6. Undergraduate Course Registration, Progress Information
After being admitted to the University and enrolled as an unclassified or program student status (see Section 5 - Undergraduate Admission and Transfer Credit Procedures), you are registered in a course.
If you require assistance with your course selection, contact an advisor (refer to Services).
Please remember it is your responsibility to select courses that meet the program regulations and requirements in effect on the date you enrol in your program of study.|
There are three primary ways you can earn credit for Athabasca University courses:
- Through home study. Home-study courses allow you to work on your own, set your own pace and set your own schedules for submitting assignments and writing examinations (within the course contract time).
- Through paced delivery mode. In paced courses offered by classroom, teleconference, and/or videoconference seminars, you meet with your instructor and classmates at scheduled times. You are also expected to submit your assignments and write exams at predetermined times.
- Through the challenge for credit option. The challenge for credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have sufficiently mastered the contents of a particular course making it unnecessary for you to register in it. (See Section 6.3 - Challenge for Credit).
Athabasca University's home-study courses generally begin on the first day of
each month of the year. The Office of the Registrar will process completed
registration forms that are received by 4:30 p.m. MT on the tenth day of the
previous month for a subsequent month start date. Students living in Northern
Canada, Eastern Canada, and Interior British Columbia are encouraged to register
by the first day of the month before their desired start date to allow for the
arrival of course materials. Other students are also encouraged to submit forms
and fees by the first day of the month, thirty (30) days before their requested
start date for the same reason. Home-study students may preregister for a course
up to six months in advance of their intended start date. Course materials will
be sent to you as soon as the preregistration request is processed (see Section 6.5 -
Most home-study students have six months to complete a 3- or 4-credit course and
twelve months to complete a 6-credit course. In order to meet a student finance
board's requirements, students receiving or seeking funding are assigned a
four-month contract for a 3- or 4-credit course and an eight-month contract for a 6-credit course.
Each home-study course registration has an official start date, which is the
first day of a month, and concludes at the end of active registration or the
contract date. The student's start date will not change if he or she requests to
change from home study to paced study or vice versa. You are sent confirmation
of registration at the time of processing. You are considered actively
registered in a course until the course is completed, the contract date expires,
or you withdraw.
Home-study courses may be extended three times for a period of two months each
for either a 3- or 6-credit course (see Section 6.7 - Course Extensions). Occasionally a course may not be available because of a temporary shortage of course materials or because the course has reached its registration capacity.
There are three ways to register in a home-study course at Athabasca University. Year-round registration is not offered in all home-study courses because of scheduling restrictions. Information about these exceptions may be found in the detailed course outline or by contacting the Information Centre.
- In person at Athabasca University or a learning centre. New students and continuing students may register in person and pick up their course materials (if in stock) at Athabasca University or one of its learning centres located in Calgary or Edmonton. First-time students are reminded to complete and submit both the General Application Form and the Course Registration Form. Students registering in person may pay their course fees by cash, cheque, money order or by VISA®, MasterCard®, AMERICAN EXPRESS®, or INTERAC®. For additional information about fees see Section 8.2 - Method of Payment and Section 8.3 - Fee Summary.
- In writing via mail or fax. Course registration and general application forms are located at the back of the Calendar or may be obtained through the University or one of its learning centres. First-time students are reminded to complete and submit both the General Application Form and the Course Registration Form.
When completing a mail or fax registration request, request your course by identifying the discipline and number (e.g., ENGL 211), not the course title (e.g., Prose Forms). For additional information about fees see Section 8.2 - Method of Payment and Section 8.3 - Fee Summary. Course materials for students who register by mail or fax will normally be forwarded within 24 hours of the registration being processed.
- Online. Athabasca University Registry Services Web site: http://www.athabascau.ca/htm/depts/registry/register.htm. Course materials for students who register online will normally be forwarded within 24 hours of the registration being processed.
Paced courses are generally offered at selected sites and times for groups of students. Year-round registration is not offered in all paced delivered courses because of scheduling restrictions. Information about these exceptions may be found in the detailed course
outline or by contacting Learning Services Outreach or the Information Centre (see Services).
Students in a paced course normally have thirteen weeks to complete a 3-credit course and 26 weeks to complete a 6-credit course. The official start date and end dates match these time frames as closely as possible. Students in paced courses are not eligible
for course extensions.
Students, both new and continuing, are often required to register in person where the course is offered. In some cases, however, registrations may be submitted by fax, mail, or other means. Course materials are distributed to the student at the first group session.
