Research study load

HDR Candidates are expected to pursue their program for 48 weeks of the year.

Under the Procedure: Higher degree by research - candidature:

  • A full-time load for a year is 48 units (1 unit per week of enrolment).
  • A full-time load hours for a week is 40 hours.
  • A part-time load for a year is 24 units (1 unit per 2 weeks of enrolment).
  • A part-time load hours for a week is 20 hours.  

While international HDR Candidates are required to be enrolled full-time, units of enrolment may be adjusted to reflect the date of commencement, approved program leave, and thesis submission date.  These changes do not affect the approved study load.  

Changing your approved study load

Full-time HDR Candidates may transfer to part-time status with the approval of their Delegated Authority. Commonly a transfer to part-time status is sought for health, carer responsibility or employment reasons. See below for information on how to change from full-time to part-time or vice versa.

Step 1
Advisor appointment

Make an appointment with your supervisor to discuss your research and reasons for requiring a change to your study load. 

Step 2
International Students on Student 500 Visa Only

International students on a Student 500 Visa must maintain 100 per cent study load, except in 'compassionate and compelling circumstances'. This can include medical or carer's reasons, and must be supported by documentation, and approved by your ANU College.

If you are approved to reduce your study load this change of intensity will be reported to the Australian Government as part of our standard reporting requirements, and your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)  will be updated to reflect this change, including your updated anticipated program end date. Note we are unable to provide Student Visa advice, so if you have any questions regarding your Student Visa please contact the Department of Home Affairs.

Step 3
Check scholarship

If you are a scholarship holder, you should carefully check the relevant Conditions of Award to determine whether it would be possible to retain the scholarship as a part-time student. Circumstances under which you would be able to retain the scholarship are limited and relate to personal health issues or primary carer responsibilities.

Part-time scholarships are taxable. Scholars who are enrolled in an approved program of concurrent study, for example, MBBS/PhD (where the overall load is full-time) may retain the PhD scholarship on a part-time basis - in this case, the scholarship is not taxable.  

Step 4
Complete application

You can apply to change your study load using the Manage My Degree eForm, via ISIS

If the reason for studying part-time was based on medical grounds, your application will need to include medical certification indicating that you are now fit to study full-time.  

If your application is approved, you will be advised in writing of your new program end date, which you will be able to view in ISIS.

You will be advised if your application is rejected.

Step 5
Apply for a fee refund

If you have successfully applied for reduced study load you may be eligible for a refund of your tuition fees and/or Services & Amenities (SA) Fee.  You can check the balance of your student account on ISIS.  If your account is in credit you can apply for a fee refund.

Advice to help

Fee refunds