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Athabasca University

Graduate Certificate in Information Security*
Program Regulations

* This program was previously called Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Information Security (PBC InfoSec).

Students are required to complete 12 credits (four courses) in the Graduate Certificate in Information Security (GC InfoSec) program.

Program Delivery

The program is offered during three semesters each year. The fall semester begins in September. The winter semester begins in January. The spring sessions begins in May. Each semester is 13 weeks in length.

Program Status

To maintain program status, students must complete at least 6 credits of course work during each academic year, September 1st to August 31st or January 1st to December 31st depending on the date of admission to the program.

The lowest acceptable grade for courses is B- (70 per cent). Students who receive a grade lower than B- may be required to withdraw from the program.

Full- and Part-Time Involvement

Students may study in the program on a full- or part-time basis. Part-time students must complete a minimum of six credits (two course equivalents) per calendar year. In order to comply with Alberta Student Aid requirements, and to qualify for full-time status at the graduate studies level for funding and T2202A purposes, students must complete a minimum of nine credits (three courses) per calendar year (one course per term).


100% Course Load: 12 credits per 12-month period (1 credit per month)
60% Course Load: 9 credits per 12-month period (0.75 credit per month) This is the minimum that is required to qualify for T2202A, student financial aid, and any other confirmation of full-time status.
Term: A four-month study period.


To be considered for a 60 per cent course load, students are required to register in at least one three-credit course per term to be considered full time.

To be considered for a 100 per cent course load, students are required to submit a full year's study plan (three terms). Students will need to identify at least 12 credits of study covering a full 12-month period.

For example: 3 credits for Term 1
  6 credits for Term 2
  3 credits for Term 3

Students who request certification of a 100 per cent course load must identify their full 12-month study plan at the commencement of their first term of studies. Students are permitted to use any number of combination of credits in their three identified terms, provided the total number of credits is equal to 12.

For example: Scenario #1 Scenario #2 Scenario #3
  3 credits for Term 1 6 credits for Term 1 3 credits for Term 1
  6 credits for Term 2 3 credits for Term 2 3 credits for Term 2
  3 credits for Term 3 3 credits for Term 3 6 credits for Term 3


To meet the residency requirements, students must complete a minimum of two courses (six credits) through Athabasca University.

Relationship to MSc Information Systems (MSc IS) Program

Students, who successfully complete the Graduate Certificate in Information Security (GC InfoSec) program, may apply for admission to the MSc IS program. If admitted, credits completed by the student towards the GC InfoSec will be accepted for credit towards the MSc IS degree in accordance with the MSc IS program regulations. Please note that students must achieve minimum required grades in various courses as per the MSc IS program regulations to be able to count the credits towards MSc IS program.

Curriculum Content

The Graduate Certificate in Information Security will be awarded upon completion of 4 courses (12 credits). Students are required to complete the following:

COMP 604 Enterprise Computer Networks (3)
COMP 607 Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues in Information Technology (3)
COMP 660 Enterprise Information Security (3)
  And one of:  
COMP 656 Cloud Computing (3)
COMP 689 Advanced Distributed Systems (3)

Students are encouraged but not required to complete COMP 604 and COMP 607 before taking COMP 660. Elective course may be taken on completion of the core courses or concurrently with the core courses offered in any term.

Permission of the program director is required before courses are taken for GC InfoSec program credit outside Athabasca University.

Program Extension

The changing nature of the subject matter requires that the GC InfoSec program must be completed within two academic years. If the student is unable to complete the program within the expected maximum number of years for completion, a program extension may be considered.

A program extension (continuation) fee, equivalent to course tuition fee, will normally be paid by the student upon approval of the program extension, unless the approval is given on the basis of extenuating circumstances.

Program Deferrals

While enrolled in the program there may be situations in which students, due to unforeseen or exceptional circumstances, are temporarily unable to meet the program requirements at that time. One alternative for the student is to request a deferral in order to suspend the program requirements for a period of time.

Letter of Permission

Students enrolled in the GC InfoSec program may take courses from other post-secondary institutions in fulfillment of the program requirements, provided such courses are applicable to Athabasca University’s GC InfoSec program and residency requirements are met.
Students wishing to take courses from other institutions must submit:

to the Graduate Program Director for review. If approved, the School of Computing and Information Systems will issue a Letter of Permission. To allow for mailing time, requests for a Letter of Permission should be made at least one month before the registration deadline at the institution where the student will be taking the course. Upon completion of the course, the student must submit an official transcript to the School of Computing and Information Systems in order to obtain credit for the course.

Admission by Exception

Individuals who do not meet the normal educational requirements of the program, but present other qualifications that indicate their potential for the specific graduate program, may be considered for admission, based on specific criteria.


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

Updated June 30 2020 by laurab

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