Best Degrees for Older Adults in Canada

Figures show that the number of older adults who enroll in colleges and universities increases and will be grown by 20% by 2025. Seniors tend to back to the university due to several reasons. Some people want to complete an unfinished college degree they paused to get married or have a newborn baby. Some others try to skill up for a promotion or are laid off and tend to switch to a more stable carrier. Some older adults tend to meet the new demands of their rapidly changing industry or differentiate themselves in their jobs and rivals. However, no matter your reason, it will be great to experience the academic environment again!

The Advantages of Going Back to the University as a Senior

You are looking for the interests you’ve couldn’t do before and provide several benefits that will come in handy in your life. Following, we mentioned some of these benefits:

  • Boost memory function and critical thinking. According to scientific research, seniors who regularly read and put themselves in problem-solving situations have a lower risk of dementia and higher cognition. In the university, all students find themselves in lots of problem-solving situations that highly challenge them. The educational environment also requires reading and analyzing; both can increase seniors’ cognition and memory function. Also, learning is among the list of hobbies for seniors, and they can choose to study to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and other mental diseases.
  • Follow your wishes and interests. As mentioned above, back to the university gives seniors a unique opportunity to follow their lifelong wishes. Even better, you can discover your previously unknown interests!
  • Social interaction. No doubt that there is a direct relationship between lack of social interaction and depression. By Going back to the university, seniors can expand their social relations and experience more interactive and fun times.
  • Exchange knowledge and information. Tacking classes with people with different backgrounds will help you learn more about everything and every idea.
Best degrees for older adults in Canada

Best Degrees for Older Adults

Today, many online classes and degree programs fit seniors’ scheduling and are designed for senior learners. Based on different programs offered by universities, we categorized the best degrees for seniors as associate, bachelor, master and PhD programs.

Associate Programs

It is a two-year degree and typically contains around 60 credit hours. The Associate degrees for seniors that pave their way into the best jobs are:

  • Accounting
  • Art
  • Child development
  • Museum technicians
  • Proofreader
  • Psychology
  • Real estate sales
  • Tax preparers

There are some colleges and universities that offer scholarships for older students over 55.

Bachelor Degrees for Older Adults

The most popular bachelor degrees for seniors who want to change careers are:

  • Accounting
  • Business
  • Engineering
  • Medical billing
  • Psychology
  • Hairstylists
  • Photographers
  • Tailors
  • Veterinary technicians or trainers
  • Writer or author

The last five degrees are suitable for those who have dreamed of being entrepreneurs and have a self-employed career. You can read more about senior accomplishments in our previous posts.

Master Degrees

a master’s degree seemed perfect for seniors who have had a bachelor’s degree and looked for a secondary or more advanced career. There are different master programs you can apply for based on the graduate degrees you’ve earned. Some of these master degrees are listed below:

  • Master of accounting
  • Master of business administration
  • Master of public health
  • Master of Science in nursing/nurse practitioner
Best degrees for older adults in Canada

PhD Programs

By having a master’s or even bachelor’s degree, you can pursue PhD programs in your field of study.  Some of the exciting PhD degrees among older adults are:

  • Biology
  • Botany
  • Conservation
  • History
  • Law
  • Literature and writing
  • Philosophy

Free College and University Programs for Seniors

Fortunately, there are some universities in Canada that provide tuition-free programs for seniors. However, the decision about tuition waiver cost depends on each university. The best way to have detailed information about tuition for seniors and other rules and policies for each college and university is by checking each university’s website. Nevertheless, in the below table, we gather some Canadian universities that offer tuition-free courses and programs for seniors.

Canadian Universities That Offer Tuition-Free Courses and Programs for Seniors

University Age of eligibility
University of British Colombia 65 and older
University of Calgary 65 and older
University of Saskatchewan 65 and older
University of Manitoba 65 and older
Guelph University 65 and older
McMaster University 65 and older
York University 60 and older
Concordia University 55 and older
Dalhousie University 65 and older

Note that this is not an ultimate list and will be changed in the future.

However, we are witnessing that some online courses and degrees in different universities are now available for both seniors and youngsters with the advent of technology. These online courses especially become more prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Best degrees for older adults in Canada


Seniors have more free time to schedule based on their desire, and many choose to go back to the university. Attending the university has several benefits for seniors. Besides, several universities in Canada offer the best degrees for seniors as tuition-free programs. This article summarized some of the best degrees for older adults in Canada and the institutions that offer tuition-free courses.

Source collegeconsensus franklin tewealth
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4 months ago

I have a bachelor’s degree in history, and I graduated in 1986. Back then, I was tired of school, and I worked 10 hours a day. Sometimes I think of going back to school, but I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to compete with the youngsters. Besides, all classes these days, even if they’re not online, need some computer skills. So do I need to take a computer course first? 

Reply to  Diane
4 months ago

If you knew how these youngsters are struggling in classes, you wouldn’t be so worried. Plus, most of the time, you only need to use basic computer knowledge to do the assignments if the classes are not online. And learning about online communication is pretty easy too. So I think you should not be worried about this. I think once you start immersing yourself in an academic environment again, the needed skills will come to you naturally.

Reply to  Diane
4 months ago

I think nowadays we need to have minimum knowledge about computer and IT. No matter what your degree is, you need to know how to use a computer and the internet to take the most advantage of surfing the net, gathering relevant information, and connecting to other experts. If you are not familiar with these, it should be better to take relevant courses.

Reply to  Diane
21 days ago

I don’t believe they’d expect you to be an IT tech! Besides, you already have some technological skills; you find and read web pages and leave comments (it took my son a while to teach me to do this on my phone). And IF you need to, there are tons of computer courses you can attend. I think you should do that. If we don’t have our dreams and passions, what do we have?

Reply to  Diane
15 days ago

It depends on your skills. How well are you familiar with online platforms? How easy is it to you to use these platforms? But, first of all, you need to contact the university you’re planning to attend. Make a list of things you need to do and go for it!

4 months ago

I really enjoy this article. I got my second bachelor’s degree in management 2 years ago, while I been 60 years old! I think we shouldn’t stop learning because of the ageing process! Because our brain never stops thinking. So my same-age friends, please don’t stop learning!!

Reply to  Alberto
1 month ago

Well done! And thanks for the motivation. I’ve been considering going back to college for a master’s degree in literature, but I don’t know how practical that would be.

Reply to  Jerry
1 month ago

Oh come on, please don’t think like that. Just do what you want. Life is not long enough for us to care this much about things being “practical.” Last year I decided to start studying psychology at the age of 65, and I’m happy I did so. I say go for it and only care about what you like to do.

Reply to  Jerry
1 day ago

Don’t be hesitated! Just do that! we have one life to live 🙂