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HDR units of study

  1. HDR units of study
  2. Requesting permission for HDR units of study

Requesting permission for HDR units of study

You may need to apply for special permission to enrol in an HDR unit of study if:

  • you commenced before 2021 and need to enrol in units of study
  • you want to enrol in an HDR unit that's not available in your unit of study selection screen.

You need to be aware of the coursework unit of study deadlines to enrol in, or remove units of study.

It can take up to 10 business days for an application to be processed. We recommend you submit your application at least a week before the last day to add deadline to ensure it can be processed before this date.

How to apply

To apply for special permission, you'll need to first complete the enrolment task.

In some cases to complete your enrolment, you will need to nominate an alternative unit. This should be the unit you'd like to complete if your application for special permission is not approved.

After you've enrolled, you can apply for special permission through Sydney Student.

  • If you're a coursework student, go to 'My studies', 'Units of study', then 'Other options'.
  • If you're a research student, go to 'My studies', 'Research details', then 'Apply for special permission in course'.

You will need to indicate why you’re applying for special permission and upload any relevant supporting documents, for example evidence you’ve previously completed a unit of study with similar content to a prerequisite. If you don’t submit appropriate supporting documents or explain the circumstances of your request, your application will be declined and you will need to submit a new application with the relevant documents.

You will be able to nominate a unit of study you want to be withdrawn from if your application is approved. If you are applying for special permission for more than one unit, you need to include a different unit to be withdrawn from in each application. Be aware that if you withdraw from these units before your application has been processed, your application for special permission will be cancelled automatically.

Language units

If you're seeking a prerequisite waiver for a language unit of study, you may need to contact the relevant unit of study coordinator if you can't support your application with appropriate documents. 

You need to apply for special permission as soon as possible to allow time for your application to be processed before the last day to add a unit of study deadline.

If you apply less than 10 business days before the last day to add a unit of study, we can’t guarantee that your application will be processed for that semester. You should make sure you’re enrolled in an alternative unit of study that you’d like to complete.

You should look at CUSP, the handbook for the year you commenced your degree, and the unit of study selection screen in Sydney Student to view details of your course and units of study offered. If you have received written approval from your program director to enrol in the requested unit of study, upload this correspondence to your special permission application to assist with the processing of your application.

If you have received written approval from your unit of study or degree coordinator to enrol into a unit of study, upload this approval with your application. Approval from your unit of study/degree coordinator does not guarantee enrolment into a unit.

What happens next 

After you submit your application it may need to be assessed by your faculty or school. It can take up to 10 business days for your application to be processed, however, during busy periods it may take longer. We will email you if any additional supporting documents are required. Your application won't be assessed until you have provided the required documents. 

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

We will email you with the outcome of your application. If your application is approved, you'll automatically be enrolled in the unit of study you requested.

If your application is unsuccessful, we will provide reasons for this decision.


One outcome of the special permission process is the waiving of a prerequisite or corequisite. A waiver might be granted if you've already completed a unit of study that is substantially similar to the prerequisite or corequisite. 

Unlike credit and reduced volume of learning, waivers don't reduce the duration of your award course and you'll need to complete another unit in its place. 

For more information about waivers, see our Coursework Policy 2014 and the course rules and resolutions in your handbook.

Faculty of Medicine and Health

If you’re studying in the Sydney School of Public Health, you can request a waiver by submitting a request for waiver form (pdf, 40KB).

All other students need to follow the standard special permission procedure, or contact your discipline for further information.

Student Centre



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

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Last updated: 07 June 2021

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