Athabasca University was established by Order in Council of the Government of Alberta on June 25, 1970. Originally conceived as a traditional campus-based institution, AU changed course in 1972 through a pilot project to test the concept of an open, distance university. The first AU course, World Ecology, was offered in 1973, and AU's first Convocation, for two graduates, was held in 1977.


Athabasca University is committed to excellence. The University offers 90 graduate and undergraduate degrees, diplomas, and certificate programs, and more than 700 university courses in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, interdisciplinary studies, business and administrative studies, nursing, and commerce.


AU is committed to excellence in research and scholarship. Through the discovery, dissemination and transfer of new knowledge and the engagement of students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, the university integrates research with creative teaching, thereby informing the curriculum and providing opportunities for highly qualified graduates to promote innovation and to participate more fully in society.Mission critical research in the scholarship of teaching and learning in open and distance environments is the primary focus of AUs research activity; however, the university also actively supports and maintains high standards in discipline-based research.


AU Counselling Services offers Career Cruising for registered students. This resource provides assessment tools, goals & career exploration activities, as well as, a résumé builder.Explore career options using these resources, which contain information on duties, working conditions, skills, education, salary, employment prospects and opportunities.

  • Occupation information
  • Program career options
  • Education and training options

Short Courses

Business & Management (11)
Social Sciences (5)
Computer Science & IT (3)
Humanities (3)
Arts, Design & Architecture (2)
Education & Training (2)
Medicine & Health (1)


Student services

The Athabasca University Students’ Union (AUSU) is an independent, student-run society representing the undergraduate students of Athabasca University. Due to the widespread nature of our membership, AUSU operates as a virtual organization run by staff located in Edmonton, and directed by an elected board of up to nine active undergraduate students. AUSU members are Athabasca University undergraduate students.

With each registration in a course for credit you pay $3 per credit toward students’ union membership. Your membership begins on the start date of your course and continues until your course completion date (the contract date, or the date on which your final grades are posted, whichever is sooner).

Library services

The Athabasca University provides its students with a fully-equipped library. It is a unique studying environment where hard cover books and online materials blend together in order to create the appropriate learning sorrounding.

ICT services

To develop a reliable mechanism that will provide support to ITS clients in a organized, efficient manner. To use the staff and computing resources within ITS to the best advantage for clients and ITS staff.

Student Life

Campus life

Athabasca University (AU), Canada’s Open University, is a publicly funded university in the province of Alberta, Canada. AU is one of the world’s foremost and fastest growing online and distance education specialists, serving 40,000 students worldwide.As an open university, AU strives to eliminate barriers that prevent people from pursuing university studies. By providing access to flexible online and distance learning, AU helps people continue their studies regardless of where they live, their educational backgrounds, and their career or family obligations. AU is committed to innovation, flexibility in learning, and excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship.

Student clubs

The Athabasca University Students’ Union (AUSU) is an independent, student-run society representing the undergraduate students of Athabasca University. We serve nearly 40,000 members annually in home-study locations across Canada and internationally. In any given month, our membership is about 26,000 active students.


AU is a full member of the following associations:

  • Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC)
  • Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE)
  • Canadian Association for Graduate Studies (CAGS)
  • Canadian Virtual University (CVU)
  • Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)
  • Inter-American Distance Education Consortium (CREAD)
  • International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE)