A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q,R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z


Academic misconduct: Intellectual dishonesty includes such offences as plagiarism, cheating, and falsification of records.

Academic probation. The imposition of specific requirements, tasks, or conditions that an individual student must meet or fulfill within a stipulated time to avoid being suspended from further study at Athabasca University.

Academic year: The academic year at Athabasca University runs from September 1 until August 31.

Active students: Active students are currently registered in an Athabasca University course or have completed an AU course within the last 12 months. The 12-month period is based on the most recent course contract date, course completion date, or the date of withdrawal from an Athabasca University course. Students who complete courses on a Letter of Permission from Athabasca University also retain their active status.

Administrative Studies: Courses in the following disciplines: accounting, administration, communications, finance, industrial relations, legal studies, management science, organizational behaviour, public administration, and taxation.

Admission policy: Anyone 16 years of age or older is eligible for admission to Athabasca University, regardless of previous educational experience, with or without a high school diploma.

Advisors: An advisor will help you clarify your educational objectives and assist you in completing financial aid applications. If you require help in selecting courses appropriate to your program of study, contact an advisor.

Appeal: The act of requesting a review of a decision made by an official of Athabasca University. Students may appeal decisions on transfer credit, grades, tests, assignments, final grades, questions of process, disciplinary action, etc. Review the Student Code of Conduct and Right to Appeal Regulations.

Applied Studies. There are two groups in the Applied Studies area of study: Business and Administrative Studies and Applied Studies.

Area of study: Refers to Athabasca University's division of its courses into groups of related subjects. Arts is divided into humanities and social science. Science includes all science courses. Applied Studies includes the area of administrative studies, nursing, and a wide range of professionally oriented courses. The area designation for each course is shown in each course description. Search for a course by its area of study.

Assignments: Assignments and examinations are the basic means of evaluating your understanding of the pre-defined learning objectives in each course. In most AU courses, assignments are expected to be submitted in Microsoft Office format (i.e., Word, Excel, etc.) unless indicated otherwise.

Arts: Courses in the Arts can be found in the humanities and social science areas of study.

Assessment/Evaulation: The assessment and evaluation of previous post-secondary education for possible transfer credit toward an Athabasca University program.

Audio component: Some of our courses are supplemented by audio components (CDs and/or audiocassettes), some of which are required listening, others are optional. Overseas students are asked to contact the AU Library before registering in a course that has an audiocassette component.

Audit: Students may register in a course without intending to obtain credit. Audit students receive the same tutorial support as credit students.

Awards/scholarships: Refer to Web site.


Bachelor degree: A first university degree in a field, for example, Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Commerce. Also called an undergraduate degree.

Block transfer credit: Students who are granted admission to a post-diploma program, for example, may be granted a "block of credit" based on their previous learning in a completed credential. In these cases, the student's transcript is reviewed and transfer credit is awarded as a "block of credit" rather than on a course-by-course basis. See Transfer Procedure to Athabasca University.

Business and Administrative Studies: See Applied Studies.


US = catalogue
UK = prospectus

Call Centre: Call Centre advisors provide administrative and technical support to School of Business students.

Challenge for credit: This option allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, and intellectual and other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course. Refer to Challenge for Credit.

Classroom setting: Courses offered in a classroom setting may take place in an actual classroom at an Athabasca University Learning Centre or at a collaborating institution.

Communication: Asynchronous communication describes communication that does not occur simultaneously, for example, computer conferences and email. Synchronous communication is "“live.” It describes communication that occurs simultaneously, for example, in chatrooms, by teleconference, and videoconference.

Complaint: A written and signed statement as a result of which proceedings may be initiated.

Computer requirements:

Computer specs: Upon graduating, students should have a specific level of computer skills, many of which are acquired while completing distance learning courses at Athabasca University. An increasing number of Athabasca University courses require students to have access to a computer with specific configurations. The online syllabus or course coordinator will confirm the hardware or software requirements to complete the course.

