Part-time, in class Liberal Arts Certificate for 55+ (Non-Credit)

Frequently asked questions about this program

About the certificate

Q: What’s a certificate student?

A: Certificate students are enrolled in our liberal arts certificate program. We award the certificate to adults 55+ who complete a minimum of 128 class hours and submit an essay (that earns a satisfactory grade) for each course.

Most of our courses are six weeks long and meet once a week for two hours. Each course involves 12 class hours, which you can apply to the 128 hours required for the certificate.

Q: When should I submit my essay for a course?

A: Typically, you will turn in your paper to your instructor at the final class session, along with a self-addressed, stamped return envelope. The instructor may, however, permit an extension of no more than two weeks, provided he or she informs you how to submit your paper for evaluation. It is your responsibility to make these arrangements with your instructor.

We will notify you if your paper receives an evaluation of "satisfactory" and the course has been credited to your unofficial certificate program transcript.

Q: What if my paper receives an unsatisfactory evaluation?

A: If your paper receives an unsatisfactory evaluation, you will receive an opportunity to rewrite it.

Q: What if I don't turn in a paper?

A: If you do not turn in a paper for a course for which you have paid a certificate fee, your unofficial transcript will be updated with the notation “Paper not submitted.” Note that we are unable to refund the certificate fee.

General questions

Q: Can I transfer my course(s) to another university?

A: No. All of Continuing Studies’ liberal arts courses are non-credit. You cannot transfer them to other institutions.

Q: How difficult are these courses?

A: All our courses are university-level, but course content is specifically designed to be accessible to students of all educational backgrounds and experiences.

Q: How do I get to Harbour Centre on public transit?

A: Visit our Vancouver campus page for details about public transit.

HandyDART services are also available if you have a physical disability or  are unable to use public transit without assistance. Call Access Transit at 778-452-2860 to apply for this service.

Q: Will I have access to the SFU library?

A: Yes. You will have SFU library borrowing privileges during the term(s) in which you are taking classes. Adults 60+ who are residents of British Columbia have a right to a library card whether or not they are currently enrolled in classes. Contact the library for details about external cards for older adults.

Q: Are bursaries, scholarships, or other funding available?

A: We offer some funding for adults 55+ who might require financial assistance to take our courses. Contact us at 778-782-5212 for details.

Frequently asked questions about SFU Continuing Studies

Q: Where do your courses take place?

A: Simon Fraser University has three campuses: in Burnaby, Vancouver and Surrey. While undergraduate and graduate courses take place at all three campuses, we offer SFU Continuing Studies courses primarily at the Vancouver and Surrey campuses.

Please check course or program pages to find out where classes meet.

SFU Continuing Studies also offers online programs and courses, which are available to students anywhere in the world.

Q: When do your courses start?

A: While undergraduate and graduate courses start at the beginning of each semester (January, May and September), SFU Continuing Studies programs begin throughout the year. Please check course or program pages for start dates.

Q: Do I need to apply for admission if I want to take SFU Continuing Studies courses?

A: You do not have to apply for admission to register for most Continuing Studies courses, but there are application procedures for our certificate and diploma programs. Visit the certificate or diploma program pages for details.

Q: Can I apply for a study permit for SFU Continuing Studies programs?

A study permit is not needed if you want to take short-term courses or programs of study of six months or less. Our part-time Dialogue and Civic EngagementExecutive LeadershipSocial Innovation and Urban Design certificates as well as The Writer's Studio, and our full-time English Language and Culture Program and Interpretation and Translation Program are the only programs that may entitle you to qualify for a study permit. For more information on study permits, contact Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada directly. The permit procedure for undergraduate and graduate students is available on SFU's Student Services website.

Q: Is there a different fee structure for international students?

A: Although undergraduate and graduate programs have different fee structures for international students, fees for Continuing Studies courses and programs are the same for domestic and international students.

Q: How do I find out about your free public events?

A: Click on the public lectures and events link on the sidebar.

Q: Do you have a course about ... ?

A: Please search our website for courses and programs that might interest you. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, we probably don't yet offer a course or program in that area. Please contact us at or 778-782-8000 if you have questions.

Q: How do I request a transcript?

A: Go to our online form to request a transcript of courses you have completed through SFU Continuing Studies.

Q: Will I receive an income-tax receipt for my tuition?

A. If your SFU tuition fees exceed $100 in one calendar year, they may qualify as a tax credit. The payment receipt that we'll email you after you register is your official tax receipt. To determine whether your tuition fees qualify, consult the Canada Revenue Agency guidelines.

Q: What is your policy on course cancellations and instructor substitutions?

A: We reserve the right to substitute instructors or cancel courses without liability. In the event of a cancellation, we will make every effort to give registered students adequate notice. To make this process easier, when you register for courses, please provide full contact information, including your home and business telephone numbers, email address(es) and a fax number.

Q: What is your policy on program withdrawals and tuition refunds?

A: Our Refund Policy is posted on our Registration Information page.

Q: When I complete my program, what will my alumni status be?

A: Graduates of SFU certificate and diploma programs become SFU alumni, complete with all of our alumni benefits.

Q: What is a cohort?

A: We call several of our programs cohort programs. This means you will work through the program courses with a group of your peers (called a cohort). Some program courses are available only to cohort students—that is, students who have been accepted to and are working through the entire program.

Learn more


Phone: 778-782-8000 (or toll-free 1-844-782-8877)