This Calendar is effective September 1, 2002 - August 31, 2003
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5. Undergraduate Admission, Transfer Credit, and Assessments

General Admission Residency Requirements
International Students Maximum Course Load
Admission and Enrolment Classifications Letter of Permission

Registration Definitions
Active Students (Changing Programs; Changing Status)
Inactive Students (Re-enrolling in Program)

French Language Recognition
Graduation and Convocation Advice Shipping Course Materials
Transfer Credit Parchment Replacement Policy

5.1. Admission Requirements

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.

This section contains general admission and transfer credit information. To register in individualized or grouped-study courses and to learn about the challenge for credit option, refer to Section 6 Undergraduate Course Registration, Progress Information. You may wish to take the self-assessment questionnaire Am I Ready for Athabasca University?" It helps students learn whether they're ready to accept the challenge of distance learning.

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.

International Students

International students are those who do not hold Canadian citizenship and are not permanent residents of Canada, including those with 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.

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.

International Student Authorizations

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. This could take up to six months. Please refer to Citizenship and Immigration Canada for details.

International Student Contract Dates

All international students are required to comply with the regulations governing the normal course contract period. Course Materials Production airmails course materials packages to international students to reduce the risk of delay; however, there is no compensation for delays if they inadvertently occur. Extensions beyond the normal course contract period are available for all students provided the Office of the Registrar receives the completed Extension Request Form and fee before the contract date ends.

Overseas Students Start Dates

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

Overseas Students
Communication Costs

Athabasca University's toll-free system is available to Canadian and US callers only. Students who live outside Canada or the US are responsible for assuming the cost for all telephone contact with their course tutors. Students who register in courses that have oral quizzes must contact their tutor and arrange for an alternative evaluation process bfore registering.

International Assessments

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.

International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS)
4th Floor, Sterling Place
9940-106 Street
Edmonton AB T5K 2V1
or phone:
(780) 427-2655
310-0000 (ask for 427-2655. Alberta callers only)
(800) 999-3965 (Saskatchewan callers only)
(780) 427-2655 (All others)

Shipping Course Materials

Athabasca University's Course Materials Production department distributes course materials to students living in Canada by Canada Post. International students have their course materials shipped by airmail. Please allow two weeks or longer to receive your course materials.

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.

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

5.3.1. Active Students

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 Programs

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 fulfill the program regulations in effect at the time of their enrolment. Course work completed previously will be assessed for possible transfer credit.

Changing Status

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.

5.3.2. Inactive Students

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 Returning—Inactive Students, following, for information on reactivating enrolment status.

Returning (Re-enrolling)

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.

5.4.1. Transfer Credit Procedure

To transfer credit from other institutions, students must follow one of the following two procedures before an official assessment of their education can be completed.

Procedure One:

Complete and submit the Undergraduate General Application Form, indicate the unclassified status or select a program, and submit the non-refundable application fee to the Office of the Registrar. Upon successful completion of a minimum of six Athabasca University credits, students must contact Admissions and Evaluations Services and request evaluation of previous post-secondary work for the purpose of awarding transfer credit.

Students who were previously in the unclassified category, and who now wish to continue studies in a program status, must select an Athabasca University undergraduate degree, diploma, or certificate program. Next, they must submit a new Undergraduate General Application Form to the Office of the Registrar, however, they do not send another fee. Previously admitted unclassified students are not required to resubmit the general application fee. Indicate the program selected and include the non-refundable evaluation fee.

Arrange to have official transcripts of previous education sent directly from each institution formerly attended to Admissions and Evaluations Services, Office of the Registrar. Athabasca University will evaluate all post-secondary course work completed within Canada and the US. In some cases, additional supporting documentation (e.g., course outlines) may also be required in order for the evaluation to commence. Course outlines may be submitted directly by the home institution or by the student.


Procedure Two:

Complete and submit the Undergraduate General Application Form and the non-refundable general application fee to the Office of the Registrar, indicating the degree, diploma, or certificate program selected. Enclose the non-refundable evaluation fee.

Students who have attended other recognized post-secondary education institutions within Canada and the US, and who wish to have their evaluation processed for possible transfer credit without having to complete six Athabasca University credits, are required to submit the one-time non-refundable evaluation fee. This fee covers the evaluation of previous course work towards one program of the student's choice. An assessment towards subsequent programs may be requested after the completion of six Athabasca University credits and receipt of the change of program fee.

Students who successfully complete six Athabasca University credits (the equivalent of two courses) will be eligible for a reduction in fees toward their third Athabasca University course registration.

Transcript Information

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.

Assessments Take Time

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.

