Academic progress is the way the University supports students who are not making satisfactory progress towards completing their program. 

We know there are many reasons why it can be difficult to keep up with your studies. It’s important to remember that, throughout this process, there are many support services available to get you back on track, and people who can help you succeed.


The stages of unsatisfactory academic progress

If you meet the criteria listed in the following documents, your school will identify you as being at risk of not meeting the academic requirements of your program. This is known as unsatisfactory academic progress. 

There are two official stages to this process.

First stage

The first time you meet one or more of the criteria in the above documents, you’re identified as being at risk of not meeting the academic requirements of your program. 

Officially, this means you’re considered to be ‘first stage at risk’. If your academic performance continues to be unsatisfactory, you could be excluded from your program. 

Your school will contact you by email after results are released (or after a change to a grade) to notify you of this and to offer you support. This is a chance to get the help you need to get back on track with your studies. 

You’ll be given the opportunity to talk to an academic advisor and develop a tailored Academic Performance Improvement Plan (APIP). This plan sets out the requirements you need to meet in the next teaching period to continue in your program.


Final stage

If you make unsatisfactory academic progress for a subsequent time (meaning you again meet one or more of the criteria in the above documents) in the same program, you may be identified as final stage at risk of not meeting the academic requirements of your program

If this happens, you’ll be emailed by your school after results are released (or after a change to a grade) and invited to provide a written submission, called a ‘show cause’ submission, to the Program Assessment Board.

Preparing your written show cause submission

The show cause submission is a way for you to explain your situation to the Program Assessment Board. The Board will meet and, based on the information in your submission, decide whether or not you can continue in your program. They’ll base this decision on whether you have a reasonable likelihood of future success.

Before preparing your submission, you may want to consider if this program is the right one for you, or if a break from the program would be beneficial.

If you decide to make a show cause submission, ensure you include the following information.

For the teaching periods in which you’ve been identified as at risk, especially the most recent teaching period, you need to explain:

  • what went wrong and why (including both academic and personal circumstances that have impaired your performance)
  • how much time each week you’ve spent in class and studying, and how much time you’ve spent on other commitments such as employment
  • what you’ve done to resolve these issues, including any help you’ve sought
  • what you’ve done to carry out your Academic Performance Improvement Plan.

For the next teaching period, you need to explain:

  • whether the issues that impaired your academic performance are still present, or your situation has improved
  • if the issues are still present, how you’ll minimise their impact on your performance
  • your short-term and long-term plans to improve your study skills and academic performance.

The Board will expect independent supporting documentation of any circumstances outside your control that have impaired your academic performance. 

Typical supporting documents include:

  • a letter or report from a health practitioner or counsellor
  • a death certificate or funeral notice for a close relative
  • a police report of a crime against you
  • evidence of your use of support services recommended in your Academic Performance Improvement Plan.


The Program Assessment Board (PAB) may decide to:

  • allow you to continue in your program. 
  • exclude you from your program for 12 months, after which you may apply for re-admission.

If the PAB decides you can continue in your program, you’ll be sent a 'withdrawal of exclusion' email. You’ll continue to be officially at risk of not meeting the academic requirements of your program. 

You’ll again be given the opportunity to talk to an academic advisor and develop an Academic Performance Improvement Plan (APIP). You’ll need to continue to meet the requirements in your APIP. If you meet one of the unsatisfactory academic progress criteria in any subsequent semesters in the same program, you may need to provide another submission to the Program Assessment Board.

If you’re recommended for exclusion, your school will notify you by email. They’ll then ask the Academic Registrar to exclude you from your program. The Academic Registrar will notify you of the exclusion decision by email. This will take about 10 working days. 

Can I appeal an exclusion decision?

Yes. The email from the Academic Registrar will include information about how to appeal. You need to wait to receive this email before you can submit an appeal. 

You’re eligible to apply for re-admission to the program 12 months after exclusion. If you cancel your enrolment, you’ll still need to wait 12 months before applying for re-admission.

International student visas

If you’re studying an RMIT program on a student visa, your visa may be cancelled if you’re excluded from your program for continued unsatisfactory academic performance. 

RMIT is required by law to notify the Department of Home Affairs of excluded students. This is in accordance with section 19 of the Educational Services for Overseas Students Act.

If you’re being excluded and you cancel your enrolment, transfer to another RMIT program, or transfer to a program at another provider, RMIT is still obligated to notify the Department of Home Affairs. 

If you appeal the decision, we won’t notify the Department of Home Affairs until the appeal process is completed (and then only if your appeal is unsuccessful).

For more information about your visa requirements, email the RMIT International Compliance team at

Students who want to cancel their program

If you’ve decided not to continue with your program, you must formally cancel your enrolment before the census or relevant withdrawal date. This will ensure you don’t incur fees or academic penalties. Find out how to cancel your enrolment.

Please note: cancelling your enrolment will not stop the exclusion process.

Contacts and help

If you’re finding it hard to keep up with your studies, there's help available.

  • If you’re worried about your results and academic progress, we recommend first talking to staff in your school or college.
  • Study support - RMIT provides one-on-one help with coursework and assessments, as well as workshops in academic writing, study skills, English language development, maths, physics and chemistry. See all study support options.
  • Student support services - We also offer counselling, financial advice and support for people with a disability, long-term illness and/or mental health condition. See all support services or book an appointment with a Student Support Advisor.
  • The RMIT University Student Union (RUSU) can provide advice and help you prepare a show cause submission. 

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