Studying at an online university

We understand that each person's educational journey is unique. At Athabasca University, we provide online programs for a wide range of needs.

Our goal is to ensure that you have the flexibility and support you need to pursue your education on your terms.

On this page:

Your online experience

How do Athabasca University programs work?

Want to earn a degree, diploma or certificate? Athabasca University offers over 50 undergraduate and graduate programs catering to various arts, science, and professional disciplines. Whether you have a passion for literature, a curiosity for scientific exploration, an interest in finance, or a desire to develop your skills in another specific field, we have the perfect program for you.

AU has developed program plans to help you keep track of the courses you’ve completed and those still to come. Our academic advisors are also available to help you choose your courses.

Need help planning your program? Book an appointment with us.

How do Athabasca University courses work?

We offer online and distance education courses in a wide range of subjects. You don’t need to be enrolled in an AU program to take an AU course!

We’ll provide you with everything you need, and you set your schedule to complete the course. You will have access to a course website, tutorial support, and will receive a learning resources package.

Each course syllabus will identify what you will receive and need before starting your work, so be sure to check the course syllabus page under “course materials” for more details.

Explore Athabasca University courses

What are the technology requirements at Athabasca University?

Students should have access to a Mac or PC with an Internet connection and have an email address. Most courses require that students use Microsoft Office, although specific courses might allow or require different hardware and software, as noted in the online syllabus.

AU courses that use eTextbooks may have specific technical requirements. See the eText Initiative website for updated information.

Check out our IT department’s minimum requirements for more information on technology requirements.

What does it cost to study at Athabasca University?

The open format at AU offers a significant financial advantage. Most credentials have no set timeline; you only pay for courses when registering. If time isn’t a concern, you can take your classes as you can afford them, and you may be able to complete your education with little student debt.

How much is tuition?

Tuition is charged by the course and will vary depending on where you live and whether you’re taking an undergraduate or a graduate course. Additional academic fees will vary depending on your courses and circumstances. Review your program’s fee descriptions carefully to ensure you understand the information that applies to you.

Additional undergraduate fees

An AU-approved invigilator or invigilation centre must invigilate undergraduate examinations. Most invigilation centres charge a fee for this service; some may charge a fee if you cancel or reschedule your exam. Consult your tuition. Please consult your local invigilation centre or invigilator to determine its fee schedule and incur additional expenses.

How do I pay my tuition?

You pay for each course only when you register, and our course fees include all study materials and support. All course fees must be paid in full when you register.

The first time you take an AU course or apply to an AU program, you’ll also pay a one-time, non-refundable application fee. You won’t have to pay this fee again, no matter how many courses you take or how long you wait between courses.

There is also a separate fee if you opt-in for a credit transfer evaluation.

Learn more about tuition and fees

Success stories

Meet five recent Athabasca University graduates and discover the positive impact of an AU education.

See success stories

Research opportunities

We believe in the importance of research and want AU students to be able to engage in it. Graduate students conduct their own research, and learners may be able to participate in or assist with AU faculty research projects.

Browse current research assistant postings

What kind of research opportunities are available to students?

Faculty-run research projects offer students valuable experience and potential pay, though they don't count as degree credits. They also provide a chance to build relationships with professors, who can become strong references for future endeavours.

Project courses, on the other hand, allow students to conduct their own research under faculty supervision. These courses provide degree credits and enhance resumes and future job applications.


AU actively engages in educational partnerships with Canadian and international institutions, including First Nations communities, to promote access to university-level education.

With over 350 collaborative agreements, AU offers many opportunities to students including enrolling in AU programs while studying at or working for a partner institution. Learn more about our academic partners

Additionally, AU is part of the OERu (Open Educational Resources university) consortium and has partnerships with the following international institutions:

  • National Kaohsiung First University of Science & Technology, Taiwan
  • National University of Tainan, Taiwan
  • Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM), Mexico
  • Trinity Medical Sciences University, St. Vincent
  • University of Oviedo, Spain

Take your first step to online learning

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