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Change your course

  1. Before you apply
  2. Allowable transfers, upgrades/downgrades and early exits
  3. Internal course application
  4. Change streams

Allowable transfers, upgrades/downgrades and early exits

The simplest way to change degrees is by transferring to a course allowed by your faculty or school. This might include upgrading or downgrading your award course, or transferring from a combined degree into a single degree.


You can see what courses are allowed by your faculty or school in Sydney Student. Go to ‘My studies’, ‘Course details’, ‘Request course transfer’ then select ‘continue’ to view the options available.

If no options are available, or your chosen course is not available, you'll need to submit an internal course application to change your course. 

If you are a student visa holder, you may need to apply for a new visa if you change to a lower Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) level course. After you apply to transfer, we will contact you with further instructions on what you need to do.

If you are a postgraduate coursework student and your course permits, you may have the opportunity to upgrade, downgrade or take an early exit from your course.

For example, if you have met the requirements for the Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science, you may be able to upgrade your studies to the Master of Environmental Science. Alternatively, if you are undertaking the Master of Environmental Science, you may choose to downgrade so you can take an early exit from your course. This means you'll receive a lower award, such as the Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate in Environmental Science.


Be aware that coursework time limits apply for completion of your award program. This commences from the start of the first component of your embedded program (from the commencement of your Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma, for example).

You'll need to request to upgrade as soon as possible after your final results are released, as you cannot apply to upgrade if the shorter award course has already been conferred. If you've received your testamur, you'll need to return it before you can be admitted to the upgraded program, which can delay the commencement of the next stage of your studies.

Downgrading or early exits

You will need to check the handbook from the year you commenced your course to make sure you've met the requirements for the lower award course.

You should speak to your supervisor first about changing your course.

If you are completing a master’s degree by research and would like to upgrade to a doctorate, you will need to:

  • have met key milestones in your current progress plan
  • demonstrate that your research meets the requirements of a doctorate
  • demonstrate that your ability to complete the requirements of a doctorate in your remaining period of candidature.

If you are completing a doctorate and would like to downgrade to a masters by research, you should discuss this with your supervisor. You can also contact the Higher Degree by Research Administration Centre for further information.

When to apply

If you are a coursework student you need to apply for a transfer after the release of semester results. We recommend you apply as soon as your results are released, and no later than two weeks before the next semester starts.

Application deadlines:

  • for Semester 1 - 7 February, 2020
  • for Semester 2 Early - 17 July, 2020
  • for Semester 2 - 10 August.

This gives us time to process your application, and ensure it is finalised by the census date.

If you are a research student, you need to submit your application before the next research period starts. You should apply as early as possible to ensure your application can be processed.

If you are a postgraduate coursework student and want to upgrade in the current semester, you will need to apply as soon as possible after your semester results have been released and well before the last day to add units of study.

If you submit your application after census date, your transfer will not take effect until the following semester or research period.

If you are a postgraduate coursework student and want to upgrade in the current semester, you will need to apply as soon as possible after your semester results have been released and no later than 10 August for Semester 2, 2020.

How to apply

You can apply for an allowable transfer in Sydney Student (go to ‘My studies’, ‘Course details’, then ‘Request course transfer’).

You will need to select the course you would like to transfer to, provide a reason for your request and upload any supporting documents.

If your course permits, you can apply for an early exit. When applying for your allowable transfer, include this in the reason for your request.

What happens next

You can view the status of your application or cancel your request in Sydney Student (go to ‘My requests’).

Once we have assessed your application we will email you with an outcome. If your request is successful you will need to enrol in your new course.

An application for credit for the course you are transferring out of will be automatically generated. If you're eligible and granted credit, you'll need to accept the offer of credit in Sydney Student. This will then be applied to your new course. Be aware of your new course resolutions when accepting credit, as you may want the flexibility to complete a certain major or units of study in your new course. 

Credit will then be visible during your enrolment under ‘Your credit’, in the Units of study selection screen. See Credit for previous study for more information.

If you requested an early exit, we will check that you have met the requirements for the lower award and your course will be conferred.

If your request to transfer is successful, there are some steps to follow before you can enrol in your new course. 

  1. We need to assess if you are eligible for credit. If you receive a credit offer, you need to accept or decline each offer of credit.
  2. We need to issue you with a new eCoE. We will email you once this is ready. If you have any questions about your eCoE, contact us at

Once we have emailed you with your new eCoE, you can then enrol in your new course

Student Centre

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Last updated: 19 August 2020

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