Changing Your Study Arrangements

Your student visa has certain conditions that are particular to international students. It's a good idea to be clear on these conditions, as well as understanding general University rules when considering making changes to your study arrangements.

Under the ESOS Act and the National code of 2018, the University of Adelaide is legally obliged to notify the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) of any changes to an international student’s enrolment status. For more information, please visit the immigration and visas page.

If you are wishing to apply for a new CoE on compassionate medical or personal grounds, you may need to submit evidence of these grounds to ISS. Please refer to the guidelines for supporting documentation for further information.

  • Coursework students

    In order to apply for a new student visa, you will first need to apply for a new Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) from the University. New CoEs can only be issued under a limited range of circumstances (see below).

    Please note: Before you apply for a new CoE, please ensure that you have (1) received your final grades for this study period, and (2) have received any replacement exams / additional assessment grades.

    Apply for a new CoE

    • Your new CoE will be emailed to you at your student email address. Please note that this may normally take up to three weeks, and up to five weeks during peak processing times (December-January and July-August).
    • You should extend your OSHC policy for the length of your new student visa before you lodge your visa application. You will be advised of your recommended OSHC length when we email your new CoE to you.
    • For information about extending your student visa, see the Department of Home Affairs - Student visa
    • If your student account has been deactivated, please first contact your faculty to request reactivation.

    Grounds for receiving a new CoE

    New CoEs for coursework students can only be issued for a limited number of reasons. These reasons are:

    • Where there is an implemented intervention strategy
    • Where there is an approved leave of absence
    • Where there are compassionate and compelling grounds:
      • Failed occasional courses throughout the program and was unable to undertake repeat courses in Summer or Winter School or through flexible delivery mode
      • Serious illness or bereavement of you or a close family member
      • Traumatic experience, such as if you were the victim of a serious crime
      • The University was not able to offer a prerequisite unit or a course needed to meet degree requirements
      • Other (Please discuss with International Student Support)
  • Research students

    If you are a research student, you are eligible to apply for a new CoE for the full duration of your scholarship or sponsorship, or up until your candidature end date. If you require an extension beyond your candidature end date, you will first need to apply for a candidature extension through the Adelaide Graduate Research School.

    Scholarship students

    Adelaide Scholarship International (ASI), Research Training Program Scholarship, and students receiving Faculty or school based scholarships will receive their new CoEs automatically after the Adelaide Graduate Research School (AGRS) approves their extensions.

    Home government sponsored students

    Once you have received a new Financial Guarantee from your sponsor, please forward your Financial Guarantee to International Student Support so we can arrange your new CoE in line with your sponsorship.

    Full fee paying students

    If you are intending to extend your studies beyond your existing scholarship or sponsorship OR you are a full fee paying student, please fill in the CoE Extension - Research student form and return it to International Student Support.

    Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)

    Once you have your new CoE, you must purchase sufficient Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) to cover the full duration of your new visa. It is easier to do this before applying for your new student visa.

    • International research students may be entitled to a visa for up to 6 months after their CoE end date so that they may remain onshore while their thesis is being marked and to give them time to make any corrections, if required.
    • If you are a sponsored student and your OSHC is arranged by the University, your CoE will reflect the total OSHC duration to which you are entitled. If you wish to take advantage of the full visa duration to which you may be entitled, you will need to purchase additional OSHC yourself before lodging your visa application. 

    Student visa extension after submission of your thesis

    International students studying a PhD or Master by Research are entitled to apply for a further student visa to cover the period between their thesis submission and official program completion. To apply for this student visa, you will require a letter from International Student Support, instead of a CoE. Please contact International Student Support directly to discuss the procedures for obtaining this letter.

As a student visa holder, you are expected to study and maintain enrolment while you are in Australia.

It is important that you discuss any potential break with both your faculty and International Student Support. A leave of absence for one or more study periods will likely have an impact on your CoE and student visa.

  • Coursework students

    Short break (less than one month)

    If you require a short break from your coursework program, you may be able to take a break from your program without it affecting your student visa if the break is for a compelling and compassionate reason (e.g. due to a short-term illness), and provided you are still able to meet all of the program requirements, including attendance and assessment requirements.

    It is important that you discuss any potential break with both your Faculty and International Student Support.

    Longer break (one month or more)

    If you need to take a longer break from your studies for any reason and, as a result, you will not enrol in any courses for a given study period, you will need to take a leave of absence from your studies. For student visa holders, a leave of absence usually means you must leave Australia or move to a different visa type during your leave period.

    To apply for a leave of absence, please complete the online form.


  • Research students

    Research students have different types of leave, some of which affect their student visa and some of which don't. Research students should discuss any periods of leave first with their academic supervisors.

    All leave request for research students are handled through the Adelaide Graduate Research School.

    Leave of absence

    Research students are allowed to take a Leave of Absence for up to 28 calendar days (i.e. including weekends) in any given calendar year (i.e. from 1 January until 31 December) without it affecting their student visa.

