In 1994, Athabasca University logged on with the world’s first fully interactive online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. Since then, we have continued to build a tradition of excellence in online management education.

Today, with more than 20 years experience, the AU online MBA is one of Canada’s largest MBA programs, and has earned a place among the top MBAs in the world. Our powerful collaborative online learning environment makes it feasible and practical to work on a top quality MBA while still meeting your commitments to work and family.

Designed to fit individual schedules, the online MBA program can be successfully completed from home, work, or even while travelling. You need not leave work for a month, a year, or even every second Friday. You control your study hours, working at the time and place that’s right for you while you complete your business masters program.

This program is offered under the written consent of the Minister of Advanced Education effective January 10, 2018, having undergone a quality assessment process and been found to meet the criteria established by the minister.  Nevertheless, prospective students are responsible for satisfying themselves that the program and the degree will be appropriate to their needs (for example, acceptable to potential employers, professional licensing bodies, or other educational institutions).


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MBA Application Deadlines: 

March 15, 2020 for May 2020 start

June 15, 2020 for August 2020 start

October 15, 2020 for January 2021 start


Our flagship program, for those who have a non-business undergraduate degree or, in some cases, no undergraduate degree, but hold a management or executive position.



Our online MBA modified for those who hold an undergraduate degree in business (BComm, BMgmt, etc.) and have at least three years of managerial experience.



Our online MBA modified to acknowledge areas of expertise attained by professionally designated accountants who are working in a management role.



Our MBA with specialized courses on issues, challenges, and opportunities confronting middle and senior level managers in the hockey industry.


Key Features:

The online MBA program is not an isolated study experience; you work through your courses with a group you come to know well online, including your academic coach. Group work, discussions, and regular assignment deadlines keep you on track—much like attending regular graduate studies university classes, minus the commute.

An AU MBA online classroom connects experienced managers from across Canada and around the world, from every sector and virtually every industry—students who specialize in human resources, operations, marketing, information technology … in roles from middle manager to CEO to entrepreneur. Student groupings change from course to course, giving you maximum exposure to the rich resource that is your online MBA student peer group.

Our 24 hour online format means you can successfully complete your masters program from home, work, or while travelling. Should life get complicated for a little while and you find you need to defer a course, our ‘three times per year’ MBA course scheduling means we can accommodate you with minimal disruption to your overall completion time.

Professors, student services coordinators, help desk advisors, learning services staff, and student and alumni relations staff all support your learning. Whether you are struggling with an MBA course concept, need special paperwork for your employer, or can’t figure out how to connect to your course from your hotel room in Dubai, there is someone here to help you.

Online MBA courses help you constantly apply your learning directly to your organization and industry; you come away from each MBA course with tangible and usable knowledge and abilities.

In the roughly 20 years since our online MBA program has been available, we have graduated over 3,500 successful managers and executives. And every year roughly 70% of those who apply to the program do so because they have been referred by a current student or alumnus.

Internet technology was pretty new in 1994, and many in the academic world said an online MBA would never, ever succeed. Today, the AU online MBA is one of the largest MBA programs in Canada. Watch our 20th anniversary video to hear why.


Once you are accepted into the program, you join a virtual ‘classroom’ of talented managers from organizations of various shapes and sizes and industries, from across the country and beyond …

MBA Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Master of Business Administration or MBA?

MBA stands for Master of Business Administration. An MBA is an internationally recognized graduate level degree usually pursued by professionals with some work experience. Gaining an MBA education further develops and cultivates business acumen essential for advancement into the C-suite of business. An MBA concentrates on key management areas that affect organizational performance: leadership, strategy, analytics, human resources, finance, marketing, operations, and information technology.

What is the Value of an MBA?

Earning a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) can help business professionals to enhance their career opportunities, receive increased compensation, and job advancement opportunities. It also has great utility across industries: healthcare, government, not-for-profit, etc.

Why take MBA courses online?

