Graduate students under the Western Deans' Agreement

The Western Deans’ Agreement is a long-standing agreement between participating universities across Western Canada. The agreement, established in 1974, is an expression of cooperation and mutual support among participating institutions offering graduate programs in Western Canada. The primary purpose of the Western Dean’s Agreement (WDA) is the reciprocal enrichment of graduate programs. This agreement is not intended to preclude other agreements between participating institutions.

The WDA provides an automatic tuition fee waiver for visiting students. Both the program and course fees are waived. Graduate students paying required tuition fees to their home institution will not pay tuition fees at Athabasca University for approved courses. However, students are required to pay administration, application, students union, and other fees associated with the program (see "Fee" section below) when applicable. Additional information is available on the Western Canadian Deans of Graduate Studies website.

Students applying to AU under the WDA (incoming students)

Athabasca University has several conditions for a student to take an AU course under the WDA:

  • Graduate degree students must be in good standing at one of the participating Western Canadian universities.
  • The WDA request must be received by AU 4-6 weeks before the course’s registration deadline. Last-minute requests will not be processed.
  • Before applying, the student must ensure that the course they wish to take will be recognized for credit as part of their graduate degree program at their home university.

AU has several restrictions, including:

    • a maximum of 1 course can be taken from AU per academic year
    • a maximum of 2 courses can be used toward credit for the same degree
    • registration for a course will be dependent upon space availability in the course
    • application and registration must meet the registration deadline for the course
    • courses in the MBA and the DBA programs are exempt from the WDA
    • AU only accepts a limited number of graduate WDA requests per fiscal year
    • AU does not accept undergraduate WDA requests
  • By signing the WDA form, the student’s home department is providing written assurance that the requested course: a) is required for the student’s program; and b) will be credited toward the student’s graduate degree program upon successful completion.
  • For each course requested under the WDA, authorized signatures from the centre offering the course at AU are needed. The centre is not obligated to accept a student into a particular course.
  • Students who are not eligible for consideration under the WDA may apply for a course as a ‘non-program’ student outside of the WDA. The student will be required to pay tuition and fees.
  • Refunds for course withdrawals may differ depending on the program. Students inquiring about course withdrawals and refunds must contact their program administrator.

AU students applying to take courses under the WDA at another university (outgoing students)

Refer to the regulations pertaining to the WDA of the university to which you are applying:

  • You must be in good standing at Athabasca University and enrolled as a program student at AU.
  • Before applying, it is your responsibility to ensure that the undergraduate or graduate course(s) you wish to take will be recognized as part of the graduate degree program at AU. Talk to your graduate program director.
  • Note the registration deadlines for the course(s) and begin the application process 2 to 3 months before the course registration deadline.
  • The host university is not obligated to accept you into a particular course.
  • There will be some fees that are not waived under the WDA.

Procedures for incoming WDA requests

  1. Some courses are offered on a semester, trimester, or session basis. Ensure you make yourself aware of the registration deadlines for the requested course.
  2. Download the WDA form, complete page 1 of the form and sign the Student Declaration (page 2).
  3. Email the completed form to your Graduate Program Department for approval (signature #1).
  4. The graduate program department forwards the form to the Faculty of Graduate Studies (or equivalent) for approval (signature #2).
  5. The form is sent to AU’s Faculty of Graduate Studies and distributed to the Host Faculty at AU (signature #3). If approved, the host faculty will forward the WDA form back to the Faculty of Graduate Studies at AU for approval (signature #4).
  6. AU’s Faculty of Graduate Studies forwards the approved WDA form to the host faculty to follow up and notifies the home university and the student of the next steps for registration.

Fees for incoming WDA requests

At Athabasca University, for incoming students, we provide a tuition waiver. However, the student must pay the following:

Graduate courses

  • An administrative fee of $250 per course for each WDA application
  • Students are required to pay the one-time non-program graduate application fee of $110.00 (if applicable)
  • AU Graduate Student Association Fee - $39.00 for a 3-credit course or $13.00 per credit
  • Any other special fees not listed associated with the specific program (find graduate course fees here)

Note: The $250 administrative fee is only for "incoming graduate-level" WDA students.

Updated July 24, 2023 by Digital & Web Operations (