5. Undergraduate Admission, Transfer Credit, and Assessments
5.1. Admission Requirements
5.1.1. General Admission
Athabasca University's general admission policy has only one formal entrance requirement for all its students: they must be 18 years of age or older. Persons under the age of 18 may be admitted and enrolled in programs of study provided they have obtained a high-school matriculation diploma. Those under 18 years of age who do not have a high-school matriculation diploma may be admitted to the University by petitioning the Registrar for special consideration provided the application for admission is accompanied by a letter of support from the person's high-school principal or designate.
Past academic performance at other post-secondary institutions does not prevent students' admission to Athabasca University. Please review Section 4 Undergraduate Programs for detailed program admission requirements.
All first-time, undergraduate students must complete two forms: the Undergraduate General Application Form (submit the one-time, non-refundable application fee) and the Undergraduate Course Registration Form and fee. Students are not required to resubmit the Undergraduate General Application fee again.
North American Students
Start Dates, Shipping Methods
Athabasca University pays for and ships course materials to North American students by Canada Post regular mail. International students living overseas will receive their course materials by airmail. It may take two to three weeks for students in Canada to receive their materials and up to four weeks for students in the US.
Other Shipping Options
Students have the option of paying for and requesting other methods of delivery (airmail or courier) if they wish to receive their course materials earlier. Contact Course Materials Production, 780.675.6366, fax 780.675-6384 or e-mail email@example.com to arrange a courier delivery using Visa®, MasterCard® or American Express®. All prepaid courier costs will entitle students to receive the University's special courier rates. These special rates do not apply to collect (C.O.D.) deliveries.
Full-time students may take from three to six courses at once. To ensure students don't overburden themselves, the University normally limits each student's course load to a maximum of six. Students with full-time jobs or those who are new to distance learning, may find it advisable to start with one course.
Students receiving funding form their local financial aid agency should refer to Section 8.7. Financial Assistance for specific course contract date information.
International students are those who do not hold Canadian citizenship and are not permanent residents of Canada, including those holding landed immigrant status or students living temporarily in Canada on Student Authorizations (visas). In the case of a dispute over an individual's status within Canada, Citizenship and Immigration Canada regulations will apply. Refer to Citizenship and Immigration Canada for details.
For definition purposes, Canadian students living temporarily outside Canada, are also referred to as international students.
International students may be admitted to Athabasca University and registered in courses. International students may also enrol in programs of study leading to credentials offered by Athabasca University provided they satisfy the entrance requirements for the program.
Before international students living in Canada may be admitted or registered in a course at Athabasca University, they must possess and present a valid Student Authorization (visa) confirming permission to study in Canada.
All international students comply with the regulations governing the normal course contract period and are not entitled to additional time to compensate for postal or other delays. Extensions beyond the normal course contract period are available for all students provided the Office of the Registrar receives the Extension Request Form and fee before the contract date ends.
Start Dates, Shipping Methods
Students who live outside North America (Canadian and international students) will receive their course packages by airmail. Overseas individualized-study students are given start dates two months later than North American students, to allow ample time for shipping course materials packages.
Students who live outside Canada and the US are responsible for assuming the cost for all telephone contact with their course tutors. Athabasca University's toll-free system is available to Canadian and US callers only. Students who register in courses that have oral quizzes must contact their tutor and arrange for an alternative evaluation process bfore registering.
Students who will be presenting international credentials for possible transfer credit to an Athabasca University program must obtain an evaluation of their international post-secondary course work obtained outside of Canada or the US. Upon contacting the Office of the Registrar, students will be forwarded an information and application package that they will return to the address below.
The International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS) helps international students obtain recognition for the education they received in other countries by assessing their international educational documents and comparing them to educational credentials in a Canadian province. Students who elect not to use the IQAS process risk not receiving transfer credit for their international course work towards an Athabasca University program.
5.2. Admission and Enrolment Classifications
All students admitted to Athabasca University are required to choose one of three main admission classifications: "unclassified," "program," or "graduate."
1. Unclassified students include non-program students, visiting students, and transfer students (students taking courses for admission purposes to another institution). Unclassified students register in one or more Athabasca University course(s) for credit but are not enrolled in a program at Athabasca University. Athabasca University will not evaluate previous post-secondary education or award transfer credit for students in the unclassified category.
2. Program students may be enrolled in any of the undergraduate programs offered including degree, diploma, or certificate programs. Students may not enrol in a degree, diploma, certificate, or graduate program at Athabasca University while they are enrolled in a program at another post-secondary institution. Students may enrol in only one program at a time.
Students who change from the unclassified category to an Athabasca University degree, university certificate, or university diploma program may transfer credits earned while in the unclassified category provided the course meets the requirements of the program, including any restrictions on the age of a course, if applicable.
