Discontine Not Fail (DC)

Caseworker image

Late discontinuation under special circumstances

From 1 January 2022 the DC process changed:

  • Applications are assessed by Student Administrative Services (SAS), not faculties.
  • There will no longer be a DC deadline around week 8 where you can withdraw and receive a DC automatically. Any unit you withdraw from after census date and before the last day of the teaching period will result in a Discontinue Fail (DF) grade.
  • Tuition fees (including HECS/HELP) will automatically be re-credited, refunded or remitted if a DC is approved.

What is a DC?

A DC (Discontinue Not to Count as Fail) indicates that you were enrolled in a Unit of Study, but at some point after the census date, were unable to complete the unit because of illness, injury, or misadventure, that was unexpected, and outside of your control.

Illness includes the exacerbation of a pre-existing condition. DCs do not count towards your WAM or academic progression. If you withdraw from a unit after the census date, but before the end of the teaching period (week 13), and do not receive a DC, you will receive a Discontinue Fail (DF) grade. A DF is not counted towards your uni WAM, but is counted for progression, and in some cases may be counted towards an honours WAM.  


You can apply for a late DC under special circumstances if you were unable to successfully complete a unit of study due to illness, injury, or misadventure, that was unexpected and outside of your control. Illness includes the exacerbation of a pre-existing illness. It is best to apply as soon as possible as applications after results are released are not usually successful. Applications must be submitted through the DC portal. The space available for your written statement is very short, so write a statement in a separate word document and attach that. In the section asking for a brief statement you could sum up the information in the rest of your application, e.g., “too unwell to complete all of my subjects”; or “experienced a misadventure”.

Why couldn’t you discontinue before census date?

You must be able to demonstrate that you were engaged in your subject, attending classes and completing assessments, before you became affected by illness, injury, or misadventure. You should have applied for special consideration for any assessments that you missed before the date that you began to be impacted by your illness, injury, or misadventure. If you did not, you will need to explain why.

Do you have supporting documentation?

DC applications must have formal, third party supporting documentation from a relevant medical practitioner, counsellor, or similar professional. Sometimes it may be appropriate to get a statutory declaration from a family member or friend or provide a student declaration yourself, however, use this as a last resort as it is often not considered sufficient. Your documentation needs to clearly state the period and how severely you were impacted, ideally “very severely affected”. The period you were impacted should start after the census date and should continue until the date you are applying. While it is not necessary to include a diagnosis in the supporting document, it might be helpful if it outlines what you are no longer able to do, e.g., attend classes, complete assessments, study a full time load.


Did you pass any units?

If you passed any units in the semester you will need to explain why you were able to successfully complete them, but not the ones you are seeking a DC for. An event may have happened after you had completed the assessment for one unit but not the other; or perhaps the content or types of assessments were different in those units. Note that you will need to have this explanation on your supporting documents as well. For example, if you were too sick to complete four units of study, but were well enough to complete three, you will need your doctor to state this on the Professional Practitioner’s Certificate.

Yes. If a DC is approved, tuition fees paid for those units of study (including HECS/HELP) will automatically be re-credited, refunded or remitted.

My application was declined, is there anything I can do?

DC decisions are administrative decisions, not academic decisions. This means they cannot be appealed under the university’s appeals rule. You can, however, request a formal review of the decision. In your request for a review, you should respond to any reasons they provided for declining your DC application and provide appropriate, new documentation. This is your last chance to appeal so talk to a Caseworker to ensure you are putting your best case forward.

This information does not constitute legal advice. Seek qualified professional advice before making decisions about educational, financial, migration or legal matters. This information can change from time to time. Check for the most up-to-date information.

Information updated on 02/03/23

Need more help or advice?

If you need more advice about your specific situation, contact an SRC Caseworker by completing the contact form (below)

Caseworker Contact Form


Have a look at your representation


  • Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR)

    ACAR is an autonomous space that organises around issues relating to people of colour, in activist and educational ways from a student perspective.

    Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR)
  • Disabilities Collective and Caregivers Network

    The University of Sydney Disabilities Collective is an autonomous collective of the University of Sydney Students' Representative Council (SRC).

    Disabilities Collective and Caregivers Network
  • Education Action Group (EAG)

    The Sydney University Education Action Group (EAG) campaigns on education issues including fighting for free education and stopping course cuts.

    Education Action Group (EAG)
  • Enviro Collective

    The Enviro Collective, is the official environmental group of the SRC.

    Enviro Collective
  • First Nations Department

    We are a dedicated group of First Nations activists and allies at the University of Sydney.

    First Nations Department
  • Global Solidarity
    Global Solidarity
  • Intercampus
  • Interfaith
  • International Students Collective

    The International Students' Collective (ISC) is an SRC Collective that exists to represent and orgaanise around the interests of international students.

    International Students Collective
  • Mature age students
    Mature age students
Stay connected to the SRC

Keep up-to-date with everything going on within your Students' Representative Council and beyond!

Level 1, Wentworth Building G01,
University of Sydney,
174 City Road, Darlington NSW 2008
Phone: 02 9660 5222
Phone & online contact hours: Monday–Friday | 9am–5pm Office opening hours: Tuesday–Thursday | 9am–5pm* *excluding public holidays, May Day (May 1st) and the University Christmas Closure Period

Powered by MSL

© Copyright - Students' Representative Council, University of Sydney