Course additions and withdrawals
Find out about adding and dropping courses, also deadlines, refunds, impacts on your finances, and late withdrawals with approval from an Associate Dean.
You can add or drop courses before the course changes deadline at the beginning of each trimester. If you drop a course before this deadline you won't be required to pay the fees for that course.
We recommend that you complete your course changes earlier—ideally by the end of the first week—so that you don’t get behind with your studies.
On this page:
- Adding courses
- Withdrawing from courses
- Dates and deadlines
- Applying for a refund
- Applying for Associate Dean Late Withdrawal
- Student finance considerations
- International student visa considerations
Before you add or drop a course
You’ll also find the contact details for your Student Success Adviser in Pūaha. They’ll be able to give you advice about which courses you need to take to meet the requirements of your degree.
If the Add/Drop tool is not available for your chosen course or courses, you will need to email your Student Success Adviser. Please include your full name, Student ID number, the course code(s) and CRN number(s) in your email message.
- You can add courses at the beginning of each trimester, before the course changes deadline.
- We recommend that you complete any course additions as early as possible. If you miss more than the first week of lectures, tutorials, and coursework it may be difficult to catch up.
- We cannot guarantee you a place on your chosen course—it may already be full by the deadline for adding courses.
- Once you have added a course, you need to pay the fees by the Friday before it starts. If the course has already started, you need to pay the fees immediately.
Withdrawing from courses
If the Add/Drop tool is not available for your chosen course or courses, you will need to email your Student Success team. Please include your full name, Student ID number, the course code(s) and CRN number(s) in your email message.
- We will not accept non-payment of fees, ceasing to attend classes, or verbally advising a member of staff as notice of withdrawal from a course or courses.
- There are three different withdrawal options, depending on when you drop the course and the circumstances involved.
Impact on StudyLink entitlements
In order to maintain your eligibility for StudyLink entitlements, it is important to ensure that any withdrawal from course(s) does not have an adverse impact on your entitlements, both now and in the future.
You can refer to the StudyLink website for more information on this matter, and if you require additional details, feel free to directly contact StudyLink.
Withdrawal with refund
If you withdraw from a course by the course changes deadline:
- Neither your academic transcript nor your student record will include the course.
- You will be eligible to apply for a refund.
- Your future enrolment will not be restricted.
You can make an ordinary late withdrawal from a course up until the late withdrawal deadline:
- Your academic transcript will not include the course, but your student record will show a withdrawal grade (WD).
- In exceptional circumstances you may be eligible to apply for a partial refund (fee reconsideration process).
- Your future enrolment is less likely to be restricted than if you failed the course.
Late withdrawal with Associate Dean approval
If medical or exceptional personal circumstances have stopped you continuing or completing your course, you can apply for approval from the Associate Dean of your faculty for a late withdrawal.
You can apply for this special type of late withdrawal even after the late withdrawal deadline has passed. You will need to be able to show that you were attending classes and completing assessments before you withdrew.
- Your academic transcript and student record will show a late withdrawal with Associate Dean approval grade (U) rather than a fail grade (F) for the course.
- You may be able to apply for a partial refund (fee reconsideration process).
- Your future enrolment is less likely to be restricted than if you failed the course.
Course changes deadlines
Trimester 1 and full year courses starting 27 February 2023*
- Friday 10 March 2023: Last day to add Trimester 1 courses. Students dropping a Trimester 1 course after this date will not receive a refund.
- Friday 24 March 2023: Last day to add full-year courses that started on 27 February 2023. Students dropping a full-year course after this date will not receive a refund.
Trimester 2 courses starting 10 July 2023*
- Friday 21 July 2023: Last day to add Trimester 2 courses. Students dropping a Trimester 2 course after this date will not receive a refund.
Trimester 3 courses starting 13 November 2023*
- Friday 17 November 2023: Last day to add Trimester 3 courses that run from November to December 2023. Students dropping these Trimester 3 courses after this date will not receive a refund.
- Friday 24 November 2023: Last day to add Trimester 3 courses that run from November 2023 to February 2024. Students dropping these Trimester 3 courses after this date will not receive a refund.
