About UBC Extended Learning

Discover what’s possible

The University of British Columbia (UBC) is a global centre for teaching, learning and research, consistently ranked among the top universities in the world.* For more than 100 years, UBC has played a vital role in the economic, social and cultural life of British Columbia.

As an academic unit of UBC, Extended Learning (ExL) has been transforming the lives of lifelong learners since 1936. While we’ve gone through a few evolutions since then, our mandate has remained unchanged: to bring flexible learning opportunities and UBC excellence in teaching, academics and research to our communities.

Today, we’re here to help you achieve your goals, thrive professionally and personally, and discover what’s possible. 

Lifelong learning your way

Whether you’re in high school, early in your career, in-between life stages, well into your retirement years, or preparing to pursue the next step of your educational journey, you'll discover courses and programs designed for the way we work and live today.

We launched our first web-based course in 1995 – and haven’t looked back. Most of our courses are now available online or a blend of online and in-person. Whether you live in BC or Nova Scotia, Washington or New York, Hong Kong, Brazil or anywhere in-between, you can learn while still studying, working, raising a family and living your life to the fullest.

At ExL, you can take courses to learn transferable skills, and build on your strengths. You can gain technical skills to thrive in the digital economy, or explore something new, purely for the joy of discovery and learning. If you're a high school student looking forward to university, you can get a head start on your future. Whatever path you choose, you’ll connect with a community of likeminded learners in a supportive academic environment.     

Times change—so have we

Over the past century, continuing education in Canada and at UBC has come in many guises: extension lectures, open learning, adult education, non-credit courses, part-time studies, continuing studies, and even living room learning.

UBC Extended Learning’s evolutions reflect the changing needs of lifelong learners, as well as the external forces shaping higher education:

  • Department of University Extension est. 1936
  • Centre for Continuing Education est. 1970
  • UBC Continuing Studies est. 1991
  • UBC Extended Learning est. 2017

Our evolution from UBC Continuing Studies to UBC Extended Learning in 2017 recognized that career and personal education – one of six pillars of UBC’s flexible learning strategy – is an important opportunity for the university to strengthen its contributions to learners, society and industry.

Today, we focus on partnering with UBC Faculties to create and deliver programs, and bring UBC’s rich educational resources to the communities we serve.

More than one million people have participated in UBC continuing education programs over the last seven decades.

UBC Extended Learning Centre for Equitable Systems Design

Our years of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) educational programming has led to the development of the UBC Extended Learning Centre for Equitable Systems Design (CESD)(formerly the Centre for Intercultural Communication).

Through practical and relevant experiential learning educational programs for individuals and organizations committed to anti-racism and EDI, participants learn to generate sustainable culture change by deeply engaging with the makings of inequitable and unjust systems through design, and (re)centering groups that have been historically marginalized.

Here, changemakers expand their knowledge base by combining existing skills and expertise with innovation that centers EDI. Learn to embrace the power of empathy, humility, and vulnerability to build trust and drive lasting organizational culture change.

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