This Calendar is effective September 1, 2001 - August 31, 2002
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6. Undergraduate Course Registration, Progress Information

How to Register Individualized-Study Course Start Dates
Grouped-Study Course Start Dates Shipping Course Materials/Communication with AU
Challenge for Credit Option Maximum Course Load
Course Preregistration Changing Delivery Mode
Course Extensions Course Withdrawal
Method of Delivery Regulations Course Reregistration
Delivery Mode Transfer Prerequistites
Auditing a Course Students with Disabilities

After being admitted to the University and enrolled as an unclassified or program student status, students are registered in a course. Refer to Section 5.3. Registration Definitions for more information.

Students who require assistance with their course selection, should contact an advisor.

Remember, students are responsibile for selecting courses that meet program regulations and requirements in effect on the date they enrol in their program of study.

6.1. Registration

There are three primary methods to earn credit in Athabasca University courses:
  1. Individualized-study courses
  2. Grouped-study courses
  3. Challenge for credit option

6.2. Individualized Study

6.2.1. Start Dates

Athabasca University has a year-round admission and enrolment policy for its undergraduate courses and programs. There are no application deadlines for most of the undergraduate individualized-study courses. It is important to consider postal and processing times when a particular starting time is desired.

Athabasca University's individualized-study courses generally begin on the first day of each month throughout 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. All students are encouraged to register by the first day of the month prior to their desired start month to allow for the arrival of course materials. Individualized-study students may preregister for courses up to six months in advance of the intended start date. Course materials will be sent as soon as the preregistration request is processed.

Students living abroad are assigned a course start date two months later than the regularly assigned individualized-study course start dates to compensate for any shipping delays.

6.2.2. Contract Period

Most individualized study students have six months to complete three- or four-credit courses and 12 months to complete six-credit courses. Individualized-study courses may be extended three times for a period of two months each for either three- four- or six-credit courses.

In order to meet the Student Finance Board's requirements, students receiving or seeking funding are assigned four-month contracts for three- or four-credit courses and eight-month contracts for six-credit courses. Refer to Section 8.7. Financial Assistance.

Each individualized-study course registration has an official start date, which is the first day of a month, and it concludes at the end of the active registration or contract date. Students are considered actively registered in a course until the course is completed, the contract date expires, or the student withdraws.

6.2.3. Are You Ready?

For new undergraduate students, Athabasca University has prepared a self-assessment questionnaire "Am I Ready for Athabasca University?" to help determine if distance learning is suitable.

Students who need help clarifying their educational goals or career direction with Athabasca University's programs and courses may e-mail Counselling Services or phone 800.788.9041 (ext. 6723).

6.2.4. Maximum Course Load

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.

6.2.5. How to Register

And if you're ready to register…

Students will receive confirmation of registration within two weeks. If confirmation is not received, contact the Information Centre.

You can register

  • in person at Athabasca University or at a Learning Centre.

  • in writing by mail, fax 780.675.6174, or online. Course materials for students who register online will normally be forwarded within 24 hours of the registration being processed.

  • through the Challenge for Credit option. This option allows you to review course materials and to demonstrate that you are proficient in the subject matter of a specific university-level course without having to complete the course.

6.3. Grouped Study

6.3.1. Start Dates

Year-round registration is not offered in all grouped-study courses because of scheduling restrictions. Refer online or phone Learning Services Outreach, 780.497.3401.

6.3.2. Contract Period

Grouped-study courses follow the timelines associated with a traditional university semester; for example, students who begin courses in September will finish in December. Grouped-study courses generally last 13 weeks (three credits) or 26 weeks (six credits) and are delivered in classroom situations at Athabasca University's Learning Centres (located in Edmonton and Calgary) or at one of the many collaborating institutions across Canada. The official start date and end dates match these time frames as closely as possible. Students in grouped-study courses are not eligible for course extensions.

e-Class® courses, courses taken for credit towards a Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Administration and other programs at Athabasca University, use a grouped-study electronic environment. Print material, including textbooks and a study guide, are augmented by online group discussion and asynchronous and synchronous learning activities. e-Class® semesters run for 15 weeks. Delivery of each e-Class® course is dependent upon a minimum number of registrations.

6.3.3. Registration

Grouped-study courses are generally offered at selected sites and times. Grouped-study students, both new and continuing, usually register in person at an Athabasca University Learning Centre (in Edmonton or Calgary) or at the cooperating institution offering the course. Course materials are distributed to the student at the first group session. Refer to the following Web sites for details.

6.4. Challenge for Credit Option

Athabasca University offers a challenge for credit process. This process allows students to review course materials and to demonstrate, by a written exam, project, assignments, etc., that they are proficient in the subject matter of a specific university-level course without having to complete the course. The challenge for credit option is available for existing Athabasca University course offerings only.

