The University of Newcastle, Australia

Student information

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


Latest update for Semester 1 students

31 March 2020

In light of the extraordinary circumstances created by COVID-19, the University understands that you may require additional flexibility with assessment deadlines. Consequently, two changes have been agreed to in dealing with Adverse Circumstances applications. These are:

  1. For courses in Semester 1, 2020 students will not need to submit health certification when applying for Adverse Circumstances on health grounds. This applies to all students.
  2. Students enrolled in Semester 1 courses will be able to receive an automatic 14 calendar day extension for any ONE assessment item within EACH of their courses, without having to submit a formal Adverse Circumstances application. This will apply to specific assessment types only.

Which assessments can I apply the automatic extension to?

This automatic extension is able to be used for ONE individual assignment or assessment item per course in Semester 1, 2020. The automatic extension cannot be applied for tests or examinations, any assessment item with timed conditions (i.e. an online quiz), or group work.

How do I receive this extension?

To receive this extension you can simply submit your assignment or assessment item up to 14 days after the original submission due date. You must write at the top of your assessment: COVID-19 automatic extension.

What if I need longer, or an extension on other assessment types?

If you require additional extensions, or require an extension for assessment types excluded from the automatic extension option, you should continue to use the normal Adverse Circumstance application process, noting the relaxation of supporting documentation listed above.

Extended Easter recess

We have decided to extend the 2020 Easter recess. This will give students and staff the chance to manage matters that may have been impacted due to the many changes brought about by COVID-19.

What this means is that during the usual Semester 1 recess the University will be closed from Monday 13 April and will reopen on Monday 27 April. There will be limited services such as Security and Library Services operating at this time. We will provide more details prior to the close-down.

There will also be an additional non-teaching week added to the semester immediately following the Easter recess. This will be the week of Monday 27 April to Friday 1 May.

Teaching staff will use this time to fine-tune the materials required to support students to study from home. Students will be able to use this time to study and catch up on assessments, but will not have classes. This will extend Semester 1 by one week. The last day of semester will be Friday 12 June. The examination period will commence on Monday 6 July.

25 March 2020

Changes for health and medicine student placements

The University of Newcastle suspended all student clinical placements as of midnight Sunday 22 March for two weeks.

We will use this period to prepare and implement clinical and training support for pandemic initiatives of a surge health workforce in conjunction with our clinical partners. Suspending placements for two weeks will also enable the University to revisit its mode of teaching delivery and range of clinical placements at this critical time.

Students were contacted by the Faculty of Health and Medicine to notify them of this change and more details will be provided as soon as possible.

Preparing to study from home

The University is transitioning to remote learning and teaching. We are adapting courses to support online engaged learning for the remainder of the semester. Your course coordinators have been asked to prepare a detailed weekly learning plan for at least weeks 5, 6 and 7. You will be informed on a course-by-course basis when to switch to studying from home.

Our campuses are still open

As we introduce remote learning and teaching options, it’s important to remember that all of our campuses remain open for those people wishing to use our facilities.

The University of Newcastle wants to support our great retailers on campus who provide services for students, staff and the community in our every-day lives as we work, study and visit on campus. Of course, these retailers and vendors will now be experiencing pressures due an unavoidable downturn in foot traffic on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic response and the measures the University needs to implement according to the most up to date Government advice.

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.



If you are concerned you may have been exposed to COVID-19, please use this step-by-step self-assessment guide. This information also clarifies when you need to reach out to health authorities and the University in relation to your health and COVID-19.

VIEW The COVID-19 self-assessment guide

Frequently asked questions

What is the University's advice on COVID-19?

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 students: Universities 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.

Self-assessment guide

If you are concerned that you may have been exposed to COVID-19, please refer to the self-assessment guide. This information clarifies when you need to reach out to health authorities and the University in relation to your health and COVID-19. If you are unwell, please DO NOT come to campus.

For further information about the COVID-19 see NSW Health.

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.

If you are affected by the situation relating to COVID-19, please email specialcircumstance@newcastle.edu.au. The dedicated response team will be able to assist you in managing your study commitments during this time.

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Why are your campuses still open?

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 are transitioning to remote learning and teaching and many classes started in this format on Monday 23 March 2020. We are also enabling staff to work from home in suitable circumstances. But we also recognise that some people need or want to use the facilities on our campuses. We continue to reinforce social distancing and hygiene practices at all of our sites.

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Do I need my student ID card to access buildings?

Now that we have fewer people on our campuses, we’ve moved to swipe access only for all buildings. This helps make sure our equipment is safe and we restrict our resources to students and staff. Please carry your student ID card. If you do not have a student ID card and require building access please contact Student Central - 1300 ASKUON.

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What’s happening with student placements?

We recognise that different arrangements may need to be put in place for different courses and therefore a localised response is appropriate. For example, the University announced it would suspend all student clinical placements as of midnight Sunday 22 March for two weeks.

We will use this two-week period to prepare and implement clinical and training support for pandemic initiatives of a surge health workforce in conjunction with our clinical partners. Pausing will also enable the University to revisit its mode of teaching delivery and range of clinical placements at this critical time.

For all other placements, please stay in touch with your Placement Coordinator for advice.

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Does compulsory attendance still apply to me?

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.

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What if I fail my subject during this period?

