External and flexible study

We understand that you might not always be able to study full-time on campus. You might be working or have family commitments, and can't attend classes. You might want to study a single subject, take classes over the summer holidays, or fast-track your degree.

To help you, there are a number of flexible study options that may be available for your course.


Studying part-time is a great option if you're already working or have other commitments that take up a lot of your time. You may be able to study 1 or 2 units each semester. Your degree will take you longer to complete, but you can do it at a pace that is more suited to your needs.

See your course information to find out if it's offered part-time.

If you're a full-time student but feel like you can't commit enough time to studying, you may be able change to studying part-time. If you're withdrawing from units, you need to withdraw before a certain date to ensure you don't receive an academic or financial penalty.

If you work full-time and can't be on campus during the day, some units may hold classes outside of work hours. To find out if the units you're interested in are offered after hours, check the subject details for timetable information, or contact the unit coordinator.


External study - also known as distance, online or open learning - means that you don't have to be on campus to study.

Some of our courses are offered online, with lecture notes and learning materials available for download. You'll complete assessment and submit it online.

Other external courses are offered through correspondence, where your learning materials will be sent through the mail. You'll receive the same education as internal students, without having to be on campus.

We offer some external courses that you can study while living outside of Australia. Check your course information for details.

Summer program

The summer program is a shorter teaching period that usually runs from late November until the last weeks of February. Units are taught in intensive blocks of classes, or in weekly classes. If you're a QUT student, the summer program can help you:

  • get a head start on your course
  • accelerate your studies
  • catch up on your units
  • diversify your studies.

The summer program is a good time to complete any project work required for your course. You can tailor this project to help your post-study career options.

You don't have to be a QUT student to study in the summer program. The program is also open to students from other universities who want to study units not offered at their own university, and the general public. If you're a QUT student, the program offers units at both an undergraduate and postgraduate level. If you're a postgraduate student, you can begin your course in the summer program.

While most units are full fee-paying, if the subject is part of your course, you may be eligible for a HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP loan.

Intensive/block mode study

Some courses offer units in block mode. These units are taught over shorter teaching periods, sometimes over five or six weeks, on several consecutive weekends, or intensively over a week. Because block mode units have comparatively fewer classes, attendance is compulsory. Studying in block mode lets you complete a unit in a much shorter time.

Project-based study

Some courses involve a research project, or a series of smaller projects. Normally part of a postgraduate degree, these project-based units allow you to complete your course while working on an individual project, rather than completing coursework units. This can give you the flexibility to study at a pace that is more suited to your individual needs.

See your course information for unit details.

Study individual units

If you are interested in studying a single subject, but don't want to enrol in an entire degree, you may be able to study as a single-unit study student. Studying can be for professional or personal development, or can be a way to see if study suits your personal needs before committing to a whole degree.

Fast-tracking your course

While students normally study four units each semester, you might choose to study five. This will allow you to complete your course faster. As long as the units you choose are part of your study plan, and you have met all the prerequisites, you can enrol in five units.

It may be possible to study more than five units (or 60 credit points) in one semester, but you'll need to get special permission from your faculty to do this.

Study a short course

We offer a range of short courses and professional development programs. Develop your skills in a specific area over a short time to boost your career, or just study something you're interested in. Some of our short courses may provide advanced standing (credit) into full award courses if you want to continue with further study.