For additional information about site-based paced courses, see the
, contact Learning Services Outreach (see Services
), or the
Regardless of the method of registration, students must submit complete payment of fees at the time of registering for any course. Registration will be postponed until all fees are received. For further information about fees see Section 8.2 - Method of Payment and Section 8.3 - Fee Summary.
6.3. Challenge for Credit
The challenge for credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, including intellectual and/or other skills, which would normally be found in a university-level course. Athabasca University does not grant transfer credit for field placements, professional seminars, work experience, or elementary skills. The University does recognize that learning is not restricted to traditionally accredited universities and offers a challenge for credit process.
Except as in the following outline, active Athabasca University students are
entitled to initiate a challenge for credit regardless of their program of study
or whether the course being challenged is applicable to their program of study.
The challenge for credit option is used for applicable, current
University courses. Courses that cannot be challenged are listed below.
The maximum number of credits that can be challenged is calculated from the
total number of credits required for the program minus the number of credits
required for residency. However, any course that is completed successfully
through the challenge for credit process may count towards the Athabasca
University residency requirements. All nursing courses, with the exception of
NURS 440: Senior Focus: Guided Independent Study, can be challenged for credit
by students enrolled in the Bachelor of Nursing program.
Only those courses listed, and/or recently approved for the list by the Office
of the Vice President, Academic, are non-challengeable. Refer to the most recent
list available on a separate
The following Athabasca University courses may not
- courses for which you have received transfer credit.
- courses for which you have received a "precluded" designation.
- courses for which you have received an exemption; that are unavailable
at the time of registering; or courses in a category that is unavailable for
challenge for credit.
- all MBA and/or MDE courses.
- reading courses.
- project-based courses.
- 100-level courses.
- library or practicum courses.
- laboratory courses.
- If you have failed the course (or an equivalent course) you may not
challenge it without the written permission of the course professor. This
permission will be given only if the student can document significant learning
after the unsuccessful attempt at completing the course.
Prerequisites must be satisfied as listed in the detailed course outline unless
the prerequisite has been waived by the course professor. After successfully
completing a course, students may not challenge a prerequisite to that course.
Should you fail the challenge for credit process you are not allowed to challenge the same material a second time or to write a supplemental exam for that course.
The professor responsible for the Athabasca University course being challenged
determines the appropriate method of evaluation. You will be judged against the
explicit subject matter, knowledge, and/or other skills that have been
established as course objectives.
Your knowledge and skills may be evaluated on the basis of: a) completed
assignments, reports, etc.; and/or b) completion of assignments, projects, etc.;
and/or c) an oral, written or practical exam; and/or d) any other means considered
appropriate by the course professor and approved by the chair of the appropriate
Challenge for credit processes are graded on a percentage or pass/fail basis as
determined by the course professor. Where a percentage grade is assigned in a challenge for
credit process, the minimum passing grade is 50% unless, as indicated in the
detailed course outline, it is required to be greater. In the latter case, the
minimum passing grade will be equal to that required in the detailed course
The grade obtained in a challenge for credit process is viewed by the University
as a course composite grade. Such grades are included in your average for the
purposes of satisfying continuation or graduation requirements, scholarships and
awards, except where evaluations are limited to pass/fail designations.
All challenges for credit will be recorded in your academic record and will
appear on your official transcript as the specific Athabasca University course.
A comment will identify that the credit was awarded through a challenge for
Faculty members, lab instructors, seminar leaders, and other instructional staff
are not permitted to challenge courses that they have taught or tutored, or are
presently teaching or tutoring.
To initiate a challenge for credit, you must
- determine if the course is available for challenge for credit by
checking the non-challengeable course list on the Athabasca University's Web
site or by contacting the Office of the Registrar.
- consult with the course professor to obtain details regarding the format
of evaluation for the course.
- complete the Challenge for Credit Form and submit it to the Office of the Registrar.
Before submitting a challenge for credit request, the student normally contacts
the appropriate course professor to discuss the knowledge and skills that are
required in the Athabasca University course. The course professor will advise
the student of the evaluation method. In discussions with the course professor
and in applying for a challenge for credit, you must indicate how and/or where
you have learned the material you wish to challenge.
If you register in a course before you determine your familiarity with the work,
you may withdraw and have your competency demonstrated in a challenge for credit
in the course. You must, however, withdraw from the course before you request a
challenge for credit. The regular challenge for credit fee is required in
addition to the course registration fee you have already paid for the course. If
you withdraw within the allowable time frame you may be entitled to a refund
(see Section 8.5 - Refunds). If you are outside that time frame, a withdrawal fee will be requested.
