After commencing your program, you might want to take a temporary break. Officially, this is called “interrupting studies”, or “taking an interruption”.

Interrupting studies – Academic considerations

There are different procedures for interrupting studies, depending on whether you're a domestic, international, or HDR student. 

Domestic coursework students

If you want to take an interruption, you first need to find out if your program rules specify "continuous enrolment". 

Program rules are in the program and course catalogue:

  1. Search for and click on your program page.
  2. Click "Program Rules and Requirements".
  3. Click "Rules for the [your program name]".

My program rules do not mention continuous enrolment

You can take an interruption by simply not enrolling in any courses next semester. You don't have to notify the University, or formally tell anyone.

When you are ready to return to study, please follow the instructions on the Returning to Study page. 

If semester has started and you no longer wish to continue studying, please note that academic or financial penalties might apply if you withdraw from your courses in order to take an interruption. 

My program rules mention continuous enrolment

If your program rules specify “continuous enrolment” (e.g. the Doctor of Medicine, Bachelor of Nursing, etc.), you will need to request special permission from your faculty’s Executive Dean to take an interruption.

For more information about interrupting studies, speak to an advisor in your faculty.

If semester has started and you no longer wish to continue studying, please note that academic or financial penalties might apply if you withdraw from your courses in order to take an interruption. 

All students must complete their programs within certain time limits (see section of the Credit for Previous Studies and Recognised Prior Learning Procedures). If you take longer than the specified timeframes, any course credits you have earned might be cancelled.

International students

Taking an interruption can affect your student visa. You must seek advice from your faculty.

After you have spoken to your faculty and you intend on applying for an interruption, complete the International Withdrawal Form (PDF) and submit it to a Student Centre. You must attach supporting evidence or documents.

HDR students

HDR candidates can interrupt their studies for a maximum period of 12 months.

Interruptions during the first three months and final three months of your candidature will only be approved in exceptional circumstances.

To apply for an interruption:

  1. Read the Higher Degree by Research Leave and Interruption to Candidature Policy.
  2. Submit the online form.

Impact on your visa

If you are studying at UQ on an Australian student visa, we will not cancel your Confirmation of Enrolment if you apply for an interruption because of compassionate or compelling reasons.

According to the Australian Government’s ESOS National Code, compassionate or compelling reasons might include:

Serious illness or injury.
You must provide a medical certificate to support your claim. The medical certificate must state that you were unable to attend university.

Death of a close family member (e.g. parents, grandparents).
Where possible, please provide a death certificate.

Major political upheaval, or a natural disaster in your home country.
These events must have required emergency travel that affected your studies.

Serious personal trauma (e.g. a serious accident or crime that jeopardised your ability to study).
Please provide police reports, or reports from a psychologist or counsellor.

UQ was unable to offer a prerequisite course.
You must show supporting evidence from your school or faculty.

Visa processing delays.
Which meant you could not commence your program on time.

There may be other circumstances that qualify as compassionate or compelling reasons. We assess each case on its individual merits.

If you need to take a break for other reasons – or if you want to withdraw from your program – your Confirmation of Enrolment will be cancelled.

Please note that we are required by law to notify the Department of Home Affairs when international students interrupt their studies. You may have to return to your home country for the period of the interruption, or you may be permitted to remain – this is at the discretion of the department.