Update on exams, graduations, travel and teaching in 2021

15 October 2020

Email to students from Professor Grady Venville, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) on 15 October 2020.

Dear Students,

As we approach the end of the year, I know that many of you have questions about upcoming exams and graduations, travel, and what teaching and learning might look like in 2021.

This message includes information on:


This is a tough year for everyone in our community and we're all experiencing new challenges, including living away from our friends and family, or being unable to travel to campus for study. We have a number of free support services available for our students and I encourage you to access them if you need it. I also encourage you to stay connected with your peers and teachers, and reach out to anyone you think might be doing it tough.

If you are isolating, have been tested, or have a confirmed positive result for COVID-19, please contact CommunityWellbeing@anu.edu.au.

Pilot program and international student return

As you may be aware, earlier this year ANU and the ACT Government were exploring an international student pilot program. We are continuing to look at options to bring our international students to ANU, but at this time, the pilot remains on hold.  We are actively working with the ACT Government and we will let you know as we have more information, or the pilot can proceed. With the current border restrictions, only Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members can travel to Australia. We look forward to our international students returning to campus soon.

Up to date information and support services for our international student community is available here and travel guidance is available here.

Students in domestic hotspots

It has also been a very difficult year for our students in Victoria who have experienced a prolonged lock-down.  To provide you with more information, we have published new Frequently Asked Questions for students in domestic hotspots, based on queries coming in from our student community.

These include information about returning to campus and ACT Health travel exemptions, staying connected, and mental health and study support. We will continue to update this page as new questions come through. With the great coronavirus containment in Victoria, we are optimistic the borders through to ACT will open for your fee travel soon. 

Semester 2 results and grades

For Semester 2, we have extended our flexible approach to the student grading system. You will be able to choose to opt-in to the 2020 grading system to change most Semester 2, 2020 coursework grades to Course Requirements Satisfied (CRS) or Course Requirements Not Satisfied (CRN). CRS and CRN grades will not be included in Grade Point Average (GPA) calculations.

Semester 2 results will be released to students on 10 December. This is a little later than usual so that we can administer the CRS/CRN grade requests and other impacts as effectively as possible. 

If you wish to opt-in to CRS/CRN in Semester 2, you will again need to use the Grade Change eForm which will be available for a limited time from results release until Monday 14 December 2020 at 11.59pm AEDT.

More information on the 2020 grading system is available here.


Most assessments will take place remotely in 2020. Your course convener will update you on your assessment and exam arrangements for this semester. If you have questions about your assessment, please speak with your course convenor or Academic College.

You can access more information on exam arrangements by clicking the following links:


We are unable to hold our normal graduations this year due to ongoing health restrictions, so we are working to develop a digital alternative, which means graduands won't miss out if they can't make it to Canberra. We will have more information on this soon.

Conferral for 2020 graduands is scheduled for 21 December 2020.  If you are eligible to graduate this semester, you may do so in-absentia and you will receive a physical copy of your testamur via post. We will hold in-person graduation ceremonies in the future, when it is safe to do so. If you graduate in-absentia, you may attend a future ceremony to celebrate your conferral with the ANU community.

Semester 1, 2021

Semester 1, 2021 might still seem a long way off, but I have received a number of enquiries about the approach ANU will take to teaching next year. We expect the ANU COVID Safe Campus alert system will remain low for the foreseeable future.

Staff are now preparing for Semester 1, 2021 and we are planning to continue the hybrid model of teaching that accommodates both students studying on campus and students studying remotely. However, assuming the COVID-19 risk in the ACT remains low, we will be able to have more in-person classes and other activities. 

You can defer as normal but I encourage you to see how the COVID situation continues to change over the coming months before deferring your studies.

ANU Recovery

As you may have seen, the Vice-Chancellor provided an update on the ANU Recovery Plan on Tuesday 13 October. Among areas highlighted for investment, the student experience remains a key focus for ANU. You can read the Recovery Plan documents here.

We're here to help

If you have any questions or suggestions, please get in touch with one of the following teams.

  • Student administration, advice and support services - contact Student Central.
  • The University's COVID-19 response measures, including travel and our COVID Safe campus - ask for advice here.
  • Wellbeing support and advice regarding public health measures, self-isolating and getting tested - contact Community Wellbeing by email: CommunityWellbeing@anu.edu.au, or phone: +61 2 6125 3346 (option 1) during business hours.

We are incredibly proud of your resilience and commitment this year, despite all the challenges that have presented. We are grateful for the thoughtful feedback you, our students, provided about our rapid transition to remote and then hybrid models of teaching through 2020. We are carefully considering your feedback and taking the opportunity to refine our approach with more interactive teaching and learning activities and better connection between staff and students.

I encourage you to provide course convenors with any further helpful feedback through the SELT survey or simply through a friendly email.  If you have a fantastic teacher, or you appreciate what they have done for you this year, please let them know!

Kind regards