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Study & enrolment loads

International students must strive, at all times, to complete their studies within the completion date as specified on their Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE).

This means you are generally required to enrol in 60 credit points in each compulsory semester (Semester 1 and Semester 2).

If you are considering studying less than 60 credit points in a semester, you will need to have approval from a Student Success Officer, before you withdraw from any units.

All requests are assessed by Student Success and are considered in line with the Enrolment loads for International Students policy

Additional temporary considerations due to COVID-19

The Australian Government recognises that many international students may be physically, emotionally, financially and/or logistically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, both inside and outside of Australia.

Accordingly, temporary flexible arrangements are in place to enable universities to support students and Student Success are considering eligibility for a reduced study load in a comprehensive and holistic manner.

If you do not have approval to reduce your study load, you may not be provided with an extension of your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) and this may result in you having to leave Australia before your degree is completed.

You can apply to reduce your study load once you have enrolled, up to the week before exam period. You should apply as early as possible. If you’re approved to reduce your study load, the outcome will depend on when you applied.

  • If you apply before the Financial Census date, you will be withdrawn from your selected units without financial or academic penalty.
  • If you apply after the Financial Census date, but before the Academic Census date, you will be financially liable for the unit and will receive a grade of ‘Withdrawn’ (W). Your grade will not count as a fail on your transcript and does not affect your Weighted Average Mark (WAM).
  • If you apply after the Academic Census you will be financially liable for the unit and will receive a grade of ‘Withdrawn Fail’ (WF). You will receive a fail grade for the unit and it will affect your Weighted Average Mark (WAM).

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

You can apply for Reduced Study Load on the forms page by scrolling down to the Enrolment related forms section and selecting Application for Reduced Study Load

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

An overseas medical certificate issued in a language other than English needs to be translated into English by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI).

If providing documentation from a doctor, counsellor or psychologist, this should be from your regular treating practitioner.

If you have not accessed the service previously, the ECU Student Health Service and the Student Counselling Service may not be able to provide you with supporting documentation as they will not know your personal or medical history.

International students are expected to complete their course within the duration stated on their Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE). If you are approved to reduce your study load, it is possible that you may not be able to complete your course in the timeframe of your current CoE and Student Visa.

In the future, you may therefore need to apply to extend your current CoE to lodge an application for a new Student Visa. Your course duration and CoE can only be extended in certain circumstances.

If you reduce your study load without approval, you may not receive a CoE extension to enable you to apply for a new Student Visa. This may mean that you will be required to leave Australia before the completion of your course. You may also be ineligible for future visa applications and state nomination.

If your course duration has been extended for approved reasons, you should apply for a new CoE and new your student visa before your current visa expires.

To learn more about your Student Visa holder requirements visit the Department of Home Affairs.

Whilst you are in Australia, you are permitted to enrol in off-campus units according to the following guidelines:

  • You must be enrolled in at least one on-campus unit in each of the semester 1 and 2 study periods; and
  • The total proportion of off-campus units enrolled in during your course must not exceed one third (33%) of the total units or equivalent required for your course completion.

If you are not able to meet both of the above criteria, you should seek immediate assistance from a Student Success Officer at the Student Hub.

Note: If you have left Australia and are now studying offshore, you must advise us immediately so that we can update your records accordingly

If you have compassionate or compelling reasons as stated above, which are impacting your ability to study full time (100%) you can request to reduce your study load percentage (75%, 50% or 25%).  You will need to complete a Application for Variation of Research Higher Degree Candidature form, which can be downloaded from the Forms page, and discuss the circumstances with Student Success for this to be approved. You may also need to provide documentation to support your request, as detailed above.

If Student Success approve your request, the Variation of Candidature needs to be approved by your Supervisor.

Once the form is completed and signed by both Student Success and your Supervisor it can be forwarded to

If your request is due to academic reasons, this can be discussed as part of your progress report with your Supervisor.  If your Supervisor recommends a reduced study load, this can be included within your Progress Report.

As a result of varying your study load, an extension to your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) may be required in the future.


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