Taking a break from your study

We understand that circumstances can change, which is why you may want to take a Leave of Absence.

Application dates

Applications are open for the 2021 and 2022 academic years. Your application must be submitted before the census date of the intended study period.

Leave of Absence

Leave of Absence allows a current student* to take a study break for up to 12 months (maximum leave entitlement during their course).

  • Example: A student studying in a Bachelor course can apply for a Leave of Absence for two consecutive sessions in one application ie Session 1 and Session 2. Or you can choose to submit two separate applications for two separate breaks, one session in one academic year and another application for a session in a future academic year.

Some courses require that you apply for a specific duration of leave due to unit offerings. Refer to course exception list below.

* International students on a student visa are only able to take a break from their studies due to compelling or compassionate circumstances. Applications are via a suspension of study (SoS).

Before you apply for Leave of Absence

Course exceptions
Macquarie Business School
  • Bachelor of Professional Practice: If you withdraw and/or seek a leave of absence from this course, you must advise the Co-op team (coopandinternships@mq.edu.au) of your intention as soon as possible.
  • Bachelor of Actuarial Studies with Professional Practice (Honours): If you withdraw and/or seek a leave of absence from this course, you must advise the Co-op team (coopandinternships@mq.edu.au) of your intention as soon as possible.
Faculty of Medicine, Health and Human Sciences

Applications for the following courses must be 12 months only, ie two consecutive sessions.

  • Doctor of Medicine
  • Doctor of Physiotherapy
  • Master of Speech and Language Pathology
  • Master of Clinical Audiology
Academic advice

It is recommended you seek academic advice from your Faculty before submitting a request for Leave of Absence. This will help you understand your remaining course requirements and prepare for your return to study.

Be aware that some units are only available in certain study periods. Ensure that when you return to studies the unit(s) you need to enrol in will be available.

Unit(s) withdrawal

Once a Leave of Absence request has been approved, all currently enrolled units within the requested period will be withdrawn. They will not be subject to any academic or financial penalty, ie no grade will be recorded against the unit(s) nor will you be required to pay for the unit(s).

Your withdrawn unit(s) may have been a requisite for unit(s) in an upcoming session. If you were enrolled in unit(s) requiring a requisite, they will also be withdrawn because you will no longer meet the requirement.

It is your responsibility to finalise enrolment upon your return to studies.

Course withdrawal

If you do not enrol in the subsequent study period and record a grade once you have exceeded 12 months of leave, you will be withdrawn from your course.

To return to your course after being withdrawn, you will need to reapply to the University to continue in your course. This will reset your leave entitlements.

Academic standing suspension

If your academic status is 'suspended', you will not be permitted to undertake any studies for two consecutive study periods; however, these study periods will not count towards your maximum leave entitlement.

Commencing students (new students)

If you are new to studying at Macquarie University, Leave of Absence is not available in your first study period; however, you may be eligible to apply for a deferment of studies.

Students who are transferring courses internally are not considered to be a new student to the university and can apply for Leave of Absence. Your leave entitlements will be reset upon your course transfer.



To request Leave of Absence, you must:

  • be admitted into a course
  • have recorded at least one pass, fail or withdrawn grade in your current course
  • not be studying via Next Step or Non-Award
  • not be studying via Open Universities Australia (OUA)
  • not be suspended or excluded from the University
  • not be an international student on a student visa

It is recommended that you seek academic advice prior to submitting a Leave of Absence request, in particular, if you have an academic standing of 'Conditional Enrolment or Probation'.

If you have a scholarship or are receiving any financial assistance from the university, you will need to check in with your sponsor or contact the scholarships and prizes team to notify your decision on taking a study break.

Student cohort

How to apply

Current domestic course students (including the Bachelor of Philosophy), and have recorded at least one pass, fail or withdrawn grade in your admitted course

Students can apply via eStudent. Changes to your application can be submitted via eStudent and will be accepted prior to last date to enrol via AskMQ

Current international student on a student visa, and have recorded at least one pass, fail or withdrawn grade in your current admitted course

Please see information on Suspension of study (SoS).

Current Higher Degree Research student

Please contact the Contact HDR Office to discuss.

Next Step or Non-Award student


Open Universities Australia (OUA) student


Academic Progression standing of 'Suspended'


Duration of absence

  • Domestic students may apply for Leave of Absence for a period not exceeding a total of 12 months over the duration of a course, provided they have recorded a grade in one study period of their course.
  • International students on a student visa must apply for a suspension of studies.

After application has been processed

  1. You will be able to see the status of your application via eStudent – Leave of Absence request summary.
  2. An outcome will be sent to your student email. It is your responsibility to check your student email.
  3. If approved, related fees will be adjusted and can be requested for a refund.
  4. If approved, you will no longer be entitled to an Opal travel concession in the study period/s of your leave. A new declaration for Opal travel concession will be required.

Students without enrolment and without an application

If you do not submit a Leave of Absence request and do not enrol in any units, a Leave of Absence will be submitted on your behalf for one study period and this will contribute to your maximum leave duration for your admitted course.

During the leave and before you resume study

  • While on leave, keep your contact details up to date and continue to check your student email account
  • To reduce your leave period, submit an AskMQ
  • To extend your return date, submit a new application via eStudent to cover the additional period of leave you wish to take.

All university facilities and services are still available to you while you are on leave, for example, the Library, Student Wellbeing, Careers.

Before you return to your study, check your student email account for any re-enrolment information.