Study leave and variations

Recreation leave or sick leave

You are entitled to take up to 20 days of recreation leave and up to 10 days of sick leave in each annual year of candidature. Scholarship students must also liaise with their principal supervisor and apply to take recreation or sick leave on the Scholarship Leave Form (DOC 69KB) . Candidates not on a scholarship must also liaise with their principal supervisor to confirm any dates they will be absent from their studies and/or from campus.

Leave of absence

You may apply to take leave of absence from your candidature for up to 12 months during the duration of your candidature. A leave of absence is not appropriate if you wish to extend your submission date. Rather, a variation of candidature may be suitable.

Leave of absence requests must be supported by the principal supervisor and the relevant Faculty prior to consideration by the Office of Research Graduate Studies. Leave of absence applications (DOC 44KB) must be submitted prior to commencing any absence.

Candidates are required to provide supporting documentation or evidence of their need to take a leave of absence. For medical or psychological reasons, candidates must attach a USQ Medical Certificate completed by a registered Doctor or Psychologist. For extenuating personal circumstances candidates must attach a written statement, with supporting evidence (if possible) as to:

  1. the date the personal circumstances began or changed
  2. how the circumstances affect the candidates ability to study
  3. when it became apparent that you could not continue studying

International students will only be granted leave of absence for compassionate or compelling circumstances. Any periods of leave for International students will be reported to the  Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). It is the student's responsibility to leave Australia or organise an appropriate visa during the leave of absence period. 

The completion date for submission of a dissertation for examination will normally be extended by the period of leave approved.

The minimum period of leave that can be requested is one (1) month. Multiple requests for leave may be submitted, however may only be approved up to a maximum of 12 months over the duration of candidature.

Leave of absence will not be considered if you have not successfully completed any courses, or have failed to make satisfactory progress in your program of study.

If approved, the status of the candidature will be amended to ‘cancelled’. Whilst candidature is cancelled, candidates are not entitled to access any university resources, including computing and supervision.

It is the responsibility of the candidate to contact the Office of Research Graduate Studies at least 10 working days prior to re-commencing their studies to enable their candidature to be re-instated.

Candidates who fail to return to their studies following a period of approved leave may have their candidature cancelled.

Changing mode of study

If you wish to change from full-time to part-time candidature and vice versa you may apply to the Office of Research Graduate Studies on the Variation to Candidature request form Variation to Candidature request form (DOC41 KB) . Changes in mode of study require support from the principal supervisor and the relevant Faculty.

The outcome of the request to change mode of study, including a revised submission date, will be notified to you in writing via your official university email address.


You may apply to the Office of Research Graduate Studies to extend your candidature normally for a period of up to 6 months. Extensions (if approved) are to allow you to complete your dissertation and submit for examination. 

In approving a request for extension of candidature, consideration will be given to the progress you have made to date, the anticipated timelines for completion, any extenuating circumstances that have delayed the project and whether this was outside of your control and support from the relevant Faculty. Extensions of candidature are not automatic.

Extension of candidature time

You may apply to extend you candidature time. You will be required to complete the Variation to Candidature request form (DOC41KB) , provide a completion plan (outlining the remaining milestones to be completed and dates the milestones will be met), supporting documentation of why the extension is required, and the nomination of a firm (non-negotiable) date for submission of the dissertation. Approval for a period of up to six months may be granted, provided you have made satisfactory progress and the extension is supported by the relevant Faculty.

If you are approved to extend your candidature time you will be required to continue to enrol in the appropriate course/s and pay tuition fees (if applicable).

The decision on the application to extend the candidature time will be provided in writing to you via your official university email address.

Extension of scholarship

Candidates who receive a University scholarship may apply to extend their stipend payments for a period of up to three (3) months to enable them to submit their dissertation for submission. You must complete a Variation to Candidature request form (DOC 41KB) , attaching a completion plan (outlined in extension of candidature time). Approval of scholarship extensions will be based on the progress you have made, support from the relevant Faculty and funding available at the time of application. Extensions of scholarship funding are not automatic. The decision on the application to extend the scholarship will be provided in writing to you via your UMail account.

Withdrawing without academic or financial penalty

The University recognises that occasions may arise in which students find it necessary to drop a course after the census date. In such cases, the academic penalty (i.e. Fail grade) may be waived and the research training scheme (RTS) funding/tuition fees reversed if the course is dropped for special circumstances including:

  • medical
  • family or personal
  • employment related
  • university or agent error

Further information on waiving academic penalties and fee reversal, eligibility, how to apply, supporting documentation and the process for the review of decisions is available on the Current Students website.

Please note that applications must be made within 12 months of the end of the period of study in which the course was, or was to be undertaken.

Further Information

Please consult the Higher Degree Research Student Orientation Handbook (DOC 514KB) for further information

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