Leave of Absence - Section contents

Unexpected things sometimes happen in life, or maybe you have an itch to travel and see the world before knuckling down. If you wish to take time off from the course you're currently enrolled in, you may be able to apply for a Leave of Absence.

As a student you may request a Leave of Absence for up to 12 months. This will mean that your course is put on hold for you to complete after you've returned from your leave. However, you are not permitted to take this leave during the first six months of your course or the final month of your course.

As a student of the University, you are required to remain enrolled in at least one subject in each of Semester 1 (and/or first half of the year) and Semester 2 (and/or second half of the year) throughout the duration of your course, unless you have been granted a Leave of Absence.

Failure to remain enrolled in subject/s in each semester or half year, or failure to apply for a Leave of Absence for any semester in which you do not intend to study, may result in the cancellation of your enrolment. If this happens, you may have to re-apply for admission to your course.

If you intend to take a Leave of Absence, make sure you apply before the census dates of any of your currently enrolled subjects to ensure you are not financially liable for the subjects if you want to go on leave for the current study period.

If you wish to take time off from your course, but are ineligible for leave, contact Stop 1 to discuss your options.


How to apply

Undergraduate and coursework students

  1. Log in to my.unimelb
  2. Click on 'Student Admin' tab
  3. Click on the 'Enrolment' tab
  4. Under 'Managing My Current Enrolment' click on 'View My Leave(s) of Absence / Submit an Application'.

Graduate researchers

Check the Graduate Research Hub for instructions on taking leave.

If you are an international student on a student visa, you are subject to student specific conditions and ESOS requirements.

Taking a Leave of Absence will impact your course duration and can have implications for your student visa. These implications are determined by the reason for your leave.

If you plan to apply for a Leave of Absence, you should discuss your circumstances with Stop 1 well in advance.

Leave due to compassionate or compelling circumstances

You can apply for a Leave of Absence if you are unable to continue your studies because of compassionate or compelling circumstances beyond your control.

Compassionate or compelling circumstances may include:

  • serious illness or injury
  • the death of a close family member
  • witnessing or being involved in a traumatic experience
  • childcare or maternity
  • military service in your home country
  • failure to obtain a student visa as a currently enrolled student (if you're a new student you’ll need to defer your start date)
  • being unable to enrol in any subjects because of the structure of your program.

To apply for a Leave of Absence because of compassionate or compelling circumstances, you’ll need to provide any documents which support your application. Examples of appropriate documentation include:

  • a detailed medical statement from a physician or medical specialist (a doctor’s certificate is not acceptable)
  • a detailed statement from a counsellor (for example, the University's Counselling and Psychological Services team)
  • a police statement
  • a copy of a death certificate or death notice for close family member.

Supporting documentation for compassionate or compelling circumstances must be from an independent source or authority, and clearly indicate:

  • what the special circumstances were
  • when they occurred
  • how long they lasted
  • the level of impact of the special circumstances.

Overseas medical certificates issued in a language other than English must be translated into English by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) or an overseas notary department with a common seal.

If you are granted Leave of Absence for compassionate or compelling circumstances, we’ll notify the Department of Home Affairs that your course of study is temporarily suspended. You are not required to depart Australia and your visa will remain valid.

Taking a Leave of Absence will usually change your course duration beyond the expiry date of your visa, so you'll need to request a new Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) and apply for a new student visa before your current one expires.

Leave for other reasons

Other reasons for taking a Leave of Absence may include:

  • difficulties adjusting to living in Australia or academic life
  • relationship problems
  • financial difficulties
  • travel or employment opportunities
  • family or customary obligations, such as weddings of a relative or friend.

If your reasons for taking a Leave of Absence are not compassionate or compelling, or if you fail to provide documentation which supports your claim for Leave of Absence due to compassionate or compelling circumstances, your CoE will be cancelled and your student visa will be subject to cancellation. You will be required to leave Australia within 28 days of the start date of your leave or make other visa arrangements with the Department of Home Affairs.

Before you return to Australia to resume your studies, you must obtain a new CoE and if your visa has been cancelled you will need to apply for a new student visa. You can check your visa status online via VEVO.

How to apply

To apply for a leave of absence:

  1. Log in to my.unimelb
  2. Click on 'Student Admin' tab
  3. Click on the 'Enrolment' tab
  4. Under 'Managing My Current Enrolment' click on 'View My Leave(s) of Absence / Submit an Application'.
  5. Submit a Leave of Absence Declaration using the online form.

Graduate researchers

Check the Graduate Research Hub for instructions on taking leave.


More information about Leave of Absence

No. Your leave application will be assessed before it is approved. You will remain enrolled in subjects until you receive an email confirming the outcome of your application.

Note: If you intend to study at another institution during your leave, your Leave of Absence application will not be approved.

Undergraduate and coursework students

If you would like to request additional leave beyond the standard one-year period or two semesters, this is called "extra leave". Extra leave is only approved in exceptional circumstances, such as documented ongoing illness, and approval from Stop 1 is required.

Complete the Leave of Absence Supplementary application and declaration form to apply for extra leave.

Graduate researchers

Check the Graduate Research Hub for instructions on taking leave.

Undergraduate and coursework students

If you are an undergraduate or coursework student and returning to your studies as scheduled, you are not required to submit a request. If you would like to return early from your leave of absence, please complete the Leave of Absence Supplementary application and declaration form.

While on a leave of absence, you are still considered a current student and will need to complete your re-enrolment in October and November for study in the following year, or your enrolment may be terminated. While on leave, you are required to check your student email, which is the way the University will communicate with you.

Before returning to study you must be enrolled in subjects for your returning semester. Ensure you carefully plan your subjects for your return, particularly if you are requesting leave for one semester only, as some subjects are sequential and only offered in one semester each year. Please consult the Handbook for subject availabilities.

Graduate researchers

Check the Graduate Research Hub for instructions on returning from leave.

Check your email while you're on leave

While on leave you must frequently check your University email account to ensure important University information isn't missed, including information on re-enrolment.