1. Objective

The objectives of this policy are to:

(a)    provide a framework to guide decisions regarding students’ academic performance and progression;

(b)    set clear responsibilities and accountabilities for academic progression decisions and processes; and

(c)    ensure that academic progress processes are transparent, consistent and fair.

2. Scope

This policy applies to all students enrolled in coursework subjects and coursework degrees of the University, including candidates enrolled in coursework components of graduate research degrees. It does not apply to students enrolled in a subject through the Community Access Program.

3. Authority

This policy is made under the University of Melbourne Act 2009 (Vic) and the Academic Board Regulation and supports compliance with the:

(a)   Higher Education Support Act 2003 (Cth);

(b)   Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (Cth); and

(c)   National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018.

4. Policy

Academic Progress Requirements

4.1. Academic progress is the process by which students are able to advance in their course of study, having fulfilled all academic requirements.

4.2. It is the responsibility of a student to maintain satisfactory academic progress in their course.

Students "at risk"

4.3. A student is “at risk” of making unsatisfactory progress if the student:

(a)    fails 50% or more of the student’s enrolled subjects for any one progress review period;

(b)    fails a compulsory or core subject for the first time; or

(c)    withdraws from all subjects for any one progress review period after the census date or after the last date to withdraw without incurring a fail grade.

Unsatisfactory Academic Progress

4.4. A student’s progress is unsatisfactory if the student:

(a)   reaches the maximum time to complete a course without completing the requirements of the course in which they are enrolled;

(b)   fails to meet a condition which has been imposed as part of an earlier academic progress review process;

(c)   withdraws after the census date or after the last date to withdraw without incurring a fail grade from all enrolled subjects in the progress review period for the second time; or,

(d)   is enrolled in an undergraduate course or graduate course other than those courses listed in at the end of this policy; and:

i. fails 50% or more of credit points attempted in the two previous progress review periods;

ii. fails any subject for a second time;

iii. has an ‘‘at risk’’ status and withdraws from a core or compulsory subject previously failed;

iv. has an '‘at risk’' status and fails a compulsory or core subject;

(e)   is a graduate student in a course listed in the schedule made under this policy and fails any subject in the progress review period; or

(f)   is a student in a bachelor honours program and fails to achieve an honours grade in any component of assessment where an honours grade is a requirement of the program. 

4.5. Deans responsible for the courses listed at section 7 of this policy must put in place an “at risk” process for students who are at risk of failing any subject which includes:

(a)    offering the student support and giving the student an opportunity to meet the expected standard; and

(b)   warning the student in writing that continued unsatisfactory progress may lead to termination of their enrolment in the course.

Academic Progress Exemptions

4.6 The Board may:

(a)   exempt students, by category, from the application of this policy; or

(b)   impose different academic progress requirements and consequences, by category, on students. 

Repeated Subject

4.7 For the purposes of this policy, in determining whether a student has enrolled in or failed a subject for a second or third time the University must take into account a previous enrolment in, or failure in (as the case may be):

(a)   the same subject; or

(b)   an equivalent subject of study. Equivalence is determined by the dean of the relevant faculty.


4.8. If a student takes leave of absence the requirements of this policy apply equally upon return from leave to the subsequent progress review period.

5. Procedural principles

Reviewing Academic Progress

5.1. The Academic Registrar will review students’ academic progress following ratification of results at the end of each progress review period.

5.2. The Academic Registrar may review a students' academic progress at any time throughout the year for the purposes of monitoring or implementing intervention strategies.

5.3. The dean will monitor the academic progress of bachelor honours students and students enrolled in the courses listed at section 7 of this policy through formative assessment tasks throughout the teaching period. Proactive intervention strategies during the teaching period and before the final summative assessment date will be introduced for students whose academic performance puts them at risk of failing a subject or not achieving an honours grade (for honours students).

5.4. Interviews with student advisers, meetings of the course unsatisfactory progress committees (CUPC) and Academic Board appeal hearings must, as far as possible, take place between teaching periods to ensure that matters are resolved prior to the commencement of the next progress review period. In particular, student appeals will be resolved as far as possible before the next semester census date.

5.5. A dean may review the outcome of the unsatisfactory progress identification process prior to students being notified of their academic progress status and may manually revert a student’s academic status where the student’s individual circumstances warrant such action.

5.6. The Academic Registrar may divert a student within 25 points of completion of their course from a CUPC hearing where the student has been identified as having made unsatisfactory progress for the first time. Where such students continue to make unsatisfactory progress, the Academic Registrar will refer the students to the relevant dean for final determination.

Addressing students "at risk"

5.7. The Academic Registrar must issue a written notice via email, in a form approved by the Board, to a student whose academic progress status has been identified as “at risk” of unsatisfactory progress explaining their status and including information about:

(a)    the possible consequences of further poor performance;

(b)    relevant services available to students for advice and assistance;

(c)    the requirement to attend a meeting with a student advisor or complete a written submission; and

(d)   an intervention strategy for those students.

