Athabasca University

Athabasca University | Athabasca, Alta. | Founded 1970


Athabasca University Campus

Flexible best describes Athabasca University, Canada’s premier distance educator. “We’re not concerned with a student’s educational background, but with his or her desire to learn,” says president Neil Fassina, “We must continue to listen to the voices, the stories, and the needs of our learners and their communities to further our mission through both teaching and research.” 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. In 2015, the university announced a new executive M.B.A. in the business of hockey, which 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. The university is facing financial pressures and a third-party reviewer has been appointed to examine options for long-term sustainability. Says Fassina: “I look forward to a path which ensures students have confidence in and access to the quality education they deserve.”

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.Com. degree combines courses in organizational behaviour, marketing and project management with computer programming electives.

Post LPN Bachelor of Nursing: Designed to provide licensed practical nurses with the opportunity to continue an education with flexible modes of course delivery and opportunities to develop a clinical focus.

Cool Courses

Nutrition: Provides an in-depth understanding and presents recent developments in the field. Students write a critical evaluation on topics in nutrition.

Universe—The Ultimate Frontier: This introductory astronomy course explains how we came to understand the universe; it shows how the scientific method forms the basis for the tools and theories of astronomy.

Minimum entering grades Tuition Number of students Residence spaces
No grade specification; undergraduate students are not required to have a high school diploma $6,670 ($7,940 out-of-province) Undergraduate: 39,573
Graduate: 4,439
Not offered

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


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