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MBA entry routes

There are 4 routes of entry into AU’s MBA for executives.

Athabasca University follows the “Open University” philosophy. A key part of our mission and mandate is to reduce barriers to entering post-secondary education globally. At the master’s level, this includes admission pathways that go beyond recognition of undergraduate degrees: if you do not have an undergraduate degree but have significant management experience (see pathway #4 below), we encourage you to apply.

  1. Standard entry
    Undergraduate Degree + 3 years managerial experience.
  2. Accelerated entry
    Undergraduate Degree in business completed within the past 10 years + 3 years managerial experience and a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher for the last 60 credits taken.
  3. Professional designation holders
    You hold an accepted professional designation and at least 5 years of managerial experience.
  4. Progressive management experience
    You have at least 8 years of progressively responsible managerial experience.

The Admissions Committee considers your entire application profile holistically, including academic records, managerial/professional experience, your essay, and letters of reference. You are assessed on your own merit and your application is considered separately from other applications.

Application deadlines for the Master of Business Administration

June 15, 2024 for a start date of Aug. 2024

Oct. 15, 2024 for a start date of Jan. 2025

March 15, 2025 for a start date of May 2025

Learn more about the MBA application process

Standard entry

If you have an undergraduate degree from an accredited post-secondary institution, you will also need to demonstrate at least three years of managerial experience. Managerial experience should show progressive responsibility and should include managing people, projects, or budgets, or any combination of these.

Applying with a non-Canadian undergraduate degree

If your undergraduate degree is from a post-secondary institution outside of Canada or the United States, your educational qualifications may require independent assessment*. International transcripts can be assessed by:

International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS)

International Credential Assessment Service of Canada (ICAS)

World Education Services-Canada (WES)

*If your business degree is from a post-secondary institution whose business programs are accredited by AACSB or EQUIS, this requirement will be waived.

Accelerated entry

A new admission route for undergraduate business degree holders.

6 core course credits + 24 elective credits = AWARD OF MASTER OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION DEGREEFinish your Athabasca University (AU) online MBA for executives in as little as 19 months if you already have a Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Management, or similar business degree, and at least three years of management experience.

This accelerated route to your MBA for executives acknowledges that your undergraduate studies—in combination with the experience you have gained in the workplace since graduating—provide a solid base from which to advance into senior management study and practice. The accelerated online MBA route gives you the flexibility to tailor your master’s studies to your own interests and career goals.

Once you have completed two mandatory courses (Strategic Management STMT 500 and Ethical Decision Making MEDM 604) you can design the rest of your program using a combination of online and in-residence electives, international electives and, if you choose, a major research project. Because the accelerated online MBA route is part of our flagship online MBA for executives, all students study together, meaning you will enjoy the full benefits of peer learning within a student body that spans industries, sectors, and organizations across Canada and around the world (see ‘Being an AU MBA Student’).

Professional designation entry

At AU, we recognize that achieving certain professional designations requires considerable study and subject mastery.

The following designations have been evaluated by our academic team and deemed acceptable for admission to the online MBA for executives program. Approved professional designations are accepted in combination with at least five years of managerial experience. All other admission requirements must be met.

*Please note that acceptable professional designations are subject to change.

Acceptable professional designations

Acceptable professional designations
ACCA Member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
ACMA Associate Chartered Management Accountant
AScT Applied Science Technologist
CA Chartered Accountant
CET Certified Engineering Technologist
CFA Certified/Chartered Financial Analyst
CFP Certified Financial Planner
CGA Certified General Accountant
CGAP Certified Government Auditing Professional
CGMA Chartered Global Management Accountant
CHE Certified Health Executive
CMA Certified Management Accountant
CPA Chartered Professional Accountant
CHRL Certified Human Resources Leader*
CPHR Chartered Professional in Human Resources (formerly CHRP)*
EcD Certified Economic Developer
C Mgr Chartered Manager
FCIP Fellow Chartered Insurance Professional
FCMA Fellow Chartered Management Accountant
FCSI Fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute
ISP Information Systems Professional
PEng Professional Engineer
PTech, (Eng) Professional Technologist, Engineering
PQS Professional Quantity Surveyor
RET Registered Engineering Technologist
PBA Professional Business Accountant
SCMP Supply Chain Management Professional

Canadian College of Health Leaders

CCHL is a national, non-profit, professional association dedicated to developing, promoting, advancing and recognizing excellence in health leadership. Eligible Canadian health care professionals can receive credit toward the Certified Health Executive (CHE) designation while completing the AU online MBA for executives program.

Accounting Designations

Athabasca University and the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) are committed to developing global business leaders. If you already have an accounting designation, you could finish the AU online MBA for executives up to six months faster.

Supply Chain Management Association

Your Supply Chain Management Professional (SCMP) designation gives you enhanced access to Athabasca University’s online MBA for executives program by providing transfer credit for up to nine total credits, which will enable you to finish your online program up to six months faster.

Review of new designations:

If you have a professional designation that does not appear on this list, but you believe it to be academically equivalent, please email us at Include the designation name, the granting association, and contact information for the association (including a website link, if applicable).

Progressive management experience

Students who wish to apply to the Online MBA for executives using this route (based on at least eight years of progressive management experience) must apply to the Graduate Diploma in Management (GDM) first. Upon successful completion of all Phase One courses and the comprehensive exam, they may apply to transfer into Phase Two of the MBA.

International MBA Students

Applying with an international degree?

Updated April 02, 2024 by Digital & Web Operations (