The University of Newcastle, Australia

Student information

Find information here for University of Newcastle students, including details about our approach to travel and health.

Any staff and students who have travelled from a COVID-19 hotspot in Victoria must self-isolate for 14 days on returning home. If this is you, please notify health.response@newcastle.edu.au

From Tuesday 7 July - Tuesday 1 September, NSW Health will operate a drive-in testing clinic at our Callaghan campus. Those wishing to be tested must contact the drive-through clinic on 4964 7497 to arrange an appointment, prior to attending.

Key Changes Impacting Students

Last reviewed 3 July 2020

  • The NSW Government recently announced a $20 million package to support international students affected by the impacts of COVID-19. This package includes the provision of temporary crisis accommodation for eligible students facing significant hardship. The University can support eligible students with the relevant documentation required for their application. Contact student-loansandwelfare@newcastle.edu for assistance. You can also visit our financial wellbeing page and the Service NSW website for more information about this initiative.
  • Our intention is to return to face-to-face teaching for the majority of classes on campus from Semester 2 and Trimester 3. We will prioritise labs, practicals and smaller group sessions. Larger lectures will be conducted as remote learning sessions, as follows:
    • Callaghan – classes of 100 or above will be online
    • Ourimbah – classes of 80 or above will be online
    • Newcastle City – classes of 100 or above will be online
    • Sydney – classes of 25 will be online
    • Port Macquarie – classes of 15 will be online

Announcement from the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange, Ministry Of Education

  • The Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange, Ministry of Education has released information about Chinese overseas students who are unable to return to school due to the impact of the pandemic prevention and control, and who may choose to take some online courses. While this may not ordinarily align with the academic duration requirement for Chinese overseas students, the Centre has announced that this will not be considered as a decisive factor of the assessment result of their degree certification. Visit the CSCSE website for more information.

As of Friday 24 April, NSW will provide a free test to anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms. If you have these symptoms we ask to you to:


Frequently asked questions

General advice

The University of Newcastle recognises this is a developing situation. At the present time, we recommend staff and students follow advice from NSW Health.

Australian Government advice for universities and studentsUniversities Fact Sheet for Students.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Health Information Line: Call 1800 020 080 if you are seeking information on COVID-19. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

International Students: Study in Australia

Managing and monitoring your health

As with any virus, we can minimise the spread by practising simple hygiene and washing our hands frequently. See below for more information on hand washing technique.

Travel advice

For all travel advice, please refer to Australian Government Travel Advice.

More information and contacts

If you are experiencing distress or worry relating to the COVID-19 and would like to speak to someone or need advice, please visit Counselling and Psychological services.

The correct medical-grade hand-washing technique stipulates that taps are turned on at the beginning and turned off at the end, using a paper towel to avoid contact with the tap once hands are clean. Touching the tap mid wash would risk transfer of bacteria from the tap to the hands without enough time for this to be washed off.  As we are a university committed to protecting the planet, many newer bathrooms across our campuses have sensor taps which eliminates the issue of water wastage altogether.

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Campus information

Library buildings are now open to students, staff and community borrowers and no longer require swipe card access. Social distancing measures are in place to help keep everyone safe. You will notice signage around the Library spaces that indicate the number of people that each space can accommodate and the seating capacity in our Group Study rooms has also been reduced so please check the room information before Booking a Study Space. Please check the Library Updates page for further details.

As we have done throughout this situation, we will rely on Federal Government and NSW Health advice before making any decision to close our sites. We have kept our campuses open for students and staff because we know that some people don’t have laptops or unlimited WiFi. From 1 June, community borrowers at our Libraries and visitors for pre-approved activities are welcome (by invitation). Restrictions are in place for all other external visitors.
We continue to reinforce social distancing and hygiene practices at all of our sites. Here is an up-to-date list of the revised trading hours for our campus retail outlets.

Across our Callaghan, Ourimbah and City campuses we have started to remove swipe card restrictions. We suggest you continue to carry your student ID card while this is underway. If you do not have a student ID card and have trouble with access to buidings please contact Student Central - 1300 ASKUON.

