Frequently asked questions for visiting learners
If you’re looking to add an online course to your schedule and transfer credits back to your program, Athabasca University (AU) is here to support your journey.
At AU, we believe all students should have the chance to achieve their education goals. It doesn’t matter what challenges they face.
Whether you’ve encountered challenges in your education, need a more flexible schedule, or want to explore new horizons, AU is here to support your journey.
Here are the key things visiting learners need to know to about taking an online course.
What is a visiting learner?
A visiting learner is a student who enrols in courses at AU without being part of an AU degree program. This option allows students to take advantage of AU’s courses for various academic purposes.
How do I find an AU course that transfers back to my institution?
With our user-friendly transfer credit service tool, finding an AU course that aligns with your institution’s requirements is a breeze.
Follow these steps to identify the perfect course for your program:
1. Search for a relevant course
Browse our courses and find a comparable course that fits your needs. Or, use the transfer credit service tool to search for an AU course that transfers back to your institution. Follow steps one and three to find a course that fits your program requirements.
2. Obtain a letter of permission
Contact the registrar at your home institution and request a letter of permission to ensure a smooth transfer credit process. Most institutions require this document before approving transfer credits. AU does not require a copy of your letter.
3. Register and get started
Once you’ve found a course and have obtained your letter of permission, apply and register for the course by the 10th of the month to begin your studies on the first.
How to register for an AU course as a visiting learner?
To become an AU student:
- Apply online. Visit the Undergraduate Application page.
- Enrol as a Non-Program Student. Select the option “No, I would like to be enrolled as a non-program student.”
- Complete the application process. Fill out the application form to initiate your journey as a visiting learner at AU. Once you’ve been admitted, you can register for individual courses or an entire program.
To register for a course:
- Use your AU student ID number to log into myAU.
- Click on “Register for a Course” and follow the steps (find the course in which you received a letter of permission from your home institution).
- Pay for your course.
- You can also review the course syllabus to confirm the materials included with your registration and any extra requirements (ex: labs).
- Check your myAU account one to two weeks prior to your start date for an e-letter with your tutor/academic support contact information.
- You will receive a confirmation of registration the day after you register for the course.
Why is a visiting learner considered a non-program student in the application process?
A visiting learner is considered a non-program student because they typically enrol in courses at AU without being part of a degree program.
This option allows learners to take advantage of AU’s courses for various academic purposes, such as completing prerequisites, exploring new subjects, or supplementing their existing education.
When do AU courses start?
Undergraduate individualized study courses generally start on the first day of every month. If you would like to start in a specific month, ensure you register by the 10th day of the previous month.
Alternatively, you can provide a preferred start date when you register. This will be confirmed after your registration has been successfully processed.
I am accessing government student financial aid. What do I do?
AU students may qualify for financial aid. Our financial aid team can assist you in identifying funding eligibility for loans, awards and grants, and other planning tools to put your academic goals within reach.
We suggest reviewing the information on our Financial Aid website to get started.
How fast can I complete a course?
Students in individualized study courses have up to six months to complete a three-credit course, and up to 12 months to complete a six-credit course. Those in grouped study or who are receiving financial aid have shortened course contracts.
It’s important to understand the finer details of finishing a course in less than three months.
Are exams online?
Yes! Nearly all exams are offered online. If an exam is available to write online, this is a great option for students. It allows you to write your exam from the comfort of your own home and is available 24/7.
When will my final grades be available?
If your AU course includes an exam, it will take about two to three weeks to complete the marking and to process final grades after the final exam is written.
You can use the “Check Your Grades” option in myAU to monitor your progress. Once your final grade is available in myAU, it will be added to your transcript overnight. You may then proceed to request an official transcript.
Transferring a course to your institution?
AU offers a wide range of courses that are easily transferable to other post-secondary institutions. We've compiled everything you need to help you find an AU course that seamlessly aligns with your program.