Reduced Study Load

If you are an international student and hold an active Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE), an approved Reduced Study Load allows you to take a study load of less than 50 points in a half-year period (January to June or July to December).

Study load requirements and visa implications

Student visa holders are subject to visa condition 8202, which requires you to:

  • Maintain a study load of 100 points each year (usually 50 points each half-year period), and
  • Make satisfactory course progress.

We monitor your study load and progress each half-year period to ensure you are meeting your visa requirements and will complete your course by your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) end date.

If you wish to take less than 50 points in a half-year period, you must either:

  1. Be on track to graduate by your CoE end date based on your current enrolment and previously completed subjects (eg if you were awarded advanced standing or completed additional subjects in an earlier study period), or
  2. Apply for and be granted an approved Reduced Study Load.

There are some things you need to consider when making your decision to reduce your study load:

  1. Your visa:

    By reducing your study load, you may take longer to complete your degree. This may mean you need to apply for a new student visa and there may be costs involved. You will be responsible for any costs that may be incurred at that time. Also, the University cannot guarantee a new visa will be granted.

    If you reduce your study load without applying and receiving approval, the University may not be able to issue the documents needed to apply for a new visa. A Reduced Study Load (RSL) sanction will be applied to your record.

  2. Your study plan:

    By reducing your study load, you will be changing the sequence of subjects on your study plan. Depending on your degree and your major, this may have unanticipated consequences. In order to know about any possible complications, you should book a course planning appointment to discuss your options and revised study plans.

    If you are in your final semester of study and need fewer than 50 credit points to complete your course, you do not need to apply for a Reduced Study Load.

Do I need to apply for a Reduced Study Load?

Use the self-guided assessment tool below to find out if you should apply for a Reduced Study Load.

If you are not eligible to apply for a Reduced Study Load but need assistance with your course planning, course duration or completing your studies by your CoE end date, please book a course planning appointment.
If it is past the census date of your enrolled subjects, please also check the subject withdrawal page.

Reasons which may be eligible for a Reduced Study Load

Compassionate or compelling circumstances

Compassionate and compelling circumstances are generally those beyond your control and which have an impact upon your course progress or wellbeing. Compassionate or compelling circumstances may include some circumstances directly related to the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These could include, but are not limited to:

  • Serious illness or injury where you were unable to attend classes in person or online
  • Bereavement of close family members such as parents or grandparents
  • Difficult living conditions which have impacted on your capacity to successfully complete a full study load
  • Poor internet connection which means you cannot effectively engage in online study
  • Unexpected family situations which have been caused by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Major political upheaval or natural disaster in your home country requiring emergency travel which have impacted on your studies
  • Carer's  responsibility for close family members with serious illness or injury
  • A traumatic experience, which could include:
    • Involvement in, or witnessing of a serious accident; or
    • Witnessing or being the victim of a serious crime
  • Childcare or maternity responsibilities
  • Military service in your home country
  • Being unable to enrol in subjects because of the structure of your course.

For more information, see support for compassionate or compelling circumstances.

If you are approved for a Reduced Study Load because of compassionate and compelling circumstances, you must maintain a study load of 12.5 points or more. If you are unable to study 12.5 points or more, apply for a Leave of Absence instead.

Course structure requirements

Course structure reasons for requiring a Reduced Study Load may include:

  • If you have failed a prerequisite subject and cannot select 50 credit points to enrol in during that half year period.
  • If you have changed your major, specialisation or pathway and not all subjects are available in the current semester. (If you have changed your major, this must be actioned in your study plan prior to applying for Reduced Study Load).
  • There is limited core subject availability in your major or specialisation area.
  • Where you have repeatedly failed a subject(s).

Unavailability of elective subjects is not grounds to request a Reduced Study Load. You are expected to enrol in available subjects to progress your course.

Unsatisfactory Progress

If you have been identified by a Course Academic Progress Committee (CAPC) as making unsatisfactory progress, you will be expected to engage and abide by any outcomes of the CAPC meeting.

If necessary, your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) will be automatically extended. You should book an appointment with Course Planning to discuss subject selection and to ensure your new CoE aligns with your course plan

Students who have been restricted to less than 50 points per half-year period as an outcome of a CAPC meeting do not need to request a Reduced Study Load.

Reasons which are ineligible for a Reduced Study Load

The following reasons are not eligible for Reduced Study Load:

  • Dislike of the available elective subjects, including major electives
  • Planning to make up the points in the future
  • Intentionally under-loading, as you feel you can still complete on time
  • Studying fewer topics to improve your Weighted Average Mark
  • Timetable clashes
  • Failing a non-requisite subject
  • Employment reasons
  • Studying a concurrent diploma
  • Studying a single subject through the Community Access Program

How to apply

To reduce your study load, you need to provide us with more information about your individual circumstances and receive confirmation that a Reduced Study Load has been approved.

To apply for a Reduced Study Load, submit a request to reduce study load application with:

You must remain enrolled in a full-time study load (where you can) until you receive a response to your application.

All applications must include up-to-date supporting documentation, which must be in English. Without this, your application may be delayed or refused.

If you need to reduce your study load due to subject availability, course structure, or unsatisfactory progress, we also recommend making a course planning appointment to discuss your options and revised study plans.

Apply for a Reduced Study Load

Supporting documents for compassionate or compelling circumstances

You can apply for a Reduced Study Load if you are unable to manage a full study load due to compassionate or compelling circumstances beyond your control. Please read the information on the support for compassionate or compelling circumstances page to see if this applies to you.

Supporting documentation for compassionate or compelling circumstances must clearly indicate:

  • What the special circumstances are
  • The level of impact of the special circumstances on your studies
  • Dates and duration of impact
    • When they occurred
    • How long they lasted or if they are ongoing

Medical or health grounds

If applying for medical or health reasons, you should provide a Health Professional Report form (PDF 181.5 KB) or a detailed medical statement. This can be completed by a range of healthcare and allied professionals (such as physicians, psychologists, and medical specialists). The medical statement should include the recommendation for a reduced study load which demonstrates the impact on studies as well as the dates and duration of impact.


In the case of bereavement, documentation should include copy of a death certificate or death notice for close family member, accompanied by a personal statement attesting the relationship with the deceased.

Personal statements

Personal statements should be submitted as one of the following:

  • A Statutory Declaration (for onshore students who are unable to obtain independent supporting documentation)
  • A Student Declaration (for offshore students who are unable to obtain independent supporting documentation).

Where it is not possible to provide independent documentation, students can submit a Declaration. Note that as part of the above Declarations, students need to advise the impact of their circumstances, and why they can’t obtain independent documentation.

Overseas documents

Overseas documents 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 a Reduced Study Load:

We will provide you with an updated Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) with a new end date, if applicable. You will be notified of this with your Reduced Study Load outcome, and you will receive your CoE separately.

You may also need to apply for a new student visa.

Need help with planning your course and subjects?

Submit an online enquiry or book an appointment with one of our course advisers, who can help you with course rules and structure, choosing subjects, using the Study Plan, checking you're on track to graduate and more.

Submit an enquiry Book an appointment

The Australian government has updated information regarding student visas during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, see our visa FAQs.