University of Sydney Handbooks - 2013 Archive

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Satisfactory progress and resolution of problems

Satisfactory progress

The degree requirements for most postgraduate degrees, graduate diplomas and graduate certificates outline the requirements for satisfactory progress. Students who fail to meet the requirements for satisfactory progress will be monitored by faculties under the provisions of the University of Sydney’s Student Academic Progression Policy.

The policy outlines the different stages involved in identifying and supporting students deemed to be at risk of being excluded from a course. The process culminates with students being asked to show cause why they should not be excluded, but prior to this point there are a range of support options that come into play.

Resolution of problems

Problems arising for the student and teaching staff can and do occur. It is obviously desirable that these are addressed and settled as expeditiously as possible and preferably within the department/school.

A student may approach the head of department/school, the postgraduate coordinator or any other member of the permanent staff of the department/school, regarding the resolution of problems.

The head and/or the postgraduate coordinator should attempt to settle the dispute. If this cannot be achieved within the department/school the matter may be referred to the dean or associate dean (postgraduate) of the faculty or the equivalent within the college.

A student who considers that resolution of difficulties within the department/school is not being achieved could also go to the dean or associate dean of the faculty.

Advice may also be sought from the student advisers located at SUPRA. Student advisers provide professional and confidential advice or referral about any matters that affect students, from academic issues, processes, problems and appeals, to general welfare.

Alternatively, the student may contact the Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS).

For problems that cannot be resolved at the faculty or college level please refer to the Section on Appeals against academic decisons.

Suspension of candidature

Occasions may arise where you need to take leave from study due to illness, employment or other changes to your personal circumstances. For coursework students, such leave is known as suspension of candidature, and is granted in semester-long blocks.

If approved, suspension of candidature allows you to resume the same course of study at a specified later time without having to reapply for admission (although you may have to notify the faculty that you intend to resume candidature before re-enrolment).

Please note there is generally a limit to the maximum amount of time for which you may suspend your studies. This limit varies from course to course and should be checked with your faculty before application.

Apply for suspension of candidature by contacting your faculty office (for contact details see the section on University organisation, administration and contact information). If you hold a scholarship you should also note any obligations you may have to notify the Scholarships Office of periods of absence. Note that most variations to candidature require a corresponding variation to scholarship status.


If your circumstances are such that you are unable to anticipate when you will be able to resume your studies, you should seek to withdraw from your course by writing to the faculty office. Note that if you withdraw from study and circumstances later permit you to resume, you will have to reapply for admission.

On successful readmission, some credit might be given for the work that you had done up to the time of withdrawal but in effect you will be commencing a new candidature.

If in any year you fail to re-enrol as instructed (including timely return from an approved suspension of candidature) your candidature will be regarded as having lapsed and you will need to reapply for admission to candidature to resume study.