 7 or above
    • 24 or more credit points in an award course at AQF level 6 or below
  • you don't pass a barrier unit of study, compulsory unit of study, field work, clinical work, practicum or other professional experience that you’ve already failed previously.

What happens?

  1. You'll get an email after results are released (or after a change to a grade) notifying you that you've been identified as not meeting progression requirements.
  2. In the email, you’ll be informed on how to make an appointment with an academic adviser as this is now a requirement of academic caution. The email will also include information on the support and resources available to you.

If you’re not meeting progression and you’ve previously received an academic caution, you may be asked to show cause. You may also be asked to show cause by your Associate Dean for course-specific reasons.

Showing cause means submitting a written submission to your faculty or school to demonstrate why you were unable to meet your progression requirements over time and show you have developed a plan for how you will improve your your academic progress. Find out more about the show cause process.

You may be required to show cause if you fail progression based on the following reasons.

  • You failed the completion rate requirement or a barrier unit of study, compulsory unit of study, field work, clinical work, practicum or other professional experience multiple times.
  • You were unable to meet the requirements for the award within the applicable maximum time limit.
  • You did not meet other required standards set out in applicable faculty resolutions or local provisions.
  • You made recurrent applications for late discontinuation under special circumstances.

What happens?

  1. You'll get an email after results are released (or after a change to a grade) notifying you that you've been identified as not meeting progression requirements and are required to show cause.
  2. In the email, we’ll include information on what need you need to provide in your show cause letter, how to submit it through Sydney Student and your deadline for submitting.
  3. Once you have submitted your letter, the Associate Dean of your faculty or school will make a decision on whether you have shown good cause, based on the explanation and evidence you’ve provided.

Requirements for Commonwealth supported students

If you are in a Commonwealth Supported Place or Australian full-fee place and are accessing a HELP loan, there are Government eligibility criteria that you must meet to maintain Commonwealth support. 

From 1 January 2022, if you start a course or transfer into a new course, you must pass at least 50 per cent of the units you attempt (not including any units withdrawn before the census date). If you don’t meet this completion rate, the University is not permitted to allow you to enrol in further units of study in your current course under government financial assistance.

These completion rate requirements are additional to the academic progress requirements outlined above.

Find out more about the completion rate and how it affects you.

Student Centre

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1800 SYD UNI (1800 793 864)
or +61 2 8627 1444 (outside Australia)

Find out more about how we can help

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Last updated: 11 August 2022

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