Online study limitations

International students studying on a student visa, or those applying for a student visa, need to meet all visa conditions in 2024. This means students must be in Australia in time to commence studying for Semester 1, 2024 and meet online study limitations.

What does this mean for my enrolment?

  • Online study can only make up one third of your total course
  • You must be enrolled in at least one subject that is delivered on-campus in each compulsory study period, unless you have only one subject to complete in your final half-year period
  • In a non-compulsory study period (e.g., Summer Term), you may enrol in online subjects, but these will be counted towards your one third limit.


Your course has 24 subjects to be completed over three years. You can undertake a maximum of eight online subjects (one third).

This requirement is not being applied retrospectively, this means any study undertaken online prior to 1 July 2023 does NOT contribute to online study consumed.

For more information, refer to Standard 8.1 of the National Code.

What happens if I exceed the Online Study Limitation?

If you exceed your online study allowance or fail to maintain enrolment in on-campus subjects, your course will be withdrawn and your Confirmation of Enrolment will be ended for non-compliance, which will have implications for your student visa.

How is the one third (or equivalent) rule calculated?

A standard undergraduate course is made up of 300 points and each standard subject is worth 12.5 credit points.

Graduate courses vary in length between 50 and 400 credit points.

Course duration Maximum allowable online subjects
50 points 1 standard subject
100 points 2 standard subjects
150 points 4 standard subjects
200 points 5 standard subjects
250 points 6 standard subjects
300 points 8 standard subjects
350 points 9 standard subjects
400 points 10 standard subjects

As the one-third rule only applied from 01 July 2023, students who commenced earlier than mid-year 2023 can still enrol the maximum number of allowed online subjects in their course from 01 July 2023. For example, if you commenced a 200-point course at the start of 2023, only the online enrolment from mid-year 2023 will count towards the one-third limit.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • I have only one subject left. Can I study this online?

    If a student is in the last study period of a course, with only one subject to complete the course, the student can study this subject online or by distance education in Australia.

  • Can I take an approved Reduced Study Load and still comply with the return of Online Study Limitations (OSL)?

    Online study limitations are not an eligible reason to reduce your study load as meeting the online study limitation is a visa obligation.

    If you have a different valid reason for taking a reduced study load and it is approved, we will use the approved reduced load to check if you meet your Online Study Limitations.


    • If you were approved to study 25 points in a half-year period, one of your subjects must be on campus
    • If you were approved to study 37.5 points in a half-year period, then you would need to enrol a minimum of 1 subjects as on-campus and two subjects can be online.
  • Can I take a leave of absence due to the return of Online Study Limitations?

    No; the return of Online Study Limitations are not an approved compassionate and compelling reason to take a Leave of Absence. If you need to take a break from your studies and maintain your visa, you will need to request a Leave of absence for an approved compassionate and compelling reason.

  • What is the deadline for taking action to meet Online Study Limitations in first-half year 2024?

    You should aim to complete your enrolment for first-half year prior to Semester 1 commencement, and no later than the last self-enrol date.

    We will audit enrolments of all visa holders to ensure that you are not breaching the Online Study Limitations (OSL). If you have not enrolled in a full-time study load and do not have approved Reduced Study Load (RSL), then we will base our determination on your currently enrolled subjects and add an OSL sanction plus an RSL sanction to your record. 

    If you fail to amend your enrolment to meet the Online Study Limitations by the last date to self-enrol we will be required to withdraw you from your course and your Confirmation of Enrolment will be ended for non-compliance which may have implications for your student visa.

  • I have an Online Study Limitation (OSL) Sanction on my student record. What should I do?

    Amend your enrolment to ensure you are enrolled in a minimum of one on-campus subject each half-year period and no more than one-third of your total course. If you need assistance, please submit an enquiry or book an appointment with Course Planning.

    Upon meeting this requirement, your OSL sanction will be lifted from your record.

  • I do not plan to return to Australia and am nearing the end of my course. Can I complete from overseas?

    There are limited allowances for this to be considered, and you must ensure that if you are not returning to Australia you meet all the following criteria:

    • You are in your final half-year period of study
    • Your course must have online or dual-delivery subject offerings for the subjects you need to enrol in to complete your course
    • If you hold a student visa you accept that we will end your CoE and mark you as an offshore student, which may impact your visa conditions
    • That you are responsible for ensuring you meet any local government regulations* for online delivery and degree recognition.

    *The Chinese Service Centre for Scholarly Exchange (CSCSE) decree that international academic qualifications must be completed in-person and on-campus from February 2023.

  • Can I enrol in only online subjects for Summer or Winter intensive periods?

    Students may study entirely online/distance subjects in a non-compulsory study period (e.g. Summer) if they want to, however, they cannot study more than one third of their course by online or distance learning in a half-year period.

  • I have been studying online prior to 30 June 2023. Will these subjects count towards my one-third Online Study Limitations?

    No, we will only be considering subjects enrolled from second-half year 2023 onwards in the calculations for Online Study Limitations.

  • I have a points restriction from my Academic Progress review, do I still need to meet the Online Study requirement?

    Yes, having received a points restriction does not exempt you from the requirement. You need to still ensure at least one of your subjects is on-campus and that you are not exceeding the one-third limit of online study.

  • I need help planning my enrolment to meet this requirement, who do I speak to?

    Our Course Planning Team can provide advice on how to plan your studies to ensure you are meeting your Online study limitations.

More information

For more information about Online Study Limitations, please refer to the Return to compliance FAQs provided by TEQSA (Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency).