Course management accommodations

Course management accommodations may be necessary due to the impact of a disability. Someone may have difficulties completing courses within the course contract period as a result of a disability. In certain situations, we may be able to offer accommodations such as a reduced course load while maintaining full-time status, an extension, or medical withdrawal. We may ask for additional professional medical verification of the current impact experienced related to the time.

Students receiving student aid funding do not have as much course flexibility due to regulations of their provincial student aid board. We can provide advice on this matter along with your AU Student Financial Aid advisor.

Course load

Course load refers to the number of course credits a student is enrolled in during a specific time. Traditional institutions and Athabasca University call this period a term, semester, or course contract period.

Whether or not you commit to a full or part-time course load depends on your academic goals. Counselling Services offers preparatory and academic readiness resources to help you establish reasonable goals.

If you receive funding through student loans or other types of sponsorship, remember to adhere to course load requirements of that funding agency or sponsor. Definitions of course load coincide with the definitions by CRA and the various student aid boards across the country.

For more information on requirements for full and part-time students, visit Student Financial Aid

Extended time

One of the many attractive features of Athabasca University is the opportunity for students to choose the pace of their courses and program. Students can choose flexible course contract times and enrol in courses during any month of the year.

At AU, we realize there may be a need for extended course time and any student can purchase up to three 2-month extensions as outlined in the Athabasca University Course Extension Policy.

The extension fee may be waived if students meet specific criteria. An accommodation of extension with a waived fee is intended for students to finish any remaining course work. Students may not apply the accommodation retroactively beyond the end date of a course contract. This accommodation must be identified as necessary because of the impact of a disability. Before approving the requested accommodation, Accessibility Services reserves the right to request:

  • Current medical documentation to support the course extension
  • a demonstration of course progress (e.g., assignment submissions, contact between student and course tutor, quizzes, or midterm completion)

All students are eligible for up to 3 extensions waived fee or not (ie. any waived fee extension is part of the 3 allowed at the university). Certain situations arise where university policy is amended and announcements of such are on the Hub.

We are unable to provide retroactive refunds for purchased extensions prior to the received accommodation. Each situation for extension is unique.


All students are permitted to withdraw from individualized study courses at any time within the course contract period. Withdrawal timeframes have an impact on your academic record. If you withdraw:

  • prior to and up to 30 days after the course contract start date, the course will not appear on your transcript. Students are eligible for a refund of course fees paid, less the Withdrawal Processing Fee and the Learning Resource Fee (unless the materials are returned as per the Course Material Returns and Refund Policy). Please refer to the Undergraduate Course Withdrawal Policy as well as Refunds: Individualized Study Course Tuition.
  • after 30 days and on or before the course contract end date, your transcript will indicate a “W” (Withdrawal) and credit will not be awarded for the course.
  • after the course contract end date, you cannot withdraw after the course contract end date. If no course work has been completed, a grade of “F” (Failure) will be assigned and recorded on the transcript.

Withdrawal procedures do not apply to courses being challenged for credit.

Withdrawal requests should be submitted online via the myAU portal.

However, we would advise students to consult with their student financial aid advisor to discuss whether eligibility for funding will be affected and Accessibility Services to cancel any support service arrangements.

Nursing students, please consult the Undergraduate Course Withdrawal and Refund Policy – Individualized Study for academic impact of a withdrawal from a nursing clinical and for the process that must be followed.

Updated July 21, 2023 by Digital & Web Operations (