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Athabasca University

Master of Science in Information Systems
Admission Requirements

Applicants for admission to the MSc IS program must:
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree in computer science, information systems, or a related area, or
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree or higher and have significant professional-level experience with information systems (defined as follows: "Experience must be in a role requiring the use of a significant level of IT knowledge where a high level of independent judgment and responsibility are exercised"), or
  • Hold the CIPS ISP designation or equivalent (Canadian IT Professional [CITP] or Certified Computing Professional [CCP] designation).

If the potential applicant does not have a degree, but believes his or her education and experience is equivalent to an undergraduate degree, then it is the responsibility of the applicant to put forward this position in writing as part of the application process.

Applications for program admissions will be considered only if the applicant has full and unrestricted access to the World Wide Web.

Currency of academic credentials may be an issue if the candidate has not worked in the IT field for more than five years.

Advanced Standing and Transfer Credit

Advanced Standing

Students may be eligible for advanced standing through evaluation of coursework applicable to the MSc IS program completed at other post-secondary institutions. Advanced Standing is implemented primarily through exemptions from IS Foundations courses.

Exemptions from IS Foundations

Flexible entrance requirements are designed to recognize the range of academic credentials held by IT professionals applying to the program.

  • Advanced standing is limited by program residency requirements.
  • Exemptions from IS Foundations are based on appropriate undergraduate or graduate academic credentials supported by relevant professional-level work experience.
  • An applicant may gain exemptions for a maximum of 9 credits (three courses) through this process.

Depending on the upcoming student's credentials, the IS Foundations of the MSc IS program may be completed in as few as 3 credits (one course) or may require a maximum of 12 credits (four courses). That is, to meet the MSc IS Foundation requirements, a student should complete or get exempted from three of the following courses in addition to the mandatory COMP 601:

COMP 501, COMP 503, COMP 504, COMP 505, and COMP 506.

Transfer Credit

Students can apply for transfer of credits on the basis of appropriate graduate-level coursework completed at other post-secondary institutions. These courses should have been completed before joining the program.

Transfer credit is limited by the MSc IS program residency requirements. The transferred credits cannot be applied towards foundation courses. The coursework should be less than 7 years old at the time of application to the transfer of credits.

Only graduate-level courses that were successfully completed with a final grade of B- (70 per cent) or higher, will be considered for transfer credit.

Requests for transfer credit should be made after the applicant is admitted to the program.

To apply for transfer credit, please complete the following steps:

  1. Carefully review the transfer credit allowance for the program. You can access the program residency requirements and the program courses from the program regulations.
  2. Complete the transfer credit assessment form, making sure to include the following information for each course:
    • A clear indication of which COMP course in the MSc IS program you are targeting by the transfer.
    • Complete information about the course you have completed (course title and number, institution, and number of credits).
  3. Submit a complete syllabus for each course; including course description, learning outcomes or objectives, list of course materials, outline of covered topics, and course regulations outlining the mark for a passing grade.
  4. Pay a non-refundable transfer credit evaluation fee for each course at the time of application for the transfer credit.

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 September 1, 2020 to August 31, 2021.

Updated June 30 2020 by laurab

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