How long does an AU course take?

The answer is obvious, isn't it? Well no, it isn't. This seemingly straightforward question-which likewise applies to the seemingly obvious question, "How long will it take me to complete a four-year degree?"-is complicated by Athabasca University's complex student body. Though AU does have some students a year or two out of high school, they are not the majority that they are in traditional universities. Many are visiting at AU, supplementing on-site degrees with AU courses; our flexibility helps students enrol in the courses they want, despite course time conflicts at their home universities.

As a more typical Athabasca University student, you likely have different responsibilities and perspectives than do most students at traditional universities. Quite possibly you are employed fulltime, have children, or both. You might already have some postsecondary experience, such as a diploma or a degree. If so, you likely are accustomed to a four-month semester and eight-month academic year.

AU's courses that are designated individualized allow you six-months to complete them and most students complete within that time. Some students finish them considerably more quickly, while others buy two-month extensions. One exception to this is that students with an external funder such as those funded by Students' Finance must complete the courses within a traditional four-month semester; this is the funder's regulation, not AU's.

As to the weekly time you will spend studying a course, for an average mark we generally suggest 15 hours study weekly per course, assuming it's not an unusually difficult one. To complete the course in less time, or if it's a particularly difficult course, or if you wish to excel, you will likely require more time. You can make this time more productive, thereby ultimately requiring less of it and learning more, by enhancing your study practices. These practices include such things as how you manage your time, how you read textbooks, and how you balance your work, family and academic commitments.

AU's counsellors continue to bring you articles to help deal with these concerns. If you wonder where you'll find the time to study, this article is for you:

A Time for Everything and Everything In Its Time

If you have difficulty sitting down and studying or getting that assignment done, this will help:

Procrastination Bug Bites AU Students!

For those students with children at home, here are ideas to help you enjoy both your children and your studies:

Studying in the "CHILD ZONE"

If you read textbooks the same way you read novels, this will be a useful tool:

Get the Most From Your Textbook

So, how long does it take to complete a six-month AU course? A course could be done quickly, or as long as a year (with three extensions), and for most AU students it is between four and six months. The length of time is largely up to you and how much time you have available to devote to your studies.