athabasca university free online courses

Last Updated on December 24, 2022


The university serves more than 40,000 students from every Canadian province and territory, and 87 countries worldwide. Programs are offered online and through distance education, which allows students the flexibility to work from anywhere and at their own pace. In fact, 83% of Athabasca University students work while they study. Students can register for a single course or enrol in an undergraduate or graduate degree, diploma or certificate program.

From its beginning, Athabasca University has consistently pioneered new approaches to higher education learning – through its:

  • Open philosophy
  • Outreach
  • Revolutionary methods of course and program design and delivery
  • Acceptance and adoption of technology-based alternatives to traditional instructional channels and contexts

The university maintains more than 350 collaborative agreements with other Canadian and international high education institutions, with professional associations and employer groups, and with First Nations institutions and communities.


Type of universityPublic university specializing in online distance education
Total faculty and staff members1000+
Courses offered850+
Total students40000+
Marks requiredIELTS- 6 CAEL- 60% MELAB- 80 PTE- 59 TOEFL PBT- 213
TWE- 4.5 TOEFL iBT- 80 with an essay score of 20

Athabasca University Campus and Accommodation

  • Athabasca University laid its foundation in 1970. Initially, AU’s main campus was located in Edmonton which was later moved to Athabasca in 1984.
  • The campus is majorly online and has both rural and urban set up on campus.
  • AU’s Athabasca University is the main campus operating along with others in Edmonton, Calgary, and Center for Innovative Management and AU Learning Link.
  • Being an online university, the campus for distance learners is wherever they are learning from around the world.
  • The institute is a non-residential campus which means there is no on-campus housing opportunity for students.

Athabasca University Courses

  • There are limited classroom programs for international students at AU.
  • AU is an online university offering a plethora of courses for international students including undergraduate courses and short-term visa graduate courses related to arts, science and professional studies.
  • Some of the undergraduate programs offered include Bachelor of Arts, Commerce, General Studies, Health Administration, Professional Arts, Management, Science, etc.
  • Some of the graduate programs offered include courses in fields like Arts, Business Administration, Education, Health Studies, Nursing, Information Systems, etc.
  • They also have more than 850 courses available that can work as a pathway to a bachelor’s or master’s degree. These include Accounting, Finance, Nursing, Science, Business, etc.
  • Graduate programs such as Master of Counseling and Master of Nursing are offered with study permits issued only for the duration the student is required to be in Canada.
  • International students have the opportunity to study at other institutions in Canada while taking online courses from AU and transfer the credits.

Top Programs at Athabasca University

ProgramsTuition FeesDeadlines
Master of Business Administration52,282 CADFall: March 15 Winter: June 15 Spring: October 15
Mater of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies20,449 CADFall: March 1st Winter: September 1st
Master of Education in Open Digital and Distance Education20,449 CADFall: March 1st Winter: September 1st
Master of Counselling27,996 CAD Fall: February 1
Master of Nursing19,448 CADSpring: November 1 Fall: March 1 Winter: July

Athabasca University for Application Process

How to Apply?

Application Portal:

  • Online application portal – ApplyAlberta
  • UG applicants: Undergraduate General Application
  • PG applicants: Graduate Application Form

Application Fee: 89 USD (118 CAD)

Application Deadlines

UG applicants do not have to meet any application deadlines. Classes for courses begin at the starting of each month. While deadlines for postgraduate programs can be found in the table below:

ProgramApplication Deadline
Master of CounselingFebruary (each year)
Master of Nursing (General)March, July and November
Master of Nursing (Nurse Practitioner)April, August and December

Basic Admission Requirements

  • Standardized test scores of SAT/ ACT are not particularly required for applying to AU.
  • English proficiency test scores – International students must take English proficiency tests and send scores to the university. The minimum requirements of these test scores are:
ExamMinimum Requirements for UndergraduatesMinimum Requirements for Graduates

Supporting Documents to be submitted with the admission application for evaluation include those which can be used for getting credits such as:

UG applicants: Official transcripts, post-secondary education records, previous diplomas, undergraduate degree credits, and foreign credentials from other institutions in the U.S. or Canada, work and life experiences.

PG applicants: Official transcripts from post-secondary institutions, resume, biography, questionnaires, and letters of reference.

Athabasca University Cost of Attendance

For all the prospective candidates of the institute seeking enrolment in the upcoming seasonal year, an estimated cost of living in Canada is as been tabulated below

ExpenseEstimated Cost for students living in CanadaEstimated Cost for students living outside Canada
Tuition fee1020-3060 USD (0-9 credits)510-1530 USD (0-9 credits)
Course Administration and Technology Fee139 USD139 USD
Course Materials Fee51 USD51 USD
Out of country fee1127 USD

Scholarships/Financial Aid

The institute provides various awards and scholarships in Canada for international students. Candidates willing to avail financial aid must firstly apply for student financial assistance following which they must submit the course registration plan. The institute offers 55 scholarships to its students based on the level of study, residency, and various other factors.

The following table gives details of various scholarships, eligibility criteria and the amount awarded to international students:

Scholarship NameEligibility CriteriaAmount Awarded
Athabasca University Institutional Leadership ScholarshipEnrolled in undergraduate or graduate program at AU; Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.60 or higher1000 USD
AU Academic Leadership ScholarshipEnrolled to an undergraduate degree program at AU; Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.60 or higher1500 USD
AU PLAR ScholarshipEnrolled in an undergraduate degree program at AU; Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher; S
submit an essay within 1000 words explaining the role of PLAR in their success and future goals.
1000 USD
Dominique Abrioux Graduate ScholarshipEnrolled to master’s degree program at AU; Completed at least 12 credits since July 1 of the previous year;
Minimum GPA of 3.6 or higher; Not be enrolled for a doctoral program
2000 USD
AU Graduate Student ScholarshipEnrolled to a graduate program at AU; Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.60 or higher.1500 USD
Walker Family – Master of Counseling ScholarshipEnrolled as a full-time AU Master of Counseling student; Must be in the third year of the program;
Minimum GPA of 3.8 or higher must be achieved in the program; Must be in a practicum placement.
1000 USD

Athabasca University Placements

The Master of Counselling program graduates have an employment rate of 93% with an average salary of 65000 USD. The graduates of the Master of Nursing program have maintained a 100% employment rate with students earning an average salary of 70000 USD.

The University provides career opportunities and career tools through Career Cruising.

  • AU’s MBA and Nursing program have an employment rate of 100%. 
  • Master of Counselling has an employment rate of 93%.

Average salary of AU graduates as per program:

Program/Degree Average Salary (CAD) 
Master of Counselling 65,000 
Master of Nursing 70,000 
Bachelor of Commerce 70,000 
Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting 45,000 
Bachelor of Commerce in Human Resource Management 91,000 
Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing 91,000 
Bachelor of Science 72,000 
Bachelor of Arts45,000 

Alumni Network

Alumni members are entitled to several benefits including TD Home and Auto Insurance, Manulife Life and Health, rewards with Athabasca University Master card, access to online library, career counseling services, attending AU events, staying connected with other members, reading award-winning magazines etc. Some outstanding alumni members who have been recognized by AU include: Esmail Bharwani, Shastri Ramnath, Dr. Djenana Jalovcic, Barb Tiedemann and many others.

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