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Key MA-IS program information

Message from the dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies

Dr. Shawn Fraser Faculty of Graduate Studies

Welcome to the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

As a graduate student, you are a part of our Athabasca University community, both within the faculty of your program of study and within our faculty. We are here to enable a community of successful graduate students, and we provide access to information and resources throughout the completion of your degree.

Athabasca University offers 2 doctoral programs, 7 master’s degree programs, and 9 graduate diplomas and certificates. In the fall of 2008, AU initiated the first online doctoral program in education that specializes in distance education in North America. The first online doctoral program in business administration in Canada opened in 2009.

As a graduate student, you will grow in your ability to analyze information and communicate your findings effectively. You will become familiar with new technologies and current approaches to deepen your understanding. You will develop more depth and breadth in your thinking, and you will contribute to understanding the past and finding our path forward into the future.

The Faculty of Graduate Studies is continuously working to enhance your graduate experience. We are confident in your abilities, and we look forward to helping you on your journey through your graduate program. Good luck in your studies and your new adventure!

Dr. Shawn Fraser
Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies


Role of the MA-IS Office

The MA-IS Office is the first stop for all students in the program. We encourage you to email the Office at mais@athabascau.ca with all program related inquiries and questions. The MA-IS Office assistants will process all Athabasca University documents.

MA-IS Office contact information:

Master of Arts - Interdisciplinary Studies
Athabasca University
2008 ARC, 1 University Drive
Athabasca AB T9S 3A3

Email: mais@athabascau.ca
Phone: 1-800-788-9041. Ext. 6792


MA-IS Moodle Practice Course

For students new to Moodle, we have a "MAIS Practice Course" for students in the MA-IS program. This course is designed to be similar to most courses offered within the program. Students may practice submitting assignments; post to a forum; and practice using some other features used within the program. Students are encouraged to access the site via the MA-IS Moodle site.


Degree requirements

The MA-IS degree is a 33 credit program (eleven courses). Students are expected to complete:

  • two core courses: MAIS 601 and MAIS 602
  • seven to eight elective courses, and
  • one to two Interdisciplinary Project(s)

More information about our program requirements are located in the Graduate Calendar.

We recommend that all new students start with MAIS 601 - Making Sense of Theory in the Arts and Social Sciences, the first core course. Students are not permitted to register in both core courses at 1 time; should students wish to complete 2 courses, they may select 1 core and 1 elective course.

The MA-IS Program offers 2 types of courses, grouped study and individualized study. Courses offered through grouped study are only offered in this mode, the same goes for individualized study.

There are 3 grouped study semesters each year; for the registration deadlines and a list of courses which are offered each semester, please go to the MA-IS website and scroll down to the "Course schedule" section. From there, please click on "Grouped study".

Individualized-study courses start at the beginning of each month; for a list of individualized-study courses, please do the same as the above, but click on "Individualized study".

The registration deadline for all courses is 1 month prior to the intended start date.


MA-IS focus areas

Upon completion of the 2 MA-IS core courses (MAIS 601 and MAIS 602) and 2 elective courses, program students are required to submit a study plan to the MA-IS Office for approval by the MA-IS director and/or associate director.

To focus in 1 area, you must complete 4 elective courses from that concentration. Should you wish to complete a dual focus area, you will be required to complete 4 separate elective courses from each concentration; you cannot apply 1 course to both concentrations. For a list of our focus areas, please refer to the focus area section of the MAIS program page.


Study plan

To assist with your MA-IS program planning, please refer to the Study Plan Worksheet.

Students are required to declare a focus area by submitting a study plan to the MA-IS Office for the Director's or Associate Director's approval. Students must submit their study plans using the worksheet linked above. If you have problems accessing the template, please contact the MA-IS Office for assistance.


Transferring outside credits

Now that you have been admitted into the program, we will start processing transfer credit requests. If you have any graduate level (500 and higher) credits that have not been used towards another degree, please email the MA-IS Office to start the transfer credit process. Please refer to the complete Graduate Transfer Credit Policy.


Athabasca University Write Site

The Write Site is Athabasca University's online writing centre and provides all registered AU students with academic writing support. You can make use of the Write Site's online writing resources, or you can submit an assignment, usually an essay, to a Write Site coach and receive formative feedback in one or more of the following areas:

  • organization (e.g., use of transitions, paragraph coherence, unity and development)
  • grammar (e.g., correct sentence structure, verb tenses and pronoun use)
  • mechanics (e.g., correct punctuation and capitalization)
  • style (e.g., diction and audience considerations)
  • content (e.g., critical thinking, the writing process and pre-writing techniques)

For more information about Write Site services, please visit the website or contact the Write Site coordinators.


Athabasca University student academic misconduct policies

Athabasca University has strict Intellectual Honesty policies. For more information on these policies, please refer to the Student Academic Misconduct Policy.


Athabasca University Library Services

Athabasca University has a large library for students to access. For more information on the AU Library, please refer to the Library website.

Updated September 22, 2023 by Digital & Web Operations (web_services@athabascau.ca)