Policies and procedures

Policy No.
Student Administration
Authoring Organisational Unit
Student Administration - Student Services
Date Approved
06/07/2011 Revised 09/05/2013
Next Review Date
Approving Body
Academic Council

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The University of Western Australia

University Policy on: Approved Leave

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

This policy addresses the circumstances in which students can or must apply for a period of approved leave.


In this policy and any associated procedures,

the University means the University of Western Australia

ARMS means Archives and Records Management Services

relevant faculty or board means the faculty or board responsible for administering the course in which the student is enrolled and includes a position or body of persons to which the faculty or board has delegated authority for the function concerned

teaching period means a scheduled duration, within an academic year, in which a unit of study is offered and includes approved non-teaching study breaks, pre-examination study-breaks and examination periods.

Policy statement:

1 Enrolment and approved leave

1.1 A person who has been granted permission to enrol in a course of the University is responsible for enrolling in accordance with published procedures.

1.2 Students must re-enrol in their course each year in accordance with published procedures if they wish to continue their studies.

1.3 Students who:

(a) (i) do not intend to re-enrol in a given teaching period; or

(ii) withdraw from all units in which they are enrolled without achieving any results for that teaching period; and

(b) wish to return to study in a later year,

must apply for a period of approved leave.

1.4 Students cannot apply for approved leave for a teaching period after the academic withdrawal date for that teaching period.

1.5 The maximum period of approved leave that may be granted in the first instance is 12 months.

1.6 To extend a period of approved leave a student must apply in writing.

1.7 Unless the relevant faculty or board determines otherwise in recognition of exceptional circumstances, a period of approved leave is not granted to a bachelor's degree student in the first teaching period of their first period of enrolment at the University.

1.8 Students who have been granted approved leave and re-enrol by the stipulated re-enrolment date do not have to re-apply for readmission to their course.

1.9 Students who do not re-enrol by the due date for any teaching period and who have not been granted a period of approved leave are taken to have cancelled their enrolment and are classed as having discontinued their course.

1.10 Students who have been classed as having discontinued their course must re-apply for admission if they wish to resume their studies.

1.11 If re-admission is approved the student is required to pay student contribution amounts or tuition fees applicable for commencing students in the year for which they are readmitted.

2 Specific requirements for international students on student visas

2.1 International students on student visas may apply for leave from their studies in certain circumstances, which would normally be significant, beyond the student's control and have an impact on the student's course progress or wellbeing.

2.2 The circumstances may include, but are not limited to:

  • serious illness or injury, where a medical certificate states that the student was unable to attend classes
  • loss of a close family member such as a sibling, parent or grandparent
  • major political upheaval or natural disaster in the student's home country requiring emergency travel, which has impacted on the student's studies
  • a traumatic experience, which could include involvement in or witnessing of a serious accident or witnessing or being a victim of a serious crime
  • lack of availability of a prerequisite unit
  • inability to begin studying by the course commencement date due to delay in receiving a student visa

3 Implications of a period of approved leave for course time-limits

3.1 A period of approved leave is counted as a period of enrolment for the purpose of determining time limits for undergraduate courses except end-on honours courses.

3.2 A period of approved leave is not counted as a period of enrolment for the purpose of determining time limits for postgraduate courses and end-on honours courses.

4 Decisions and appeals

4.1 The following are among the factors taken into account when a request for approved leave is considered:

  • the time limit for the student's course
  • the currency of any previously completed prerequisites on the student's return to study
  • unit availability on the student's return to study
  • the likelihood of significant changes to a course occurring during the period of leave

4.2 The relevant faculty or board must advise the student of its decision on a request for approved leave within ten University working days.

4.3 Students may appeal to the relevant faculty or board against a decision not to approve an application for leave.

4.4 An appeal must be lodged within 12 University working days of the date of the letter advising that the leave has not been approved.

