International Student FAQs

International Student FAQs

We encourage you to regularly check the Swinburne News article or Swinburne's COVID-19 hub for the latest advice and information on Swinburne's response.

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Our response to COVID-19

Australia continues to be one of the safest countries in the world and is demonstrating its health leadership in its management of the COVID-19 situation. At Swinburne, we acted quickly to establish a dedicated COVID-19 Taskforce who continue to closely monitor and manage the situation.

We are following the latest advice from the relevant government and health authorities and we are in regular contact with students and staff to share our response. To minimise the risks to our community, staff and students are currently working and studying remotely from the comfort of their home.


I have applied to study at Swinburne in 2021. Will classes be on campus or online?

In 2021, students outside Australia will start their classes fully online until travel restrictions are lifted, and you can travel to Australia to continue your studies on campus.

If you are in Australia, classes will be delivered either fully online or through a “blended learning” experience. We are integrating face to face with digital learning experiences to maximise flexibility and create a uniquely Swinburne experience. This combined digital and on-campus study will ensure that students can continue to meet the learning outcomes required for each unit, and make the most of the many opportunities available to them as a Swinburne student. Swinburne students who want to discuss their study options are advised to contact Library and Student HQ on +61 3 9214 8444 (outside Australia) or 1300 794 628 (within Australia) or email in the first instance.

If I choose to study online, what are the 2021 start dates for students?

For Higher Education students, your Semester 1 2021 start date is 1 March 2021.

For Vocational Education students, our January intake will commence online on 4 January 2021, February intake will commence 1 February 2021 and our March Intake will commence 1 March 2021.

For Foundation Year and UniLink students, our February intake will commence online on 22 February 2021. Our June intake will commence online on 28 June 2021.

For English language (ELICOS) students, our January intake will commence online on 4 January 2021. Our February intake will commence on 11 February 2021; March intake will commence on 18 March 2021, and April intake will commence on 29 April 2021.

View Swinburne’s academic calendar.

My Course offer is conditional on provision of English language ability test and my final semester mark sheet. Can I still start my course online?

You will need to provide us English language test results so we can make sure you have met the conditions of your offer. If you are unable to meet this condition, unfortunately you cannot start your course.

If you are unable to undertake one of the approved English language ability tests, we will temporarily accept the following for courses commencing before April 2021::

  • TOEFL – iBT Special Home Edition test for entry into Foundation Year, UniLink, undergraduate and postgraduate courses (except for education, law, psychological science, honours in psychology and psychological science and professional degree courses).
  • Duolingo and LinguaSkill-General tests for entry into Foundation Year, UniLink and undergraduate courses (except for education, law, psychological science, honours in psychology and psychological science and professional degree courses).
  • All of these tests can be taken from the comfort of your home.

While the Duolingo/Linguaskill English Test/TOEFL-iBT Special Home Edition tests have been approved for entry to Swinburne it may not satisfy visa requirements for an Australian student visa. You may be required to take an additional language test to qualify for a student visa. Any questions related to student visas for study in Australia should be directed to the Department of Home Affairs nearer the time of your student visa application.

You are advised to contact Swinburne Learning and Academic Skills (LAS) Centre for additional support throughout your study at Swinburne. Please see below link for further information:

The university has made available additional language support for you. This is an additional service that Swinburne provides to you at no cost and a service that will not impact on the duration of your study with us. If you inform the university that you need additional support, you will be required to undergo a Versant test to determine the level of language support.

I am a year 12 student and my board exams were cancelled due to the lockdown. What are my options if I want to pursue studies at Swinburne?

In order to accept a Swinburne offer and start online, you will need to provide us your Year 12 exam results. If you do not have your exam results available, you can choose to defer your offer to the next available intake, and once your results are available accept your offer to start online. Alternatively, you can choose to study a Swinburne Foundation Year course, which is equivalent to Year 12, and progress to your chosen bachelor degree on successful completion of your Foundation Year studies.

My current offer specifies that I need to pay for OSHC. Why would I need this if I am not going to be traveling to Australia for my studies right now?

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is an Immigration requirement when applying for your student visa. You are required to pay for OSHC or provide proof of OSHC if you are applying for your student visa.

What happens to my Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) if I choose to start my course online?

If you have received your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) from Swinburne, you can use this to apply for a student visa. Note: you do not need a student visa to undertake online studies in your home country.

If you have not received your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) from Swinburne, you will need to arrange Overseas Student Health Cover and pay tuition fees for your remaining units once Australia re-opens its borders. We will then send you a Confirmation of Enrolment, which you will need to submit as a part of your Australian student visa application.

