All About Universities

Backlog Certificate: Can You Study Abroad with Backlogs?

Kashyap Matani

As you might already know, backlogs are registered when a student has not passed the exam for a subject in the first attempt. A backlog certificate is a document verifying the number of backlogs, subjects with backlogs, number of attempts taken to clear the backlog and the status of the backlog. As such, a backlog certificate is issued by the institution where you completed your previous course when you submit the application for the backlog certificate.

One of the most frequently asked questions among students is do backlogs matter? If yes, to what extent are backlogs accepted? Here is a blog to answer all your questions related to can you study abroad with backlogs, how many backlogs are allowed to study abroad.

Table of Contents:

  1. Can You Study Abroad with Backlogs?
  2. How Backlogs are Counted?
  3. How Many Backlogs are Allowed to Study Abroad?
  4. To What Extent are Backlogs Accepted?
  5. Popular Universities Accepting Backlogs

Can You Study Abroad with Backlogs?

One of the most dreadful questions among students with a record of backlog is can you study abroad with backlogs? Well, the good news is yes! You don't have to lose hope and give up on your dream to study abroad just because of a backlog. Universities across the world are mindful of the fact that there are various reasons because of which a student may have a backlog at the previous institution. The admissions committee evaluates an application holistically considering other factors such as the overall academic records, test scores, extracurricular participation, social work, etc.

Suggested: A complete guide to what are backlog certificates?

Do universities accept students with active backlogs?

In most cases, it is difficult to convince universities to offer admission to students with an active backlog status. Therefore, make sure you clear any backlogs before applying to universities and with the least number of reattempts possible. However, some institutions may accept you with active backlogs if you have a good academic profile. You will receive a conditional offer letter and your admission will only be confirmed if you clear the backlog before the commencement of the program.

How Backlogs are Counted?

Now that we know, can you study abroad with backlogs? Let us understand how backlogs are counted. Basically there are 2 ways of counting the number of backlogs. These are:

  1. On the basis of number of attempts
  2. On the basis of subject count

Both these ways of counting backlogs are quite self–explanatory but let’s see the basic difference between the two before proceeding to how many backlogs are allowed to study abroad?


  1. Number of Attempts

As the phrase already suggests, here the number of backlogs are equal to the number of attempts taken to clear the exam. It is a very common method used across universities in Germany, Australia and some institutions in Canada. Consider that you have cleared the exam for one particular subject in 2 attempts so your backlog count will be 2 even though you reappeared for the exam of only one subject.


  1. Subject Count

When subject count is taken into consideration, the number of backlogs is equal to the number of subjects with backlogs irrespective of the attempts taken to clear the exam. This way of counting backlogs is common in Canada, USA and UK. Here, if you have a backlog in one subject and reappeared for the exam twice or even thrice then your backlog count remains 1.

Suggested: Do backlogs affect your chances of visa acceptance?

How Many Backlogs are Allowed to Study Abroad?

Knowing the number of backlogs you have, a student is curious to know how many backlogs are allowed to study abroad? Certainly, there is no definite answer to this question. It is totally upon the institution and the country where you are applying to decide what number of backlogs should be accepted.

  • A total of 5 backlogs is reasonable to get admission to most institutions across various countries such as Canada, USA, Australia, UK, New Zealand, Germany, Ireland, etc.
  • More than 5 but less than 10 backlogs are also accepted by many universities at the discretion of the admissions committee. If you are one such applicant, make sure you have a good GRE/ GMAT score as well as an IELTS score of 6.0 or above.
  • In exceptional cases, students with a maximum of 15 backlogs may be offered admission. This is mostly seen in UK universities where students with 15 backlogs are offered admission on the basis of their performance in English language proficiency tests among other factors.


Let us now discuss to what extent are backlogs accepted in top countries and popular international universities:


To What Extent are Backlogs Accepted?

The answer for this question depends on various factors concerning a student’s academic records. First of all, when considering a student with backlogs, universities try to examine the overall credibility of the applicant and take a look at the overall academic records, subjects with backlogs, number of attempts taken to clear the backlog and status of the backlog when you apply for admission.

  • Institutions that accept students with backlogs have a selection criteria for such students which may include standardized test scores, awards and honors, extracurricular achievements, etc.
  • Apart from this, universities want to know what makes you worthy of a seat for the program you are applying to. So make sure your application highlights such points. It can be related to your achievements in that area of study, any special training, internship or work experience, etc.


Almost all top study abroad destinations like Canada, UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, etc. have universities that accept students with backlogs. All you have to do is find out the number of backlogs accepted and check whether you fulfill their requirements for admission.

Let us take a look at the top countries around the world and popular international universities accepting backlogs:


Maximum Backlogs Accepted

Admission Criteria

Popular Universities Accepting Backlogs


5 (maximum 10 allowed at the discretion of the university)

60-70% in last 2 semesters with no backlogs required for admission

Conestoga College

Centennial College

George Brown College

Lambton College

Fanshawe College


5 to 15

Good GRE/ GMAT scores and proof of English language proficiency

Bangor University

Brunel University

Cardiff Metropolitan University

Coventry University

Kingston University London


5 (maximum 10 allowed at the discretion of the university)

Average GRE score of 320 or above or equivalent GMAT score and participation in extracurricular activities

Kent State University

Marist College

Illinois Institute of Technology

University of South Dakota

Missouri State University


8 (should be less if applying to public universities)

Overall academic performance

University of Sydney

Monash University

University of Melbourne

Flinders University

University of Technology Sydney

New Zealand

5 (maximum 15 allowed at the discretion of the university

IELTS/ TOEFL scores and participation in extracurricular activities

University of Auckland

Victoria University of Wellington

Massey University

Unitech New Zealand

Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology

Now that you know how much do backlogs matter, it must also be understood that it will not be a cakewalk to apply to universities and get accepted. There is definitely a cap on the number of backlogs allowed to study abroad and at times backlogs affect chances of visa acceptance. But there is no way you can turn back how things are so stay positive and focus on your strengths so that universities do not have to think twice before accepting you as their student. Keep your mind open to options and consider applying to multiple universities to be able to fulfill your dream to study abroad.

Frequently Asked Questions About Backlogs

Which country has the most strict policy for accepting students with backlogs?

Can a backlog in any subject hamper my scope of studying abroad?

Do backlogs matter in the visa process?

What are the other factors that can help me get admission to universities accepting backlogs?

Do the number of attempts matter more or the number of subjects with backlogs?

More Topics

Top Premium Admits

View all admits