3. Graduate students are enrolled in any one of the graduate programs offered by Athabasca University. Students may not enrol in a graduate program at Athabasca University while they are enrolled in a program at another post-secondary institution.
5.3. Registration Definitions
Active students are those currently registered in an Athabasca University course or those who have completed (or withdrawn from) an Athabasca University course within the previous 12 months. Students who complete courses on a Letter of Permission from Athabasca University also retain their active status.
Changing ProgramsActive Students
Active students who wish to change from one Athabasca University degree, diploma, or certificate program to another must complete a new Undergraduate General Application Form and submit a Change of Program Fee. Students will fulfil the program regulations in effect at the time of their enrolment. Course work completed previously will be assessed for possible transfer credit.
Changing StatusActive Students
Active students who wish to change from the unclassified status
to an undergraduate program are required to complete a new Undergraduate General Application Form. No fee is required. The Undergraduate General Application Form will ask whether the student requires an evaluation of previous post-secondary studies. A fee is required for this service (if it hasn't been submitted previously). Students fulfil regulations in effect at the time of their enrolment. Course work completed previously will be assessed for possible transfer credit.
Inactive students are those who have not registered in an Athabasca University course within 12 months of the completion date, the contract date, or the date of withdrawal from their last course. Students who complete courses at other institutions, without first obtaining a Letter of Permission from Athabasca University, may not receive credit for the course. Refer to ReturningInactive Students, following, for information on reactivating enrolment status.
Inactive students are required to re-enrol by a) completing a new Undergraduate General Application Form and b) submitting a Change of Program Fee (also referred to as a reactivitation fee) before they may continue taking courses. Students are required to fulfil the regulations in effect at the time of their re-enrolment. Course work completed previously will be assessed for possible transfer credit.
5.4. Transfer Credit
To Athabasca University
Alberta Learning has mandated Athabasca University to act as a credit coordinating body. In general, credit courses completed at other accredited, degree-granting institutions will be considered for transfer credit to an Athabasca University program on a course-by-course basis.
University transfer courses taken at a college will generally be considered for transfer credit as though they were university courses. All credit transferred to a program must be university or university transfer credits. Official transcripts must be provided directly from the issuing institution to Athabasca University.
Students who will be presenting international credentials for possible transfer credit to an Athabasca University program must obtain an evaluation of their international post-secondary course work obtained outside of Canada or the US. Please refer to International Assessments.
While transfer credit for individual field placement, professional seminars, work experience, life experience, or elementary skills, is not normally granted, it is recommended that students contact the Centre for Learning Accreditation. The office will help determine which learning experiences may be evaluated for credit towards a program.
From Athabasca University
Generally, Athabasca University courses are transferable to other Canadian degree-granting institutions. Students who are in programs at other post-secondary institutions and who wish to take an Athabasca University course, are advised to obtain a Letter of Permission from their home institution before taking the Athabasca University course. Transfer arrangements from public colleges in Alberta to Alberta degree-granting institutions, for example, are outlined in the Alberta Transfer Guide developed by the Alberta Council on Admissions and Transfer (ACAT).
In addition to facilitating transfer agreements among post-secondary institutions, the Alberta Transfer Guide also outlines transfer credit agreements between Athabasca University and other colleges and universities within Alberta.
In order for Athabasca University to conduct an assessment of previous education, all students must be admitted to the University and follow one of the following procedures.
1. Once the student has completed a minimum of six Athabasca University credits he or she must contact Admissions and Evaluations Services and request an evaluation of previous post-secondary work for the purpose of awarding transfer credit. Students arrange to have official transcripts of previous education sent to Admissions and Evaluations Services directly from each institution formerly attended. Admissions and Evaluations Services will evaluate all post-secondary course work completed within Canada and the US. Occasionally, additional supporting documentation (e.g., course outlines) may be required in order for the evaluation to begin. Course outlines may be submitted to the University directly by the home institution or by the student. Refer to Section 5.4.3. for time limits.
2. Students who require an evaluation to be conducted more quickly are required to pay a $200 Evaluation Fee. An evaluation of previous course work taken at other recognized post-secondary education institutions within Canada or the US begins upon receipt of all required documentation and fees. Refer to Section 5.4.3. for time limits.
An assessment towards subsequent programs may be requested after the completion of six Athabasca University credits (two courses) and submission of the Change of Program Fee. Students who pay the $200 Evaluation Fee, and who successfully complete six Athabasca University credits, are eligible to receive a reduction of $145 towards their third course registration.