All challenge for credit applications are submitted to Examination Services in the Office of the Registrar along with the appropriate non-refundable fee. When submitting a challenge for credit application, you should expect to write the exam or start the assessment process at least one month to six weeks from the date the application is acknowledged by the Office of the Registrar. This time may be required to develop the evaluation method and materials. In some cases the time required to develop these materials may be longer than one month.
6.3.4. Challenge for Credit Exams
Challenge exams must be written within a three-month (90-day) time period from the date the materials were requested from Athabasca University. The same exam request system described in Section 7.2.4. - Requesting an Invigilated Exam
is used. Only one attempt may be made to write a challenge exam. Should you fail the exam you will not be allowed to re-request or rewrite it. Invigilators are required to return exams that are not written within the described three-month timeline to Athabasca University. An unwritten challenge exam will not be re-issued (see Section 8.3.10 - Other Academic-Related Fees
If you do not require the materials and request the exam only, you must notify
the Office of the Registrar of the date you wish to write in consultation with
your invigilator. The same exam regulations (see Section 7.2.3. - Exam Regulations) apply to challenge exams.
Invigilation of Challenge Exams
Regulations governing exam invigilators and locations also apply to challenge
exams with two exceptions: people living outside of Canada must write their exam
at an approved, accredited post-secondary institution; people living within
Canada may write at either an invigilation centre (see Section 11 - Examination Invigilation Centres) or a post-secondary institution.
6.3.5. Course Materials / Refunds
Students may request the course materials package when they register and pay for
the challenge exam. A course materials and handling fee (see Section 8.3.10 - Other Academic-Related Fees
) is charged in addition to the challenge for credit fee.
If you are requesting the course materials package, please allow three weeks for
the processing and delivery of the materials.
In order to receive a full course materials and handling fee refund, students must return the material unmarked and undamaged within 30 calendar days of writing the challenge exam or completing the challenge project. Students returning materials outside this timeframe, or materials that are marked or damaged, are not entitled to the course materials and handling fee refund (see Section 8.5 - Refunds).
6.3.6. Grade Appeals
All challenge for credit grades are subject to the appeals process.
6.4. Course Prerequisites
Senior courses generally require knowledge of material covered in junior or other senior courses and prerequisites, indicated in the course outline, are required.
Prerequisites ensure that you have the required background to successfully complete your course. Historically, students who have attempted to complete courses without prerequisites encountered difficulties. Therefore, students are required to have the prerequisite
before registering. Occasionally students wish to waive a prerequisite for non-academic reasons such as work experience. Contact the course professor who has the authority to waive the prerequisite.
Students registered in a course that is the prerequisite to a second course, may preregister in the second course while the first one is in progress. You must contact the course professor before registering in courses designated as reading courses (see Reading Courses).
Some courses require course professor approval as well as other course-related prerequisites. Students must contact the course professor to obtain approval to register in the course before submitting their request in writing. Failure to obtain approval before requesting registration will result in the registration being refused or delayed.
A Prerequisite Waiver Declaration Form is on the back of the Course Registration Form.
6.5. Course Preregistration
You may preregister for a home-study course up to six months in advance of the start date. Preregistration guarantees you that tutorial support will be available for the specific start date. Course materials will be sent to you as soon as the preregistration request is processed.
Full fees are required to preregister. Preregistered students are charged the processing fee if they decide to alter their preregistration. Tutorial support is not available until the official start date. Do not contact your tutor before the start date.
6.6. Change in Delivery Mode
Applications for transfer from one delivery mode to another must be made in
writing to the Office of the Registrar before the mid-point of the course
contract period and before the mid-term exam (if any) has been written. The
student's start date will not change if he or she requests to change from home
study to paced study delivery or vice versa.
6.7. Course Extensions
Students of home-study courses may apply for and purchase (see
Section 8.3.10 - Other Academic-Related Fees
) a course contract (active registration time) extension by submitting the required fee and form. Each 3-credit or 6-credit course may be extended three times. Each extension is two months in length.
Requests to extend the contract must be postmarked no later than the original contract date, or in the case of subsequent extension requests, no later than the previous extension contract date. The extension starts on the first day of the month following the original contract date.
If you do not apply for an extension by the contract date, it will result in a failure in the course. You will have to re-register and pay the appropriate fees if you wish to obtain credit for the course. Extensions are not available in paced courses.
You must complete telephone quizzes during the original course contract period or during the extended course contract period when you have tutor support. To obtain an extension, complete an Extension Request Form, enclose the required fee, and submit it to a learning centre or to the Office of the Registrar (see Section 8.7.2 - Full-time Status for Financial Assistance).
