Prospective Non-Program Students

Do I have to apply to a program to take a course through AU?

Learners who are wishing to take one or more courses through AU, but do not wish to apply to a degree program can enrol as a visiting or unclassified student.

What is an unclassified student?

Unclassified students include those not in a program but who are taking courses for general interest and/or visiting students who are taking courses at Athabasca University for transfer credit to other post-secondary institutions. The same course registration regulations apply to both program and unclassified students.

Visiting students who are registered in a program at another institution and are taking one or more program courses through AU, register as unclassified. Visiting students should obtain a Letter of Permission from their home institutions before they register in an AU course. Ensure that the Letter of Permission indicates that the institution will accept the AU course in your program.

More information on unclassified and visiting students can be found in Section 6.5.1 of the Calendar.

Whether it's for personal interest, to discover if university is right for you, or to earn university credits, you can take one or more courses at Athabasca University without enrolling in a program. Relevant credits can be applied towards a credential, should you choose to enrol in a program in the future.

Undergraduate Courses

You can register as an unclassified student (a student not enrolled in an AU degree, diploma, or certificate program) or as a visiting student (a student taking courses at AU for transfer credit to other post-secondary institutions).

More information on admission classifications can be found in Section 6.5 of the Calendar.

Graduate Courses

Many graduate courses can be taken by students who are not enrolled in a program.

Complete the graduate application. For "program", select the non-program application option for the subject area that interests you.

What are your admission requirements?

Athabasca University's general admissions policy has only one formal entrance requirement for all undergraduate students: They must be 16 years of age or older.

Applicants under 16 years of age may be admitted and enrolled in a program of study by petitioning the Office of the Registrar for special consideration through the Coordinator, Enrollment Services and Academic Records ( The application for admission must be accompanied by a letter of support from the student's high-school principal or designate, and from the parent or guardian. If the applicant is home schooled or in instances where the parent is also the principal, evidence of academic ability must be provided (e.g., provincial achievement scores). In addition, permission to register in a course must be obtained from the course professor or academic coordinator.

Some undergraduate and graduate programs may have additional enrollment requirements or restrictions. Before applying to a specific program, visit our Programs pages to learn about the requirements for the program of study you would like to enter.

When do your courses start?

Course start dates vary depending on the delivery mode. See the course delivery summary.

Individualized Study
Undergraduate individualized study courses generally start on the first day of every month. If you would like to start a course in a specific month, your registration must be received and processed by the tenth day of the previous month. For example, if you would like your course to start on June 1, your registration must be successfully processed by May 10.

When you register for a course, you can provide a preferred start date. Your actual course start date will be confirmed after your course registration has been successfully processed. Whether or not you receive your preferred start date will depend on when your registration is received.

Register as early as possible to make sure that you get the courses and start dates that you want. You can register for a course up to five months in advance. Check the course availability before you register to make sure that your course is open and available for registration (some courses may have restrictions).

Grouped Study
Undergraduate grouped study courses follow study schedules and timelines associated with traditional university semesters; for example, students who begin a course in September will finish it in December. The official start and end dates match regular semesters. Details can be found in the course descriptions.

Graduate Courses
Start dates for graduate courses may be different from those of undergraduate courses. Current academic schedules can be accessed from the Graduate Programs page of our website. If you are enrolled in a graduate program at Athabasca University, please contact your graduate program centre or the Faculty of Graduate Studies for assistance with start dates.

What are your fees?

Depending on where you are located, your course fees will vary:

Our online Course Fee Calculator can help you determine your course fees before you register.

Undergraduate course fees include all textbooks and materials. They are a combination of tuition, learning resources fees (course material fee), and mandatory fees, and entitle the student to receive the course materials and support services required to complete the course during the period of active registration.

See more: How much does a program cost?

How do I know if I have the prerequisite for a course?

Prerequisites ensure you have the required background to successfully complete a given course. You must successfully meet all course prerequisites before registering. Check the course syllabus for information on prerequisites and other requirements.

If you feel that you have completed the prerequisite at another institution, use the Prerequisite Waiver Declaration Form found on the back of the print version of the Undergraduate Course Registration Form or at the bottom of Athabasca University's online Undergraduate Course Registration page. Fill out and submit the form along with your registration.

Some courses require professor approval and other course-related prerequisites. Failure to obtain professor approval will result in the delay or refusal of your registration.

To obtain professor approval or to speak with a professor, contact the Information Centre at 1-800-788-9041.

If you feel a prerequisite should be waived for a valid reason such as your work experience, contact the course professor prior to registration. If granted, the professor will provide permission to Athabasca University's Enrolment Services Unit in the Office of the Registrar.

Can I get a student loan to take Athabasca University courses?

Athabasca University students, both full-time and part-time, can apply for financial assistance through their local Provincial funding agency. The amount of funding varies according to need.

Financial Aid Advisors at Athabasca University assist students in all aspects of the student loan application and approval processes, as well as interpretation of Provincial regulations and AU policies.

For assistance, email our Financial Aid Advisors at

More information on financial aid can be found in Section 5.13 of the Calendar.

Other resources:

First Nation Students may be eligible for additional funding, including

Contact the Nukskahtowin for advice.

How long does it take to complete a course?

Students taking individualized study course are given six months to complete three- and four-credit course and twelve months to complete six-credit courses. All assignments, quizzes and exams are required to be completed within the course contract time.

Students taking individualized study courses are eligible for three two-month extensions, as explained in AU's Course Extension Policy.

Generally, group study courses follow a traditional semester system; for example, courses which begin in September will end in December. Grouped-study courses are usually 13 weeks (three-credit courses) or 26 weeks (six-credit courses). Course extensions are not allowed.

If you are a funded student, other timeframes might apply. For more information, email a Financial Aid Advisor in the Financial Aid unit of the Office of the Registrar at or contact the Information Centre.

How can I transfer the credits back to my home institution?

Unclassified/visiting students must request that a transcript be sent to their home institution once they have completed the course(s). A Transcript Request Form is included in your learning resources package or login to myAU.

More information on unclassified and visiting students can be found in Section 5.1.6 of the Calendar.

Is the course I wish to take suitable for transfer to a future program of study at a different post secondary institution?

Generally, Athabasca University courses are transferable to other Canadian degree-granting institutions.

Athabasca University is unable to advise you on which of its courses would transfer into a program at another institution. The decision to accept courses for transferability lies exclusively with the receiving institution.