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Procedure: Student academic study load and progression (coursework)


This procedure covers the eight key areas associated with coursework student academic workload:

  1. Full-time and Part-time status;
  2. Concurrent studies;
  3. Overloading;
  4. Maximum Degree completion time-limits;
  5. Course Requisites;
  6. Non-enrolment in an academic year;
  7. Transfers; and
  8. Identification of ‘at-risk’ students.


  1. ANU student academic workload activities:
  1. align with the strategic directions of the University;
  2. align with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards; and
  3. are consistent with the Australian Qualifications Framework and the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards).

Full-time and part-time load

  1. Full-time and part-time status is generated automatically in the Student Administration Enterprise System based on the load undertaken by a student in a study period or trimester as defined in the Glossary: student policies and procedures. This status is available in reports from the Student System.
  2. Students on an International Student Visa who are not able to complete their program within the expected duration of their Electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) on the grounds of compelling or compassionate circumstances or as part of Academic progress procedures request an extension of the eCoE via the approved University proforma.

Concurrent studies

  1. Students indicate as part of their application for admission if their intention is to undertake concurrent enrolment.
  2. Approval from the respective Delegated Authorities is required for each program for concurrent enrolment in two programs as part of the admissions process.
  3. Students who are currently enrolled in a program at ANU and intend to concurrently enrol at another institution, separate to a joint or dual Award that is covered by a formal agreement, submit a request, in writing, to their respective College Student Administration. This request addresses why the student should be permitted to remain enrolled at ANU whilst studying at the other institution.
  4. If approved, this is recorded by the College as a comment in the student system under “SPRG Student Program” and comment category ‘CONC Concurrent Studies’. The student is informed of the outcome by the College.
  5. Students concurrently enrolled only have their ANU enrolment used to calculate full-time or part-time status unless their enrolment is part of a joint or dual Award that is covered by a formal agreement.


  1. Students apply for an overload on the approved University proforma and submit it to their College office for consideration.
  2. Where the student’s record meets the criteria specified in the Student Academic Study Load and Progression Policy, the College overrides unit limits (Max Total Units) on Term Activation > Enrolment Limit in the Student Administration System (SAS) to the approved unit limit.
  3. If approved, Colleges record this in the student administration system. This generates an email to students indicating that they may enrol on ISIS in their requested course.
  4. Students not approved for overload are emailed by their College and advised of the reason(s). No comment is added for students who are not approved to overload.
  5. Where a student is unable to enrol on ISIS due to enrolment deadlines having passed, the College enrols the student into the requested and approved course.

Maximum degree completion time-limits

  1. A time-limit report is run annually and circulated to Colleges.
  2. Colleges contact students who are approaching their maximum degree completion time-limit.
  3. If required, students request an extension in writing to the maximum degree completion time-limit from the Delegated Authority with a proposal for completion within the shortest period possible. If a student is undertaking a double degree, approval is required from both program owners.
  4. Students are advised in writing of the agreed plan for completion and the revised end date is recorded on the unofficial student transcript as a comment.
  5. If no application is received, or the application for extension is not approved, students are discontinued at the end of the calendar year.

Waiving of a course requisite

  1. Students who do not have the requisites for a course in which they seek to enrol, or want to apply for recognition of prior or external learning for a requisite:
  1. Complete the enrolment change form; and
  2. Where the case is based on formal learning, include an official transcript and course outlines or handbook as evidence;
  3. Where the case is based on non-formal or informal learning, address any application requirements there may be specified on the course page on Programs & Courses; or otherwise include a statement of no more than 500 words of how they have achieved the requisites through their prior non-formal or informal learning, including evidence in support of the statement such as a sample of work or a detailed employer reference; and
  4. Submit the application to the College Student Office that administers the course.
  1. Additional information and documentation may be required for an application to be assessed, including completion of an assigned task that demonstrates attainment of learning outcomes.
  2. The relevant Delegated Authority of the College administering the course, or their delegate, decides the application, consistent with Policy: Recognition of prior and external learning.
  3. The approval may include conditions that restrict the student’s enrolment in courses earlier in a sequence of courses relevant to the requisite.
  4. The College Student Office advises the student in writing of the outcome and provides a permission code to the student. The permission code is ticked in SAS, and the student enrols in their course on ISIS.
  5. Where a student is unable to enrol on ISIS due to enrolment deadlines having passed, the College Student Office owning the course enrols the student.
  6. Students who are enrolled in a course on the assumption that they will pass the requisite course before commencement but then fail the requisite are notified automatically and the course dropped and are required to:
  1. Add an alternate course where they satisfy the requisite; or
  2. Apply to the Delegated Authority for approval to undertake the course.

Non-enrolment in an academic year

  1. If a student does not have an active enrolment in at least one course in two calendar years and has not formally notified the University that they have deferred or are on program leave, their program is discontinued. This is determined on an annual basis by Enrolments and Fees.
  2. To re-enrol, a student is required to re-apply to the University through the appropriate application process as a new student.
  3. Students who successfully re-apply have any relevant credit from their previous degree applied automatically as part of the admissions process subject to the relevant Awards Rules.


