Continuing education: Extending oneself..


The term ‘continuing education’ was  coined for professionals or students specifically in the United States and Canada, and encompasses within itself, a wide variety of post-secondary learning programmes and activities.

Also known as ‘further education’ in the United Kingdom, it envelops under its awning, for non-traditional students, all kinds of degree credit courses, formal courses for personal development or enrichment (online and on-campus), specialised courses for workforce training, summer programmes, non-degree programmes, experiential learning, and personalised trainings.

Some of the top-ranking universities in the US and the UK have distinct continuing education departments, which award extension degrees, diplomas and certificates in a vast range of subjects. Here is a brief look at them:

*University of Oxford (UK): The Department of Continuing Education here, offers research degrees in Architectural History, English Local History and Archeology. It also awards master’s degrees, post graduate diplomas and certificates in a wide array of subjects. Some of the subjects covered are Literature, Psychology, International Human Rights Law, and Mathematical Science.Specialised summer programmes are also included.

*University of Cambridge (UK):  The Institute of Continuing Education here, has on offer, summer schools, weekend and online courses, Master of Studies programmes in Advanced Subject Teaching, International Relations, Creative Writing, Historic Environment and several other subjects. The certificates and diplomas are offered, at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. They also offer a postgraduate certificate in Professional Practice in Architecture.

*Warwick University (UK):  The Centre for lifelong learning, LLC, grants certificates in Journalism, Child Psychology, Introduction to Film and Cinema Studies, Ecology and Conservation, Sociology, English Literature Studies, and History of Art, in addition to undergraduate degrees, and professional development certificates.

 There are courses available in counseling skills ( a diploma in coaching and also a course in languages.

*University of York (UK): The Division of Continuing Education here offers pre-university courses, certificate programmes in varied subjects like Wealth Management, Wedding and Event Planning, Marketing for Professionals, Academic Preparation and others. It also has within its curriculum, several professional development programmes and other study opportunities in diverse subjects, for professionals and mature students.

*University of Edinburgh (UK):  The Office of Lifelong Learning have on offer, an eclectic range of open studies (day and evening courses for adults), access courses (part-time), knowledge and skills training in specialised programmes like Education, Geosciences, Medicine, Statistics and Law, Philosophy, Psychology and Languages. They also run summer programmes in Literature and Creative Writing.

*University of Harvard (US): The Division of Continuing Education incorporates the Harvard Extension School and the Harvard Summer School. Course lists consist of degree and professional certificate courses, and evening and online courses in fall and spring, in miscellaneous subjects.  Master’s degrees in Biotechnology, Information Technology, Journalism, Liberal arts, Management, Mathematics for Teaching, Museum studies, Sustainability and Environmental Management are some of the main programmes enlisted here.

*Princeton University (US):  The Office of Continuing Education provides access to specialised programmes for children and teachers, and a variety of summer programmes. Programmes for children include myriad activities around-the-year, like story-time at libraries, tours of the Princeton University Art Museum, acting classes at theatres. Summer programmes include Community House Computer Camp, Princeton Summer Theater Camp, McCarter Theatre Summer Camp, and Princeton Sports Camps.

*Columbia University (US):  The School of Continuing Education grants post baccalaureate degrees for graduate school or professional advancement, holds summer programmes for enrichment, grants advanced Master’s degrees, and grants other certificate programmes and business certificate programmes. Certificate programmes include United Nations Studies Certificate programme, Classics Certificate programme, Psychology Certificate programme, Human Rights Certificate programme and several others. Master of Science Programs are available in Actuarial Science, Narrative Medicine, and varied subjects.

*Duke University (US):  The department of continuing education awards professional certificates offers youth programmes, and courses in Paralegal Studies.

Some of the certificates offered here, are for Event Development, Financial Planning, Global Human Resources, Internal Auditing, Management Accounting and Non-Profit Management. They also hold an online programme in Legal Nurse Consultancy and an online Paralegal Online Global Certificate Program. Youth programmes include Creative Writer’s workshop, young writer’s camp and other weekend workshops.

*Cornell University (US):  The School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions carry out sporty summer programmes for adults like the golf clinic, the sailing clinic, the tennis clinic, summer programmes like photographing the natural world, a course on wine, kayaking, and others; there are other special programmes for children. Professional study programmes, part-time programmes and online learning in a variety of subjects, are all part of this school for all.

Learning and acquiring knowledge is an ongoing process, and must never be shelved, irrespective of age. So, to extend oneself, researching institutes and universities worldwide for a concoction of excellent continuing study opportunities is an essential first-step towards empowerment.

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