Ask AU

Get real-time answers to common questions about AU, including fees, admissions, courses, programs, transcripts, and exams.

Ask in the form of a question, such as "When do your courses start?"

Our closest match to your question:

What is the difference between a certificate and a degree?

A degree is a credential awarded to a student who has satisfactorily completed a course of study at a specific academic level, e.g., Bachelor, Master, Doctor. Advancement through the levels of degrees typically involves specialized study of one or more subject areas over an extended period of time.

An undergraduate Bachelor's degree is a first university degree in a field such as Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Management. Also called “undergraduate degrees,” these generally consists of 90 to 120 credits.

Graduate degrees are awarded for academic studies that are taken after a student has completed an undergraduate degree; examples include Master’s degrees and doctorates (PhD).

Certificates and diplomas are shorter-term credentials that provide a good foundation in a specific subject area, and most courses are transferable to a similar Athabasca University degree.

A certificate generally consists of no more than 30 to 33 credits, and a diploma generally consists of no more than 60 credits; examples include Post-Baccalaureate certificates and diplomas, and Post-Master's certificates and diplomas.

For more information about specific credentials, browse our Programs online.

Explore Questions by Topic

Not finding your answer? Contact us.

For a thorough response, please provide these additional details:

AU students are encouraged to use the email address noted on their student record:

* What can we help you with?

The personal information collected on this form will be used for the purpose of processing requests, creating student records and for generating market research statistics. This personal information is being collected under the authority of section 33(c) of the Alberta Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. If you have any questions about the collection and use of this information, contact FOIP Policy Coordinator Athabasca University, Athabasca University, 1 University Drive, Athabasca, AB Canada T9S 3A3. Telephone: 780-675-6111.