Travel, conferences and fieldwork

Study Away allows you to undertake research-related activities such as fieldwork, attending conferences, attending classes or working with collaborators away from the University.

Before you apply

  1. Read all of the information below before you apply.
  2. Download the Step-By-Step guide.
  3. View the policy for Student Travel and Transport.
  4. Discuss your plans with your supervisors.

Please note: Study Away is only for research-related activities carried out away from the University. If you are planning to take recreational leave, you should apply to take leave.

Supervision plan

If you will be on Study Away for more than three months, an external supervisor must be appointed, who is located where you are undertaking your research. If a suitable external supervisor cannot be appointed, a detailed plan of how supervision will be maintained must be attached to your Study Away application. This plan must include the method and frequency of communication with your supervisors.

Progress reviews and submission dates

  • During approved Study Away periods, your enrolment continues as usual, so progress review dates and your submission date don't change.
  • Discuss with your supervisors how you will meet any progress  deadlines that fall due while you are away.
  • Consider completing your review early or having the meeting remotely (for example, using a conference call or Skype).


  • Ensure that ethics approval has been granted (if required) for the duration of any Study Away period you may undertake.
  • For more information, visit Office of Research Ethics and Integrity and/or contact your graduate school ethics website or administrator.


You are required to assess the potential risk to your safety in consultation with your supervisors. You should:

  • Ensure your fitness for travel and participation in the activity, including vaccinations.
  • Determine the safety of the method of travel to the site.
  • Assess the risks associated with the travel destination. For international travel, check the Travel Advisories on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Smartraveller website.
  • Assess the risks of the activity.

Fieldwork in hostile places

If you are planning on undertaking fieldwork in a hostile and/or complex environment, the university offers an intensive subject to help your preparations. For more information, visit Fieldwork in Complex and Hostile Places (DEVT90042). PhD students should apply through the Community Access Program (CAP).

Risk assessment

  • If any of the hazards associated with the method of travel, activity or the destination are assessed as high risk, you must complete a risk assessment form.
  • This and other risk assessment tools can be found on the University Safety website.

High risk destinations

Travel to a region with a DFAT travel advisory warning of 'Reconsider your need to travel' or 'Do not travel' (high-risk country) will not normally be approved. If you wish to travel to a high-risk region, even if you're a citizen of that country, you must obtain an exemption from the University's Academic Registrar prior to departure.

To apply for an exemption to travel to a high risk destination you must email the Academic Registrar and include the following information:

  • Detailed information about your planned travel destination(s). You must include the addresses of the accommodation and location of where your research will be carried out, and a telephone number or numbers where you can be contacted whilst away
  • If you are a citizen of the country you intend to visit and/or you are staying in your family home
  • Details of the DFAT travel warning, addressing what hazards have been identified and what risk mitigation plan is in place for avoiding these hazards. Provide a plan for what you would do if caught in an emergency situation. It is recommended that you complete and attach the Travel to High Risk Destinations Risk Assessment.
  • If you have undertaken or intend to complete Fieldwork in hostile places training prior to your travel
  • Supervisor support is essential. Please include a letter or email from your principal supervisor that supports the travel and acknowledges that the risks involved in this travel have been discussed.

Please note

  • Backdated requests will not be approved.
  • Study Away approval will be cancelled if the destination is reclassified with the advice of 'Do Not Travel' or 'Reconsider Your Need to Travel'.

International travel

Domestic students must register their overseas travel on DFAT Smart Traveller. It is recommended that international students, where possible, register their local address, contact details and next of kin with the nearest diplomatic mission of their home country and inform the diplomatic mission of any changes to these details.

Travel insurance

When studying away, you must have travel insurance which covers you for the duration of your trip.

  • You may be eligible for free travel insurance through the University, however strict conditions apply.
  • You must apply at least 5 University Business Days prior to departure.
  • If the University's travel insurance does not meet your needs, you must obtain travel insurance elsewhere that suits you better.
  • University-owned equipment, like computers, are covered by separate insurance.
  • If you are planning personal travel while on Study Away, travel insurance provided by the University may not cover you. Check with the Insurance Office before you apply.

Apply for travel insurance

Conference and travel support

  • Estimate the cost of your planned travel and consider how you will manage any unforeseen costs.
  • You are encouraged to apply for any travelling scholarships offered through the University or your graduate school.
  • Check with your school for programs and opportunities available to you.
  • Look for travelling scholarships on Melbourne Scholarships and check their notices for announcements.

Business cards

University of Melbourne business cards may be granted to you if you are undertaking fieldwork or face to face interviews/surveys/consultation where you need to be formally identified as participating in a supervised activity of the University.

Apply for business cards

Application requirements

The following information is required in your application:

  • A detailed itinerary, including the proposed start and end dates for the Study Away period, the dates relating to each location, your contact details for each location (address, phone number and email address), and any periods of recreation leave or leave of absence you're planning to take within the Study Away period
  • Your reason for travel, including events (for example, attending a conference) and secondary reasons
  • 'At Risk' destinations and travel warnings, including any destinations with a 'Reconsider Your Need to Travel' or 'Do Not Travel'
  • Supervision arrangements, including a supervision plan if you're intending to be away for more than three months.

Your application must be approved before your departure if you are:

  • Travelling overseas for any length of time,
  • Travelling within Australia for one month or more,
  • Applying for travel funds to support study-related travel (even if the travel is within Australia for less than one month), and/or
  • Studying at a Jointly-Awarded PhD partner institution.

If you are planning on extensive periods of Study Away, you need to ensure that you will meet the residency requirement for your degree.

Submit your application

If you have all the information you need and you're ready to apply, submit your application using the button below.

Apply now

What happens next?

Once the application has been submitted, your nominated approver (usually your principal supervisor) will receive an automatic email notification that the application is awaiting their approval. The Head of Department must also approve the application.

You can track the progress of your application and submit any further supporting documents via the 'Track Submitted Forms' list on my.unimelb.

Returning from Study Away

When you have completed your time away from the University, you're required to notify the University using the online Application for Return From Leave. This is especially important if you are studying with a scholarship.

Return from Study Away

Helpful links

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