Information for Students

Arrangements for Students

UNSW is following the NSW Heath advice for managing COVID-19.

Follow the recommendations from NSW Health on managing COVID-19 safely from home

You should not attend any of our campuses if you are unwell or experiencing any COVID-19 or respiratory symptoms. If you are unwell, please take the time you need to recover until your symptoms have cleared. Staying off campus when you have symptoms will ensure that we continue to protect everyone in our community, especially the most vulnerable.

If you will miss class, please contact your course convenor who can be found in the course outline or in your Moodle course page. They may be able to help you make alternative arrangements.

If you are going to miss any assessment, you will need to submit a special consideration application.

You may be eligible for financial assistance from the government and can find out here. To access other financial support provided to UNSW students, click here.

If you need any extra personal support, please contact a Student Support Advisor.

Household and close contacts do not need to self-isolate. However, you should not attend any of our campuses if you are unwell or experiencing any COVID-19 or respiratory symptoms. If you are unwell, please take the time you need to recover until your symptoms have cleared.

While masks are not mandatory in most settings, we encourage you to wear masks indoors, particularly in classrooms and where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

In line with NSW Health guidance regarding high-risk situations, the University has identified a set of high-risk activities where Safety Risk Assessments have deemed that masks should continue to be worn. Faculties will determine and communicate the specific activities and classes where masks will be required.

International Students

Under the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act, international students who hold student visas need to be:

  • studying onshore;
  • enrolled in at least one in-person course per term; and
  • not exceed one-third of online enrolment overall

Click here for more information.

Domestic Students

Subject to availability, domestic students can register into online classes throughout their studies. Check the delivery mode of your classes here.

Estate Management (EM) has assessed the buildings across the University’s campuses to identify the best method or combinations of methods to improve the indoor air quality and volume of outside air flowing into indoor spaces to help reduce the risk that virus particles may be circulating.


  1. For buildings or spaces with windows that can be opened, for example, The Chancellery – occupants are advised to open windows when they are present. 
  2. For buildings with central air conditioning e.g., Mathews Building – outside air intakes have been opened further to increase the volume of outside fresh air. This may lead to changes in the internal comfort conditions of these spaces, but as normal occupancy is achieved over time, the systems will adjust to improve the working conditions. 
  3. For older buildings without central air conditioning or spaces without access to windows that open – where physical distancing cannot be achieved, EM has installed portable HEPA filter units capable of servicing the room size.

Where central air conditioning permits:

  1. Implement fresh air purge events to spaces with high occupancy levels prior to and following normal operating hours.
  2. EM has improved the HVAC air filtration performance to the highest degree permissible without significantly impacting system air flow.
  3. New supplementary air treatment technologies, such as San-Air purifiers and Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) have been installed where the conditions are appropriate.

While these air quality improvements can reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, it is not possible for heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems alone to eliminate the risk.

The most beneficial measures to reduce the risk of COVID transmission in indoor spaces is following Public Health recommendations, i.e. wearing masks, physical distancing, reduced occupancy levels, personal hygiene including frequent hand washing and continue to follow Public Health Orders.

If the current COVID-19 situation is impacting your studies and your ability to complete any assessments, you can apply for Special Consideration or you may be eligible for Fee Remission.

If you have other concerns and wish to talk to someone, you can book an appointment with one of our helpful Student Support Advisors.

Yes – you will be asked for the details of your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) if you attend a doctor, medical centre or hospital.

Go here for more information on OSHC.

UNSW’s preferred OSHC provider is Medibank.

No. The COVID-19 vaccination is free for all Australian residents, including international students currently in Australia. If you receive your vaccination at the UNSW Health Service and you have health insurance with Medibank there will be no charge. 

Outside of UNSW, you can find the nearest COVID-19 vaccine clinic here. Alternatively, please contact your health insurance provider for more information.

When it is time for you to travel to Sydney, our Return of International Students page is here to help.

We support you with pre-departure, Sydney entry requirements, accommodation, airport transport and warmly welcome you to UNSW.

Affected students may defer or take program leave depending on the availability of relevant programs and subjects. 

If you are a commencing student, enquiries on program deferral can be directed to UNSW Future Students.

Continuing students who would like to take program leave can contact the Nucleus: Student Hub for more information.

Program leave is for continuing students who would like to temporarily pause their studies for a term or longer. 

When you apply for program leave, your current Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) will be cancelled and you will need to apply for a new one when you are ready to resume your studies. 

You will not be able to enter Australia without a valid CoE and visa. You can check your visa status through Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO).

If you have questions about program leave and your CoE and visa, please email

Arrangements for Higher Degree Research Candidates

If you are a new candidate, you may be able to defer your UNSW admission and scholarship (if applicable) offer to the next term. Please refer to the HDR calendar for term start dates and contact the Admissions & Scholarships Team at or

If you are a current candidate, please contact the Candidature Management Officer for your Faculty to discuss your circumstances.

If you are unable to conduct your research due to the impact of COVID-19, you should discuss the following with your supervisor:  

  • Is there any work that can continue?  
  • Can the planned work be modified? 
  • Can the planned work be delayed? 
  • Is it possible to focus on writing? 

If you are unable to continue or modify your work, please get in contact with your Candidature Management Officer to discuss your options.

Make sure that you document any ways that COVID-19 has impacted your progress, as this can be taken into account at a later stage when needed. 

If you wish to apply for Program Leave as a current or continuing candidate, you can do so via GRIS. Further information on Term dates including deadlines for applying for program leave is on the HDR Academic Calendar page. 

If you hold a student visa, you are expected to be enrolled full time. This means that a period of program leave may have an impact on your visa. Please contact the Department of Home Affairs to discuss your situation before applying for leave.

Please be aware that your scholarship will be suspended while you’re on leave and you should not be working on your research during that time. If you have any questions about program leave, please contact your Candidature Management Officer.

If you are a domestic research candidate, you can apply for a change to part-time enrolment using GRIS.

International Student Visa Holders must be enrolled full-time. However, under exceptional circumstances an international candidate may be given approval to change to part-time attendance. Information on how to apply can be found on the HDR Hub.

Please note that if you are a scholarship holder, a change to part-time enrolment will have an impact on your stipend. More information can be found on the HDR Hub.

If you are currently residing outside of Australia, and wish to conduct fieldwork outside of Australia, you will need to request approval to work away from campus. Further information is here.

You should complete the fieldwork risk assessment form and email it to for the risk team to consider your request.

If you are within the normal time for on-time completion you just need to enrol for an additional term and submit your thesis when it is ready.  However, if this enrolment is over the normal time for on-time completion, you will need to apply for overtime enrolment.

If you have any questions, please contact your GRS Candidature Management Officer.