I am currently overseas and I have an existing Swinburne International Excellence Scholarship, which gives me a fee reduction of 10%. How does that work with the 30% Swinburne X LinkedIn International Program? Does that mean I get 40%?

No, you can only hold one scholarship or reduced fee arrangement at the one time; whichever is of higher value. While you are outside of Australia, you will receive the Swinburne X LinkedIn International Program, which gives you a 30% fee reduction for all units completed online.  

If I defer my offer to the next available intake, will I still be eligible for my awarded scholarship?

If you have received an offer with a Swinburne International Excellence Scholarship or George Swinburne STEM Achievement Postgraduate Scholarship for Semester 1 2021, you will be able to defer your offer and scholarship to the next available intake.


I have no idea what online learning would be like and whether I would be able to adapt. Is there a way I can see a demonstration?

The best way to experience online learning is to try it out for yourself. And with Swinburne, you can start online risk free. To get started, simply accept your offer and begin your classes remotely from the comfort of your home.

If you discover that online learning isn’t for you, you will have the option of deferring your course to the next intake before census date, subject to travel restriction clearance. Just remember to apply for deferral before the relevant census date to avoid incurring any debt.

If you find that you enjoy online learning but would still like some additional support, we have a range of free Study and Learning Support Services available to help you succeed.

Would I need to purchase any specific software to engage in online learning? What are the other system requirements that I may need to be able to study online?

You will need a modern computer (laptop or desktop) with reliable, high-speed internet access. And if you plan to study architecture, design, film or any other creative course, the recommended minimum requirements for these courses are:


  • Intel® Pentium® 4 or AMD Athlon® 64 processor
  • Microsoft® Windows® 7 with Service Pack 1 or Windows 8
  • 1GB of RAM (3GB recommended) for 32 bit; 2GB of RAM (8GB recommended) for 64 bit
  • 20GB of available hard-disk space
  • 1024×768 display (1280×800 recommended)

Mac OS

  • Multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support
  • Mac OS X v10.6.8, v10.7, or v10.8
  • 2GB of RAM (8GB recommended)
  • 20GB of available hard-disk space
  • 1024×768 display (1280×800 recommended)

As a Swinburne student, you will also have free access to Adobe Creative Cloud software (including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and much more) anywhere, on any device, for the entire time you're studying with us.

For more information on student hardware and software, visit our website.

How many units would I have to study online? Do I get to choose these units?

Australia's higher education regulator has temporarily relaxed the international student visa requirements so that you are now able to study as much of your course as necessary online. Additionally, you can study a reduced course load rather than a full time load if you are affected by COVID-19. If you hold a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) from Swinburne and want to study a reduced course load, please complete the Enrolment Amendment Form to request an underload.

This will allow you to adapt to online learning and the Australian teaching style. Our team of Course Advice Specialists will work with you to develop a personalised study plan and help you with selecting online units.

How do I enrol?

If you are in Australia, once you accept your offer you can self-manage your enrolment in Student One. If you need help with your enrolment you can contact us on +61 3 9214 8444 (outside Australia) or 1300 794 628 (within Australia) or email

If you are outside of Australia, once you accept your Swinburne offer, a Course Advice Specialist will contact you by email to provide your personalised study plan and enrol you in the right units.

How many classes will I have a week? What time would these classes be held? I am in a different time zone than Australia. How will this affect my learning?

The number of classes you have will depend on the number of units you study. Typically, a unit will have one lecture and one tutorial per week.

If time zone differences make it difficult for you to attend classes in real-time, it is reassuring to know that most lectures will be recorded and available in Swinburne’s online learning platform, Canvas, so that you can attend and review at your convenience.

Will studying online reduce the duration of my course?

While it won’t reduce the duration of your course, studying online helps maintain your course progression and provides you with the possibility of completing your course within the original expected completion time. This will depend on the number of units you have left to complete. A Course Advice Specialist can work with you to provide study plan options for you.

Will my academic transcript specify that I studied online (remotely)?

No, your academic transcript will not indicate the mode of delivery or study location.

If I commence online studies but feel online learning is not working for me, what do I do next?

If you decide online learning isn’t for you, you can:

  • choose to withdraw before the relevant census date(s) and request a full tuition fee refund for any pre-paid fees; OR
  • defer your offer to the next available intake before the relevant census date(s) and we will transfer any pre-paid fees and any scholarship to the next available intake.

