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 discontinue 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 Some have a 'withdrawn no load' period before the census date. If you drop a unit during this time, your academic record will record it as withdrawn.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

The census date is when the University finalises your enrolment. If you withdraw after census date you will have to pay fees or, if you have a HELP loan, you will incur a debt.

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

  • the last day you can make up-front fee payments
  • the last day you can apply for HECS-HELP and/or FEE-HELP loans
  • when you become liable for HECS-HELP and FEE-HELP debts.

See current census dates and teaching periods.

Academic and financial penalties

Academic record

For semester one, the census date is the last day you can discontinue without the unit appearing on your academic record.
For semester two, the last day is four weeks after the start of semester. Dropping a unit between this date and the census date will result in 'withdrawn no load'.

Discontinuing after the census date, but before the 'withdrawn fail' date, means your record will show the unit result as 'withdrawn'. If you discontinue after the 'withdrawn fail' date, your record will show the unit result as 'withdrawn fail'. This will affect your grade point average.


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

Check dates and penalties

You should check the census and discontinuation dates for your units to avoid academic and financial penalties.

Research students

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

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