Flexibility is one major advantage. Taking your MBA online offers a unique, customizable learning experience that is tailored to your lifestyle and time commitments. Athabasca University’s flexible, 24-hour, online format allows you to complete your coursework from home, work, or even while travelling. Because our students don’t reside in one physical location there is greater opportunity to connect with experienced managers and leaders from a vast array of differing industries all across Canada and around the world. Athabasca’s online MBA is built to enhance peer-learning and collaboration, there is ample opportunity for students to interact and participate in discussions and group work.

What is an Executive MBA or EMBA?

An Executive MBA (EMBA) is very similar in structure to an MBA – the big difference is that students bring more work experience to the classroom. Some EMBAs have become very short (14 to 18 months of part time study) and blur the lines between graduate level study and executive development. Athabasca’s MBA for Executives combines the full curriculum and learning of a full MBA with the richness of discussion that comes from having experienced managers and leaders as students. The degree Athabasca University awards is an MBA.

What is the difference between an EMBA and an MBA?

There are a couple of differences between an MBA and an EMBA; students entering the EMBA usually have been in the workforce longer and commonly have greater experience in executive or leadership roles, most EMBAs take significantly less time to complete and the academic content is condensed. MBAs often rely heavily on analytics and case studies and are often focused on helping students develop skills to enter their first professional or early management role. Conversations in the classroom differ too. In an MBA, where students have limited experience, it’s “imagining what you might do.” In an EMBA it’s more frequently, “how have you done this? Do your experiences match the theory?”

What are the MBA Requirements?

Athabasca’s MBA for executives has three routes of entry:

  • an undergraduate degree, plus three years of managerial experience (managerial experience must demonstrate progressive responsibility and should include managing people, projects, or budgets, or any combination of these), or
  • an accepted professional designation (i.e. CPA, CGA, PBA, etc.), plus five years of managerial experience, or
  • eight years of managerial experience.

There is also an accelerated path if you have:

  • an undergraduate degree in business that has been completed in the last 10 years,
  • a GPA of 3.0 or higher (for the last 60 credits taken), and
  • a minimum of three years of managerial experience.

What is a master's degree?

A master’s degree is the first level of graduate study. To apply for a master’s degree, one must typically have an undergraduate degree (a bachelor’s degree) or another qualifying credential. A master’s degree can be obtained in a variety of fields such as; a Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MSc), or Master of Business Administration (MBA).

What is a graduate degree?

Graduate degrees are the next level in higher education and succeed a master’s degree. One must customarily have either a bachelor’s degree or an advanced diploma to attend graduate school. A graduate degree can be either a master’s degree or a doctorate degree, the highest level of academic degree.

Can an MBA be done part-time?

Many MBA programs can be taken part-time. The AU MBA program is designed to fit around your professional and personal life, and requires 20-25 hours of study/casework/group discussion per week. Because of the intensity of each course, only one 8-week course is taken at a time with a break between each course. Canada Revenue recognizes AU MBA students as full-time students for every month they are enrolled in a course.

What types of courses do you take in an MBA?

The Athabasca University online MBA for Executives is broken up into two phases.

The first phase consists of six core courses that build on each other:

These six courses are then capped by a week-long comprehensive exam (completed online).


The second phase consists of four advanced core courses:

Also required are 18 elective credits that may be obtained in two ways:

  • Six, three-credit courses, or
  • Three, three-credit courses and a nine-credit applied project.

What MBA Programs can you take online?

Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business has a general MBA and an MBA in Hockey Management:

Online MBA for Executives

Online MBA in Hockey Management

Athabasca University also has partnerships with leading Canadian professional organizations. Individuals with a CPA or SCMP designation receive special standing in the AU MBA and are able to complete the program in a reduced timeframe and cost. Individuals looking to earn both the MBA and either the CHE designation from the Canadian College of Health Leaders or the SCMP designation from the Supply Chain Management Association, can earn a significant portion of those designations while completing the AU MBA.

Online MBA for Accountant

Online MBA for Health Leaders

Online MBA for Supply Chain Managers 

What is an MBA for Accountants?

At Athabasca University, we acknowledge your financial management background by providing transfer credit in course areas related to professional accounting. If you have the professional designation; Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Certified General Accountant (CGA), Chartered Accountant (CA), or Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), you may receive up to nine credits towards your MBA, allowing you to complete the program up to six months faster and with a significantly reduced tuition.