Athabasca University’s (AU) standard computing platform is a computer running Microsoft Windows with MS Office. Students can complete most courses using a Mac, but help desk support is limited.

Minimum Requirements
The minimum requirements for students using a Mac or PC are access to a web browser, email, and the software capability to submit assignments as Word documents.

Minimum requirements are subject to change without notice based on rapidly changing industry standards and continuous development of new learning tools. You may be required to upgrade your system in order to maintain access to some course material—this is especially true if you elect to defer studies at any point in your program.

Some online courses may have more specific requirements that will be noted in their online syllabus (program students, see sidebar). AU online courses that use eTexbooks may also have specific technical requirements; see the eText Initiative website for updated information.


Note:  While the following system is sufficient for most AU courses, some courses may have specific requirements not listed.  Always check the online syllabus for any course you register in to see if there are any additional technical requirements.
  • a newer Windows computer, preferably not more than about 4 years old, including a monitor, mouse and keyboard
  • Windows 7 or newer (Windows RT is not recommended)
  • Microsoft Office 2010 or newer
  • backup device or service
  • security software (anti-virus/firewall)
  • an Internet connection, preferably high speed ADSL, cable, or similar
  • current web browser(s), typically Firefox and/or Internet Explorer

The following may also be required or beneficial for some AU courses:

  • optical drive (CD/DVD)
  • colour printer
  • scanner
  • speakers/headphones
  • web camera and microphone
  • administrator rights (ability to install new software as required)


Both the Bachelor of Management and Bachelor of Commerce programs require students to complete CMIS 245: Computers and Management Information Systems.

To complete CMIS 245, you must have a PC version of Microsoft Office 365 or Office 2013 that includes the four main applications: Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint (note that not all versions include Access). Due to the discrepancy between the Mac and PC versions of Office and the number of issues this creates for students and tutors, students CANNOT complete CMIS 245 using a Mac computer.