Computer specs:

Athabasca University's standard computing platform is a computer running MS Windows with MS Office. Some courses support other hardware and software platforms and / or have more specific requirements and these are noted in the online syllabus. Assignments should be submitted in a format compatible with MS Office. Students must have an Internet connection and, in some courses, an Internet service provider (ISP connection). Email access is required.

    Minimum Requirements: (check course syllabus), Pentium III or higher, 256 MB RAM, 300 MB free disk space, CD-ROM, mouse, Internet connection, anti-virus software (current), most current version of a Web browser.

    Optimum Requirements: (check course syllabus), Pentium IV or higher, 1 GB RAM, 1 GB free disk space, CD-ROM, Mouse, Internet connection , anti-virus software (current), laser or inkjet printer, most current version of a Web browser, backup device, access to fax, Windows XP (or higher)

Concentration: A designated program of study within a three-year program discipline, such as the Bachelor of Arts, Anthropology concentration.

Contract end date: The last day that you have to complete your individualized study course. Course contract end dates are always the last day of the month (or the date you finish the course, if earlier).

Contract period: The length of time you are actively registered in a course. The course contract period begins on the start date (usually the first day of a month) and runs until the contract end date.

Convocation: Convocation refers to the annual formal ceremony held at Athabasca University, usually on the second Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of June.

Corequisite: A course that is required to be taken concurrently with another course.

Counsellors: Counsellors will help you clarify your educational objectives, assist with financial aid applications, clarify Athabasca University's requirements and procedures, and help you select courses appropriate to your program of study. Web site.

Course completion date: The contract end date or the date that you complete the course if earlier than the contract end date. If you withdraw from the course, the course completion date is the date of withdrawal.

Course composite grade: The final grade for the course expressed as a percentage. The course composite grade reflects your understanding of the course materials. The course composite grade is often a weighted average of the marks assigned to quizzes, assignments, tests, examinations, etc.

Course delivery methods: Audio component; Digital Reading Room; grouped study; home lab; independent lab; individualized study; individualized study online (course list); lab component only; online-enhanced; supervised lab; video component.

Course load: You may be actively registered in one to six courses at a time. To ensure that you don't overburden yourself, Athabasca University will limit your course load to a maximum of six. Students with full-time jobs or those new to distance learning may find it advisable to start with one course.

Course materials/Learning Resources: Refer to Learning Resources Fee.

Course start date: Typically, students officially start their course the first day of the month.

Course syllabus: A documented description of a course, which may include learning outcomes, evaluation breakdowns, and learning resources. Check the online course syllabi for details.

Course Withdrawal Processing Fee:The admininistrative fee deducted from a refund when a student withdraws from an individualized study or grouped study course within the time frame allowed.

Credentials: Degrees, diplomas, or certificates awarded on successful completion of a program. Not all admission categories lead to credentials.

Credential regulations: The requirements you must meet in order to be awarded a degree, diploma, or university certificate.

Credit: The value assigned to a course. Normally, Athabasca University courses are either three-credit (one semester) or six-credit (two semesters) which corresponds to three- and six-semester hours of credit at conventional universities. Some courses in the Bachelor of Nursing degree carry a practicum component with a credit weight of four.

Cross-listed course: A current Athabasca University course that is listed under two or more disciplines is referred to a "cross-listed". The Calendar course description and the online syllabus will indicate whether a course is cross-listed.


Digital Reading Room (DRR): The gateway to Athabasca University's Library resources and services. DRR can be used for a quick scan of specific information as well as for extensive research. See the library's Digital Reference Centre.

Directed study: A 400-level course that does not have a prescribed curriculum.

Discipline: Courses in a specific subject area, for example, English is a discipline in the humanities, biology in the sciences, and accounting in administrative studies.

Distance learning: University-level education offered by a broad spectrum of delivery methods to students unable to attend a traditional university campus.


Electives: Courses from a specified list from which you must select in order to fulfill the program requirements.

E-letters: Athabasca University now provides its registered students the option to view certain correspondence online.

Enrol: Students enrol in a degree, diploma, or university certificate program.

