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Athabasca University

General Information

The HRM program is offered as an Undergraduate Certificate and a Graduate Diploma.

If you do not already hold an undergraduate degree and are not in a degree program, then your only choice is to enrol in the Undergraduate Certificate, as you must have a degree to join the graduate program.

If you are in an undergraduate program already, you should contact the HRM office to discuss your options. Depending upon how far along you are in the program, you may want to either complete the Undergraduate Certificate alongside your degree, or if you are nearing the end of your degree, your best option may be to complete the four foundational undergraduate courses required by the Graduate Diploma, thereby readying yourself for the graduate program.

If you already have a degree of any type, in ANY discipline, you should only be considering the Graduate Diploma in HRM. While you could technically enrol in the Undergraduate Certificate, we strongly advise against this route for a number of reasons.

The UC-HRM does offer more flexibility as the courses are all unpaced, and it also costs less than the graduate program, but there are a number of benefits to following the grad route for students that qualify for admission to the GD-HRM.

Firstly, the material and level of discourse in the courses is more advanced and therefore in keeping with the academic abilities of someone who already holds a degree. Also, peers in a graduate class would be at a level better matched to your scholastic skills, so you have a good networking opportunity, especially since the grad courses incorporate discussion forums that are not possible in the unpaced undergrad courses. Finally, more undergraduate-level training would have a minimal impact on your professional credentials, while more graduate work will significantly help your resume, future career prospects, and it would also strengthen your academic position should you wish to continue your studies either for a master's degree, or for studies at the doctorate level.

The readings and assignments are heavier at the grad level, and of course there is more structure to the schedule of the paced grad courses, but these are relative minor differences compared to the advantages of having our graduate diploma. Keep in mind, you'll still be doing a lot of work for the undergrad program, and although the courses will be good for you personally, it won'`t help to build your professional portfolio as much as it could, considering the level that you are already at. It would be unfortunate for a student qualified to study at the graduate level to follow the undergrad route now, and later realize that they have missed the opportunity of adding a significant graduate credential.

Undergraduate Certificate

The Undergraduate Certificate is designed for students who do not already hold a University Degree. Certificate students must complete all of the HRM Certificate courses including the Practicum. This totals 30 credits (8 courses worth 3 credits each plus a 6 credit Practicum). The Practicum requires 240-hours of work. All courses are offered in distance format with tutor support.

Graduate Diploma

A baccalaureate degree is required for admission to the Graduate Diploma in Heritage Resources Management (GD-HRM). Students must complete 18 credits (four courses worth 3 credits each plus a 6 credit Practicum). The Practicum requires 400 hours of work. All courses are offered in online distance format utilizing discussion boards and other interactive techniques. All courses have full-time Instructor support.

GD-HRM students must also demonstrate competence in the topics covered in HERM 322 (Collections), HERM 327 (Heritage Policy), HERM 339 (Conservation), and HERM 334 (Ethics and Heritage). See the list of Certificate courses for details. Competence in these subjects can be demonstrated in one of three ways:

  • taking the Undergraduate Certificate courses
  • having transcripts assessed by the HRM Program Director to receive Competency through prior undergrad courses


Students fall into one of three categories:

  • regular Program students who are enrolled in the Undergraduate Certificate or the Post-Baccalaureate Diploma programs
  • other Athabasca University undergraduate and graduate students who are taking HRM courses as electives for other programs or as visiting students.
  • Historical Resources Intern Program students who are enrolled in the Undergraduate Certificate or the GD-HRM

All students take the same courses together, creating a diverse student body.

Updated June 19 2019 by Student & Academic Services

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