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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

Change in discontinue process

As part of the Government's Job-ready Graduates Package, new student protections have been introduced from 1 January 2022 to ensure students are not penalised if there are special circumstances that have impacted them beyond their control. Find out more about how these changes affect you.

Assessed against a specific criteria, students can now apply for late discontinuation from a unit of study under special circumstances.

Understanding timing

Depending on when you withdraw from your subject, there may be financial and/or academic penalties.

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

Requirements for student visa holders
If you want to discontinue a unit of study, before its census date, you'll need to apply for a reduced study load to drop below the required 24 credit points.
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
Log in to Sydney Student (go to ‘My studies’, ‘Units of study’, ‘Other options’, then ‘Discontinue from a unit of study’).
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.

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



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or +61 2 8627 1444 (outside Australia)

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Last updated: 10 February 2022

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