When students enrol in programs they must arrange to have official transcripts of their previous post-secondary education sent to Athabasca University, Admissions and Evaluations Services, from each institution attended. Official transcripts are those sent directly from the issuing institution to Athabasca University. Faxed documentation is not considered official and cannot be used for evaluation purposes or for the awarding of transfer credit.
Documents received in support of an application for admission become the property of Athabasca University. If the documents are irreplaceable, students may request that Admissions and Evaluations Services return them. Ensure the correct mailing address is provided or the documents will be sent by registered mail to the most recent address on file. Athabasca University does not assume responsibility for lost documents.
Assessment of previous post-secondary education for possible transfer credit begins when Admissions and Evaluations Services receives the transcripts, supporting documents, and necessary fees. It will take approximately six weeks to complete an assessment. If additional information is required, it will take longer.
In addition to official transcripts, supporting documentation, such as course and program descriptions, may be required from the sending institution. Failure to provide this information when it is requested will impede the assessment process. When the assessment is complete, an assessment letter will be sent indicating what transfer credit has been awarded and how it has been applied to the student's program of study.
Students can register in a course while waiting for their assessment of previous education to be completed. However, the University cannot officially approve any courses as being applicable to the student's program until the assessment is complete. If a registration duplicates course work already completed, credit will be granted only once. Students who register in a course and are subsequently given transfer credit for a similar previous course, will be required to pay the withdrawal processing fee for the Athabasca University course registration should they withdraw. Course selection assistance may be obtained from a student advisor at 800.788.9041.
After the evaluation has been completed, Admissions and Evaluations Services will issue an assessment letter outlining the transfer credit awarded. Examine the transfer credit awarded closely, and how it has been applied to the program of study. Contact Admissions and Evaluations Services promptly if any questions arise concerning the assessment letter.
If you require program
planning assistance please contact an Athabasca University student advisor.
Students can appeal a transfer credit decision by following the Student Code of Conduct and Right to Appeal Regulations.
Usually courses are considered for transfer credit regardless of when they were completed. Athabasca University will not award transfer credit for nursing courses, some administrative studies courses (e.g., law, senior-level accounting, management science, marketing or finance courses), information systems courses, or science courses taken more than ten years ago.
In addition, the University will not grant transfer credit for computer science courses or programs, taken more than five years ago, in the following.
- Bachelor of Arts concentration and major in Information Systems
- Bachelor of Science in Computing Information Systems
- Bachelor of Science in Computing Information Systems (Post Diploma)
- University Diploma in Computing and Information Systems (pending approval)
- University Certificate in Computing Information Systems
Students transferring credit completed within a Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) accredited diploma, or who have completed a science-related diploma program from a college or technical institute and who are enrolling in the Bachelor of Science Program, may not be eligible for a block transfer of credit if the diplomas are more than five years old. Consequently, if student diplomas are more than five years old and students are currently active in their field of study, they should arrange to provide evidence of this activity to Admissions and Evaluations Services (e.g., a letter from their employer, a copy of professional membership etc.).
Students who choose to change programs may ask a student advisor or Admissions and Evaluations Services for help in determining whether courses they have completed through Athabasca University will be accepted in the new program.
5.5. Residency Requirements
Residency is defined as the minimum number of Athabasca University credits that must be completed to fulfil a program's requirements. In some cases, specific Athabasca University courses are prescribed as part of the overall residency requirement for a given program. For example, ADMN 404 is a required course in the Bachelor of Commerce degree and it must be completed through Athabasca University. No transfer credit is allowed for this course within the Bachelor of Commerce degree. Another example; there are 12 credits defined as residency within the Bachelor of Nursing degree. These 12 credits must be selected from within the 33 required nursing credits of the program regulations.
Requirements: See attached table
5.6. Letter of Permission
From Athabasca University
Students enrolled in an Athabasca University degree, diploma, or
certificate program must request a Letter of Permission from Admissions
and Evaluations Services before they register in courses for credit at
another institution. Students who complete courses elsewhere, without
having first obtained a Letter of Permission from Athabasca University,
may not receive credit for the course.
The Letter of Permission informs students of the course equivalency at
Athabasca University. It is important to remember that credit will not
be applied to a student's credential until Athabasca University receives
an official transcript indicating successful completion of the course
taken elsewhere. Students requiring program planning assistance should
contact a student advisor.
The Letter of Permission provides a student recorda means of
tracking courses students take at other institutionsand keeps students
active in their program. The letter also indicates to the external
institution that an individual is a visiting student, as well as
provides information regarding the transfer equivalencies of particular
A fee must accompany each request. The Letter of Permission should be
requested a minimum of one month before the course registration date to
allow Athabasca University time to process, approve, and forward the
letter. Upon completion of the external course, students must ensure
that official transcripts are forwarded to Athabasca University.
If you require program
planning assistance please contact an Athabasca University student advisor.