Evaluation. Assessment of your previous post-secondary education for possible transfer credit toward an Athabasca University program.

Examinations and grades: Evaluation of assignments and examinations is based upon the degree of achievement of pre-defined learning objectives. Review Section 7.

Exemption: Within a previous approved diploma or degree, you may have equivalent courses that are required within your current program. These courses will be awarded an “exemption.”

Expulsion: Required withdrawal of a student from Athabasca University for an indefinite period of time. Review the Student Code of Conduct and Right to Appeal regulations.

Extension: The process of lengthening the time allowed for the completion of an individualized study credit course by two months is called an extension. A fee is charged for this service.

Extra to degree: Successfully completed and recognized course credit that does not fit within a student's AU program.


Final grade: The overall average grade that is achieved in your completed course. Marks are applied to your assignments, essays, and examinations.

Financial aid agencies: Financial assistance is available to part-time and full-time students from the student's local agencies.

Full-time student. Full-time students are registered in a minimum of 60 percent of a full course load (a full course load is defined as two credits per month at Athabasca University) with Athabasca University.


Grade: Refers to the final average grade that is achieved in your completed course. Marks are applied to your assignments, essays, and examinations. Alpha grading scale.

Grouped lab: Supervised science labs taken at specific locations and times. Supervised labs involve a substantial amount of work. Exercises may include techniques and equipment and sample-handling relevant to the course discipline. Science lab information.

Grouped study: Athabasca University's grouped study courses are delivered within a designated time period in a classroom situation at a collaborating institution. Grouped study courses usually begin in September and January (although at some sites there may be spring and summer sessions) and generally last four months (three-credit course) or six months (six-credit course).


Home labs: Home labs are compulsory components of some of our science courses. Home labs are learning activities, such as demonstrations, observations, simulations, and experiments that students do in or near their own homes rather than in university laboratories.

These labs usually require a lab kit that students obtain in their course materials package or borrow from Athabasca University Library. Many home lab activities require some materials that most students have in their homes or materials can be purchased locally without great cost. The kits may contain materials that are hazardous in some way (especially for young children and pets) and as such, they must be handled and stored appropriately.

Students who are in correctional institutions may have some difficulty taking certain courses with home labs (e.g., some kits contain sharp objects that may not be allowed). Also, be aware that certain home lab kits cannot cross international borders (e.g., some contain seeds that may not be allowed in, others contain electronic equipment that required duty payments). Therefore, before registering, it is recommended that you contact the lab coordinator regarding the availability of home lab kits in your particular situation.

Please check the specific course syllabus for details.

Home study: Refer to Individualized study.

Humanities: An area of university studies that normally includes English, French, history, and philosophy.


Inactive students: You are considered "inactive" if you have not registered in a course: a) within 12 months of the last course contract end date or date of withdrawal; or b) within 12 months of the most recent admissions entry term; or b) on a Letter of Permission within 12 months of either of the above dates. To reactivate your student account, enter "myAU" and follow the reactivation procedure.

Independent labs (also referred to as "lab component only"). Athabasca University has developed a framework that allows you to access the laboratory component of certain science courses without taking the remaining instructional component, provided you meet strict prerequisite requirements and have professor approval before registering in the course. Each lab is worth one credit. Should you decide to take the remaining instructional portion of the course, the additional credit earned for laboratory modules is recognized.

Independent labs are supervised by our lab instructors and professors and are only offered at specific locations at specific times. Most labs run between two to eight days in length, for example. You will have up to two months to complete these courses from the date you register.  No extensions are allowed in independent labs, unless specifically authorized by the course professor. Independent labs are not available for challenge. If you are enrolled at another institution, you should receive approval in writing by your home institution to ensure that it will grant credit for the lab. If you are using this course to update laboratory skills (e.g., you are a teacher or instructor), you must provide evidence of having previously taken an equivalent science course or have the equivalent theoretical requirements. When you attend the lab, you are responsible for making your own arrangements and payments for transportation, accommodation, and food.

Science lab information.

