What are census dates and teaching periods?

Teaching periods

There are two main teaching periods called semester one and two. Some units have teaching periods called terms, trimesters, summer semester etc. You can add or withdraw from a unit, without penalty, up to the census date for most teaching periods. Some have a Withdrawn No Load period before the census date. If you drop a unit during this time, your academic record will record it as Withdrawn.

Census date and financial penalties

The census date is when the University finalises your enrolment. If you withdraw from a unit after 11.59pm on the census date, you have to pay fees, or – if you have a HELP loan – you incur a debt.

For domestic students who have government support, 11.59pm on the census date is also:

  • your last opportunity to make up-front fee payments
  • your last opportunity to apply for HECS-HELP and/or FEE-HELP loans
  • the moment you become liable for HECS-HELP and FEE-HELP debts.

Check the census dates and teaching periods for your units to avoid academic and financial penalties.

Research students

If you discontinue before 11.59pm on the census date, you pay fees for the time you were enrolled. See chapters one and three of the Handbook of Doctoral and MPhil Degrees.

Academic penalties

Academic record

Some changes have been made to accommodate disruptions caused by COVID-19. For the rules listed below, check for exceptions in the next section.

For semester one, 11.59pm on the census date is your last opportunity to withdraw from a unit without the unit appearing on your academic record. 

For semester two, the last day is four weeks after the start of semester.

Usually, withdrawing after the census date (but before the Withdrawn Fail date) means your record will show the unit result as Withdrawn. If you withdraw from a unit after the Withdrawn Fail date, your record will show the unit result as Withdrawn Fail. This will affect your grade point average.

Exceptions

The last date to withdraw from a unit may differ if you are studying a unit taught:

Check dates and penalties

Check the census dates and teaching periods for your units to avoid academic and financial penalties. The deadline for making most changes is 11.50pm on the census date.

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