Future and commencing students

5. Future and commencing students

You are a commencing student if you have accepted an offer to study at UWA in Semester 1, 2021. If you are a commencing higher degree by research (HDR) student, please see category seven for information relating to HDR studies.

5-1 – I’m worried I might not be able to start my studies at UWA as planned. What should I do?

We understand this may be a difficult time, and we'll work with you to ensure that any impact on your studies is minimised (see information below).

If this current situation is causing you some anxiety, please reach out to our Counselling and Psychological Service team. They can provide you with free and confidential emotional support, including via phone or videoconferencing.

5-2 – When does Semester 1, 2021 start and will my course be available online?

Semester 1, 2021 will commence on Monday 22 February 2021, as originally scheduled.

The timetable for Semester 1, 2021 has been designed to accommodate both face-to-face and online teaching modes for most courses. This gives students the opportunity to commence and progress their studies while still providing options for students who are unable to join us on campus, or who prefer to study online during this time. The timetable was released on 9 November 2020 to ensure that staff and students have sufficient time to plan their studies. To check whether or not units within your course are available online, please visit our Study Online at UWA in 2021 webpage.

5-3 – Will I get a student visa if there is still a travel restriction for international students coming to Australia?

This is a decision made by the Department of Home Affairs. UWA is continuing to make offers of admission and providing Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) documentation for students to submit as part of their student visa application.

If you would like to discuss your visa application, or likelihood of a visa being issued, please contact the Department of Home Affairs for advice: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/contact-us.

5-4 – Can I defer my offer to study at UWA?

If you have not accepted your offer and decide to defer your study to 2022, you may defer your offer at any stage prior to your course commencing. You will only be able to defer your offer once, however consideration is given to those with genuine exceptional circumstances including circumstances relating to COVID-19.

5-5 – If I initially start my studies and then decide to postpone my studies until another semester, what is the latest date I can do this by?

If you have already commenced your studies and then decide you would prefer to postpone your studies you should apply for Approved Leave. The deadline to apply for Approved Leave for Semester 1, 2021 is 9 April 2021. Further information about applying for Approved Leave can be found in the FAQs for current students.

5-6 – Will the Australian Government still be issuing and approving study visas?

This is a decision that rests with the Department of Home Affairs. If you would like to discuss your visa application, or likelihood of a visa being issued, contact the Department of Home Affairs for advice: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/contact-us or call 131 881 if you are located within Australia.

5-7 – If I am unable to physically come to Australia, am I still able to lodge a Student Visa application and will the Department of Home Affairs approve my application?

Students are able to lodge visa applications offshore. Whether a visa is issued rests with the Department of Home Affairs. UWA is continuing to make offers of admission and providing Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) documentation for students to submit as part of their Student Visa application.

If you would like to discuss your visa application and likelihood of your application being approved, please contact the Department of Home Affairs for advice: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/contact-us .

If you decide to submit an application for a Student Visa, you may lodge your VISA at any point in time. We recommend lodging your application for a Student Visa at least six weeks prior to the start of semester to allow sufficient time for the Department of Home Affairs to process your application.

5-8 – If I have received a scholarship with my offer of study at UWA will I still be eligible for this scholarship, even if the delivery is on line?

Yes. Scholarships are awarded based on meeting academic and/or other criteria, not the mode of study you are undertaking.

5-9 – I am a domestic student who is worried about the impact of COVID19 on my Year 12 studies. What options do I have available to me for admission to UWA for 2021?

UWA recognises that the global COVID-19 pandemic is causing a lot of uncertainty, particularly for students who will be completing Year 12. UWA is working on ways to support Year 12 students, and has developed a variety of alternatives for students hoping to apply to UWA. Further information on the new entry options for Year 12 students can be found here: https://www.uwa.edu.au/study/forms/2021-admission-pathways .

5-10 – Are the new 2021 Entry Pathways for Year 12 students open to International students studying a Year 12 Australian curriculum?

The Australian Government has confirmed that ATAR is still going to be awarded this year and UWA will still continue to accept and assess applications based on achieved ATAR.

The new 2021 Entry Pathways for Year 12 students are also available to International students completing a Year 12 Australian curriculum, such as the Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE), Higher School Certificate (HSC) or South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE). For further information on the new 2021 entry options for Year 12 students, please visit: https://www.uwa.edu.au/study/forms/2021-admission-pathways.