6.8. Course Withdrawals
(see also Section 8.5 - Refunds)
You must formally request to withdraw from a course; simply not completing the
course requirements or not attending the class does not constitute withdrawal.
You may withdraw from a course at any time up until three months after the
course start date (90 days) without academic penalty, providing you meet the
following criteria. All withdrawal requests must be made in writing and bear the
Students formally withdraw from a course by supplying written notification to
the Office of the Registrar or the learning centres (withdrawal request forms
are in the forms package issued with the course materials package or are
available on the Web site). Such notification may also be submitted by fax to
the Office of the Registrar. E-mail is not acceptable.
If you withdraw within one month of the start date, the record of registration
will be deleted from your official record. When you withdraw after one month and
within three months after the course start date, the official record shows you
withdrew without credit and without prejudice.
If you withdraw more than three months after the course start date, and before
the contract date, your official records will be recorded as "WF" (Withdrawal/Failure), without academic penalty.
Students failing to formally withdraw will automatically be assigned a system
failure, and will be recorded as "OF" (Failure), with academic penalty.
The University reserves the right to withdraw a student for non-payment or incomplete payment of fees or for misconduct (see Section 8.4.1 - Miscellaneous, d. Delinquent Accounts).
Money paid by a student or sponsor cannot be held indefinitely by Athabasca University. Credit balances on a student's account, except for students who receive financial assistance from the Alberta Student Finance Board (or other provincial program), will be refunded to the student or credited to the sponsor.
6.9. Applicable Regulations
Regulations that govern the process for registering, obtaining additional time to complete a course, withdrawal, examinations, and supplemental examinations are based on delivery mode.
Regulations governing courses offered by home study may, in some instances, differ from those governing paced courses.
Students are cautioned to ensure they follow the regulations appropriate to their mode of study. If you need help in determining which regulations apply to your courses, please contact the Office of the Registrar or a student advisor.
See attached table.
6.10. Course Re-registration
You are permitted one registration and one re-registration in each course. Subsequent registrations in the course require the course professorís written approval. In making the decision to grant approval the course professor may, to the extent necessary and feasible, consult with the tutor, learning centre personnel, or other staff members. The course professor may also recommend that you seek advice, counselling, or study-skills assistance.
To re-register, submit a new course registration form and submit the appropriate fee. If new course materials are required, the full course fee applies. If new course materials are not required, the course materials and handling fee is deducted from the full course fee. Course Materials Department can replace individual items that have been lost or damaged, and you will be charged the replacement cost on an item-by-item basis.
You have a maximum of one year from the end of the contract date to re-register if you wish to carry your standing/results for work completed in the previous registration to the re-registration.
To carry credit to the re-registration it is your responsibility to obtain permission from the appropriate course professor before re-registering. After the one-year duration, you are required to complete all assignments, exams, tests, etc. in the re-registration in order to obtain credit for the course. Both the original registration and the re-registration are recorded on your transcripts.
6.11. Audit Student Status/Changes
Students taking credit courses who do not wish to receive credit are called audit students. You must indicate your intention to audit a course when you register. Audit students have access to all materials and support services provided to credit-seeking students and pay the same fees. They are, however, excluded from writing exams. No final grade is provided.
Changes in Credit or Audit Status
Students who are taking courses for credit and who have not written any exams, may change from credit to audit status by notifying the Office of the Registrar in writing before the mid-point of the contract period. Students who are auditing may change to credit status by applying in writing to the Office of the Registrar before the mid-point of the contract period.
6.12. Students with Disabilities
If you feel you have a physical, medical, learning or mental disability, or limitations that may affect your academic progress, please indicate this in the appropriate area of the General Application Form at the time of admission or when requesting exams.
An affirmative response on the form will result in the mailing of a brochure and letter for people with a disability. Please return the Verification of Limitation Form, verified by a medical professional, to be eligible for the special services or privileges the University provides. An affirmative response also authorizes the University to communicate your special status to appropriate staff such as tutors and examination invigilators.
If a physical, medical, learning, or mental disability or limitation impedes your study progress after your admission to the University, please inform the Office of the Registrar as soon as possible.
For further information about services and resources available to students with disabilities, e-mail Coordinator, Access for Students with Disabilities at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (780) 497-3424.
6.13. Geographic Restrictions
Students living outside Canada and the United States are restricted to registering in home-study or ViTAL® courses. Although these students receive tutorial and marking services, contact with the tutor must be initiated and paid for by the student.
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