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Athabasca University

Master of Business Administration Admission Requirements

Applicants to an AU MBA program must have:

  • an undergraduate degree from an accredited post-secondary institution, and at least three years of acceptable managerial experience that may include supervisory or professional experience with management-level responsibilities;


  • an acceptable professional designation as approved by the MBA Admissions Committee and at least five years of acceptable managerial experience that may include supervisory and professional experience with management-level responsibilities;


  • a minimum of eight years of substantial managerial experience. Applicants without a degree or designation must first apply to the AU Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Management (PBDM) and upon successful completion, transfer into Phase Two of the MBA program. The PBDM is identical to Phase One of the MBA.

Applicants must also provide:

  • a completed application form;
  • a detailed resumé demonstrating appropriate management experience;
  • three letters of reference, preferably two business and one academic. References from personal friends or relatives will not be accepted. It is the applicant's responsibility to notify his or her references that, in accordance with the Province of Alberta's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the information contained in the letter of reference is not considered to be confidential. The applicant, upon request, may view the information;
  • a 1,000 word personal essay;
  • official transcripts of post-secondary education and/or professional designation(s) sent directly to the Faculty of Business, Athabasca University, from the respective institution(s). Applicants with degrees obtained outside of North America may be required to have educational qualifications assessed independently (see International Transcripts);
  • a $200 non-refundable application fee.


Applicants must be proficient in the English language and confirm access to a computer system that meets the program's requirements. A GMAT score is not normally required, but the MBA Admissions Committee may request one should they deem it necessary. Detailed instructions for assembling an application package can be found on the program's website at MBA and PBDM Admissions.

Upon acceptance to the program, students must pay the required non-refundable admission fee.

Accelerated Admission Route Admission Requirements

Applicants holding a bachelor degree in business (e.g. Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Management, or Bachelor of Business Administration) from an accredited post-secondary institution may be admitted into the Accelerated Admission Route in the MBA program, with the discretion of the MBA Admissions Committee. An applicant admitted through this route will be considered to have completed Phase 1 of the MBA program but will not be eligible for the Post-Baccalaureate Diploma of Management (PBDM).

To be eligible for the Accelerated Admission Route, the applicant must have obtained an overall GPA of 3.0 in the final 60 credits in the presenting bachelor of business degree and the degree must have been obtained in the previous ten (10) years. At the discretion of the MBA Admissions Committee, applicants with a bachelor degree in business that is more than ten (10) years old may be admitted through the Accelerated Admission Route but may be required to take one or more Phase 1 and/or Phase 2 core courses in addition to the regular Accelerated Admission Route courses.

Applicants applying under the Accelerated Admission Route will pay the transfer credit fee to have their transcripts reviewed for acceptability to the admission route.

Advanced Standing

"Advanced standing" means the student is exempt from some or all of the required assignments in a particular course.

At the time of admission graduate students may, at the discretion of the Admissions Committee, be awarded advanced standing in specific core courses in light of the students’ combined prior education and experience. Such advanced standing only applies to core courses. Advanced standing will not be awarded for elective courses. Requests for advanced standing must be made to the Admissions Committee at the time of application to the program. Exemptions to these requirements must be approved by the MBA Program Director.

Students who are awarded advanced standing in a course:

  • are provided with full course materials;
  • remain responsible for full program tuition; and
  • remain responsible to know and understand all components of the course and to demonstrate this knowledge in the comprehensive examinations.

Transfer Credit

Transfer credit means that students may apply to transfer graduate course credits earned elsewhere at recognized academic institutions into the MBA programs.

Only graduate level course credits that have never been applied toward any degree program, are eligible for consideration. Up to a maximum of 15 credits can be transferred upon approval of the MBA Program Director.

Courses being considered for transfer credit must be from a fully accredited institution (i.e. members of Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, Canadian Association for Distance Education, Canadian Association for Graduate Studies, etc.). Applicants will be required to complete a transfer credit form, pay a transfer credit evaluation fee, and provide official transcripts and detailed course outlines for each course (outline requirements will be provided by the MBA Program Director).

The MBA Program Director and/or Faculty of Business faculty will determine whether transfer credits will be permitted into the MBA program. If transfer credit is awarded, a study plan will be provided outlining how students will integrate previous coursework with the program. 

Elective Courses

Subject to the approval of the MBA Program Director and payment of the appropriate fee, students may take one of their required MBA program online elective courses from another post-secondary institution if such a course is relevant and equivalent to courses in the MBA program at Athabasca University. Transfer credit will not be permitted for the in-residence elective requirement.

A written request, including a detailed outline of the course, must be sent to the MBA Program Director at least one month before the course registration deadline. Upon successful completion of the course (with the appropriate passing grade), students must submit an official transcript in order to obtain credit for the course.

Information effective September 1, 2016 to August 31, 2017.

Updated May 25 2017 by laurab

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