    If you need to take a Leave of Absence for longer than 28 days in a given calendar year, please contact ISS and ask to speak to a Compliance Officer about your leave options.

    Annual (recreation) leave

    Research students are entitled to four weeks of annual leave per year. Annual leave is managed by your School or Faculty and does not affect your student visa in any way.

    Study leave

    Study leave is a special type of leave research students have access to, to allow you to undertake fieldwork outside of Australia. You can discuss study leave with your academic supervisor. It does not affect your student visa.

  • Compassionate and compelling leave

    If your leave of absence will be related to compassionate and compelling grounds, you will be able to indicate this as part of the leave application process. For more information about these grounds, please see the compassionate and compelling grounds page.

If you are currently studying at the University of Adelaide and wish to change your academic program to another program offered by the University of Adelaide at any stage of your current program, you can apply to the International Admissions Office online.

This form is also used by students finishing their undergraduate degrees who wish to continue to a postgraduate degree (e.g., Masters).

Please note: this form is only available at certain times of the year.

The process for internal transfers is as follows:

  1. Lodge your internal transfer request before the deadline for applications.
  2. If you are successful in your transfer, you will receive a Letter of Offer for the new program.
  3. After accepting the Letter of Offer, you will be issued with a new CoE for your new program. Your CoE for your previous program will be cancelled.
    Please note that your Letter of Offer may contain a condition that you wait until you have received your grades for the current study period before you are able to accept the Offer.
  4. If your new program will be longer than your old program, you can use your new CoE to apply for a new student visa.
    Please note that you can only apply for a new student visa from roughly 3 months before the expiry date of your current visa.

If you have further questions about the internal transfer process, please speak to staff at the International Admissions Office.

If you are currently studying a Pre Enrolment English (PEP) program and would like to change your degree program at the University, please speak to the English Language Centre.

If you wish to leave the University, either by discontinuing or by transferring to another education provider, you will need to follow the appropriate procedures. 

  • External transfer

    If you wish to transfer to a different educational institution, you will first need to submit some documentation to the University. The procedure of transferring education providers is different depending on how long you have been studying at the University.

    I have studied my program for fewer than 6 months

    If you have been in your principal program for less than 6 months, you will need to obtain an official Release before you can accept your offer from your new provider.

    A Release is only offered under limited circumstances. To be released, you will need to submit the following documents:

    1. The Application for Release form
    2. Your Letter of Offer from your new provider
    3. Any other supporting documentation

    You can also review the University procedure on Release.

    I have studied my program for more than 6 months

    If you have been in your principal program for more than 6 months and you are transferring to another provider, you need to submit the following documents to International Student Support:

    1. Variation to Enrolment Form 
    2. Discontinuation of Studies Form
    3. Your new Letter of Offer (or CoE) from your new provider

  • Withdrawing from the University

    If you wish to discontinue your studies and withdraw from the University completely, you will need to complete two forms, and submit these to International Student Support:

    1. Variation to Enrolment form
    2. Discontinuation of Studies form

    Please be aware that discontinuing from your studies will have an impact on your Confirmation of Enrolment and student visa. If you wish to discuss this in further detail, please contact International Student Support.

If you wish to reduce the number of units you are enrolled in, please first check the below information before making any changes to your enrolments. 

  • Coursework students

    Coursework international students who hold a student visa are generally expected to maintain a full-time enrolment load. Before making any changes to your enrolment, it is important that you read through the below eligibility criteria carefully and apply through the appropriate method.

    Coursework students - Reduce enrolment load

  • Research students

    Students studying a higher degree by research (HDR) program (PhD or Master by Research) should consult the Adelaide Graduate Research School for processes around part-time study. Generally, student visa holders studying HDR programs onshore in Australia are not able to enrol in part-time study. Any scholarship you receive may also affect your ability to study part-time.

    HDR students - Studying part time

If you are returning to your studies following a Leave of Absence, please complete the appropriate process listed below to register your return with the University.

  • Coursework students

    If your student account is still active

    Please complete the Return from Leave of Absence form, indicating the study period for which you intend to return. As part of this process, you will be prompted to apply for a new Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) if you require one.

    Return from Leave of Absence

    If you can no longer access your student account

    To return from your Leave of Absence, please contact the University Admissions Office to arrange for a new Letter of Offer. After accepting your Offer, you will receive a new new Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE), which will allow you to apply for a new student visa.

    Contact Admissions Office

  • Research students

    Students studying a higher degree by research (HDR) program (PhD or Master by Research) should consult the Adelaide Graduate Research School for processes around returning from a Leave of Absence. 

    HDR students - Returning from a Leave of Absence

Please see the Department of Home Affairs for information about the potential student visa impacts of changing your study arrangements. If you are thinking about making changes to your enrolments that aren’t listed here, please contact International Student Support first in order to discuss the possible impact of these changes on your student visa status.