Join a community of lifelong learners

Adult learning with Oxford

Whether you want to study for pleasure, advance in your career, or gain a qualification, Oxford University's Department for Continuing Education is here for you. 

More than 14,000 adult learners from across the globe are enrolled on part-time continuing education programmes with the Department annually, with students ranging in age from 18 into their 90s. 

View all Oxford Continuing Education courses or learn more about the different types of courses we offer below.

Open-access short courses

  • Day and weekend events run in person or online, with some offered in both formats. Explore a topic in depth over one or two days with multiple speakers or hone your skills in small workshops and hands-on practical sessions.
  • Lecture series are a series of 5 or 6 weekly lectures on a given topic, providing a comprehensive introduction to your chosen subject. All can be enjoyed online via a livestream, most can be attended in person in Oxford. 
  • Weekly learning programmes are studied over one or two terms. These include courses that meet in Oxford, online courses with live-time sessions, and flexible online courses. Most of these courses are taught at undergraduate level, require coursework and may be studied for credit.

Oxford qualifications and professional development

  • Undergraduate award courses (certificates, diplomas and advanced diplomas) are equivalent to, or taught at, first, second and third-year undergraduate level. Some have online study options and two are taught entirely online.
  • Postgraduate programmes (certificates, diplomas, master's degrees and DPhils) are a great way to to continue your studies and further your knowledge, progress in your career, or learn for personal enrichment. Some are taught mostly online, some are formed of short residencies in Oxford.
  • Professional development programmes (CPD) include short courses and Oxford qualifications and are geared for working professionals in many fields, including the health and medical sciences, technology, business, environment and sustainability. 

Summer schools

Join us for a study holiday in Oxford – for personal enrichment, academic progression or professional development. Many summer schools can be taken for credit; others require no coursework, and are non-assessed.

Student support

If you are new to higher education or have not studied for some time, you may feel worried about writing an assignment, taking an exam or juggling study, family and work commitments. Whatever your study needs, we hope that you will take advantage of the support and guidance provided by the department and University.

Advice for those who are returning to study can be found on our study skills webpage.

Information for prospective and current students on facilities, support, funding, assessments and student representation can all be found on our studying with us webpages.

Student spotlights

Discover how lifelong learning has enriched the careers and personal lives of current and former students. A selection of spotlights can be found below, with more available on our dedicated student spotlight webpage

Charles Bush

Charles Bush

Charles Bush published his debut young-adult novel thanks to the skills and experience gained from completing the Undergraduate Certificate of Higher Education.

Sally Taylor

Sally Taylor

A chance conversation with friends pushed Sally into taking the first step to become an archaeologist. Sally has since progressed from a master's to a part-time DPhil.

Ray Hare

Ray Hare

Following a rugby accident, Ray Hare was rendered a quadriplegic and unable to continue his career as a History teacher. Since then he has been taking online courses, allowing him to work on something himself without the help of anyone else.


Upcoming courses

In-person weekly • Short courses
  • Tue 27 Sep 2022 – Tue 29 Nov 2022
  • 10 meetings
  • 5:00 – 7:00pm
In-person weekly • Short courses
  • Tue 27 Sep 2022 – Tue 29 Nov 2022
  • 10 meetings
  • 7:30 – 9:30pm
In-person weekly • Short courses
  • Tue 27 Sep 2022 – Tue 29 Nov 2022
  • 10 meetings
  • 4:30 – 6:30pm
In-person weekly • Short courses
  • Tue 27 Sep 2022 – Tue 29 Nov 2022
  • 10 meetings
  • 7:00 – 9:00pm
In-person weekly • Short courses
  • Tue 27 Sep 2022 – Tue 28 Mar 2023
  • 20 meetings
  • 10:00am – 12:00pm