Individualized study: A method of course instruction centered around a learning system package that may include textbooks, workbooks, audio and videotapes, computing resources, project kits, study guides, online resources, and manuals. You will set your own schedule within the time allowed to complete your course. Many courses and programs at Athabasca University are offered by a combination of print-based and online material (see below).

Individualized study online. Many Athabasca University courses are offered almost entirely online. The amount of online activity varies among courses from participating in computer conferencing to the setting up of student website projects and downloading much of the learning materials in electronic format. In some courses, the learning resources are available entirely online. In others, the resources may include a print textbook(s) and the balance of the course material is accessed online. In some courses, e.g., Health Studies and Nursing, access to online learning resources will not begin until your official course start date. Refer to the Online Undergraduate Courses for a complete listing. E-mail access is required.

Intellectual honesty. The acknowledgement of the scholarly contributions of others. Failure to do so is academic misconduct.

Invigilator. An individual authorized by Athabasca University to oversee the writing of an examination by an Athabasca University student.

ISP: Internet service provider. A provider of Internet service other than a public institution.


Junior courses (designated by a course number in the 200s) are usually introductory or survey courses and are equivalent to first-year courses at most universities.


Laboratory science courses are courses that contain a substantial amount of work including exercises, techniques, and equipment and sample handling relevant to the course discipline. The lab portion of these courses is usually site-specific and supervised. For current lab information, contact the Centre for Science.

Learning Resources Fee. A component of the course fee. Payment entitles you to receive most learning resources required to complete the course for the period of active registration.

Letter of Certification is an official confirmation of information extracted from a student's record that is not available on a transcript.

Letter of Permission is a document that gives you permission to take one or more courses at an institution other than the university in which you are admitted. Web site.

Levels. In addition to having a credit weight of three, four, or six credits, each course is assigned a particular level: preparatory (100), junior (200), or senior (300 or 400).


Major. A designated program of study within a four-year program discipline such as the Bachelor of Arts, Anthropology major or the Bachelor of Science, Human Science major.

Marks. “Marks ” are applied to your assignments, essays, and examinations. Grade refers to the overall average grade that you will receive on your course. Alpha grading scale.

Member of the University community. Any student admitted to Athabasca University, an academic or nonacademic staff member, or a member of Athabasca University's Governing Council.

myAU is your personalized portal to Athabasca University through which you can quickly access information that is relevant to you. Through myAU, you can view personal information, such as your library accounts, assignment marks, and course grades, or take care of administrative matters, such as registering for courses, booking examinations, submitting assignments, applying for extensions, and so on. Athabasca University will also use myAU to communicate directly with you

No area of study indicates the designated course cannot be used to fulfill an area of study requirement in a program. The course can, however, fulfill part of the overall degree requirements if it is appropriate to the program.

Non-Academic Misconduct Policy. Non-academic offences attempted or committed by students on University premises or during University-sponsored activities shall be grounds for disciplinary action by the University under the Non-Academic Misconduct Policy.

Non-credit courses do not fulfill any requirement toward a credential.

Not-to-take will be awarded when equivalent knowledge of a particular course has been identified within your assessment. If the course is required, Athabasca University awards the credit and uses the course to fulfill the requirement.

Nursing transfer. This is a special program developed in cooperation with another university whereby students may complete courses through Athabasca University and use these courses to fulfill the requirements of a post-degree program elsewhere.


One month. Deemed to be equal to 31 days.

Online courses. Athabasca University maintains a list of online courses that are delivered using the Internet. E-mail access is required. The courses are designed for students who have access to a computer and specific computer requirements.

Online-enhanced is an optional component meaning the course uses the Internet to augment course material.

Open admission means admission to Athabasca University and registration in courses (except where a prerequisite is needed) is not based on previous academic achievement. Students must be 16 years of age, unless specifically exempt from the age requirement.

Options. One or more courses chosen from any discipline to complete degree requirements. You should be aware of the level and area of study requirements, if either have not already been met.


Paced lab students are required to attend an on-site lab component with a group of students at set times.