5-11 – My International Baccalaureate examinations have been cancelled. Will UWA still consider my application?

UWA will accept Year 11 results from domestic students for the International Baccalaureate (IB) program for entry into non-competitive entry courses as part of UWA’s new entry options for Year 12 students. You will still need to demonstrate meeting the University’s English Language Competency requirements through either English Language subjects (English A1 at HL or SL - Minimum score 4; English A2 at HL or SL - Minimum score 4; or English B at HL – Minimum score 5), or achieving the required scores in an approved test of English.

International students will be able to use their International Baccalaureate predicted results to receive a conditional offer. In order to meet the conditions against your offer you will need to provide your completed IB Diploma and achieve the minimum required scores, alongside meeting English Language Competency and satisfying and prerequisite subject requirements for your chose course and major. Once you have provided your completed IB Diploma, we will also be able to make an assessment of your eligibility for the Global Excellence Scholarship. Further information on entry through the IB can be found here; https://www.uwa.edu.au/study/how-to-apply/international-and-overseas-qualifications/international-baccalaureate-1

5-12 – What alternative pathways are available for offshore international students who are not going to be able to complete their ATAR equivalent qualification?

If you are unable to meet UWA’s minimum entry requirements through your International or overseas qualification, you may consider the Taylors College Diploma in Science or Diploma in Commerce. Alternatively, students who do not meet the entry requirements for the Taylors College Diploma program may wish to consider the Taylors College Foundation Program.

For further information on Taylors College pathways to studying at UWA, please visit: https://www.taylorsperth.edu.au/

5-13 – I am unable to sit the IELTS. What alternatives are there to meet UWA’s English Language Competency requirements?

The IELTS Indicator test and TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition Test are now available as an alternative until in-person testing resumes in the country you are located in. As long as the required scores are achieved, UWA will accept the IELTS Indicator test and TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition Test to meet English Language Competency requirements.

These tests follow the same content, format and structure as the traditional tests. Therefore, the same minimum scores as the in-person tests are required. Required scores may vary depending on the course you are applying for, with some courses specifically requiring IELTS. For courses specifically requiring IELTS, the IELTS indicator test can also be used to meet the specified IELTS score requirements.

Students in China, who are unable to access either the IELTS Indicator and TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition tests, may apply for the UWA English Test.  This test can only be used for admission to courses with the standard English Language Competency requirements. After submitting an application to UWA, applicants need to contact UWA’s Centre for English Language Teaching (CELT) directly to register for the UWA English Test [email protected]. Please note this test is only available to students in China who are applying to commence their studies at UWA up until and including semester 2, 2021.

Alternatively, unless IELTS is specifically required for your course of interest, you many also sit any other test listed in UWA’s English Language Competency requirements. For further information, please see our English Language Competency requirements.


5-14 – Are there any changes to the tests required for an application to a professional degree in Health and Medical Sciences, such as medicine or dentistry?

Application timelines and due dates remain in place for 2021 entry into a professional degree in dentistrymedicine, optometrypharmacy and podiatric medicine.  The Faculty is monitoring the situation regarding COVID-19 restrictions and the potential impact on selection processes. Please refer to the FHMS Admissions website for updated information regarding the admissions process.

5-15 – As a commencing student, if I decide to stop my studies will I get any credit for the fees I paid?

Students commencing studies in Semester 1, 2021 who decide to withdraw completely from their studies prior to the Semester 1, 2021 census date, being 31 March 2021, can request a full refund into the account they used to initially make their payment. For units which operate in non-standard teaching periods, you will need to request your refund prior to the census date for that teaching period. There are no administrative fees applied to full refunds.

For commencing students who wish to take approved leave or reduce their unit load (with approval from Student Offices with an intervention strategy in place), UWA will provide a 100% system credit. If this is due to financial hardship, for Semester 1, 2021 students can apply for a 50% refund and UWA will hold the remaining 50% as credit towards future studies at UWA.

5-16 – As an international student, if I choose to study online due to COVID-19 travel restrictions can I study a reduced study load (less than four units)?

As an international student you can commence your studies online for Semester 1, 2021 and even study offshore. You are still covered and protected under the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 and the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 (National Code).

