An ode to changing subjects

You know that feeling when something turns out not to be what you expected?

That much-needed cup of coffee, or that sleep in you’ve waited weeks for, or even that movie that you actually paid to see?

Well, that feeling happens with subjects too.


You end up sitting in your first class and questioning your reasons for being in it. Your energy slowly evaporates as you listen to the lecturer talk about something so boring that tears form in your eyes.

And you think, but I can’t change my subjects now, I’m locked in for the rest of semester!


But good news! You’re not locked in, and until the end of the second week of semester, the University allows you to change around not only your subjects, but your timetable as well.

How do I swap subjects?

First, log into my.unimelb and head to your Study Plan. Then, select ‘Subject Withdrawal’ on the left, and tick the subjects that you’d like to get out of. And voila! You are free of that dreaded subject.

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 9.51.34 pm
Photo: University of Melbourne

So now you will need to find a subject to replace your old one.

Heading back to your Study Plan, go and enrol in another subject as soon as you can – this is the same process you would have gone through to enrol in your first subjects.

Remember that as soon as you choose and enrol in a new subject, the journey isn’t over.

Don’t forget to register into classes!

You now have to register in classes, just like for your other subjects. But this time, there’s a difference, and that is that there won’t be many spots left in most classes for this subject. This is more common for first year or popular subjects, but it is always something to watch out for.

It may be that you’ll end up with a time you don’t overly like (such as a 5:15pm tutorial, woe), but at the end of the day it’s worth it if you’re not sitting brain dead in a subject you don’t like for 12 weeks.

Now that you’ve enrolled and registered in classes…

You’ll need to catch up on anything you’ve missed, such as recorded lectures and the like.

You don’t want to be behind in a subject before you’ve even started it!

If any tutorials or practicals ran in the first week that you’ve missed, try and get in touch with your tutor or head lecturer via email, or go up to them in your first class and let them know that you’ve only just started.

But for my final, and most awesome tip – remember that class registration system that you’re probably sick of by now?

Sometimes you may be in luck and a spot in your preferred class will pop up and you won’t be stuck with that inconvenient time anymore (goodbye 5:15pm, hello 1pm!).

You’ve got until the end of the second week to shuffle your timetable around, and you won’t be the only one looking to adjust, so keep an eye out for any unexpected openings. You’ll spend the rest of the semester being grateful!


What if I’m still not digging a subject after Week 2?

Bear in mind that the beginning of some subjects can be quite dry, and it may get better as the semester goes on.

But if you really want out of a subject – you still have options.

Have a look on the handbook entry for your subject. There are 2 main dates to be aware of. The first is the census date. This is the last day where you can withdraw from subjects without having to pay for it. The second, is the ‘last date to withdraw without fail’ (pretty self explanatory).

If you are struggling with your subjects, don’t forget we have fantastic free student services like Academic Skills to help you out. Go ask for help from your tutors. It’s also a good idea to have a chat to a student adviser at your student centre if you need a hand with anything.

The University may be a large place, but you’re never alone and help is always available!

– Kate

2 thoughts on “An ode to changing subjects

  1. If I withdraw between the census date and the last day to withdraw without fail, will this affect my application for post-grad/honors? I don’t want it to affect my gpa :(

    1. From my understanding – if you withdraw before the census date, it will not show up on your transcript and you do not have to pay for the subject. But if you withdraw after the census date and before the deadline to withdraw without fail, it will show on your transcript saying you’ve withdrawn from the subject and you still have to pay for the subject.

      Hope that clears it up and it’s best to speak to your student centre if you have more questions about this :)
      – Daph

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