Just remember to do either option before census date to avoid any financial stress.

Can I still contact my teacher/lecturer/tutor?

Yes. Academic teaching staff are still accessible to students while they are delivering lectures and tutorials online. Your unit convenor or teacher will provide you with more information on how to best contact them during your first lecture.

What will happen with exams?

In 2021 exams will be replaced by alternative assessment arrangements facilitated by unit convenors using Canvas

What happens if I fail a unit in 2021?

Fail grades will have an impact on your GPA and will be recorded on your academic transcript.

For more details about results and your GPA, please visit our Results- What you need to know.

Can I return to my home country for the holidays?

Yes, but we strongly recommend that you complete your semester of study with us online and receive a final transcript at the end of the semester. Before you leave Australia, please check that you can access Canvas and other online materials from your home country. We cannot guarantee access to online content from countries outside of Australia due to differing internet speeds and content restrictions.

It is also important for us to be aware of your travel plans, both from a safety perspective and for your student visa status. Please let us know whether you plan to return to your home country by sending us an email through the Current Students website.


My student visa is about to expire, what should I do?

Visa extensions are not automatic. You must apply for a new student visa if you are continuing your current course at Swinburne.

Important visa information can also be found on the Department of Home Affairs website.

If you have questions about your student visa, you should contact the Department of Home Affairs. If you have other queries, you can also contact our International Student Advisory and Support team by calling +61 3 9214 6741 or emailing  

I heard there is a student visa application fee waiver for students affected by covid-19. Am I eligible for the waiver?

The Department of Home Affairs has announced that they will waive the visa application fee for students who held a student visa on or after 1 February 2020 and who couldn’t complete their course within their original visa validity due to the impacts of COVID-19. For more information, please refer to the DHA/Immigration website.

To be eligible to have your application for a fee waiver considered, you must attach a completed Form 1545 COVID-19 Impacted Student (PDF - 228 KB) from Swinburne with a valid Student visa application. Note, only new applications will be eligible to have the application fee waived.

To request a completed Form 1545, you need to email from your Swinburne student email address with the subject line Form 1545 request. In the email, you must provide a copy of the biographical page of the passport you will be using for your student visa application and a short statement on how covid-19 impacted your studies resulting in the need for a new student visa to finish your course.

Will my student visa be valid if I reduce my course load in 2021?

Yes, your student visa will remain valid if you are given approval to have a reduced study load. We will continue to be as flexible as we can and we will allow international students to undertake a reduced course load for 2021 as a result of COVID-19 (which we consider to be compassionate and compelling circumstances). If you wish to study a reduced load, please complete the Enrolment Amendment Form to request an underload.

If you do wish to undertake a reduced study load, a Course Advice Specialist can guide you with advice on how this could affect your expected course completion date. For more advice on reducing your course load, you can also speak to an International Student Adviser at or call us on +61 3 9214 8444.

If I commence my studies online in Semester 1, 2021 would I be eligible for a post study work visa?

In light of COVID-19, the Department of Home Affairs has announced that, for student visa holders, online study undertaken outside Australia as a result of Australian travel restrictions will count towards the post-study visa Australian Study Requirement.

For the most up-to-date advice about visas and post study work rights, please visit the Department of Home Affairs website.

What is Swinburne’s refund policy in case I start my studies online but receive a visa rejection at a later stage?

For students who are admitted in our Swinburne LinkedIn Program, if your visa application is rejected/refused by the Department of Home Affairs, you will be able to request a full refund of any fees paid to Swinburne, including any units completed and commenced.  

For students who are not admitted in the Swinburne LinkedIn Program, we will follow our refund policy which you can refer to in your signed Offer Acceptance Form, less any tuition fees used for the study completed online. For more information about refunds, visit our Refunds for international students web page.


Will there be any changes or reduction in my student fees due to COVID-19? Do you provide any scholarships to help students?

Swinburne has extensive experience in delivering online education – in fact, Swinburne Online has over 10-years’ experience with online delivery and is trusted by 20,000 students in Australia – and we are confident we will continue to deliver a meaningful learning experience to our students, both online and on campus. With this in mind, online unit tuition fees remain unchanged.

However, in recognition of the economic impact of COVID-19, we are proud to announce 2021 tuition fees will remain ‘frozen’ at 2020 prices for nearly all courses. We have also introduced the Swinburne X LinkedIn International Program to assist higher education students impacted by Australia’s border closures. If eligible, you’ll receive a 30% fee reduction on any online units you complete in your home country, as well as access to LinkedIn Learning modules for the entire duration of your studies.

