Athabasca University

Athabasca University | Athabasca, Alta. | Founded 1970


Athabasca University Campus

Flexible best describes Athabasca University. Canada’s premier distance educator, it serves 41,000 undergraduate and graduate students. “We’re not concerned with a student’s educational background, but with his or her desire to learn,” says interim president Peter MacKinnon. “Our mission is to remove barriers to education that prevent a person from becoming a university student. We strongly believe that quality is not defined by whom we accept as a student, but by whom we graduate.” Athabasca offers continuous enrolment; most courses start the first of every month. Textbooks, e-texts and Internet-based courseware are provided, along with a toll-free number. Although most students never step foot in tiny Athabasca, Alta., some science courses require students to complete labs in Athabasca, Edmonton or Calgary. A $30-million Academic and Research Centre opened in 2011, doubling the size of the campus, where many staff do research. Athabasca’s reputation for online education goes beyond Canada’s borders: Professor Rory McGreal holds the UNESCO chair in open educational resources. Last year, the university announced a new executive M.B.A. in the business of hockey, the brainchild of player agent Ritch Winter and NHL executive Brian Burke. The program aims to develop management skills unique to professional hockey. On average, undergrads are 29 years old, 83 per cent of students work and nearly one-third of graduates have dependents. Studying online does require discipline, but it’s perfect for those who are juggling school, work and family.

READ: An insider’s perspective on life at Athabasca U

Standout Programs

Science (Architecture): The first of its kind in Canada, the program is in partnership with the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, offering a new pathway for students to become professional architects.

e-Commerce: This B.Comm degree combines courses in organizational behaviour, marketing and project management with computer programming electives.

Political Science: This bachelor of arts degree prepares students for graduate studies in related fields, such as law, as well as for careers in government institutions.

Cool Courses

Corporate Governance and Accountability: This course uses academic texts to give students a familiarity with governing structures in corporate organizations. Students come away with the ability to enter current debates in the field and suggest possible strategies for development.

Canadian Visual Culture: In this course, students explore Canadian culture through its images. Students learn about the visual language expressed through Canadian images and the mediums that affect our perception of them.

Minimum entering grades Tuition Undergraduate students Residence spaces
No grade specification; undergraduate students are not required to have a high school diploma $6,670 ($7,940 out-of-province) 36,751 Not offered

More Schools: MacEwan UniversityMount Royal UniversityThompson Rivers UniversityUniversity of AlbertaNorthern Alberta Institute of Technology


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