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Athabasca University

Doctor of Education in Distance Education
Admission Requirements

To be offered admission to Athabasca University for the purpose of studying in the Doctor of Education in Distance Education program (EdD), an applicant must meet the application requirements listed below.

  • Completion of a master's degree, preferably with a thesis or research project, in a relevant field or area of study (e.g., education or distance education, psychology or educational psychology, instructional technology, adult education, curriculum and instruction, and the like) from an accredited university, normally with a GPA of at least 3.7 or 85 per cent (Graduate Grading Policy);
  • Significant experience in open or distance learning, which demonstrates that the student is capable of study at a distance and completing high quality, original research with distance supervision only.
  • A completed admission package consisting of the following:
    • a completed application form;
    • their curriculum vitae;
    • a Statement of Intent (750 – 1250 words);
    • a description of their research background and interests (750 – 1250 words);
    • three letters of reference, from people who are familiar with their work and can comment on their ability to do research and succeed in advanced studies;
    • official transcripts, sent directly to the Distance Education office from the originating institution(s). (Note: applicants with degrees obtained outside of North America may be required to have their educational qualifications assessed independently by a credential evaluation service);
    • a non-refundable application processing fee.

    Applications to the EdD program will be reviewed by an Admissions Committee that will make recommendations regarding offers of admission to the EdD Program Director. The Admissions Committee will consist of no fewer than three Distance Education faculty members.

    Selection will be based on the applicant's previous academic record, research track record, and perceived ability to participate in scholarly studies and conduct research independently at a distance. A telephone interview may be required to complete the selection process.

    Offers of admission will be made by the EdD Program Director.

    The applicant will formally accept the offer of admission and pay the first program fee installment to indicate their commitment to join the cohort of students for that year.

    Applications from students wishing to transfer into the EdD program from other doctoral programs will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Transferring students must meet the admission requirements and complete at least 2/3 of their doctoral courses, the proposal defence/candidacy examination, and all of the dissertation requirements with Athabasca University. Other university courses used must not have been used towards another degree.

    In exceptional circumstances, the EdD Program Director may waive one or more of the above application criteria.

    Further information regarding the EdD program or application procedures may be directed to:

    Doctoral Program & Centre Administrator (EdD)

    Phone (Canada/US): 800.788.9041 (ext. 6278)
    Phone (Other): 780.675-6278
    Fax: 780.675.6170

    Potential Students

    The doctoral program is intended for individuals currently involved in distance education, who have already completed a graduate degree. Potential students include:

    • individuals in mid-career in distance education-related occupations, or in adult education and continuing education fields, as well as those responsible for policy development and implementation of distance, virtual, or alternative educational programs;
    • those who wish to augment readiness for promotion or further growth in their careers, or to prepare for career change;
    • individuals who are unable or unwilling to interrupt their careers to undertake a full-time, campus-based doctoral program, or who prefer the distance learning conditions of the online doctoral;
    • professionals with advanced degrees in various disciplines (e.g., university and college academics, teachers, instructors) who wish to specialize in aspects of distance education research and scholarship;
    • senior-level staff in corporate, military, and industry training environments;
    • instructional design specialists, senior-level managers and program planners, and others in areas related to the development of complex instructional systems (This is an area where the proliferation of advanced educational technologies has resulted in needs for new learning systems design, development, management, evaluation, and research.);
    • those employed in other areas related to the development of alternative or "virtual" learning systems, with mediated interaction among participants.

    The distance nature of the online doctoral program will also facilitate access by non-urban students, those who are employed, individuals with disabilities, and others for whom pursuit of a doctoral-level degree through a traditional institution would be difficult or impossible.

    English Language Proficiency

    There are minimum English Language Proficiency Requirements allowed for admission to a graduate program at Athabasca University. It is the student's responsibility to ensure they meet the minimum requirements.


    Information effective Sept. 1, 2020 to Aug. 31, 2021.

    Updated December 03 2020 by laurab

    AU, CANADA'S OPEN UNIVERSITY, is an internationally recognized leader in online and distance learning.