5.8. Students who receive formal notification of their “at risk” status must respond according to the instructions and within the timeline specified in the email notification, and:

(a)    should seek clarification from the student service centre of any instruction or information that is unclear; and

(b)    may seek advice and support from the Student Union Advocacy Service (SUAS) or other support service.

5.9. It is a student’s responsibility to read and act upon an “at risk” notification. A student’s failure to respond to any notification as directed may be taken into account should further unsatisfactory progress occur.

5.10. Where a student meets with a student adviser, the student adviser must provide advice and make recommendations to students on matters including:

(a)    a student’s extracurricular activity;

(b)    a student’s continued enrolment, course and subject selection;

(c)    assistance available from support services including academic skills support or counselling; and

(d)    that continued unsatisfactory progress may lead to termination of their enrolment in the course.

5.11. Student advisers must keep a record of advice provided to students. 

The "show cause" notice

5.12. A dean may require a student to show cause why he or she should not have their enrolment terminated if his or her progress has been unsatisfactory. In these cases the Academic Registrar must issue a show cause notice to the student in the form approved by the Board together with the student record card.

5.13. A student must respond to a show cause notice by submitting a response in writing, as detailed in the show cause letter.

5.14. In addition to a written response, a student may be required to appear before a Course Unsatisfactory Progress Committee (CUPC) to explain their circumstances in support of their written submission.

5.15. Where students are required to attend a CUPC, they must be given five business days notice and be advised of their right to bring a support person.

5.16. It is a student’s responsibility to:

(a)    engage and comply with the requirements of the University’s unsatisfactory progress process; and

(b)    read and act upon, as appropriate, all notices and correspondence (written or electronic) from the University.

Course Unsatisfactory Progress Committees (CUPC)

5.17. The dean responsible for each course must nominate members to a CUPC on request of the Academic Registrar. The dean is responsible for ensuring that those nominated are eligible to sit on the committee.

5.18. The membership of the CUPC will be gender balanced wherever possible and comprises:

(a)    three members of full-time academic staff of the rank of senior lecturer or above with expertise relevant to the course, one of whom the dean will nominate to chair the meeting; and,

(b)   where nominated  by the dean, an experienced senior professional staff member qualified to give advice on the relevant course (optional position).

5.19. A CUPC may only make a decision if:

(a)   at last half the members present are the rank of senior lecturer or above; and

(b)   at least three members are present. 

CUPC meetings

5.20. Students may be accompanied by a support person to a CUPC meeting. The support person may not speak unless a committee member asks them a direct question or with permission of the chair.

5.21. Information available to the CUPC, which pertains to the matter being heard, must be made available to the student and all committee members, and be provided with the CUPC notice where possible and practicable.

5.22. Where a student attends the hearing, the CUPC must:

(a)    allow the student to be heard on the circumstances that have affected their academic performance; and

(b)   ask whatever questions necessary of the student and their support person (where a support person is present) to determine the student’s capacity to successfully complete the course.

5.23. In reaching a decision a CUPC may take into account any relevant information available, including:

(a)    documentation from the student file (where use of this information complies with the Privacy Policy);

(b)   the student’s entire academic history, including their response to any previous recommendations from a CUPC or student adviser(s); and

(c)    any other information provided by the student.

Available CUPC actions

5.24. A CUPC must terminate a student’s enrolment if they form the view that a student is unlikely to be able to make satisfactory academic progress in the course.

5.25. A CUPC must terminate a student’s enrolment if they form the view that a student who has exceeded the maximum time allowed to complete the course, is unlikely to be able to complete within the next 12 months.

5.26. If a CUPC forms the view that a student has the capacity to continue with their enrolment successfully in the subsequent teaching period, they may impose whatever conditions and/or make whatever recommendations they deem appropriate to assist the student to overcome or adjust to the circumstances that have led to unsatisfactory performance. 

5.27. A CUPC may not: 

(a)    comment on a student’s personal circumstances outside of the context of their unsatisfactory progress;

(b)    attempt to counsel a student on any matters other than their unsatisfactory progress; or;

(c)    make assumptions about a student’s motivation for study either at University generally or within a specific course or discipline.

5.28. A CUPC must not inform a student of the outcome of their deliberations during the hearing.

5.29. A CUPC decision must be a decision agreed by a majority of members. For the avoidance of doubt, the chair has both a deliberative and casting vote.

