Demand for University Continuing Education in Canada: Who Participates and Why?

  • Maria Adamuti-Trache
  • Hans G. Schuetze


The demand for and participation in continuing education by Canadian university graduates who completed bachelor and/or first professional degrees in 1995 are analyzed in this article. Within five years of completing their first degree, in addition to participating in graduate programs, a large number of those graduates participated in non-degree programs and courses for career and job purposes and for personal reasons. Through a descriptive analysis of National Graduate Survey (NGS) data for the 1995 cohort, the authors examined the socio-demographic profile of participants, their motives for participating in continuing education, and their choice of specific programs. According to the study findings, the respondents' labour-market situation, both in objective and subjective terms, was an important reason for participating in continuing education; indeed, more than three-quarters of participants had a job/education-related reason for participating in continuing education. In particular, the study provides information and insight into the demand (expressed and latent) of a targeted university continuing education audience. The National Graduate Survey together with Adult Education and Training Survey (AETS) and institutional data, allow a more realistic assessment of participants' needs and program preferences.

Author Biographies

Maria Adamuti-Trache
Maria Adamuti-Trache has a doctoral degree in physics from the University of Bucharest (Romania), where she taught theoretical physics for 15 years. She received an MA in Higher Education from the University of British Columbia and is currently completing a PhD in Educational Studies at UBC, where she is a research manager and statistical consultant in the Faculty of Education. Her expertise is in life-course research, which explores the impact of gender, age, social class, ethnicity, and immigrant status on education and work transitions.
Hans G. Schuetze
Hans G. Schuetze studied social sciences, economics, and law at the universities of Gottingen and Bonn (Germany), Grenoble (France), and California at Berkeley (United States). From 1991 to 2005, he was a professor of Higher Education in the University of British Columbia's Department of Educational Studies and a senior fellow and former director of the Centre for Policy Studies in Higher Education and Training. Professor emeritus since 2006, he continues to be involved in discussions about higher education and lifelong learning. He has also joined a law practice, where he specializes in legal issues in education and in international human rights issues.