Athabasca University does not grant transfer credit for field placements, professional seminars, work experience or elementary skills. The Office of the Registrar maintains a list of courses that may not be challenged for credit.

The following Athabasca University courses may not be challenged:

  • courses for which students have received transfer credit

  • courses for which students have received a "precluded" designation

  • courses for which students 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 graduate level courses

  • reading courses

  • project-based courses

  • 100-level courses

  • laboratory or practicum courses

Students who have failed a course (or an equivalent course) may not challenge it without the written permission of the course professor. This permission will be given only if students can document significant learning after the unsuccessful attempt at completing the course. Students enrolled in the Bachelor of Nursing program can challenge all nursing courses for credit with the exception of NURS 440.

Prerequisites must be satisfied unless the course professor waives them. After successfully completing a course, students may not challenge a prerequisite to that course. Cancellation or failure to complete all components of the challenge evaluation will result in a failing grade. Note: Students cannot withdraw (cancel) from a challenge course. 09/14/01.

6.4.1. Challenge Procedure

Before challenging a course, students must

  1. determine the course is available for challenge by checking the non-challengeable course list or by phoning the Office of the Registrar, 800.788.9041.

  2. consult with the course professor to discuss the knowledge and skills required in the course. Professors ask students where and how students learned the material being challenged. Ask for details regarding the format of evaluation for the course.

  3. complete the Challenge for Credit Application. Applications are submitted to Examinations Services, Office of the Registrar (refer to Services for contact information), accompanied by the non-refundable fee (refer to Section 8.3.9. Challenge for Credit Fees).

Students who register in a course and discover they are familiar enough with the material to challenge it must first withdraw from the course and then request to challenge it. Students will be required to pay an additional challenge for credit fee. If they withdraw from the course before the start date (or no later than 30 days after the start date) students may be entitled to a refund. If they withdraw more than 30 days after the course start date, they are not entitled to a refund.

6.4.2. Challenge Exams

Students must write challenge exam within three months of receiving the materials requested from Athabasca University. Students are allowed one attempt to write a challenge exam and if failed, the exam cannot be written again. Students who wish to write the exam without the course materials should consult their invigilator and inform the Office of the Registrar of the date they wish to write before requesting the exam.

An unwritten challenge exam will not be reissued. General exam regulations and invigilation guidelines apply to challenge exams except for supplemental and multi-exam options. 09/14/01. All challenge for credit grade appeals are subject to an appeals process described in Athabasca University's Student Code of Conduct and Right to Appeal Regulations.

6.4.3. Course Materials—Challenge for Credit

Students who have decided to challenge a course but require the course materials package, must register and pay the course materials and handling fee, and the challenge for credit fee. Allow approximately three weeks or more, depending on the student's location, for the processing of the request and receipt of materials.

Students will receive a refund of their course materials and handling fee if they return the material completely unmarked and undamaged, within 30 calendar days of writing the challenge exam or completing the challenge project. If the course material and timeframe criteria are not met, students will not be entitled to a refund.

6.5. Course Extensions

Individualized-study students who cannot complete their course within the time allowed may apply for an extension by submitting an Extension Request Form and fee to the Office of the Registrar or a Learning Centre. Each three- or six-credit individualized-study course may be extended three times for a period of two months per extension.

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. Students must complete telephone quizzes during the original course contract period or during the extended course contract period when tutor support is available.

Students receiving financial assistance should review Section 8.7.2. Full-time Status for Financial Assistance.

Students who fail to complete their course, and who do not apply for an extension by the contract date, will be awarded a course failure. Students may reregister and pay the appropriate fees if they wish to obtain credit for the course. Both the original registration and the reregistration will appear on the transcript. 09.14.01. Extensions are not available in grouped-study courses.

6.6. Course Withdrawals
(see also Section 8.5. Refunds)

Students must formally request to withdraw from a course; simply not completing the course requirements or not attending the class does not constitute withdrawal.

Students may withdraw from a course (with the exception of challenge courses 09/14/01) at any time up until three months after the course start date (90 days) without academic penalty, provided they meet the following criteria. All withdrawal requests must be made in writing and bear the student's signature.

To formally withdraw from a course, submit a Course Withdrawal Request Form included in the Forms Package of the course materials or online, or by fax to the Office of the Registrar. E-mail is not acceptable.

Students who withdraw within one month of the start date, will have the record of registration deleted from their official record. Students who withdraw after one month and within three months after the course start date, will have their official record indicate a "W" (withdrawal) without credit and without academic penalty.