The University is working to the 4sqm rule to determine maximum occupancy of our spaces. The 4sqm rule is a legal requirement and is defined under an amendment to the Public Health Act 2010 for COVID-19. Where possible, staff and students are asked to maintain 1.5m distance between one another. Our intention is to return to face-to-face teaching for the majority of classes on campus from Semester 2 and Trimester 3. We will prioritise labs, practicals and smaller group sessions. Larger lectures will be conducted as remote learning sessions, as follows:

  • Callaghan – classes of 100 or above will be online
  • Ourimbah – classes of 80 or above will be online
  • Newcastle City – classes of 100 or above will be online
  • Sydney – classes of 25 will be online
  • Port Macquarie – classes of 15 will be online

Increased cleaning and sanitisation measures are in place across our campuses.

As part of our preparations regarding COVID-19, we’ve identified some areas in our current student residences at Callaghan that could be used for residents who are required to self-isolate for 14 days as a precautionary measure. To make sure these spaces are ready for students who may be required to self-isolate, we have relocated some of our current student residents into other accommodation on campus. We’re enormously grateful for the cooperation and support we’ve received as we make these precautionary arrangements.

With the latest government measures, many campus cafes can currently continue to offer takeaway services for food and beverage. Here is an up-to-date list of the revised trading hours for our campus retail outlets. Our retailers and vendors have been implementing the required safe hygiene and social distancing protocols for a number of weeks and will continue to do so. Please support them if you can, observing safe distancing measures and hygienic practice advice at all times.

As the end of Semester 1 approaches, we are no longer assessing requests to return to Student Living before the start of Semester 2.

Under current industry guidelines, we are unable to process any new applications for on campus accommodation this year. We are following a staged occupancy approach and prioritising the accommodation applications of residents who have previously lived on campus in 2020. If you are interested in living on campus, you can register an account on the Student Living accommodation portal, so we can keep you informed about any updates regarding the application process.

Please contact Student Living to discuss this: please call 4913 8888 or email uonstudentliving@newcastle.edu.au

Subject to industry safety recommendations, Summer Stay will go ahead this year. Application details will be communicated via the Student Living web page and on our social channels: @uonstudentliving on Facebook and Instagram.

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Changes to study

We recognise that different arrangements may need to be put in place for different courses and therefore a localised response is appropriate. Please stay in touch with your Placement Coordinator for advice.

For the majority of courses there is now no compulsory attendance requirement, if your course does have a compulsory attendance requirement you will receive advice from your Course Coordinator.  For Semester 1, you are not required to check in using the myUON app.

Our intention is to return to face-to-face teaching for the majority of classes on campus from Semester 2 and Trimester 3. We will prioritise labs, practicals and smaller group sessions. Larger lectures will be conducted as remote learning sessions, as follows:

  • Callaghan – classes of 100 or above will be online
  • Ourimbah – classes of 80 or above will be online
  • Newcastle City – classes of 100 or above will be online
  • Sydney – classes of 25 will be online
  • Port Macquarie – classes of 15 will be online.

Of course, if there’s a significant change in the rate of infection in the community, we will reassess our approach and update you.

Any student who fails a course in 2020 will NOT have a ‘fail’ recorded on their academic transcript. Consequently, a fail grade will not adversely impact your GPA. This change is intended to remove some unnecessary anxiety and to help you succeed with your studies. However, if you do not pass, you will still need to retake the course (or another equivalent allowable within your program plan). This applies to students studying in Australia, offshore and Singapore.

In addition to course materials provided by your Course Coordinator from the start of Semester, courses are currently being transitioned online.  As soon as it is available, a new banner (example in image below) will appear on your course Blackboard site and you will receive an email from your Course Coordinator.

Screen shot image of a blackboard website

In light of limiting public gatherings to fewer than 100 people, we will postpone our April graduation at Ourimbah and the July graduation ceremony at Callaghan. Eligible graduates will be deemed to have graduated in absentia and we will invite them to a ceremony in the second half of 2020.

Eligible graduates will still receive their qualifications on time, it is only the ceremonies which will be postponed.

The Graduate Research Team has developed a number of FAQs relevant to HDR students in the context of COVID-19. You can read them here.

