Study periods

Find out about study periods to make the most of flexible subject options and know how to meet your enrolment requirements.

The academic year is made up of several study periods in which different subjects are taught.

Study periods are assigned to subjects to indicate their availability and key dates. You can find out which study periods your subjects are available in via the Handbook.

Standard study periods

The following are referred to as standard study periods:

  • Semester 1
  • Semester 2
  • Year-long.

Standard study periods have set teaching, assessment and census dates.

Non-standard study periods

Non-standard study periods include:

  • Semester 1 (Early-Start)
  • Semester 1 (Extended)
  • Semester 2 (Early-Start)
  • Semester 2 (Extended)
  • Year Long (Extended)
  • Summer term
  • Winter term
  • Individual months (e.g. June and September).

Completing subjects in non-standard study periods, particularly Summer and Winter term ones, may help you to:

  • Meet your course requirements by repeating failed subjects
  • Complete prerequisites for subjects running later in the year
  • Finish your course in a shorter time frame
  • Spread out your study load across the year while still completing 100 points.

Non-standard study periods have their own individual dates. You can use the Handbook for your course to check which subjects are available. Search for specific subjects, or use the study period filter on the left hand side to explore all subjects offered. The ‘Dates and times’ page of each subject entry will indicate when a subject is offered.

Some non-standard study period subjects are structured as intensives, with contact hours condensed over a shorter teaching period.

Examples of how non-standard study periods can be used

  • Example one: Freya (domestic undergraduate student)

    Freya is a domestic undergraduate student. She wants to finish her course within the standard three year duration, but she prefers to study between 25 and 37.5 points each semester due to part-time work commitments.

    To maintain her progression, Freya chooses a variety of summer, winter and other intensive subjects each year. Her course has limited discipline subjects available in non-standard teaching periods, so she is careful to save most of her breadth subjects for these periods.

    This allows her to bring her study load up to 100 points in each academic year to complete her course on time.

  • Example two: Jarred (international graduate student)

    Jarred is an international graduate student who must complete his course in two years to meet his student visa requirements.

    Jarred is planning to go on exchange in the first semester of his second year and will only be able to complete 37.5 points overseas due to limited subject options.

    In order to accelerate his course progression in his first year, Jarred enrols in 50 points in Semester 1, 12.5 points in a July intensive subject, and 50 points in Semester 2. The July subject’s teaching and assessment dates do not overlap with Semester 2, so Jarred does not need to apply to overload.

    By the end of his first year, Jarred has completed 112.5 points, so he can study 37.5 points on exchange and is still on track to finish his course on time.

Checklist for enrolling in non-standard study periods

If you are considering taking a subject in a non-standard study period, make sure:

  • The subject fits within your course structure
  • The subject’s timetable will not clash with another enrolled subject or your personal commitments
  • Your study load for each half-year period meets your enrolment requirements
  • You've checked key dates such as the census date and last day to withdraw without fail. These vary by subject, and are stated in the subject entry in the Handbook.

If you intend to enrol in more than 50 points in a semester, you should also check whether you are eligible to overload.

Enrolment for summer term subjects

Enrolment for summer term subjects opens when the re-enrolment period opens for that year. You can enrol in these subjects via your Study Plan in my.unimelb until the last date to self-enrol, as listed in each subject entry in the Handbook.

You are only allowed to enrol in 25 points of summer term subjects each year. You also need to ensure that there are no timetable clashes.

If you want to withdraw from a summer term subject, ensure you make any enrolment changes by the subject's census date to avoid incurring financial liability.

Half-year periods

In addition to standard and non-standard study periods, the University uses half-year periods to determine certain aspects of enrolment and administration. This includes your eligibility for enrolment overloading, final subject assessment and study load requirements for student visa holders.

Half-year periods are defined as:

  • First half-year: January to June
  • Second half-year: July to December.

See the half-year periods FAQ for more information.