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Discontinue a unit of study

Understand the consequences of withdrawing from a unit, the importance of the census date and the support available to help you manage your studies.

Drop a unit of study

Depending on when you withdraw from your subject, and the type of student you are, there may be financial and/or academic penalties.

Domestic students

Timing Outcome How to apply
Before the unit's census date
  • This is called a withdrawal
  • Unit is fully removed from your academic transcript and statements
  • If you are a domestic student, you are not liable to pay the unit fee
  • You can still re-enrol yourself up until the unit’s last day to add
  • If you withdraw from all your units of study before the census date, you need to consider suspending your studies

You withdraw from a unit by selecting the rubbish bin on the unit of study selection screen in Sydney Student (go to ‘My studies’, ‘Units of study’, then ‘Change your units of study’).

You'll need to select 'Continue' and then 'Confirm' on the confirmation screen to finalise your change.

Why can't I see a rubbish bin symbol?

HDR students
If you would like to withdraw from a coursework unit of study, you wil need to contact Higher Degree by Research Administration Centre (HDRAC).
After the unit’s census date and before the last day of teaching (last date to discontinue fail - DF)
  • 'DF' (i.e. 'Discontinue fail’) will be recorded on your academic transcript
  • This counts as a fail on your transcript but does not affect your Weighted Average Mark (WAM)
  • You cannot re-enrol in the unit for that study period
  • You remain liable for the unit fees
  • A DF grade can be a trigger for academic progression, so you may receive a warning that you haven’t made satisfactory progress in your degree
  • You should also be aware that any unit you receive a DF for will still count as an attempted unit for the purpose of calculating your completion rate.
Log in to Sydney Student (go to ‘My studies’, ‘Units of study’, ‘Other options’, then ‘Discontinue from a unit of study’).
HDR students
If you would like to discontinue from a coursework unit of study, you wil need to contact Higher Degree by Research Administration Centre (HDRAC).
After the unit’s last date to discontinue fail (DF)
  • You can no longer discontinue from the unit
  • A grade/mark will be recorded on your academic transcript and based on the assessment you have completed
  • You remain liable for the unit fees
You can no longer discontinue from the unit. Your mark will be recorded.

Student visa holders

It is a requirement of your student visa that you are enrolled in a full-time study load (24 credit points). When you’re selecting your units during enrolment you’ll be able to remove units to add others, but after last day to add and once the semester has started, you’ll need to make sure you’re enrolled in a full study load.

Dropping units before last day to add

You can withdraw from a unit by selecting the rubbish bin next to a unit on the unit of study selection screen, (go to ‘My studies’, ‘Units of study’, then ‘Change your units of study’). You'll need to select 'Continue' and then 'Confirm' on the confirmation screen to finalise your change.

  • Drop a unit but maintain a full time study load
    If you want to drop a unit after last day to add for main semester, you can't do this yourself as you won't see the rubbish bin symbol. This applies even if you’re enrolled in a late intensive with its own last day to add deadline. Apply through a reduced study load request. You won't need to outline compassionate or compelling reasons, just attach a document stating you want to remove a unit after the last day to add deadline.
  • Apply to study a reduced study load
    To be eligible to study a reduced load you will need to outline compassionate and compelling reasons and provide sufficient supporting documents. Find out how to apply for a reduced study load.

After last day to add

If you're wanting to drop a unit after last day to add, or apply to study in less than a full time load, you will need to submit a request for a reduced study load.

After census date

If the census date has passed, you will only be able to discontinue from a unit if you have been impacted by circumstances beyond your control. In this instance you can apply to discontinue from a unit of study under special circumstances.

If your application is approved, you will receive a DC grade which does not count as a fail on your transcript and fees associated with your unit of study will be remitted. Find out more about how this process works.


Having difficulty with a unit

Withdrawing from a subject can be a big decision, as it may have financial or academic consequences.

Access support first

If you’re considering withdrawing from a subject because you are finding the academic content challenging, or your personal or financial circumstances are impacting your studies, know that there is a range of support services available.

If you’re worried about your results and academic progress, we recommend first talking to an academic advisor in your faculty or school.

Work out your options for dropping a unit

You can use our tool to understand what options are available to you depending on your scenario.

Late discontinuation from a unit under special circumstances

If the census date has passed, but you have been impacted by circumstances beyond your control you can apply to discontinue from a unit of study under special circumstances. If your application is approved, you will receive a DC grade which does not count as a fail on your transcript and fees associated with your unit of study will be remitted. Find out more about how this process works.

Withdrawing from all your units

If you intend to withdraw from all your units of study and it's before census, you should look at suspending your studies.

Student Centre

Online

Phone

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

Find out more about how we can help

Last updated: 14 December 2022

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