Reduced study load

An approved Reduced Study Load allows you to take a study load of less than 50 points in a half-year period.

Study load requirements and visa implications

Student visa holders are subject to visa condition 8202, which requires you to maintain a standard study load of at least 50 points in each half-year period. and make satisfactory course progress.

To ensure you are meeting this visa requirement, we will assess your study load and your progress each half-year period.

Exceptions to this requirement are:

  • An approved Reduced Study Load (see below)
  • An approved Leave of Absence
  • Suspension or points limitations imposed by a Course Academic Progress Committee
  • If you are still on track to complete your course by your CoE end date
  • If you are in your final semester and need fewer than 50 credit points to complete your course.

Visa consequences of reducing your enrolment load without approval or valid reasons

If you have not received approval to reduce your study load and are not on track to complete by your CoE end date, an unapproved Reduced Study Load (RSL) sanction will be applied to your record. This sanction does not impact your access to University accounts (such as my.unimelb).

If you reduce your study load without approval, and therefore extend the duration of your course, we will not be permitted to issue you a new CoE. This is because we can only extend your CoE for compassionate and compelling reasons. Without an extension to your CoE, you won’t be able to obtain a new student visa and therefore remain in Australia to complete your course.

Valid reasons to apply for a Reduced Study Load

Compassionate or compelling circumstances

Compassionate or compelling circumstances are generally those beyond your control and which have an impact upon your course progress or wellbeing.

These could include, but are not limited to:

  • Serious illness or injury where you were unable to attend classes
  • Bereavement of close family members such as parents or grandparents
  • Major political upheaval or natural disaster in your home country requiring emergency travel which have impacted on your studies; or 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 the support for compassionate or compelling circumstances page.

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 major elective subjects, or subjects required to undertake a second major 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 abide by any outcomes of the CAPC meeting.

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, as this will be automatically processed. We will provide you with an extended Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) if you will be unable to complete your course by your original CoE end date and need to reapply for a new student visa as a result of these restrictions.

Invalid reasons to apply 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
  • Studying a second major.

How to apply

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 at Stop 1 to discuss your options and revised study plans.

Apply for a Reduced Study Load