4.5 Appeals are dealt with under the Student Complaints resolution policy.

Related forms: (Link)

TRIM File No:

F8743: F34879

Contact position:

Associate Director, Student Administration

Related Policies or legislation:

University Policy on Withdrawal from a unit (UP11/11 )

Academic Council R37/02, R74/04

Higher Education Support Act (HESA) 2003

Higher Education Support (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2003


1 Applying for approved leave: General Information.

1.1 Students may apply for approved leave for one of the following:

6-month period which may include one semester of study; OR

An extension after 6 months for another 6-month period (this may comprise a total of two semesters of study); OR

12-month period which may include two semesters of study

1.2 To apply for approved leave students must complete an application for approved leave form.

1.3 Students must lodge the application form at the Enquiry Counter, Student Administration (Hackett Hall), either in person, by post, or fax (contact details below). Email or phone requests are not accepted.

Student Administration (M356)

The University of Western Australia

35 Stirling Highway


Fax: (+61 8) 6488 1083

1.4 Students who withdraw from all units may incur financial and/or academic penalties depending on the date of withdrawal. Students must refer to the following webpage for the specific withdrawal date(s)

1.5 A student on approved leave who decides to return to his or her studies the following year, must re-enrol in the relevant enrolment period.

1.6 A student on approved leave who does not wish to re-enrol may apply for a further period of approved leaved.

1.7 A student may be denied approved leave in the commencement of a quota-restricted course.

2 Applying for approved leave: Higher Degree by Research Students

2.1 Higher degree by research students must seek advice on suspension of candidature from the Graduate Research and Scholarships Office, or the relevant faculty if studying for a degree by thesis and coursework.

2.2 Higher degree by research students enrolled in courses administered by the Graduate Research School must apply to suspend enrolment in their course and, if relevant, to suspend their scholarship. For further information See

2.3 Approved leave from some higher degree by research courses or other postgraduate courses may not be possible because of potential future lack of availability of academic staff or resources.

3 Applying for approved leave: International Students on Student Visas

3.1 International student visa holders are advised that there are fee and visa implications associated with taking approved leave.

3.2 International student visa holders who plan to take a break of any duration from their studies must first contact the International Centre. See" for further information.

3.3 Applications from international student visa holders are only considered after the student has contacted the International Centre and completed the International Centre Approved Leave Form International Centre Approved Leave Form [PDF, 46.5 kb]

3.4 International student visa holders who have completed the steps in 3.3 must also complete and lodge the application for approved leave form following the procedure in 1.2.

3.5 Transnational students (studying at campuses outside Australia) must consult local providers regarding fee matters prior to lodging an application at Student Administration. (See the procedure in 1.2 for details)

4 Scholarship Holders

4.1 Scholarship holders must check the conditions of the scholarship they hold to ascertain if the scholarship may be suspended.

4.2 Scholarship holders may seek further advice from the Graduate Research and Scholarships Office or the relevant faculty (for a scholarship administered by a faculty).

5 Processing applications

5.1 Applications are received via Student Administration and then forwarded to the relevant faculty or board for consideration.

5.2 The relevant faculty or board notes on the form whether or not the leave is approved.

5.3 Faculties or boards must liaise in the case of combined courses.

5.4 The relevant faculty or board has ten University working days to either approve or reject the application.

5.5 The relevant faculty or board returns successful applications to Student Administration for processing.

5.6 In the case of a successful application correspondence is centrally generated approving the leave.

5.7 The correspondence notes that if students' circumstances change, and they do not wish to take up the approved leave, they must advise Student Administration (Hackett Hall) so that they will be able to re-enrol.

5.8 In the case that an application is not approved, the relevant faculty or board writes direct to the student, setting out the reason(s) why the application has not been approved.

5.9 Student Systems bars re-enrolments for students with approved leave.

5.10 Application forms and all correspondence must be filed on the student file in ARMS.

5.11 The relevant faculty or board is responsible for filing applications that are not approved: Student Administration files applications that are approved.

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