Outcomes of CUPC hearings

5.30. If the Academic Registrar has issued a show cause notice under this policy, the CUPC may, after considering any submission by the student made in accordance with the notice:

(a)    impose conditions on the student’s enrolment or academic performance in the following teaching period;

(b)   impose a probationary status on the student’s enrolment, which may include a requirement to undertake specified actions, such has attending workshops or meetings with designated staff intended to increase the student’s chance of academic success;

(c)    require the student to undertake specified actions to increase their chances of academic success;

(d)   revoke a scholarship that was awarded to the student;

(e)   require the student to take leave of absence for a specified period; or

(f)     terminate the student’s enrolment in the course.

5.31. A CUPC may only terminate a student’s enrolment where it can be demonstrated that a student has made unsatisfactory progress and:

(a)    the University has offered the student support and given the student an opportunity to meet the expected standard; and

(b)   the University has warned the student in writing that continued unsatisfactory progress may lead to termination of their enrolment in the course.

5.32. Any conditions a CUPC imposes on a student’s enrolment remains in place until:

(a)    amended or overturned by the Board following appeal; or

(b)   the student makes satisfactory progress in a subsequent teaching period.

Actions following a CUPC hearing

5.33. The Academic Registrar must send formal notification to students of the outcome of the CUPC hearing within three business days of the hearing to their University email address.

5.34. The formal notification will include information about the implications for the student and the process for appeal of the decision where:

(a)    the CUPC applies conditions to a student’s continued enrolment; or

(b)   the CUPC decides to terminate a student’s enrolment.

5.35. The formal notification must include particular advice to international students to seek advice from the Student Service Centre on the consequences unsatisfactory progress may have in respect to their student visa.

5.36. The Academic Registrar must not action a suspension in the student system until the time for appeal has passed and it has been determined that the student has not lodged an appeal.

5.37. At the conclusion of a round of progress review period hearings, the Academic Registrar must, within three working days, forward the following to the Academic Secretary, in a format prescribed by the Academic Secretary:

(a)    a list of all students whose enrolment has been terminated; and

(b)   a copy of the CUPC outcome letter for those students.

5.38. Where a student wishes to appeal a CUPC decision, the Academic Registrar must forward a report to the Academic Secretary outlining the CUPC’s decision within three working days of receipt of the request from the Academic Secretary.

5.39. The Academic Registrar must record all outcomes of CUPC hearings on the student's record.

Termination of enrolment

5.40. Where a student’s enrolment has been terminated by the CUPC, the Academic Registrar will update the student’s enrolment status after the period of time allowed for the student to appeal has elapsed.

5.41. The University must notify the relevant government department that an international student visa holder is not achieving satisfactory course progress (breach of visa conditions) where the student’s enrolment is terminated and the student:

(a)    does not appeal the CUPC recommendation within prescribed timelines;

(b)    appeals the termination and is unsuccessful;

(c)    appeals the termination and later withdraws the appeal; or

(d)    discontinues their enrolment after the CUPC decides to terminate their enrolment. 

Returning from suspension or leave of absence

5.42. Students who are suspended or take leave of absence from their course due to unsatisfactory progress are advised to meet with a student adviser before they resume their studies to discuss appropriate strategies and support to facilitate a successful return to study.

Re-admission of students

5.43. Deans may only permit readmission where: 

(a)    they are satisfied that the student's circumstances have changed such that there is a reasonable prospect that the student can now make satisfactory progress in the course; and 

(b)   on the recommendation of the selection committee for the course. 

5.44. Students applying for readmission:

(a)    are subject to the usual competitive selection process;

(b)   may be required to present independent documentation from a relevant professional (e.g. doctor or counsellor) to verify their changed capacity for academic success; and

(c)    are expected to have demonstrated academic rehabilitation by successfully completing  between two (for a course of 100 credit points or less) and four tertiary level subjects (for a course of 200 points or more) in a related discipline to that of the course being studied, as agreed by the CUPC. The subjects must:

i. be completed within one calendar year; and

ii. achieve an average result of at least 70% with no fails. 

5.45. Where students enrol in Community Access Program (CAP) subjects for the purpose of demonstrating academic rehabilitation, the subjects cannot be credited towards the degree which the student is intending to resume. Where a student has taken a core or compulsory subject as CAP they will be exempt from repeating the subject but will be required to take an additional elective to make up the credit points. 

Appeal of decision

5.46. A student may appeal a decision taken under this policy in accordance with the Student Appeals to the Academic Board Policy.

5.47. Being detrimentally affected by a failure to read and act upon, as appropriate, a notice or correspondence from the University is not in itself grounds for appeal.

6. Roles and responsibilities



Conditions and limitations

Review student academic progress

Academic Registrar or a person authorised by the Academic Registrar to act.

