Return to Section 6 Index
6.2 Individualized Study/Online Courses

Individualized study is the most common method of teaching and learning at Athabasca University. Each course is developed by a team that includes a subject matter expert, editor, visual designer, copyright officer, and a digital media technologist.


At Athabasca University, courses begin the first day of each month provided you register by the 10th day of the previous month. You will have six months to complete zero-, one-, three-, or four-credit courses and 12 months to complete six-credit courses.

Your course package will include various learning resources that are identified in the online course syllabus. In some courses, the learning resources are available entirely online. In others, the resources may be a combination of offline materials such as a textbook(s), CDs, and/or DVDs, and the balance of course materials is accessed online. And in others, the entire learning resources package is print-based and is mailed or couriered.

Your course materials will arrive before your official start date. If for some reason the materials don't arrive on time, contact Materials Management at AU as soon as possible (1.780.675.6366).

In the traditional print-based individualized study courses, tutor support and the writing of examinations will not begin until your official course start date.

Many of our online courses permit access to learning resources before the official course start date. Access to some online courses (Health Studies and Nursing), however, will not begin until the official course start date.    

    Course syllabi

Other Items

You may be required to purchase additional items to complement your course such as stationery, binders, calculators, etc. Most courses may have optional or required computer components.

   Online Courses

6.2.1 Maximum Course Load

Full-time students may be actively registered in one to six courses at a time. To ensure that you do not overburden yourself, Athabasca University limits your course load to a maximum of six active courses. If you have a full-time job or are new to distance learning, we suggest you start with one course.


6.2.2 Registration Process

Once you are admitted to AU and you have received your student ID number, you may register in courses. When you have selected a course, ensure that it is available by viewing the online course syllabus and the Course Availability List. Also ensure that you have the required prerequisites.

Log in to myAU and complete and submit the Undergraduate Course Registration Form. If you are an inactive student, you will still have access to myAU. Follow the instructions to reactive your status. Approximately one week before your course start date you will receive a letter confirming your registration, and welcoming you to the University.

You may also register at an Athabasca University Learning Centre in Athabasca, Edmonton, or Calgary, Alberta.

    Course syllabi
    Course fees
    Course Availability List
    Undergraduate General Application Form
    Undergraduate Course Registration Form



Registration Deadlines

Athabasca University's individualized study courses begin the first day of the month, and are offered year-round. You must register before the tenth day of the month in order to start your course the following month. 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 month. Remember to consider postal, courier, and processing times when a particular start date is desired.

Overseas Students

Overseas students are usually assigned course start dates one month later than students living in Canada or the US.

    Overseas Students' Course Start Dates



Course Contract Period/Dates

Each individualized study course has a specific course contract start date and end date. You will have six months, beginning on your start date, to complete zero-, one-, three-, or four-credit courses and 12 months to complete six-credit courses. Your course contract end date is the last day of your individualized study course. Course contract end dates fall on the last day of a month.

If circumstances prevent you from completing your course within these timelines, you may apply for up to three extensions, each is two months in length. Students completing courses using provincial and federal student financial assistance must adhere to different timelines.

You are considered actively registered in your course until you have completed the course, the course contract date expires, or you withdraw. Your learning resources package will be sent as soon as your registration or preregistration request is processed, however, tutor support and the writing of examinations cannot begin until the official course start date.

    Course Extensions
    Financial Assistance



Learning Resources

The payment of course fees entitles you to receive most learning resources. Learning resources include, but are not limited to, texts, student manuals, study guides, tutorial assistance where provided, and other instructional materials required to complete the course for the period of active registration. You may be required to pay for additional small items such as binders, calculators, home lab materials, and so on.

Some Athabasca University courses introduce students to a more specialized course in the same field. These courses often reference the same textbook. Please retain the textbook from the previous course as a duplicate textbook will not shipped.



Your Tutor

Your tutor will assist you throughout your course either by phone or e-mail. Tutors offer subject-matter assistance, engage in scholarly discussion, mark assignments, provide feedback, and help prepare you for your examination. Never feel reluctant to contact your tutor. He or she is your main link with Athabasca University.

You may contact your tutor on the course start date, but not before. You may phone your tutor, toll-free, from anywhere in Canada or the US during established tutor hours, or you can leave a voice-mail or email message at any time.

After you register in an individualized study course, and before your course start date, you will receive a letter containing your tutor's name, address, email address, phone number, and tutor hours. You will also be asked by what method you prefer to receive your student information; regular post or e-letters. If you have not received your tutor letter or e-letter one week before your course start date, or if you have misplaced your letter, contact Learning Services Tutorial as soon as possible.

Most Athabasca University School of Business courses provide access to a Call Centre and academic experts. Before your course starts, you will receive a letter with the Call Centre's toll-free telephone number.

Because of vacation time, normally during the summer months, your tutor may not be available for up to ten business days. In case of absences of longer than 10 business days, other arrangements will be made for you.

   Learning Services Tutorial



Shipping/Receiving Your Print Course Materials

Athabasca University's course fees include most course materials such as text books, study guides, manuals, and other instructional material, which will be sent shortly after your course registration has been processed. In many courses, the course material is available either online or in print, or a combination of both formats. You may be required to pay for additional small items such as binders, calculators, home lab materials, and so on.

Shipping Within North America

Students living in Canada will receive their print course materials through Canada Post. If you live in the US or Mexico, your print course materials will be sent by airmail. Please allow two weeks or longer to receive your course materials. You may choose another shipping option (see below).

Shipping Overseas

Various methods are used to ship print course materials overseas. Athabasca University's Materials Management department determines the most efficient and appropriate method. If you live overseas, please allow up to one month to receive your course materials. You may choose another shipping option (see below).

    Overseas Students' Course Start Dates

Shipping Options

If you wish to receive your course materials earlier, you may prepay for courier services using your cedit card.  Once your registration is complete, contact Materials Management at 1.800.788.9041 ext. 6366 or email and arrange a faster delivery. You must provide a street address (not a Post Office box address) and telephone number. Prepaid courier costs entitle you to receive the University's special courier rates.  These special rates do not apply to collect (C.O.D.) deliveries.





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 • Information effective Sept. 1, 2008 to Aug. 31, 2009.
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