Registering in Interim

Students can register in a course while waiting for their assessment of previous education to be completed. Athabasca University cannot, however, 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 if a registration duplicates course work already completed. 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 (or phone 800.788.9041).

Notification of Assessment

Admissions and Evaluations Services will issue an assessment letter outlining the transfer credit awarded after the evaluation is completed. 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 (or phone 800.788.9041).

Appeal Process

Students can appeal a transfer credit decision by following the Student Code of Conduct and Right to Appeal Regulations.

Transfer Credit Time Limits

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 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 fulfill 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 15 credits defined as residency within the Bachelor of Nursing degree. These 15 credits must be selected from within the 30 required nursing credits of the program regulations.

Requirements: See attached table

5.6. Letter of Permission

From Athabasca University

A Letter of Permission is a document permitting an AU credential student to take one or more courses at another post-secondary institution to be used for credit toward the student's AU degree, diploma, or certificate. When a Letter of Permission is issued, one copy goes to the external institution and one goes to the student.

The Letter of Permission informs students of the course equivalency at AU. The letter is not a guarantee, however, that courses taken elsewhere will be applied towards the student's credential. AU students are responsible for ensuring that the courses being taken will fit into their program. Students requiring program planning assistance should contact an AU student advisor.

Students are required to request the Letter of Permission from Admissions and Evaluations Services before they register at another post-secondary institution and take courses for credit to be applied towards their AU credential. Students who complete courses elsewhere without having first obtained an AU Letter of Permission, also risk not receiving credit towards their credential.

It is also important to remember that credit will not be applied to a student’s credential until AU receives an official transcript indicating successful completion of the course taken elsewhere.

The Letter of Permission provides a student record—a means of tracking courses students take at other institutions—and keeps students active in their program. The letter indicates to the external institution that an individual is a visiting student. Information regarding the transfer equivalencies of particular external courses is also indicated in the letter.

Each Letter of Permission request requires a fee. The Letter of Permission should be requested a minimum of one month before the course registration date to allow AU time to process, approve, and forward the letter.

Upon completion of the external course, students must ensure that official transcripts are forwarded to AU. Students requiring program planning assistance should contact a student advisor.

Visiting Students

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

Applying to Convocate

When preparing to convocate, there are some important procedures students must follow. First, you must be active in your program of study when you apply to graduate.

Degree Students

Degree students must complete and submit an Application for Graduation Form. This form alerts the Office of the Registrar to review your academic record for the purpose of granting you a degree. Froms are available from the Office of the Registrar, the Learning Centres or online. You may fax the completed form 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 mid-April for the June convocation ceremony and no later than November 1 for the December graduation in absentia. You may complete your program requirements and submit the Application for Graduation Form at any time throughout the year. The Office of the Registrar will send you a letter confirming your eligibility to convocate.

Timelines are crucial. If the University doesn't receive your application by the deadline dates, you will be ineligible to graduate at the next convocation ceremony. You may have to submit another form and wait until the next convocation before receiving your degree. Application for Graduation forms are valid for one academic year.

When anticipating the award of a degree in either June or December, you must meet the deadlines for final grades. If you are completing courses on Letters of Permission from other post-secondary institutions, make arrangements with them to ensure that official transcripts are sent to the Office of the Registrar. Inform your Athabasca University tutor of your application to graduate and complete all your assignments and exams in a timely manner.


Convocation ceremonies are held at Athabasca University each year, usually on the second Friday and Saturday in June. Degree 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.

Certificate or Diploma Students

If you are working toward a certificate or diploma from Athabasca University, as the completion of your program approaches you may submit the Application for Graduation Form to the Office of the Registrar. The Office of the Registrar will begin tracking your progress until your final grades are received.

After you have submitted your Application for Graduation Form and have met your certificate or diploma requirements, you will receive a letter confirming your eligibility to convocate.

Graduates of certificate and diploma programs receive their parchments throughout the year. These graduates are listed in the convocation program for the year, but they do not participate in the ceremony.

Notation of Degree on Official Transcripts

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.

French Language Recognition

Athabasca University has implemented a policy that provides recognition to students who have completed 30 or more credits in French (excluding French as a second language course) as part of their credential. These students are eligible to have a notation included on their parchment and transcript. If you would like this notation included, please complete the appropriate section on your Application for Graduation Form.

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.
  • for professional display purposes.

Requirements for Reissuing Parchment

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

Details of Reissued 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.

  1. 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.

  2. The reissued parchment shall bear the following wording in small print: "(date of reissue): Issued as replacement (or duplicate) of original parchment."

  3. The fee must be paid when the parchment is requested.

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