Parchment. Document issued by Athabasca University that describes the degree and the date of its conferral. This document is signed and sealed by Athabasca University officials.

Part-time students are registered in less than 60 percent of a full course load (a full course load is defined as two credits per month at Athabasca University) with Athabasca University.

Plagiarism is the wilful act of presenting another person's work as one's own without the proper academic acknowledgement and recognition.

PLAR. Refer to Prior Learning and Assessment Recognition.

Post diploma. To help fulfill Athabasca University degree requirements, if you have received a diploma from a recognized college you may be able to transfer credit to the post diploma program at AU. Recognized diplomas may also be considered for some programs on a course-by-course basis. For a list of already approved diplomas, please review the Transfer Credit Database.

Practicum courses (usually in the Applied Studies area) require a substantial amount of supervised, discipline-related time in actual work settings.

Precluded courses are courses in which the curriculum overlaps the course being described to the extent that you would be duplicating course work if you completed both courses. You cannot receive credit for both the course being described and the course listed. Precluded courses are usually the result of a course revision, course renumbering or cross-listing.

Preparatory courses are designated by a number in the 100s. These courses prepare students for university-level study in disciplines that require a high-school background.

Preparatory/alternative courses are courses a professor may suggest a student register in if the student is experiencing difficulties in a more senior-level course. Preparatory/alternative courses are not necessarily prerequisite courses but rather provide the student with a more solid subject-matter foundation before he or she advances to the more senior-level course.

Preregistration is the act of registering for a course with a start date up to six months in the future. Preregistration is considered a registration and guarantees a particular start date.

Prerequisites. Many senior-level courses require a knowledge of the material covered in junior or other senior courses. Prerequisites ensure that you have the required background to successfully complete the course.

Prior Learning and Assessment Recognition (PLAR). Refer to Web site.

Professor approval. The term “Professor approval required “ is associated with prerequisites. It applies when students do not have credit in one or more of the prerequisites for a given course. In such cases, the professor has the discretion to waive the prerequisite requirement, after a discussion with the student.

Program. A program is any combination of courses with a set of coherent organizing principles and goals; for example, the Bachelor of Arts degree, a concentration or major, or a university diploma or certificate.

Programs, time to complete. Most of Athabasca University programs are open-ended, meaning there is no time limit to complete the undergraduate degree. Some programs allow a maximum term to complete the degree requirements and this is indicated in the specific degree regulations. ReviewSection 6.5.2 Program Students.

Q, R

Reading courses are offered at the senior (usually 400) level and involve a specialized field of study.

Registration. The process of selecting and undertaking specific courses at Athabasca University.

Rejection of submitted work. Refusal of academic work that has been submitted to fulfill all or part of the course or program requirements; or an assignment grade of zero (0) to any academic work that has been submitted to fulfill all or part of the course or program requirements; or a grade of zero (0) as a course composite grade on a particular course.

Reprimand. Written notification to a student outlining the nature of his or her misconduct and the implications of further misconduct. A student who has received a reprimand is permitted to continue at Athabasca University.

Residency. Residency is defined as the minimum number of Athabasca University credits that must be completed to fulfill a program's requirements. Residency requirements are part of some AU program regulations.


Science. This area of study normally comprises courses based on a knowledge of facts, phenomena, laws, and proximate cause (e.g., biology, chemistry, computer science, geography, geology, mathematics, nutrition, and physics).

Science labs. Some science labs can be conducted from your own home. Others are supervised and taken in a group at a specific time and location. Science lab information.

Semesters are time periods during which many grouped-study courses are offered. Fall semester courses typically run from September through December while winter courses are usually offered from January through April. Some grouped study courses are offered during spring/summer semester.

Senior courses (designated by a course number in the 300s or 400s) assume a background of university learning and usually specify a junior course as a prerequisite.

Social Science. An area of university study that normally comprises anthropology, economics, geography, labour studies, political science, psychology, sociology, and women's studies courses.