Review must occur, at a minimum, at the end of each progress review period

Manually revert a student’s academic status

Dean of the relevant faculty or a person authorised by the dean to act

Must be in accordance with sections 5.5 and of this policy

Determine equivalence of subjects

Dean of the relevant faculty or a person authorised by the dean to act

Must be in accordance with section 4.7 (b)  of this policy

Identify students at risk of failing in those courses included in the schedule at section 7

Dean of the relevant faculty or a person authorised by the dean to act

Must be in accordance with section 5.3 of this policy

Put in place an intervention strategy for students identified as at risk for those courses included in the schedule at section 7

Dean of the relevant faculty or a person authorised by the dean to act

Must be in accordance with section 5.3 of this policy

Issue at risk notice

Academic Registrar or a person authorised by the Academic Registrar to act.

Must be in accordance with sections 5.7 this policy

Put in place an intervention strategy for students identified as at risk

Academic Registrar or a person authorised by the Academic Registrar to act.

Must be in accordance with sections 5.7 of this policy

Nomination of members to the CUPC

Dean of the relevant faculty or a person authorised by the dean to act

Must be in accordance with section 5.17 of this policy

CUPC deliberation, decision and/or application of penalty

Course Unsatisfactory Progress Committee

Must be in accordance with sections 5.17 – 5.32 of this policy

Notification of CUPC outcome to student

Academic Registrar or a person authorised by the Academic Registrar to act.

Must be in accordance with section 5.32 – 5.39  of this policy

Updating the student record card

Academic Registrar or a person authorised by the Academic Registrar to act.

Must be in accordance with this policy

Provision of information to the Academic Secretary related to students whose enrolment has been terminated by the CUPC

Academic Registrar or a person authorised by the Academic Registrar to act.

Must be in accordance with section 5.38 of this policy

Readmission of students

Dean of the relevant faculty on recommendation of the course selection committee

Must be in accordance with section 5.43 – 5.44 of this policy 

7. Graduate course list

Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences:

  • Doctor of Medicine
  • Doctor of Dental Surgery
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Dental Therapy (Advanced Clinical Practice)
  • Doctor of Clinical Dentistry
  • Doctor of Optometry
  • Doctor of Physiotherapy
  • Master of Biomedical Science
  • Master of Clinical Audiology
  • Master of Genetic Counselling
  • Master of Medicine (Radiology)
  • Master of Nursing Science
  • Master of Psychiatry
  • Master of Social Work
  • Master of Speech Pathology

Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences:

  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

Faculty of Science:

  • All graduate coursework programs including, Graduate Certificates, Graduate Diplomas, Masters

Melbourne Law School

  • Melbourne Law Masters and associated graduate diplomas (all courses)

Melbourne Graduate School of Education

  • Master of Educational Psychology
  • Master of Education (Specific Learning Difficulties) Stream A
  • Master of Education (Language Intervention and Hearing Impairment) Stream A
  • Master of Education (Special Education Inclusion and Early Intervention) Stream A
  • Master of TESOL Stream A
  • Master of Modern Languages Stream A
  • Master of Learning Intervention 
  • Master of Teaching (Early Childhood, Primary, and Secondary)

Faculty of VCA and MCM

  • Master of Music (Performance Teaching)

8. Definitions

“business day” means any day (on which the University is open for business and excludes all Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays that are observed by the University and University holidays declared on an annual basis (such as Easter Tuesday and Christmas shutdown periods).

“enrolled subject” includes a subject from which a student withdraws after the census date.

“progress review period” means the first half of the calendar year (including summer semester and first semester, or equivalent) and the second half of the calendar year (including winter semester and second semester, or equivalent). 

"senior professional staff member" means a member of staff appointed at or above HEW 10 level.


Academic Board


Academic Secretary


This policy is to be reviewed by 1 April 2021.


Version Approved By Approval Date Effective Date Sections Modified
1 Academic Board 26 Feb 2015 26 Feb 2015 New policy – replaces relevant section in the Academic Performance Policy (MPF1024) and the Academic Progress Review Procedure (MPF1292).
2 President, Academic Board 1 Apr 2016 21 Jul 2016 New version arising from the Policy Consolidation Project (replaces Academic Progress Policy (MPF1291) and Academic Progress Review Procedure (MPF1292).
3 President, Academic Board 18 Oct 2016 31 Oct 2016 Additions to graduate course list in section 7.
4 President, Academic Board 15 Nov 2016 18 Nov 2016 Correction to scope. Correction to formatting – 4.4 (e) and (f). Correction at 5.19 to align with Academic Board regulation. Inclusion of definition of senior professional staff member. 
5 President, Academic Board 25 Nov 2016 27 Nov 2016 Clarification of wording at section 5.3.
6 Academic Board 7 September 2017 Semester 1 2018

Inclusion of Master of Clinical Audiology; and Master of Speech Pathology in the Graduate Course list

7 Academic Secretary 6 Jun 2018 6 Jun 2018 Editorial change to update National Code reference in section 3. Authority
8 NA     Created in error 
9 Policy Officer 20 Jun 2018 21 Jun 2018 Fixing minor errors to document information
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