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How failing a course affects your study

The effects on your study will depend on how many courses you have failed and whether you have failed any courses previously.

Failing 50% or fewer of your courses this semester

If you’ve done this, the University considers that you’ve made satisfactory academic progress, but there will be an effect on the duration of your program. Basically, you will need to study for a longer period of time. We know this is something that a lot of students want to avoid, and students often suggest some options so that they can graduate on time. We’ve listed the usual ones below, and told you whether it is possible or not.


This is not a possibility, as we are only permitted to allow students to overload when we are sure they can succeed in passing more than a normal full-time load. If you failed a course, we know that you have struggled with a normal full-time load and so we can’t give you permission to overload.

Summer Courses

This may be a possibility, however it will depend on your program requirements and the courses you wish to take. If you wish to do a summer course, please send a request to info.cbe@anu.edu.au identifying the summer course/s that you are interested in undertaking.


When enrolling for your next semester, ask these questions:

  • Was the course I failed a core course? If yes, then you will need to take it again at some point. If not, you may decide not to enrol in that course again.
  • Was the course I failed a pre-requisite for another course I need/want to do? If yes, then you should probably enrol in the course you failed in the next semester it is offered.

If you need help with your enrolment you should speak to a program advisor.

Failing more that 50% of your courses this semester for the first time

If you’ve done this, the University considers that you haven’t maintained satisfactory academic progress and so you will be put on academic probation. This means that if you fail more than 50% of the courses you study a second time, you will be excluded from the University unless you can provide sufficient evidence of the reason for your failure.

As this is something that we’d like to help you avoid, we will contact you by email, inviting you to come and talk with us. Some things we’ll talk with you about are:

  • The academic progress rules and procedure
  • The effect on your program duration
  • The reasons you think you failed
  • Strategies and resources to help you succeed
  • Enrolment advice for the following semester

These meetings are not something you should be worried about, or try to avoid. Remember, we are here to help you succeed at your studies.

Failing more that 50% of your courses this semester for the second time

In this event you will be contacted by the Examinations and Graduations Office by email and registered post. If you’ve done this, the default response is that you will be excluded from the University. If you wish to appeal this exclusion you must submit an application to 'show cause' as to why you should be permitted to continue your studies at the University.

You should consider the following things before you write your appeal:

  • What are the reasons for your failure?
  • What strategies are you putting in place to address those reasons?
  • What other strategies are you putting in place to ensure that you don’t fail again?

It is important that you check and read your university email, and follow any instructions you receive from the Examinations and Graduations Office. The College is not involved in the process, so is unable to advise you, but you may like to contact the Dean of Students  if you require assistance with the process.

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Updated:   2 November 2018 / Responsible Officer:  CBE Communications and Outreach / Page Contact:  College Web Team