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Show Good Cause for Coursework Students


The University has rules to ensure students make satisfactory progress through their degree. As a postgraduate student, it is expected you understand your progression obligations as per the University of Sydney Coursework Policy 2014, and your Faculty’s policies and rules on progression located in the Faculty handbook or website.

If you fail to meet academic progression requirements in your course, you will be sent an email notification. You will be placed on the academic progression register if, for any semester, you:

  • fail to complete more than fifty percent of the credit points in which you enrolled;
  • do not achieve an average semester mark of fifty percent or more;
  • fail a compulsory unit; fail a unit for the second time; have an unsatisfactory attendance record; or
  • can’t complete your course within the maximum time while enrolled in a normal study load.


Stage 1 – Warning notice

All students identified as not meeting academic progression requirements for the first time are sent an email notification. It’s important to take a Stage 1 notification seriously and follow the advice in the letter, e.g. meet with an academic advisor if recommended, because the Faculty will refer to this if you are later issued a Stage 3 notice.


Stage 2 – Warning Notice

If a student is enrolled in a full-time course of two years or less (most postgraduate courses) and is listed on the Academic Progression Register for a second time, or failed to meet progression requirements in two consecutive semesters, they will proceed straight to Stage 3. A Stage 2 Warning Notice only applies to a student in a full-time course of more than two years who is listed on the register for a second time.


Stage 3 – Show Good Cause Notice

If you appear on the academic progression register for a second time in the case of degrees of two years or less, you will be asked to show good cause as to why you should be allowed to re-enrol in your course.

Don’t panic. During the semester you may have had negative experiences that were beyond your control and that affected your study and assessments. The Faculty needs to understand the reasons for your disappointing results during that semester.


What should I write in my show cause response?

Coursework students can download SUPRA’s Show Cause & Exclusion Survival Kit from our website. We recommend you read this for detailed advice on preparing your show cause letter and supporting documents.

It is extremely important you read all Faculty notifications in a timely manner. If you don’t understand a notification, you should contact your Faculty directly using the contact details in the notification letter or contact SUPRA for advice. Your response to show good cause has a strict deadline, so if you cannot submit your response in time, you should request an extension by contacting your Faculty or ask SUPRA for assistance.

Being asked to show good cause does not mean you are excluded. You remain enrolled in your degree until after you submit your response and until an outcome is provided, or until all appeal options are exhausted.

If you have received a notification to show good cause:

  • Write a letter to show good cause and submit it with relevant support documentation before the deadline listed in your notice
  • Pre-enrol in units for the next semester
  • Go to all classes as if you are a continuing student.


Possible outcomes

One of the three following outcomes are possible:

  • That you have shown good cause and are permitted to continue with your course
  • You have not shown good cause, but are permitted to re-enrol with conditions. This means you are allowed to continue your studies but will need to follow specific conditions, which may include meeting with an academic advisor or reducing your study load. Conditions are specific to each student.
  • You have not shown good cause, and are excluded from your course.


Can I appeal?

You have a right to appeal against being placed on the Academic Progression Register, any conditions placed on your re-enrolment, or against exclusion for not showing good cause. To appeal against exclusion, see the SUPRA Show Cause & Exclusion Survival Kit.


Assistance and advice

If you require assistance with your Show Good Cause letter, or need assistance to appeal against exclusion, contact SUPRA.


What if I improve in the future?

In many cases your next semester will be trouble free and you will pass all your units. If you also pass a second consecutive semester, you will be removed from the Academic Progression Register.


Useful Resources

SUPRA Show Cause & Exclusion Survival Kit
Faculty handbooks



University of Sydney Coursework Policy 2014

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