To comply with the ESOS Act and the National Code, UWA must continue to ensure that first tuition payments, issuance of Certificates of Enrolment (CoEs), full-time enrolment requirements, and requirements for international students to complete their courses within the specified duration are managed in the usual way. This means that international students should maintain a full-time enrolment, regardless of their mode of study and physical location. 

If you experience challenges with maintaining full-time enrolment we encourage you to contact your Student Office or International Student Support to discuss your situation so we can work with you on a plan that supports you, keeps you on track and complies with your visa conditions. Please note: if you are no longer able to complete your studies within the time frame of your visa you will need a new CoE and visa for further study.

5-17 – The results for my international school leaving qualification are delayed. I am worried that I will not be able to provide proof to satisfy the University’s admission requirements in order to start my course on time. What can I do in this situation?

If there are expected delays in the issue of the official certificate or results for your international school leaving qualification, UWA will allow you to enrol provisionally and to commence your studies prior to presenting these qualifications required to satisfy the conditions of your offer. You will still need to provide the required document(s) by the census date for the relevant intake period, that is, by 31 August 2020 if you commence in Semester 2, 2020 or by 31 March 2021 if you commence in Semester 1, 2021.

5-18 – Are there any changes to the student visa process?

On 20 July 2020 the Australian Government announced changes to student-visa policies, including:

  1. The granting of student visas will recommence for applications lodged outside of Australia. This means that, when travel restrictions are lifted and borders reopen, students will already have visas and be able to make arrangements to travel.
  2. Additional time will be given to student-visa applicants to provide English-language results where COVID-19 has disrupted their ability to access these services.
  3. Normal student-visa requirements remain in place, including visa length, Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) requirements and welfare arrangements for students under 18.
  4. If you are a current student-visa holder and are unable to complete your studies within the duration of your original student visa due to the impact of COVID-19, you will be able to lodge a further student visa application free of charge to continue your studies.

You can stay informed by visiting:

5-19 – Are there any changes to eligibility for Post-Study Work Visas (Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485)), given that many students are completing studies online in their home countries due to travel restrictions?

On 20 July 2020 the Australian Government announced that study completed online outside of Australia due to COVID-19 travel restrictions will count towards the Australian-study requirements for a post-study work visa if:

  • you are/were enrolled at an Australian institution at the time the study was undertaken; and
  • you held a valid Australian student visa at the time of study.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) undertaken overseas does not contribute to the Australian Study Requirement (ASR) for post-study work visa eligibility. However, our national regulators will need to determine the maximum time a student can study offshore as a result of COVID-19 to be eligible. Your student visa will not be backdated in an attempt to qualify for post-study work if you are currently studying online without a visa.

Graduates who held a student visa will be eligible to apply for a post-study work visa outside of Australia if they are unable to return to Australia due to COVID-19.

You can stay informed by visiting:

5-20 – Can I apply for an exemption to travel to Western Australia (WA) if I need to complete a clinical placement in WA in order to graduate? 

Temporary visa holders who are seeking to enter Western Australia require both:

  1. a travel exemption from the Australian Government’s Australian Border Force (ABF) Commissioner to enter Australia; and
  2. approval from the WA Government to enter Western Australia.

You should read the WA Government’s information on travel restrictions to determine if you meet the travel exemption criteria.

G2G PASS is an online mobile application that allows you to apply for approval to travel into Western Australia for your approved purpose.

International students currently located offshore should only apply for the G2G pass once they have been granted a travel exemption from the ABF Commissioner and they have secured accommodation for quarantine purposes. 

You will be subject to the Australian Government’s mandatory quarantine period of 14 days at your first Australian destination. Note that if you enter Australia at a city outside of Western Australia, you will be required to quarantine for a further 14 days when you arrive in Perth.

Students may be able to quarantine at UWA residential colleges that have procedures in place for quarantine. Please contact your preferred residential college for further information.  

You can find further information by visiting:

5-21 – Can I retain my Global Excellence Scholarship (GES) if I defer my course start date or take approved leave from my UWA course?

Yes, once you have had your scholarship eligibility re-assessed and approved against the scholarship conditions that apply to your new intake, Admissions will re-issue the offer with updated details. Or, once you have had your academic leave approved by your Course Coordinator, the Scholarship Office will postpone the scholarship.