Semester 2, 2020 will commence on August 24

May 14, 2020
Dear students,

I am writing to let you know that the University has decided to delay the start of Semester 2 this year by three weeks, with a new start date of Monday 24 August. Most units of study will be delivered remotely. A delayed start will give our staff more time to prepare for teaching in Semester 2, building on our experience of Semester 1, 2020. It will also help us to plan for a gradual re-introduction of face-to-face teaching for those who are able to be on campus.

The delay in the semester date will also allow some students more time to complete entry requirement qualification tasks which may have been impacted or delayed by COVID-19.

Key dates

This year, there will be 12 weeks of teaching with a mid-semester break and the usual StuVac and exam period. The final exam week will finish on 12 December. While this is one week shorter than usual, the volume of learning will remain the same as Week 1 will be a full teaching week across the University with both lectures and tutorials.

Mid-semester break will begin on 5 October and StuVac will begin on 23 November, one week later than originally planned.

While this change will impact all courses that follow our standard semester dates, some programs which operate according to their own independent timetables, such as within the Faculty of Medicine and Health, will remain unchanged. There are also no plans to alter the research period.

All of our student support services will continue to be available online in Semester 2, and we will update you if this changes.

Re-introduction of on campus learning

The timing for the re-introduction of on-campus learning will depend on health advice from the Australian and NSW governments. This process will be managed gradually and we will prioritise practical components that cannot be delivered online, such as labs and studios.

You will receive updates from your Unit of Study course co-ordinator in the coming weeks about any plans for re-introducing elements of face-to-face teaching for those who are able to be on campus.

I know that it may be difficult for many of you who are studying with us from your home country to be able to attend in-person classes at the same time as students in Sydney due to ongoing travel restrictions. While this is not what we had hoped for you, I assure you that we will continue to provide a world-class remote teaching experience. Most students will be able to complete Semester 2 remotely if needed, including those studying from their home country, and will be provided with the opportunity to achieve the same learning outcomes. We will communicate directly with students enrolled in units with activities that cannot be conducted entirely online and who are unable to join us on campus for Semester 2, 2020.

Welcome Week

Our Semester 2, 2020 Welcome Week and other orientation activities will be conducted online so that you can prepare for classes and connect with teachers and classmates. We will provide more information about this soon.

Further information and FAQs

If you have questions about what the new dates mean for you, please consult the FAQs on our website. We will continue to update this page with new information as it becomes available.

I understand that this has been a very difficult year already and I have been deeply impressed by the strength of our international student community in weathering these challenges. I want to remind you that you are valuable members of our university and we are proud that you are part of our community. We hope that the opportunity for you all to join us on campus comes very soon. Until then, we will continue to support you no matter where you are.

I hope the delayed start may provide you with extra time to enjoy a well-deserved break in preparation for the new semester.


Dr Michael Spence AC
Vice-Chancellor and Principal
The University of Sydney