*If your course dates are different to those listed above, contact email@example.com to confirm the withdrawal deadline that applies to your course.
Late withdrawal deadlines
These deadlines apply to ordinary late withdrawals. In exceptional circumstances, you may be able to do a special late withdrawal—with the permission of your faculty's Associate Dean—after the applicable date has passed.
- Friday 12 May 2023: Last day for late withdrawal from Trimester 1 courses.
- Friday 18 August 2023: Last day for late withdrawal from full-year courses.
- Friday 22 September 2023: Last day for late withdrawal from Trimester 2 courses.
- Wednesday 13 December 2023: Last day for late withdrawal from Trimester 3 courses that run from November to December 2023.
Late withdrawal dates for Trimester 3 courses are at approximately the three-quarter point of teaching. If you’re thinking of withdrawing from a Trimester 3 course after the course changes deadline has passed, contact your Student Success Adviser to discuss your options.
Applying for a refund
Refunds are not processed automatically. To request your refund, email firstname.lastname@example.org and include your student ID number.
- If you paid your fees yourself, please download and complete our refund request form. Submit it to email@example.com from your ‘preferred’ or myvuw email address.
- If your fees were paid by StudyLink, the credit from your course withdrawal will be refunded back to your loan. You do not need to complete the refund request form for a refund to StudyLink.
Some parts of the payment may not be refundable:
- We may charge a refund fee if you paid your fees directly, rather than through StudyLink or the Fees-Free scheme.
- If you paid by debit/credit card and were charged a ‘convenience’ fee, the convenience fee portion of your payment will not be refunded.
Applying for Associate Dean late withdrawal
An ‘Associate Dean late withdrawal’ is a special kind of withdrawal that recognises that exceptional circumstances prevented you from completing a course. If your application is approved, you won’t receive a fail grade on your academic transcript.
You can apply if:
- Medical or exceptional personal circumstances have stopped you continuing or completing your course.
- You can show that you were attending classes and completing assessments before you withdrew.
There isn’t a specific application deadline:
- You can apply even after the late withdrawal deadline has passed.
- Only in exceptional circumstances are withdrawals granted after the final examination or final assessment has taken place.
- You can’t withdraw from a course if a trimester has passed since the course ended.
To apply you will need to be able to provide evidence, including:
- Dates of medical or exceptional circumstances that prevented you from continuing or completing your course.
- Original or certified copies of supporting documents, such as a medical certificate or a letter from the Counselling Service.
- Evidence that you were attending class and completing assignments before you withdrew.
Talk to your Student Success Adviser to find out more about applying for approval from your faculty’s Associate Dean for a late withdrawal.
If you would like to apply for a partial refund of your fees via the fee reconsideration process, you will need to submit a separate application to the Student Finance team.
Student finance considerations
Be aware that there may be an impact on your student loan or study support if you withdraw from courses.
Part-time or full-time status
If StudyLink no longer recognises you as a full-time student, you may not be eligible for support such as student loan living costs, a student allowance, or course related costs.
Full-time study is defined by StudyLink as being enrolled in at least 48 points in one trimester OR 96 points in two or more trimesters in the same loan period.
StudyLink may consider that you are eligible for Limited Full-Time Status if you are reducing your workload due to medical or other exceptional circumstances. If your application is successful, you will treated as a full-time student while studying part time.
Talk to the Student Finance team to understand the student loan and allowance implications of dropping a course or courses, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Student loan pass requirements
StudyLink requires students to have passed more than half of their study in the past five years to be eligible for a student loan.
Because StudyLink considers a ‘withdrawn’ grade to be a ‘fail’ grade, dropping courses after the course changes deadline may also affect your future student loan entitlements.
If you are withdrawing due to exceptional circumstances that affect your ability to study, you may be able to ask StudyLink to remove the course(s) from their calculation of your eligibility.
International student visa considerations
If you are an international student, withdrawing from a course may have an impact on your eligibility to hold a student visa. In particular, if your course load is below the required course load for full time study.
We recommend that you contact the International Student Support team before you withdraw from any courses.