Visiting students are students who take courses at Athabasca University
for transfer credit to other post-secondary institutions.
Visiting students are advised to obtain a Letter of Permission from
their home institution that indicates it will accept the Athabasca
University course in the student's program.
5.7. Graduation and Convocation Advice
When preparing to convocate, there are some important procedures students must
follow. Students must be active in their program of study when they apply
Degree students must complete and submit an Application for Graduation
Form. This form alerts the Office of the Registrar to review the student's academic
record for the purpose of granting a degree. Students may
print the form and fax it to 780.675.6174.
Athabasca University confers degrees twice a year. Application for Graduation forms must be received by the Office of the Registrar no later than April 15 for the
June convocation ceremony and no later than November 1 for the December
graduation in absentia. Students may complete their program requirements and
submit the Application for Graduation Form any time throughout the year.
The Office of the Registrar will send students a letter confirming their eligibility to convocate.
Timelines are crucial. If the University doesn't receive the application by the
deadline dates, students will be ineligible to graduate at the next convocation
ceremony. Students may have to submit another form and wait until the next
convocation before receiving their degree. Application for Graduation forms
are valid for one academic year.
Convocation ceremonies are held at Athabasca University each year, usually on the second
Friday and Saturday in June. Students assemble and proceed to the
convocation stage where they are called upon, one at a time, and program
by program, to receive their hoods and parchments. A reception hosted by
the President follows the graduation ceremonies.
As the completion of their program approaches, students who are working toward a certificate or diploma from Athabasca University, may submit the Application for
Graduation Form to the Office of the Registrar. The Office of the
Registrar will begin tracking the student's progress until the final grades are
After students have submitted their Application for Graduation Forms and have met
their diploma or certificate requirements, they will receive a letter confirming their eligibility to convocate.
Graduates of diploma and certificate programs are listed in the
convocation program for the year following program completion, but they do
not participate in the ceremony. They will receive a convocation
invitation and a response card from Public Affairs.
When anticipating the award of a degree, diploma, or certificate in
either June or December, students must meet the deadlines for final grades. If
students are completing courses on Letters of Permission from other
post-secondary institutions, they must make arrangements with the other institutions to ensure that
official transcripts are sent to the Office of the Registrar. Inform your
Athabasca University tutor of your application to convocate and complete all your
assignments and exams in a timely manner.
Although Athabasca University confers degrees twice a year, students may complete their program requirements and submit an Application for Graduation Form at any time during the year. Once students have fulfilled their program requirements, they have the option of requesting a transcript, but students must indicate whether they wish the transcript issued before or after convocation. The statement "AU Pending Credential" will appear on transcripts issued before convocation. This statement indicates that all program requirements have been met and the student is eligible to graduate. The statement "AU Previous Credential Awarded" will appear on transcripts issued after convocation.
5.8. Parchment Replacement Policy
Athabasca University may, upon completion of the appropriate form and payment of the required fee, reissue parchments
- that are lost or stolen,
- that have been damaged,
- that reflect a change of name,
- and/or parchments for professional display purposes.
- Students wishing to replace a parchment that has been lost, stolen, or damaged, or who wish a second parchment for display purposes, shall be required to sign and date the following declaration:
|"I hereby declare that in requesting this duplicate and/or reissued parchment that neither the original nor duplicate/reissued parchment shall be used for fraudulent purposes, for forgery purposes, or to misrepresent the qualifications, training, and education of either myself or another person. I understand that if I violate this declaration, I shall be subject to disciplinary measures under the Academic Conduct Policy and that this matter will be referred to the proper legal authorities for possible criminal prosecution. I make this declaration freely and solemnly as if it were made under oath."|
Any breach of the above declaration shall be treated as academic misconduct and shall be referred to the proper legal authorities for possible criminal prosecution.
- When a parchment is reissued as a result of a change of name, the name on the parchment must correspond with the legal, current name of the student as recorded in the official academic record. Therefore, students must request in writing that their name, as recorded in the academic record, be changed.
- Students may have in their possession any number of parchments and shall not be required to surrender the original parchment nor be required to submit a statutory declaration stating the current status of the original parchment.
Parchments shall be reissued in the format and style of those parchments being used at the time of replacement not necessarily in the format and style of the original parchment.
- The reissued parchment shall not necessarily bear the signatures of the University officers. In some instances the names of the original signing officers shall be typeset in the appropriate spaces with the exception of the Registrar. The Registrar shall sign all parchments that are reissued.
- The reissued parchment shall bear the following wording in small print: "(date of reissue): Issued as replacement (or duplicate) of original parchment."
- The appropriate fee (see Section 8.3.10. Other Academic-Related Fees must be paid when the parchment is requested.
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