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Studying in an intensive session

Complete units in a shorter time during intensive sessions which run throughout the year, including in the summer and winter breaks.

During an intensive session, you can complete a unit of study and sit the exam outside of a standard semester. Sessions generally take between 4-7 weeks, with classes held over consecutive months in many cases. Intensives give you the opportunity to accelerate your course, catch up on a failed unit of study or balance your timetable.

Some course may require you to study in sessions outside the standard semesters, such as if you’re completing a placement or industry project.

Where to find units offered

The best place to find which units are offered during an intensive session is on the unit of study selection screen in Sydney Student.

  • During enrolment you’ll be taken to the unit of study selection screen automatically.
  • If you’re already enrolled, you can access the unit of study selection screen by going to ‘My studies’, ‘Units of study’ then ‘Change your units of study’.

The session code will be listed next to each unit, allowing you to identify which are offered as intensives. S1CIJA for example is an intensive January unit. Session codes are provided on our study dates page.

In some cases, your handbook also indicates when a unit is available during an intensive session; however be aware that your faculty or school may add additional units in Sydney Student not listed in the Handbook. 

Session dates

Intensive sessions have their own key dates; these are different to semester dates.

  • View the start date, end date and census date for each session on the Session calendars page.
  • For the full list of important session dates, including fee due dates and the last day to add or drop a unit, visit the Study dates page.

December, January and February intensives are generally held over the summer break while Intensive July generally falls over the winter break.

Teaching periods 

The academic year consists of two teaching periods:

  • Teaching period 1 is from January to June
  • Teaching period 2 is from July to December.

January, February and June intensives fall within Teaching period 1. July and December intensives fall within Teaching period 2.

All courses will let you enrol in up to 32 credit points during each teaching period, so that you can complete an intensive unit outside of the standard semester.

How to enrol

You can enrol in intensive units via the unit of study selection screen in Sydney Student.

  • During enrolment you’ll be taken to the unit of study selection screen automatically.
  • If you’re already enrolled, you can access the unit of study selection screen by going to ‘My studies’, ‘Units of study’ then ‘Change your units of study’.

You’ll follow the same process as if you were enrolling in units for Semester 1 or 2. However, you’ll need to make sure the correct session code is displayed next to the unit you’re selecting. Session codes are provided on our study dates page.

Make sure you read what to consider before you enrol, so you know if an intensive session is right for you.

You’ll need to select the unit before the last day to add for the relevant session. Check our study dates page for these deadlines.


Tuition fees for units taken in intensives are calculated at the same rate as the same units in Semester 1 or 2. As with each semester, your fees will depend on what type of student you are and the course you are studying.

Visit the tuition fees page to find out how to view:

  • your actual fees
  • your indicative annual fees.

Visit the study dates page to see when fees are due for intensive sessions.

If eligible, you may be able to apply for HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP to assist with these fees.


Intensive exams are assigned a designated exam week, which could be after the intensive session concludes.

To find out when an exam is scheduled, you'll:

  1. first need to check the unit of study outline, as this shows the exam week
  2. then check the intensive exams page to find the dates for each exam week.

Receiving your results

You'll usually need to wait until the end of the current semester to receive your results for an intensive unit.

For example, if you complete a unit in a February session, you may not receive your results until Semester 1 results are published in the middle of the year.

Find out more about when results are released.

Dropping an intensive unit

Provided it’s before the census date for the session, you can drop an intensive 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. 

If it’s after the census date for the session, you won’t see the rubbish bin and won't be able to remove yourself from the unit. Find out your other options on the Discontinue a unit of study page.  

What to consider before studying during these sessions 


Make sure you’re meeting your course requirements

As with units you select in the standard semester, if you’d like to enrol in an intensive make sure:

  • the unit meets your course requirements 

  • you satisfy the prerequisites and other rules for the unit

  • you have space in your degree. 

Check your course rules and unit of study requirements in your handbook. If you need help planning your course, see the list of academic advisers for your faculty or school.


If you're starting your first year of study

If you're about to start studying with us, you won't be able to select an intensive unit scheduled before the commencement date in your letter of offer. 


Student visa holders

As a student visa holder, you'll need to have an active eCoE and visa that covers any period that you're studying in.

If you were approved for a suspension in your first semester of study, you won't be able to select an intensive unit scheduled before the start date of the standard semester. 

If you are considering studying an intensive unit, you'll need to make sure you are enrolled in a full-time study load, where at least 18 credit points is completed during the standard semester. Find out more about your study load requirements.


If you plan to suspend your studies

If you suspend your studies for the semester, you won’t be able to enrol in an intensive session held during the remainder of that teaching period.


Completing an intensive at the end of your course

If you’re planning to complete an intensive unit at the end of your course, your graduation may be delayed as you won’t be eligible to graduate until you receive your results and completion letter.

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Last updated: 16 May 2024

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