General education courses

For diploma & certificate programs

Employers value graduates who have an understanding of the world beyond their field of study.  To help develop this knowledge, students complete general education (GNED) courses designed to strengthen critical analysis, problem solving, and communication skills.

General education courses provide a broad theoretical overview of a topic of personal and/or societal importance covering the following five themes:

  • All Durham College students enrolled in diploma and advanced diploma programs are required to complete three general education courses.
  • Some certificate programs also require GNEDs – please check your program of study.
  • General education courses are not required in graduate certificate or apprenticeship programs.

Each semester, you will choose from a list of available GNED courses that fit with your timetable. The selection and number of elective courses available will vary from semester to semester and from year to year.

In some programs, students are required to complete at least one GNED focused on First Nations, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI) histories, cultures and national issues.  Learn more about FNMI GNED courses here.

Ongoing surveys, dating back to the 1990s, consistently show that employers seek graduates who have a broad understanding of society, which extends beyond the applied education received through obtaining their diplomas.

To meet this need, the MTCU requires students to complete general education courses related to personal and/or societal importance designed to strengthen critical analysis, problem solving, and communication skills. These ‘elective’ courses are in addition to vocational courses and are selected from an approved pool of courses over which students exercise choice. These courses must meet the general education standard for theoretical breadth but provide learning opportunities beyond the vocational field of study.