Student information

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

Last reviewed 22 February 2021

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General advice

  • Stay at home if you have COVID-19 symptoms and get tested
  • Work from home if they are classified as at high risk
  • Be aware of social distancing requirements and try to keep 1.5m between you and others.
  • Comply with COVID-safe room occupancy signs (2 square metre rule), except where this is higher than the teaching capacity or health and safety restrictions on that room. Note that the 2 square metre rule minimises the risk of transmission of COVID-19 when in a teaching, research, office, meeting space.
  • Maintain good hand and cough hygiene.
  • Follow all directions within relevant Public Health Order(s).
  • Not host non-essential visitors.
  • Review events involving 50 or more externals with
  • Apply caution when serving refreshments: for instance, no sharing of food platters
  • Follow NSW Health Advice

For advice relating to travel and isolation requirements, please visit our COVID-19 landing page.

International Students

The University of Newcastle is committed to continued support for our international students who are unable to travel to Australia due to border restrictions.

We are happy to confirm an extension of our 2020 COVID-19 initiative - "No Pass, No Pay". This means that if you should you not receive a Pass grade or higher for a course, you may retake the course again once for no additional tuition charge. To partake of this opportunity, you must:

  1. a. complete all assessment tasks in a timely manner including final examinations;
  2. b. pay all tuition and associated fees in full for the first attempt;
  3. c. retake the course at the next time it is offered.

Please note a Fail grade will be recorded.

We will revisit this initiative again as Semester Two approaches and we thank you for your commitment to continued study at the University throughout the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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.

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Campus information

Library buildings are open to university students, staff and our Community Borrowers membership holders. These members 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. At this time, no general community members or non-university students can access libraries.

Our Sydney campus is closed. Our other campuses are on reduced operating access during the holiday season. New cases of COVID-19 have been identified in NSW. We ask that anyone intending to come onto campus over the holiday period do not do so if they have been into any area of concern. Details of areas of concern are available on NSW Health website.

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.

Many of our campus cafes continue to offer takeaway services for food and beverage, and some are able to offer limited dine in options. Here is an up-to-date list of the revised trading hours and services offered at our campus retail outlets. Our retailers and vendors are also ensuring they implement the required safe hygiene and physical distancing protocols.  Please support them if you can, observing safe distancing measures and hygienic practice advice at all times.

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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.

If your course does have a compulsory attendance requirement you will receive advice from your Course Coordinator via Blackboard.  Please ensure you check your Course Outline and course Blackboard information for any attendance requirements, and check in via the myUON app if required to do so.

We have returned 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.

Students who failed a course in 2020 will NOT have a ‘fail’ recorded on their academic transcript. Consequently, this unsuccessful attempt will not adversely impact the calculation of a GPA. This temporary change was put in place due to the uncertainty covid caused during 2020. If you did not pass your course, you will need to retake the course (or another equivalent allowable within your program plan).

In 2021 the University will return to our standard grading scale, students who obtain a mark between 0 and 49 will have a ‘fail’ grade recorded on their official academic transcript.

For current information on graduation ceremonies, please visit the Graduation page.

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.

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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

As part of the University’s response to COVID-19, for students studying in 2021, the University will accept a written statement from students without the need for a medical certificate or JP signature to support these applications. 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.

Please refer to the advice above about testing and self isolation. If you test positive for COVID-19 or you have been identified as a probable case, email for advice and support.

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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.

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.

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Campus accommodation

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.

Unfortunately, we have now exhausted our allocation of rooms for Semester 2.

Please keep an eye on our website for details about 2021 applications (opening soon). 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 application updates.

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.

We have increased the cleaning frequency of all common area surfaces, furniture & fixtures.

The dedicated Dining Hall staff are following cleaning guidelines to the highest Australian standard. Hand sanitisers are present at the entrance to the servery and all surfaces in the servery are sanitised prior to resident access, throughout service as required, and at the end of service. Back-of-house, our kitchen staff are maintaining the highest standard of personal hygiene, carrying out regular hand-washing along with the cleaning and sanitising of workspaces.

Student Living are guided by advice from NSW Health. Restrictions are subject to change.

Semester 2 restrictions and changes summary:

  • Student Living will remain at reduced occupancy. A reduced number of residents will share bathrooms
  • Only two residents are permitted to travel in a lift at one time
  • Reduced number of resident guests: An addition of TWO current residents can visit a household if the space allows for adequate social distancing. This limit applies to all residences
  • Socially distanced outdoor gatherings cannot exceed 10 people
  • No registered guests are permitted at Student Living
  • Common rooms will remain closed. Some study spaces will reopen.

How to get tested

Testing Centre open on Callaghan Campus

NSW Health Pathology operates a COVID-19 drive through testing clinic at the University of Newcastle, Callaghan Campus ICT Carpark 1. No appointment necessary.

Opening Hours
8.00am - 12:30pm Wednesday-Saturday, 8.00am – 3.00pm Sunday-Tuesday.

Age restrictions
Children under the age of 5 will not be tested at this clinic and should attend their nearest Emergency Department or local GP so a full medical assessment can be undertaken.

Use of face masks

In line with the NSW Premier’s announcement that she ‘strongly encouraged’ the use of face masks in certain circumstances, the University has updated its guidelines.

  • Students are strongly encouraged, but not required, to use masks when on campus, especially if they are medically at risk or when in enclosed areas where social distancing is difficult. This includes while on public transport and in some class setting such as labs where students need to move around.
  • Students are required to use masks where they have been informed there is a professional/accreditation requirement (such as for nursing or medical practical classes). While students are typically required to provide their own mask, anyone who occasionally forgets can collect a disposable mask from Student Central locations or a library.

Students can request a disposable mask from Student Central locations or the libraries in the following scenarios:

For sustainability, individuals are urged to use cloth masks.

It is important to remember that face masks are the final line of defence. It’s most important that you stay at home if you are unwell, practice physical distancing where possible and use good cough and hand hygiene. However, when social distancing is hard, masks may provide some advantage, and particularly act as a barrier should you be infected.

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

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.