Suspending your studies allows you to take a break from studying while keeping your place in the course.
If you've started your studies but would like to take a break, you can suspend your studies for a semester, research period or for a full academic year.
If you want to suspend your course for longer than one year, your application will be forwarded to the relevant associate dean for approval.
If you haven't started your studies (and have not enrolled in your course) and would like to postpone your start date you will need to request a deferral.
If you're a research student and want to take leave for less than a full research period, you should submit a leave of absence request.
It is important that you seek academic advice from your faculty/school or course director before you suspend, to help understand how this may impact your studies.
If you are planning to suspend your studies, be aware of the time limits for completing your course requirements, outlined in the Coursework Rule (pdf, 484KB). All students need to complete their course requirements within 10 years, including periods of suspension.
If you’re in a course with a shorter time period, periods of suspension will not count towards your course time limit unless the degree resolutions in your handbook state otherwise. You will still need to complete your course requirements within 10 years.
It is important for you to make any necessary changes to your study as early as possible. If you’re receiving government payments you also need to tell the Australian Government about any changes to your study.
You can apply to suspend your research for a maximum of one year during your candidature. Further suspensions are only granted in compelling circumstances, at the discretion of the associate dean.
As a research student, a period of suspension will always affect your earliest and latest thesis submission dates. You should ensure that your progress plan and any previously agreed milestones are adjusted accordingly.
You can contact the Higher Degree by Research Administration Centre for advice about your submission dates. Once your suspension is approved, your updated submission dates will be available in Sydney Student (go to 'My studies', then 'Research details').
If you have a scholarship or are receiving any financial assistance from the University, you need to notify the Higher Degree by Research Administration Centre about your decision to suspend your course.
If you are impacted by COVID-19, you may want to suspend your candidature for one or more research periods. You need to submit your request by the relevant census date. If you have a compassionate or compelling reason to request a suspension and the census date has already passed, please contact the Higher Degree by Research Administration Centre to discuss your options.
If you have a scholarship or are receiving any financial assistance from the University, you will need to notify us about your decision to suspend your course.
You should also check your scholarship’s terms and conditions for how your scholarship scheme counts periods of suspension.
If you are unable to continue with your studies as a result of COVID-19 impacts, such as health or well-being issues, financial impacts or challenges associated with remote learning, you can apply to suspend your studies using a student declaration form as your supporting document.
If you are unable to continue with your studies due to compassionate or compelling circumstances beyond your control, and these are not COVID-19 related, you can apply to suspend your studies. Circumstances include:
You cannot suspend your studies for reasons relating to finances or work (outside your studies).
Undertaking an internship does not qualify as a compassionate and compelling circumstance under ESOS. If your degree requires an internship, this will be part of the structure of your course and you will not be required to suspend your studies.
You will need to provide the following supporting documents with your application. Your faculty or school may require additional documents.
An overseas medical certificate issued in a language other than English needs to be translated into English by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI).
You will need to upload all evidence when you submit your request through Sydney Student. We will not approve any requests without the required documents.
Reason for application
Type of documents needed
|COVID-19 impacts||A completed student declaration form (docx, 52KB). This can be used to substitute medical or financial documents that would otherwise be requested during pre-COVID conditions.|
Serious illness or injury
A signed medical certificate with appropriate letterhead from a doctor stating that you are unable to attend classes.
|Mental health issue||
Report issued by psychologist with a clear treatment plan. Report should be less than three months old.
Compelling circumstances that have resulted in you missing study
Relevant documents such as medical certificates, statutory declarations, death certificates, birth certificates or police reports.
No units of study are available because of the structure of your course
|Confirmation letter from faculty or school|
|Military service in your home country||
If you suspend your studies, the University will notify the Department of Home Affairs and your eCoE will be cancelled. Your visa may be cancelled and you may be required to leave Australia. To find out how your visa will be affected, you will need to contact the Department of Home Affairs.
You can contact our international compliance officers for general advice relating to your suspension such as, eligibility, supporting documents, or eCoE duration.
Your faculty or school may need you to provide supplementary documents as part of your request to suspend, for example, a recommencement study plan. You should review the information on suspension in your faculty or school handbook.
If you are an undergraduate coursework student and would like to have a third or fourth semester of suspension, you will need to provide supporting documents or a supporting statement for the Associate Dean's consideration.
If you are completing honours and would like to suspend your studies, you need to get written permission from your supervisor or honours coordinator. Submit a suspension request through Sydney Student and upload a copy of the written permission. You can only suspend for one semester. If your suspension is approved, you'll need to complete your studies within five consecutive semesters.
If you are a postgraduate coursework student and suspend your studies for one or two semesters, the same length of time will be added to the maximum time in which you are normally required to complete your studies.
If you are an undergraduate student or undertaking the Master of Teaching, you can be granted a suspension for a period of one year (two semesters). Suspensions of only one semester are not permitted due to the structure of your course.
You cannot be granted a suspension to undertake other study.
You are only able to suspend your Law studies for one year, except in cases where you are planning to undertake honours in your first degree or in exceptional circumstances. Check the course resolutions in the Sydney Law School handbook for more information.
If you decide to take a break from your studies, it’s important that you apply for a suspension before the census date rather than fail to enrol, as this will result in a lapse of candidature. As the Bachelor of Laws doesn’t exist as a standalone degree, a lapse of candidature means that you will not be able to re-apply for admission to the degree.
It is important to note that you need to complete your combined degree requirements within 10 calendar years. This includes any semester(s) of suspension.
If you are studying full time, you are not able to suspend your studies in Year 1 of the program. If you are studying part time, you are not able to suspend your studies in Years 1 or 2 of the program.
You can suspend your studies for a maximum period of two calendar years in total.
It is important to note that you need to complete your degree requirements within 10 calendar years. This includes any semester(s) of suspension.
You should discuss your intention to suspend with the program director for your degree before submitting an application. If you have not completed your principal study (instrumental and vocal students), you may need to organise a diagnostic audition before recommencing your studies.
If you would like to take a third or fourth semester of suspension you will need to provide supporting documents in your application.
If you are a postgraduate coursework student (except for Graduate Diploma in Psychology students) you will need to provide approval from your course director to support any period of suspension that you wish to take.
If you would like to take a third or fourth semester of suspension you will need to provide approval from your course director to support your suspension.