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Athabasca University

Graduate Certificate in Information Security
Course Regulations and Procedures


Graduate Certificate in Information Security (GC InfoSec) students take their courses alongside MSC IS students, and are required to complete the same activities and achieve the same standard.
Students will access all course tools and technologies online. In addition, students are expected to use web-based communications for the following purposes:

  • For instructor and student-to-student interactions in computer conferences
  • For email, both within and outside of the course structure
  • For file transfer or file attachment of assignments and feedback between instructor and students and between students on joint projects
  • For accessing electronic databases (for example, Athabasca University’s Library)
  • For using Athabasca University’s Landing (a social network platform for students, instructors and staff)

Delivery Modes

GC InfoSec courses are delivered via online paced study using distance education instructional design principles and enabling web-based technologies:

  • Course materials—study guides, assignments, links to online resources, etc.—are made available through the online learning environment.
  • Courses have required online components, such as the use of cloud-based analytics tools.
  • Students work their way through the learning materials, complete assignments, and communicate with the instructor, the university, and with other students anytime and from anywhere through the Internet.
  • Students have online access to an instructor, who gives subject matter assistance and discusses scholarly issues, marks assignments, and provides feedback.
  • Concluding examinations (where applicable) can be taken at many pre-approved invigilation centres across Canada and overseas.
  • Students are expected to use web-based communications for the following purposes:
    • Instructor and student-to-student interactions,
    • File transfer or file attachment of assignments and feedback between instructor and students and between students on joint projects, and
    • Accessing web-based resources such as electronic databases (the Athabasca University library maintains subscriptions to ACM and IEEE digital libraries).

Online Paced Study

GC InfoSec program will be conducted in an online paced study mode involving online study as part of a group, with specific start and end dates. The courses in the GC InfoSec program will be offered during three terms each year. Please refer to the Academic Schedule for each term start date. All course work should be completed during the term periods. Online paced study delivery has the following characteristics:

  • Students engage with fellow students and instructors and complete various course activities on a 13-week timetable.
  • Terms start three times each year: September, January, or May.
  • Exams, where applicable, are written in the last scheduled week of classes.

Course Registration Procedures

Registration in courses is subject to prerequisite requirements or professor permission. Elective courses may be taken on completion of the core courses or concurrently with the core courses offered in any term.

Course Extensions

Course extensions are not available for any of the core and elective courses in the GC InfoSec program.


Students are allowed only one re-registration in each course. Both the initial registration and the re-registration will appear on the student’s academic record.

Students may re-register in a course only if they have received more than one final grade of B- or lower in a core course or more than one final grade of C+ or lower in an elective course, or have withdrawn from the course in good standing. In re-registering, students must complete all course requirements and pay the full course fee.

Course Withdrawals and Refunds

Early Withdrawal

(Within 30 days of the Course Start Date)

Students may withdraw within 30 days from their course start date for a refund of the full courses fee, less the withdrawal processing fee. The registration will not appear on the transcript and will be deleted from the official record. Please refer to the refund policy for further details. Learning resources should not be returned to Athabasca University.


(Before the course contract end date)

Students may withdraw from a course before the course end date without academic penalty. A "W" (Withdrawal) will appear on the transcript, which means the student has withdrawn without credit and without penalty. There is no refund, and learning resources should not be returned to Athabasca University.

Students will not be able to withdraw from a course without academic penalty in any of the following cases:

  • The course has a final exam and the student has written the final exam, or
  • If the course does not have a final exam, but all of the assignments have been submitted for marking.

If a student does not formally withdraw by the course end date, and does not complete the course, the official record will reflect and "F" (Failure). A grade will be assigned and calculated into the cumulative average. There is no refund, and learning resources should not be returned to Athabasca University.

The course end date is the scheduled end of an independent paced session for grouped study courses, and the expiry date of the course contract period for individualized study courses. We also do not automatically withdraw students and we handle re-enrolment on a case-by case basis.


Students will receive a refund of their full course fees minus the course withdrawal processing fee (refer to GCIS fees) if they withdraw from the course within the first month. Students should not return their learning resources. Students wishing to withdraw from a course(s) before the first day of class will receive a full refund providing all materials are returned completely unmarked and are able to be reissued to another student.

Grading System

All courses will be graded using the Alpha/4.0 grading scale.

Please review the Graduate Grading Policy and Academic Records FAQ for more information on grading scales.


Information effective September 1, 2020 to August 31, 2021.

Updated January 20 2021 by laurab

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