Discussion, collaboration, and peer learning are at the heart of the AU Online MBA for executives. To effectively contribute, students must have a solid base of education and management experience. 

The Admissions Committee considers your entire application profile holistically, including academic records, managerial/professional experience, your essay, and letters of reference. You are assessed on your own merit and your application is considered separately from other applications.

Athabasca University follows the “Open University” philosophy. A key part of our mission and mandate is to reduce barriers to entering post-secondary education globally. At the master’s level, this includes admission pathways that go beyond recognition of undergraduate degrees: if you do not have an undergraduate degree but have significant management experience (see pathway #3 below), we encourage you to apply.

You can apply to the AU Online MBA for executives through one of three pathways:

1.You have an undergraduate degree from an accredited university plus at least three years of managerial experience (managerial experience must demonstrate progressive responsibility and should include managing people, projects, or budgets, or any combination of these)
2.You hold an accepted professional designation (see list) and at least five years of managerial experience,
3.You have at least eight years of progressively responsible managerial experience.*
*Students who wish to apply to the Online MBA for executives using route 3 must apply to the Graduate Diploma in Management (GDM) first. Upon successful completion of all Phase One courses and the comprehensive exam, they may apply to transfer into Phase Two of the MBA.

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MBA Application Deadlines: 

October 25, 2019 for January 2020 start

March 15, 2020 for May 2020 start

June 15, 2020 for August 2020 start

Once your COMPLETE application package – including reference letters and transcripts – has been received, your student services coordinator will send it for review by the Online MBA for executives Admissions Committee. Generally, you will receive a decision within two weeks.

Your application package must include the following:

  •  A list of current and past job positions (most recent first) that includes
    • company name and industry sector
    • position duration (month and year) and location
    • employment status (full-time or part-time)
    • for part-time employment (less than 35 hours per week), average hours worked per week
  • Description of duties and responsibilities that includes
    • managerial and supervisory experience, including project management
    • number of direct reports
    • budgetary responsibilities
  • Formal education and training that includes
    • name of post-secondary institution attended
    • degree or program sought or obtained
    • start and end dates (month and year)
    • academic achievements or awards received
    • other training / educational experiences that relate to career and education goals (i.e. courses, workshops attended, etc.)
  • Additional information that includes
    • informal activities or life experiences that relate to career and graduate education goals
    • a list of memberships in professional organizations
    • a list of volunteer and community roles and activities

The MBA Admissions Committee requires three reference letters, which may be two business references and one academic reference, or three business references.

References must be submitted by individuals who will be able to attest to the depth and breadth of your managerial experience and suitability for graduate level studies.

References submitted by relatives or friends will not be accepted.

Academic reference guidelines»

Business reference guidelines»


If you are applying under an accounting agreement, you must submit two business references plus one letter confirming membership in good standing from your provincial or territorial association/society.

To assess your managerial experience and your potential for graduate level studies, completion of a brief (1000 word) essay is required. Please respond to the following four questions in your essay:

  • Why do you want to apply to the MBA program?
  • How have your managerial responsibilities changed and progressed throughout your career?
  • In the positions you have held, what three experiences have had the most impact on the development of your managerial skills and abilities?
  • What do you expect the program to offer you in terms of personal development, career development and learning?

Official transcripts of your post-secondary educational achievements must be sent directly to the Faculty of Business, Graduate Studies from the respective institution(s) before the application deadline. These transcripts provide the basis for evaluating your educational history and for determining your capacity for graduate studies.

Your undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree must be a three (3) or four (4) year degree in any discipline from an accredited university.

Applicants applying with an accepted professional designation must submit either official transcripts or an official letter of program completion confirming that the professional designation has been earned and that the member is in good standing.

Please have each institution send transcripts to:

Athabasca University, Faculty of Business
201-13220 St Albert Trail
Edmonton, Alberta
T5L 4W1

NOTE: If your degree was obtained outside of Canada or the United States, your educational qualifications may require independent assessment*. International transcripts can be assessed by:

*If you have a degree accredited by the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) or Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the additional assessment is not required.

All applicants are required to complete and submit an online application form. Once you begin the process of applying, the form will save your progress and allow you to return on multiple occasions to complete any required fields and attach required documents.

You may choose to submit the form and all required supporting documents at once or submit one at a time as they are completed.

Applicants without an undergraduate degree must apply to and successfully complete phase one of the MBA (first six courses and comprehensive exam), earning the Graduate Diploma in Management, and then apply to transfer into the remainder of the MBA. When completing the online application form, select GDM as your program type.

Online Application Form

The application fee for Athabasca University Faculty of Business graduate programs is two hundred dollars in Canadian currency ($200 CAD), and is non-refundable.

You will be asked to provide payment by Visa, Mastercard, Debit Visa or Debit Mastercard when you submit your online application.



Applicants applying with an accounting designation or with the SCMP designation are also required to pay a $276 transfer credit evaluation fee.

Applicants applying to the Hockey Online MBA for executives are required to pay an $800 fee for assessment by the Business of Hockey Institute.