For information on our George Swinburne Postgraduate Scholarship and Swinburne International Excellence Scholarships, valued at up to 75% off tuition fees, visit our Scholarships for international students web page.

I have decided not to come to Australia and want to withdraw from my course, can I get a full refund?

Our goal is to support you to study with us at Swinburne and we invite you to speak to one of our International Student Advisers via email at or call +61 3 9214 6741 to discuss your circumstances.

If you need to withdraw from your course due to a student visa refusal, we will provide you with a full refund. If you choose to withdraw for other reasons, please refer to your signed acceptance form for the applicable refund provisions. In some cases, you will not be entitled to any refund.

I have confirmed my accommodation. Can I cancel and get a refund?

If you are unable to travel to Australia due to travel restrictions associated with COVID-19, you can request a full refund for any payments made to Swinburne Residences for accommodation.

If you need to delay your start date at the Student Residences or have any other on-campus accommodation queries, please contact

Please note: we recommend you do not make any payment for accommodation in the community or via private agreement prior to coming to Australia. Swinburne cannot influence any refund under private agreements if your circumstances change and you are unable to take up the booking. International students can contact for further advice about off-campus and private accommodation options.

If I have an issue relating to COVID-19 measures, does Swinburne have a special department or contact person I can ask for help?

If your question is related to your visa, Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE), travel, accommodation or health, please email our International Student Advisers at or call us on +61 3 9214 6741.

If your question is about your enrolment, please submit a question online to our Library and studentHQ team or call us on +61 3 9214 8444.


What support is available to international students?

As an international student, we have a dedicated team of International Student Advisers available to help you at any time on or +61 3 9214 6741. They can provide you with advice and help on everything from accommodation issues and understanding your tenancy rights during COVID-19, community groups supporting international students, to undertaking a reduced study load. They can also refer you to other support services if you need specialist or personal advice.

The After-hours Assistance Line for international students is also available for urgent assistance 5pm - 9am weekdays, and 24-hours on weekends and public holidays. Call +61 3 9214 6741.

If you're having trouble with your studies or feeling unsure about your course, our Academic Development Advisers can chat to you about any problems you're having and help you work out how to get your studies back on track. You'll find the contact details for the Academic Development Advisor for your faculty or course area on the website.

The Learning and Academic Skills Centre is available online to provide you with study and assignment support. One-on-one appointments can be done via phone, Zoom or Skype, and Study Smarter workshops are being run via Zoom so you can continue to build your academic skills remotely. For more information and to book an appointment go to the LAS website.

Studiosity is a 24/7 online support service that is available to all undergraduate and postgraduate students. You can ask questions to real-life subject matter experts as well as submit draft assignments and receive feedback on spelling, grammar, structure and more, all within 24 hours. To access Studiosity, log into Canvas and visit the Studiosity tab on the left-hand side of any unit menu.

Whilst in Australia If you are unwell or have concerns about your health, or if you are feeling anxious or stressed, you can book an appointment with Wellbeing at Swinburne by calling +61 3 9214 8483.

The Student Life Advocacy service provides information, advice and referrals to assist students with issues relating to Swinburne’s policies, procedures and processes. The service is independent, confidential and free. To book a phone appointment call +61 3 9214 5445 or email

All of our Careers and Employability services and programs are available online to help you develop your employability skills and get career-ready. Visit for more information.

We understand this may be a difficult and uncertain time for many of our students. If you are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 and need support, please send us an email with details of your situation.

If you would like additional help or support, you can contact our International Student Counter team at

Our Swinburne College Student Counter team can be contacted at or +61 3 9214 5671.

You can read more information about available financial support international students on our COVID-19 hub, including Swinburne initiatives and recently announced government benefits for you to consider. Please remember to check your eligibility and relevant websites for further details.

What financial support can international students access from the government?

Study Melbourne is providing practical support for international students. You can find more information and a list of resources on their website.

If you are worried about meeting your rental accommodation payments, the government has placed a temporary freeze on evictions where tenants are unable to meet their financial commitments due to the impact of COVID-19. Read more in the Prime Minister’s media statement.

You can read more information about available financial support international students on our COVID-19 hub, including Swinburne initiatives and recently announced government benefits for you to consider. Please remember to check your eligibility and relevant websites for further details.

We also suggest you speak to our International Student Advisers by emailing or calling +61 3 9214 674 to discuss your particular circumstances and available support.

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