Athabasca University's MA-IS degree attracts recent and longtime graduates from a wide range of disciplines, careers, and professions. Some possess baccalaureate degrees in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, others in the natural sciences and professions. What all MA-IS students share is a desire to engage in multidisciplinary studies that reflect their interests and lived experience in the community and workplace. Current and past MA-IS students include: administrators (private, public and NGO ); educators (adult educators, teachers, and trainers); directors, managers and supervisors; homemakers; nurses; social workers; members of the correction, military, and police services; and religious leaders from various faiths.
As an alternative to the traditional thesis format, the thesis research may be presented as a collection of scholarly papers of which the student is the author or co-author; that is, it can include the text of one or more manuscripts, submitted or to be submitted for publication, and/or published articles reformatted according to the requirements described below. Manuscripts for publication are frequently very concise documents. The thesis is expected to be a more detailed, scholarly work than manuscripts for publication in journals. A manuscript-based thesis will be judged by the examiners as a unified, logically-coherent document in the same way a traditional thesis is judged.