The exam period for undergraduate and postgraduate students has moved to 6-17 July, 2020 to allow extra time for students to work through their course material and prepare for exams. There is no formal examination period for Enabling Pathways students (Open Foundation, Newstep and Yapug). All final assessments will be completed by 1st July. Please visit our dedicated page for the most recent information regarding exams.

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Travel advice

On late Tuesday 17 March 2020, the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) recommended that Australian citizens or permanent residents return home as soon as possible irrespective of your current location, future destination, age or health. The University requests that you arrange for an imminent return. DFAT requires that on your return you will be required to undertake a period of 14 days self-isolation.

For critical enquiries relating to travel, email travel.response@newcastle.edu.au – please recognise this contact is for urgent and critical requests only.

The Australian Government has mandated a level four – do not travel – for every country. This means you cannot travel internationally for the foreseeable future. No bookings can be made or deposits paid until further notice. There are also now restrictions on interstate travel. Travel plans for Semester 2 should be deferred until further information becomes available. For critical enquiries relating to travel, email travel.response@newcastle.edu.au – please recognise this contact is for urgent and critical requests only.

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Support

We know that many of our students, staff and community members are anxious about the current COVID-19 situation. It is perfectly normal to experience a range of emotions during times of uncertainty. Taking care of your physical and mental health is important and the University offers support services to help you achieve this. The University's Counselling and Psychology Services Team have a number of resources on their webpage, and will continue to support students through individual and drop-in online appointments. In addition, the After-Hours Crisis Support Line is always available outside business hours:

PH: 1300 653 007

SMS: 0488 884 165

Any student who has been directly or indirectly impacted by COVID-19 may apply for Adverse Circumstances. For students studying in 2020, the University will accept a written statement from students without the need for a medical certificate or JP signature to support these applications. Examples of direct or indirect impacts may include, but are not limited to:

  • Self-isolation if you and/or members of your family have contracted or come into contact with coronavirus
  • Other health grounds
  • Compassionate grounds such as carer responsibilities due to enforced school or day care closures
  • Financial hardship
  • Unavoidable commitments such as increased work hours
  • Other impacts - this is an evolving situation and the University will work to provide the best possible support to students. The process for submissions for Adverse Circumstances remains the same, applications continue to be lodged through the online system.

According to current NSW Health advice it is not necessary for staff or students who are experiencing an underlying medical condition to self-isolate. If a staff or student are medically advised not to attend class or work, then this is specific advice to them and overrides other advice. Should this be the case they can submit a request for Leave of Absence (LOA) or complete an adverse circumstance application. The adverse circumstances is only necessary if they have attendance requirements for that course and due to their absence have not meet these requirements or if are not able to attend timed or supervised examinations or tests.

Information about what financial assistance is available can be found here.

If you test positive for COVID-19 or you have been identified as a probable case, email health.response@newcastle.edu.au

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International students

For students who are unable to come to Australia we are offering remote study options. Most courses are available for online study, and the University will be as flexible as possible in considering student’s preferences. For Winter Term, options are available for online study.

We believe planning for your future should not be put on hold. In response to the impact of COVID-19 on the global community, we are pleased to offer prospective international students certain guarantees and incentives. If you are an international student looking to study with us, please contact our enquiry centre for further information.

The NSW Government recently announced a $20 million package to support international students affected by the impacts of COVID-19. This package includes the provision of temporary crisis accommodation for eligible students facing significant hardship. The University can support eligible students with the relevant documentation required for their application. Contact student-loansandwelfare@newcastle.edu for assistance. You can also visit our financial wellbeing page and the Service NSW website for more information about this initiative.

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Increased hygiene measures

Hand washing is the most effective way to protect yourself.

Keeping study environments clean may also help to stop the spread of COVID-19 and other infections such as the common cold.

We ask students, staff and visitors to our campuses take the precautions advised by the public health experts including:

  • Hand washing for 40 - 60 seconds with soap
  • Using hand sanitiser
  • Following coughing and sneezing etiquette

Please observe and comply with health-related signage around the University.

Video: Watch a University of Newcastle clinical facilitator demonstrate ideal hand washing technique
VIEW General COVID-19 advice