Stale-dated courses: Some external courses transferred to some AU credentials can become stale-dated  after five or ten years. Should you become inactive during your AU program enrolment you risk having a course that was originally transferable,  becoming stale-dated.

Streaming video. Another new technology used to enhance the delivery of Athabasca University courses is streaming videos. When a video or movie is "streamed" it is sent over the Internet to be viewed in real time by QuickTime, a free, multi-media software.

Student Assessment Letter (SAL) is a specialized document issued by the Office of the Registrar that indicates the courses approved towards a student's program and all remaining requirements. The SAL includes transfer credits, completed courses, courses in progress, courses being completed on letters of permission, and preregistered courses.

Student awards/scholarships. Refer to Web site.

Student Code of Conduct and Right to Appeal Regulations. Academic offences are identified within the Student Code of Conduct and Right to Appeal Regulations online.

Students Finance Board is the official agency in each province that is responsible for supplying loans and bursaries to students. Loans and bursaries are dependent upon need and require the student to maintain full-time status.

Student, full-time. Full-time students are registered in a minimum of 60 percent of a full course load (a full course load is defined as two credits per month at Athabasca University) with Athabasca University. For taxation or Alberta Student Finance purposes, for example, students who register in a minimum of three, three-credit courses over a four-month period, or four, three-credit courses over a six-month period, are considered full time. Course extensions will not extend a student's full-time status.

Student ID number. A seven-digit number assigned to each student. Always use your student ID number when you contact Athabasca University.

Student, part-time. Part-time students are registered in less than 60 percent of a full course load (a full course load is defined as two credits per month at Athabasca University) with Athabasca University. For taxation or Alberta Student Finance purposes, for example, students who register in less than four, three-credit courses over six months are considered part time.

Supervised labs describe compulsory course learning activities in some of our science courses that take place in person at specified times and locations. These lab sessions concentrate a great deal of work in a short period of time, from two days to more than a week. The sessions are conducted in teaching laboratories in buildings owned or leased by Athabasca University.

Supervised labs usually involve field as well as lab work. Some supervised lab activities are held at various times throughout the year in Calgary, Edmonton, and, occasionally, in other localities within Alberta. Certain supervised labs are held only once per year in one location in Alberta. You are required to book in advance in order to attend these sessions. Athabasca University retains the right to postpone or cancel scheduled lab sessions due to insufficient registrations. Costs for travel, accommodation, and food are the responsibility of the student.

Please check the specific course syllabus for details.

Supervisor. In an academic context, a supervisor coaches and assists a student with senior, project-based courses or with a graduate thesis/project.

Supplemental examination. An additional examination written by a student to improve the grade received on the original examination.

Synchronous communication
See Communication.


Télé-université du Québec. Some equivalent Athabasca University courses are offered in French by Télé-université. Joint bilingual programs of study at the undergraduate and graduate level are also available.

Transcript. A transcript is your academic history; a complete and official document that lists the courses completed and the final grades achieved in those courses.

Transfer credit is credit granted for the successful completion of course work at another accredited institution.

Tutor. In most individualized study and online courses, you will be assigned a tutor or call centre advisor to help you throughout your course


Unclassified students. Students who are not enrolled in an AU degree, diploma, or certificate program. See Section 6.5.1.

Video component. Some Athabasca University courses include DVDs and/or videotapes that are required viewing to complete the course. Other courses use videotapes to enrich the course content. Some courses have required viewing that is broadcast throughout Alberta on ACCESS, The Education Station. Students who are unable to view the television broadcasts in their area may borrow videotapes from Athabasca University Library. Overseas students are asked to contact AU Library before registering in a course that has a videotape component.

Visiting students. An unclassified student who is taking courses for transfer of credit to another post-secondary institution. Section 6.5.1.

Withdrawal. The voluntary exit from an Athabasca University course by a student. Students can withdraw from a course any time during the period of active study provided the final examination has not been deemed written. Withdrawal timelines are important!

Withdrawing from an individualized study course
Withdrawing from a grouped study course


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 • Information effective Sept. 1, 2006 to Aug. 31, 2007.
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