Students who withdraw more than three months after the course start date, and before the contract date, will have their official record indicate a "WF" (Withdrawal/Failure), without academic penalty.

Students who fail to formally withdraw will be assigned a system failure, and their official record will indicate "0F" (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 8.4.3. 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.

6.7. Method of Delivery Regulations

Regulations that govern the process for registering, extensions, withdrawal, examinations, and supplemental exams are based on the course delivery method. Regulations governing individualized-study courses may differ occasionally from those governing grouped-study courses.

Students follow the regulations appropriate to the course delivery method. The following chart explains some of the different regulations governing courses at Athabasca University. Students who require assistance in determining which regulations apply should contact the Office of the Registrar or a student advisor.

6.7.1. Summary of Regulations by Registration Mode

See attached table.

6.8. Course Reregistration

Students are permitted one registration and one reregistration in each individualized-study course. Subsequent course registrations require the course professor’s 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 the student seek advice, counselling, or study-skills assistance.

To reregister, submit a new Undergraduate Course Registration Form and 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 Production can replace individual items that have been lost or damaged, and students will be charged the replacement cost on an item-by-item basis.

Students have a maximum of one year from the end of the contract date to reregister if they wish to carry their standing/results for work completed in the previous registration to the reregistration.

To carry credit to the reregistration it is the student's responsibility to obtain permission from the course professor before reregistering. After the one-year duration, students are required to complete all assignments, exams, tests, etc. in the reregistration in order to obtain credit for the course. Both the original registration and the reregistration are recorded on the transcript.

6.9.  Changing Delivery Mode

Students who wish to transfer from one delivery mode to another must apply 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 start date will not change if students transfer from individualized study to grouped study or vice versa, however, the contract date may change.

Regulations governing individualized-study and grouped-study courses occasionally differ. Students are required to follow the regulations relevant to the course method of delivery. If students have difficulties determining which regulations apply to which courses, they may call the Office of the Registrar at 800.788.9041.

6.10.  Prerequisites

Prerequisites ensure that students have the required background to successfully complete their course. Students must have the course prerequisite before registering. Students who feel a prerequisite should be waived for non-academic reasons such as work experience, must contact the course professor who has the authority to waive the prerequisite, before registration takes place. This permission must be forwarded to the Registrations Unit, Office of the Registrar. A Prerequisite Waiver Declaration Form is on the back of the paper Undergraduate Course Registration Form or included in the online Undergraduate Course Registration Form.

Students who are registered in a course that is a prerequisite to a second course can preregister in the second course while the first one is underway. Before registering in courses designated as "reading courses" (refer to Section 11 Glossary), students must contact the course professor to obtain registration approval before submitting their written request. Some courses require professor approval and other course-related prerequisites. Failure to obtain professor approval will result in registration being delayed or refused.

6.11.  Auditing a Course

Audit students are those who register in a course but do not require credit. Audit students have access to the same materials and support services provided to all Athabasca University students and pay the same fees. They are, however, excluded from writing exams and a final grade will not be provided. Students indicate their intention to audit a course when they register.

6.11.1. Changing Status

Students who are auditing a course and who choose to change to credit status must apply in writing to the Office of the Registrar before the mid-point of the course contract date. Students who are taking a course for credit and have not written any exams may change from credit to audit status using the same method.

6.12.  Course Preregistration

Students may preregister in an individualized-study course up to six months before the start date. Preregistration guarantees students that tutorial support will be available for the specific start date. Course materials will be issued as soon as the preregistration request is processed. Tutorial support is not available until the official start date. Full fees are required to preregister and students will be charged a processing fee if they alter their preregistration (refer to Section 8 Undergraduate Fees, Financial Assistance, Refunds).

6.13.  Shipping Course Materials

Athabasca University ships course materials by Canada Post regular mail to its students living in North America. International students living overseas receive their course materials by airmail. To allow ample time for shipping, overseas students are assigned course start dates that begin two months later than those of North American students. Course Materials Production determines the most time- and cost-effective shipping method for students living overseas. It may take two to three weeks for students in Canada to receive their materials, up to four weeks for students in the US, and more than one month for students living overseas.

6.13.1. 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 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.

6.14.  Communication

Athabasca University's toll-free telephone system (800.788.9041) is available to students living in Canada and the US. Students living outside these areas are responsible for all course-related communication costs.

6.15. Students with Disabilities

Students should indicate whether they have a physical, medical, learning or mental disability, or limitation that may affect their academic progress, in the appropriate area of the Undergraduate 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. 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 the student's special status to tutors and examination invigilators.

If a physical, medical, learning, or mental disability or limitation impedes your study progress after your admission to the University, 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 to Students with Disabilities at or phone 780.497.3424.

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