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Athabasca University


Program Application Deadlines: March 1st & September 1st

Persons wishing to enroll in the Master of Arts—Interdisciplinary Studies must hold a baccalaureate degree (three or four year) from a recognized post-secondary education institution.

The MA-IS Program invites applications from candidates who possess a baccalaureate degree and strong analytical, writing, and critical-thinking skills. Admission is open, in keeping with Athabasca University's mandate to remove "barriers that restrict access to, and success in, university-level studies," but additional preparatory work in composition and analysis may be required of some candidates prior to admission.

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Transferring Outside Credits

It is possible for students to transfer up to 15 credits of graduate study from other universities into the MA-IS program. Typically students are asked to demonstrate how previous work fits into their MA-IS study plans.

Students receiving the maximum number of transfer credits (15) are restricted to the Independent Track route as they will not qualify for a focus area. Students wishing to pursue a focus area will be limited to 12 transfer credits in total. For more detailed information on transferring outside credits, refer to Transfer Credit under Policies.

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Program Application Deadlines

There are two MA-IS program intakes per year. The MA-IS office must receive all program application materials by March 1 for consideration into the program starting in September of the same year, and by September 1 for consideration into the program starting in January of the following year.

Please complete all five components of the Application process prior to the application deadline. We cannot proceed with your file until the application is complete.

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Application Procedures

  1. Submit the Program Application Form and Required Fees
    • online form for new students to Athabasca University: If you have never been a student with Athabasca University, please complete the following Program Application Form.
    • online form for students with an Athabasca University Student ID Number: If you already have an Athabasca University Student Identification Number, please login to MyAU and then complete the Graduate Application form for the Master of Arts Interdisciplinary Studies Program. If you cannot remember your student ID number, please contact the MA-IS Office for assistance.
      • Your User ID is your AU 7-digit Student ID number.
      • Your password is your birth date (YYYYMMDD). If you have previously logged in to the portal, to the online Registry services, or to get a T2202 you were required to change your password. In this case, use the new password you have chosen. Should you have problems logging in to MyAU, please contact the MA-IS office at
  2. Online Application Process
    • Proceed to the MA-IS Graduate Student Admission System
      1. Select the "Master of Arts Interdisciplinary Studies (MA-IS)" option to start your MA-IS application.
      2. Complete all components of the online MA-IS Program application. Each component must be finalized.
      3. Click on the "Proceed to Final Review" button in the checklist after all components have been completed and submitted. At that point you will no longer have access to view or modify your application.
      4. To check your application status, log into your myAU Portal and click on the link titled "Master of Arts Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Student Application System". The status of your application will appear as "Under Review" if all steps have been completed and the application has been submitted for final review.
      5. If the status of your application appears as "Review Complete", your application has been processed. Click on the link beside your status to review the results of your application.
      6. Track receipt of hardcopy documents and the status your application online through the online Application Checklist. It is your responsibility to ensure that all components of your application package have been received by the application deadline.
  3. Request Transcripts
    Request the institution(s) that you attended send a copy of your official transcript(s), including the date of graduation, the degrees granted, and any courses you have completed to the MA-IS Program Administrator. Transcripts must be received directly from the accredited institution(s).

    Please have them sent to:

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

    Applicants submitting any official documents (e.g., transcripts) in a language other than English must provide an official translation of such documents. If the credential being submitted has been earned outside Canada or the United States, documentation measuring its equivalence based on Canadian qualifications can be acquired at the following address:

    International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS)
    9th Floor, 108 Street Building
    9942-108 Street
    Edmonton, AB T5K 2J5

    Phone: 780-427-2655

  4. Academic Writing Proficiency Requirement - Mandatory for all students
    As English is the primary language of instruction at Athabasca University, it is the applicant's responsibility to ensure he or she has an adequate level of proficiency in academic writing. Moreover, since the MA-IS is a graduate level program, it is to be expected that the materials will be challenging. Although faculty will try to facilitate the learning process as much as possible, they may have to redirect students to remedial resources.

    As part of the Application process into the MA-IS Program, all applicants must complete an Academic Writing Assessment (AWA) and comply with the results. The purpose of this AWA is to help determine whether students coming into the program will require assistance with improving their academic writing skills, in preparation for graduate level studies. It is a diagnostic tool, which we hope will benefit our students and help them to achieve their potential in the courses that they take throughout the MA-IS and beyond.

    Applicants are strongly encouraged to complete the AWA early in the application process. For information on how to submit the AWA, please proceed to the Academic Writing Assessment website.

  5. International Students: English Proficiency Requirement
    In addition to completing the AWA, international students must provide documentation supporting the successful completion of at least one of the following English as a Second Language (ESL) assessments before his or her application will be considered:
    • a grade of 75% or higher in Athabasca University's ENGL 255,
    • successful completion of a degree program at an accredited post-secondary institution where English is the primary language of instruction,
    • Test of English as a Foreign Language, TOEFL, score of 560 (or 220 on the computerized version),
    • Canadian Academic English Language Assessment, CAEL, score of 65,
    • Michigan English Language Assessment Battery, MELAB, score of 85, or
    • International English Language Testing System, IELTS, scores of 6.5 with no part less than 6.0.
    Equivalencies may be considered upon request.

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Acceptance into the Program

Applicants will be notified via the MA-IS Graduate Student Admission System

All successful applicants will be required to complete the online admission process and pay the admission fee.

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Updated July 03 2018 by Student & Academic Services

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