Enrolling in CECS Courses

ANU students

When you study at ANU, one of your responsibilities is to manage your study program and enrol in courses. For more information about enrolling at ANU, see Enrolment.

The following information provides more detail on enrolling in CECS courses.


Enrolment and permission codes

The online CECS Permission Code request form is now closed for Semester 2 2021. If you require a permission code before Monday 2 August please send an email to studentadmin.cecs@anu.edu.au

A permission code is a special code issued to you by a course convener to allow you to enrol in a course. Permission codes are not required for all courses, but may be needed under some circumstances (see 'When should I apply for a CECS permission code?').


What is a prerequisite?

A prerequisite is a course that students must complete before enrolling in a more advanced course. Prerequisite courses provide the foundational knowledge and understanding on which the more advanced course is based. Attempting to take a course “out-of-sequence” or without first completing the published prerequisite has shown to put students at significant risk of failing the advanced course and therefore is not approved by the College in most cases.


Eligibility for permission codes

You will not be permitted to enrol into a course where you have not previously satisfied the published course prerequisite and/or program requirement, if any of the following circumstances apply to you:

  • If you have previously attempted and failed (i.e. WN, N, NCN or CRN) one or more courses listed as a prerequisite for the course you were hoping to enrol into.
  • If you have not attempted the prerequisite course previously and your academic performance and/or academic conduct is determined by the College to mean you would be at-risk of failing the course.
  • If you are unable to demonstrate that you have satisfied the requirements of a prerequisite/co-requisite course (e.g. with study completed outside of ANU and in a personal statement).
  • It is not sufficient to assert that you think you will be able to pass, you are required to be able to clearly demonstrate that you have established the required academic background to attempt the course.
  • If you have not attempted the prerequisite course previously and are avoiding enrolling into a challenging course that you are eligible to take.
  • If you are seeking permission to enrol after Monday of Week 2 of the course. After Monday of Week 2, the College has determined that too much content and self-study has been missed for you to realistically be able to catch up (especially if you are enrolled in a full time study load). Students are therefore not approved to enrol after this time.

Important note: Requesting to enrol into a course concurrently with a course prerequisite will not be considered unless the course is explicitly listed as a co-requisite.

If any of the above circumstances apply you to, your request for a Permission Code will be automatically denied by the Course Convener and you will not be given permission to enrol into that course.

This will mean that you will need to select another course to enrol into and/or apply for a Reduced Study Load (international students only) if you are unable to find a suitable course.


Which courses are excluded from the CECS permission code process?

You cannot apply for a permission code using the CECS Permission Code form for the following courses:

  • Courses that are owned by another ANU Colleges (e.g. MATH, STAT, CRIM, etc. Courses), even if they are a required course in your CECS Degree

    To seek permission to enrol into a non-CECS course, please contact the College that owns that course directly. Note that if it is a compulsory course for your degree, you should make that clear to the other College so there is no confusion about your eligibility to enrol into their course.

    If you are a CECS degree student hoping to take a non-CECS course as an elective, the other College may require you to provide confirmation from CECS that you have space in your degree program to complete their course. In this situation applies to you, you will need to contact CECS Student Services with a study plan detailing the courses you have successfully completed to-date and how you propose to fit in the non-CECS course. CECS Student Services will then review your study plan and confirm your eligibility (or otherwise) to take the course by reply email.
  • CECS Individual Research Project and Honours Project Courses (e.g. ENGN3712,ENGN4712, ENGN4718, ENGN8601, ENGN8601, COMP3550, COMP3560, COMP4540, COMP4550, COMP4560, COMP8800, COMP8755)

    For All COMP-coded Project Courses, you will need to submit a fully signed and dated Independent Study Contract. For ENGN Project Courses, you will need to first secure a Supervisor and then forward the details of your project to the Course Convener for Approval - they will then email Student Services directly. This means that you no longer need to apply for a permission code – you will be automatically enrolled into your nominated Project/Honours course with your Project Title and correct unit load, upon receipt of your completed and approved Independent Study Contract (COMP Project Courses) OR Email from your Course Convener (ENGN Project Courses). For more information on this process, please refer to our website: Student projects
  • CECS courses that are not scheduled for the current study period

    Please make sure you double-check Programs and Courses to confirm the semester/session scheduling for a particular course before you contact Student Services about why you are unable to apply for a permission code. For example, we will not consider requests for a permission code for a Semester 2 course in January of that year – you will need to apply when the Semester 2 Permission Code process opens for the second study period of the year.

When should I apply for a CECS permission code?

With the exception of a few courses that have been deliberately set up to require permission to enrol, if you satisfy the published course and program prerequisites, you should not need a permission code to finalise your enrolment into a course (students can simply click past the window that pops up in ISIS asking to enter a permission code).

You should therefore only apply for a CECS permission code in the following, very limited circumstances:

  • You are able to clearly demonstrate that you have met the published prerequisites
    For instance, if you have completed equivalent tertiary courses and/or have extensive, relevant industry experience which has been or is eligible to be recognised as credit or exemptions at the ANU; or
  • You have an upcoming supplementary or deferred exam for a prerequisite course that you believe you’re on-track to pass.  
    Important note: if you subsequently fail your supplementary or deferred exam, you will be automatically removed from the course by Student Services. Depending when this occurs, you may not be able to enrol into a different course, as too much content will have passed for you to be able to realistically catch up; or
  • You have a pending credit/exemption application under consideration which includes a course listed as a prerequisite for the course you’re attempting to enrol into.
    Note that you will have to provide proof that your credit application has been received by the College as part of your Permission Code application (e.g. upload your email confirmation). If your credit/exemption application is denied, you will be automatically removed from the later course by Student Services. Depending when this occurs, you may not be able to enrol into a different course, as too much content will have passed for you to be able to realistically catch up); or
  • You are a very high-performing student
    (i.e. minimum overall GPA of 6.5/7.0) with excellent academic standing (i.e. no academic integrity infractions) who has completed at least 96 units of ANU courses and can demonstrate that you have achieved at least at a Distinction grade in cognate courses at the same level or higher level at ANU.
    (Important Note: The above does not guarantee you permission to enrol into a course; however, a Convener may be prepared to consider the request if the above performance hurdles are satisfied and a strong case could be made for why you are requesting to take the course out of sequence; or 
  • You have met all published course and program prerequisites but ISIS is returning an error when you try to finalise your enrolment into the course
    Note: you must provide a screen-shot of the error message when you try to enrol as part of your Permission Code application so we can investigate and correct the system error; and
  • You have submitted your request to enrol into the course before Monday of Week 2.

It’s important to note that if your application to take a course out-of-sequence is approved by the Course Convener, this does not automatically exempt you from having to complete the prerequisite course (if it is a compulsory course that is specified in your Program/Major/Minor/Specialisation rules).  

How do I apply for a CECS Permission Code?

Complete a CECS permission code application

If you satisfy the above eligibility criteria for enrolment into a course, to request a permission code for a CECS Course (i.e. courses codes with COMP, ENGN or CECS) you will need to complete our online Permission Code Request form for each course that you require a permission code for. That is - if you need a permission code for two different courses, you will need to lodge two separate applications with supporting documentation that is relevant to that specific permission code request. 

Once we receive your form, Student Services will send your request and all supporting information to the Course Convener for assessment and a final decision. Your Course Convener will then confirm their decision in writing to Student Services and we will email you directly with the outcome (see the workflow below).

Any incomplete, vague or misleading applications or requests that clearly do not meet the eligibility criteria will be automatically denied and you will need to resubmit your request once you have collated the appropriate information. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have submitted a complete and accurate application with as much information as possible for the convener to make a decision.

Permission code requests are processed in date order and may take up to 10 business days for the Course Convener to assess (depending on the volume of requests received and their teaching/supervisory/researching commitments). For this reason, we strongly recommend that you carefully plan your upcoming study period now (identifying preferred courses and “back-up” courses) and if a permission code is required, collate and submit all required information to support a permission code application via our online form as soon as possible. Applications that are submitted close to the cut-off for enrolment (i.e. close to Monday of Week 2) will not be rushed and this may mean that you are unable to enrol into the course.

Important note: Permission to enrol into a particular course will be conducted solely on your eligibility for the individual course (as per the published criteria and course prerequisites). The assessment will not factor in whether you have space in your program to accommodate the course and/or if the course satisfies your program requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure that all courses you are enrolled into satisfy your program requirements. Failure to do so could impact your eligibility to graduate and/or for an extension of your program. To ensure you can fit a course into your program, complete your detailed study plan and submit it to CECS Student Services by emailing studentadmin.cecs@anu.edu.au for review, before you enrol into any courses.


Can I contact the Course Convener directly for permission to enrol into their course?

No. The appropriate process and eligibility requirements to seek permission to enrol into a course has been clearly outlined above. Student who disregard this information and try to expedite a decision by contacting the Course Convener directly may face disciplinary action from the Associate Dean (Education).


Can I appeal the Course Convener’s decision if my application is denied?

Under the ANU Coursework Award Rule (2019), you may formally request that the CECS Associate Dean (Education) review the decision to deny your enrolment into a course; however, you must have a very strong case which is accompanied by evidence to support and justify your appeal of the Course Convener’s decision.

That is, it is insufficient to simply resubmit your Permission Code request information and ask that the Associate Dean (Education) reassess it – you must clearly document how and why you believe the Courses Convener’s decision to be incorrect and thoroughly substantiate your appeal with supporting documentation.

Students who are found to be submitting frivolous appeal requests may be considered to have breached the Student Code of Conduct and could subsequently face disciplinary action.

Enrolling in a course for the third time

If you are planning on enrolling in the same course for the third time, you will need to complete an Application for third attempt via Manage My Degree in ISIS.

In this application you will need to specify:

  • the reasons for your previous failure in this course; and
  • what strategies you will utilise to ensure you pass the course with this attempt.

Please note, this is your final attempt at the course.

More information: Expected academic performance for coursework students


Students at the ANU can self-enroll into a maximum of 24 units (4 courses) per semester/half year session. Your ISIS account will prevent you from adding enrolment that exceeds this standard study load. If you would like to take more than 24 units, you will need to request an enrolment overload.

For information on eligibility and applying to overload see: Overload your enrolment

Reducing your study load (for international students)

As an international student on a student visa, you are expected to complete your course within the time given on your electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE). In most instances, this requires you to enrol in a full-time study load (24 units per semester), each semester until the completion of your program requirements.

For information on eligibility and applying for a Reduced Study Load, see: Reducing your study load as an international student

Updated:  10 August 2021/Responsible Officer:  Dean, CECS/Page Contact:  CECS Marketing