What are general interest courses and where can I find them?

General interest courses are courses you take out of interest rather than for academic reasons. You can find them in many places in your community.

General interest courses can be educational workshops or programs. Usually, they are not academic. That means they do not usually lead to a diploma or degree. However, they may still be a useful way to upgrade your skills and advance your career through professional development.

Colleges and Universities

Colleges and universities are obvious choices when looking for courses and training. There is a cost to take these courses. You may be able to audit courses if you are not working towards a degree. This means that you attend and participate in the course but you are not graded and do not receive any certificate.

Visit the websites of universities and colleges to see if there are any courses that interest you.

Private Career Colleges

Private career colleges train students for employment in a specific trade or occupation. There is a cost to take these courses. Sometimes this cost is quite high.

Community Organizations

Many community groups provide short-term training courses and workshops. This training often has an employment focus. You may get training for a specific occupation or learn work-related skills, such as computer training. Some of the training is also focused on specific groups, such as newcomers.

Contact your local Community Information Centre about these organizations and the services they offer.

School Boards

School boards have many different courses and programs for adults. Most of these courses and programs are low cost. Some are available through continuing education or training and development departments.

Contact your local school board to see what courses are available.


You can take workshops and training courses at libraries. Some libraries work with settlement agencies that may run programs for newcomers.

Contact your local library to see if there are any workshops that may be of interest to you.

Private Trainers

Some private individuals offer training courses that you may see advertised in community centres and other informal places. These people or organizations are not usually registered with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities. Before you take a course or workshop with a private trainer, be sure to ask questions so you know what you are getting for your money.

You can contact a community agency or a library in your area for more information and resources.

For More Information

  • Local School Boards - A list of local school boards across Ontario.
  • Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU) - This ministry governs postsecondary education in Ontario.
  • eCampus Ontario - This online portal is provided by the Ontario Online Learning Consortium (OOLC), a not-for-profit corporation whose membership is composed of all publicly-funded colleges and universities in Ontario. 
  • Independent Learning Centre (ILC) - The ILC provides distance education for credit and for general interest. The ILC administers the GED high school equivalency test for high school in Ontario. The website contains course guides, application information and testing schedules.
Last updated: January 19, 2021 4001132