Taking a break from your study

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

Important information

Applications are open for the 2020 and 2021 academic years. Your application must be submitted before the census date of the intended study period.

If you want to take a break from your study, applying for Leave of Absence is currently not compulsory, however it will become a requirement for students later in 2021.

Leave of Absence

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

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 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.

*For international students on a student visa: If you wish to temporarily suspend your study on grounds of compelling or compassionate circumstances, you must apply for 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 sessions consecutively.

  • 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 prerequisite for unit(s) in an upcoming session. If you were enrolled in unit(s) requiring a prerequisite, 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.


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 discontinued from your course.

To return to your course after being discontinued, 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 in an Intensive Foundation or Standard Foundation course at the Macquarie University International College
  • 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'


Current Macquarie University International College Intensive and Standard Foundation Program


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, for no longer than one study period.