  1. A student may not transfer between awards at different career levels [e.g. Master of Psychology and Doctor of Psychology or Bachelor of Laws and Juris Doctor] unless they are enrolled in a vertical double degree. Movement across careers requires a new application for admission.
  2. Students apply for program transfer in ISIS.
  3. Transfer Applications are assessed by the College that owns the new program. Unless otherwise advised to the student, this includes an assessment for credit for courses from the old program into the new program in line with Procedure: Credit and Exemption, in which case no separate application for credit is required.
  4. Credit for courses completed as part of the old program is granted as specified credit.

Academic progress

Monitoring and early intervention

  1. Student academic progress is monitored by the Division of Student Administration and Academic Standards (DSAAS) each semester, using a range of risk indicators, to implement early intervention strategies for students who fail one or more courses in the previous study period.
  2. Early intervention strategies include at least one of the following:
  1. Email contact early in the semester;
  2. Telephone follow-up;
  3. Referral to a course advisor in the relevant College or specialist Student Services area to develop a personalised program of support.

Unsatisfactory progress

  1. Students who are placed on academic probation are contacted by the College(s) that own the program in which the student is enrolled and are asked to make an appointment with an academic advisor to discuss their progress. This communication is based on templates provided by DSAAS.
  2. The meeting with the academic advisor touches upon both academic advisement issues and personal study issues and is guided by information provided by DSAAS.
  3. Students who are on academic probation are required to reduce their study load, if recommended by the Delegated Authority, to a maximum of 18 units in the next study period.
  4. Students are informed that their study load will be reduced. A record of this decision is given to the student and kept on the student file, and a comment is placed on the student’s record in SAS.

Restoration of Good Standing

  1. Undergraduate students, in eligible coursework programs, who are placed on academic probation may restore their academic standing by passing 8 or more courses, without failing any further courses, in the study periods subsequent to the last period in which a fail grade was recorded and they were placed on academic probation.
  2. Postgraduate students, in eligible coursework programs, who are placed on academic probation may restore their academic standing by passing 6 or more courses, without failing any further courses, in the study periods subsequent to the last period in which a fail grade was recorded and they were placed on academic probation.

Unsatisfactory progress: Show cause

  1. Students who fail to maintain satisfactory course progress in their program or programs are placed on Show Cause.
  2. Students who fail a coursework course in an award program for a third time are placed on Show Cause.
  3. Students on Show Cause receive notification inviting them to submit an appeal to the Academic Progress Committee against their exclusion from their academic career or, in the case of medical students, from their medical program.
  4. Students on Show Cause who wish to appeal to the Academic Progress Committee submit their appeal via the email address provided on the Response to Show Cause cover sheet on or before the deadline set out in the notification in the previous clause.
  5. The Academic Progress Committee decides the outcome based on the student’s academic record, Show Cause appeal (if one is submitted) and any other information requested by the committee.
  6. DSAAS informs students of the Academic Progress Committee’s decision, the reasons for the decision, and any appeal rights.
  7. Where the decision of the Academic Progress Committee is to exclude a student, the team processes the program discontinuation on the student’s record in SAS:
  1. Following the completion of any unsuccessful appeal process; or
  2. Where no appeal is submitted, when the deadline to submit an appeal has passed.
  1. International students on a student visa have their CoE cancelled following the discontinuation of their program, as outlined in the previous clause. DSAAS notifies the student in writing that their CoE has been cancelled and advises them to contact Immigration to seek advice.
  2. Students who are allowed to continue under conditions outlined by the Academic Progress Committee who then fail to meet those conditions, may subsequently be placed on Show Cause.

Unsatisfactory progress: failure to maintain results at an established level

  1. Students who fail to maintain results at an established level for their program, and are notified that they must transfer, may request a review of the decision to transfer.
  2. Students submit their request for review in writing, including any evidence in support of their claims, to the Associate Dean of their College.
  3. The Associate Dean decides the outcome and provides a response in writing which includes the reasons for the decision.

Record keeping and communications

  1. A record of meetings with students are emailed to students using base templates that can have information deleted and then be emailed. The templates are provided by DSL.
  2. A record of meetings with students by Colleges will be recorded in SAS under the Administrative Function "SPRG Student Program" and Comment Category "EAIN Early Intervention"
  3. A record where students who have not attended meetings as detailed in this section, after they have been requested to, is recorded in SAS.


  1. Students may appeal to the Associate Dean (Education) of the relevant College if any of the above procedures have been incorrectly applied.
  2. Where the Associate Dean (Education) was involved in the original decision, the appeal is considered by the Dean of the relevant College.
  3. Appeals against clauses in the ‘Unsatisfactory Progress’ section of this procedure (other than the ‘Unsatisfactory progress: failure to maintain results at an established level’ sub-section) may only be made under the Academic Progress Rule and are not made to the Associate Dean (Education).


Printable version (PDF)
Title Student academic study load and progression
Document Type Procedure
Document Number ANUP_006805
Purpose This procedure covers the eight key areas associated with coursework student academic workload
Audience Students, Staff
Category Academic
Topic/ SubTopic Students - Assessment, Academic Progress & Appeals
Effective Date 13 Jan 2021
Next Review Date 12 Jan 2026
Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration
Approved By: Vice-Chancellor
Contact Area Division of Student Administration and Academic Services
Authority: Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000
Higher Education Support Act 2003
Delegations 0

Information generated and received by ANU staff in the course of conducting business on behalf of ANU is a record and should be captured by an authorised recordkeeping system. To learn more about University records and recordkeeping practice at ANU, see ANU recordkeeping and Policy: Records and archives management.