Recognising the unique situation we find ourselves in, the University has decided that any students who fail a subject in Semester 1 or Trimester 1 will NOT have a ‘fail’ recorded on their academic transcript. The subject will not appear on your academic transcript at all until you pass it. This is intended to remove unnecessary anxiety – our first goal is to help you succeed with your studies, so please reach out if you need help.

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How will you implement social distancing in classes?

From 23 March 2020 we have been applying social distancing to all classes. This means lectures for large groups (e.g 100+ people) will be recorded or a Zoom function will be available.  Any face to face lectures will be a maximum length of 1hr 40mins.

Please try and consider the following social distancing advice for all non-essential activities such as social events:

  • avoiding crowds and mass gatherings where it is difficult to keep the appropriate distance away from others
  • avoiding small gatherings in enclosed spaces, for example family celebrations
  • attempting to keep a distance of 1.5 metres between yourself and other people where possible, for example when out and about in a public place
  • avoiding shaking hands, hugging, or kissing other people
  • avoiding visiting vulnerable people, such as those in aged care facilities or hospitals, infants, or people with compromised immune systems due to illness or medical treatment.

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I am choosing to study from home and remain off campus. What do I need to do?

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

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What changes have you made to Trimester 1 and Semester 1 exams?

On 16 March, we announced that, to allow flexibility and ensure students can complete their courses, we are RESCHEDULING exams for Trimester 1 and Semester 1.

  • Trimester 1 – We’re looking into options to push back exam times between 1 to 3 weeks, and are closely assessing possible impact on students. The decision on exact timing of Trimester exams will be communicated week commencing 30 March 2020.
  • Semester 1 – Exams will be rescheduled to start in the week commencing 6 July - instead of commencing on 8 June.

These changes will allow for additional teaching and additional private study, particularly given we anticipate people may be unable to attend classes at times due to ill health or isolation requirements.

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Will graduations go ahead?

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.

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I am currently overseas - what should I do?

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.

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When can I travel? What if I have existing plans to travel in Semester 2?

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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If I am in China due to COVID-19, is there flexibility to study in 2020?

The Flexible Semester option will allow you to study the first weeks of the Semester from your home in China. Your Course Coordinators will make as much of the course material as possible available online so that you can keep up to date.

After the mid-Semester break on 27 April, should you be able to travel to Australia you will be able to commence your semester on campus and continue your studies with your fellow students.

When the Semester concludes on 5 June you will have access to intensive support for the period until the Flexible Semester exam period starts on 13 July.

Flexible Semester Key Dates

  • 24 February - 26 April: Course material available online to keep up with the lessons as much as possible
  • 27 April - 5 June: Flexible Semester studies
  • 7 June - 13 July: Flexible Semester intensive study support
  • 13 July - 16 July: Flexible Semester Exam.

For more information regarding courses impacted in Semester 1 and Trimester 1, please see the below attachments:

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Do I have to study online for my Semester 1 courses, or can I just forget study until the travel restrictions are lifted and I return to Australia?

We want students to be in the best possible position to pick up classes as soon as it is possible to return to Australia, so we are asking that students study at home using materials provided by their course tutor from the start of term until they return. As long as the travel restrictions are removed by April 2020, there are still 13 weeks of study before exams and the start of Semester 2. We strongly encourage students to try and keep up with their work, and as soon as restrictions are lifted students will then be in a position to join their classes with their fellow classmates.

Students impacted by COVID-19 will still get the extra time at the end of the semester, but by studying to get ahead it may be possible to opt to take some examinations in the normal examination period. This will help take the pressure off, for instance, enabling the sitting of 2 exams in June (in the normal assessment period) and 2 exams in the new extended exam session in July.

So, try and study now to get ahead, but don't worry there is still time for study even if you cannot return until April.

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Are there any changes to on-campus accommodation at Callaghan?

As you may be aware we as part of our preparations regarding COVID-19, we’ve identified some areas in our current student residences at Callaghan that could be used if borders reopen and students from affected countries are able to travel to Australia. These rooms would be used for the 14-day isolation period that incoming students would need to follow.
To make sure these spaces are ready for incoming international students should they be allowed to travel, we are relocating 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.

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In the interest of sustainability, why is the University promoting a handwashing technique that leaves a tap running for several minutes?

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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I have an underlying health condition which makes me vulnerable to be infected by COVID-19, do I need to self-isolate?

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.

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I am in self isolation based on advice from NSW Health, experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or am currently being tested. What do I need to do?

It is clear with this health emergency that many students will be impacted in some way. The University has created a new way of addressing these circumstances for students directly impacted by COVID-19.  Please contact the Health Response Team via email health.response@newcastle.edu.au.

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Are there any changes to on-campus retailers?

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.

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Study information for students unable to travel to Australia

We have a number of flexible options to help you start your study and succeed at our University even if you’re not able to travel at this time. Your teaching staff and fellow students are eager to help and look forward to welcoming you on campus as soon as you can travel. >

Information sent to Semester 1 students in China in simplified Chinese | 关于2020第一学期中国留学生的信息 - 简体中文

Need study help?

If you are affected by the situation relating  to COVID-19, please email  specialcircumstance@newcastle.edu.au. The dedicated response team will be able to help you manage your study commitments during this time.

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