Academic Upgrading is a tuition-free, full-time program for English-speaking adults, designed to improve their reading, writing, math and science skills. The program prepares students for college level post-secondary studies, further skills training, apprenticeship or employment. Students create individualized learning plans based on their goals. For acceptance into the program, applicants complete a reading and writing assessment to determine their literacy levels and eligibility for the program. While in the program, students are provided with advising services and may be eligible for a transportation allowance.The program runs year round and runs new-student orientation classes every 7 weeks (1 week prior to the beginning of each semester and during each mid-semester intersession).Information sessions are held weekly and program information, including videos detailing the program, are found on the program's main website.

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Program name
Academic Upgrading
1 to 3 semesters depending on student’s goals
Starting month
August, October, December, February, April, June
George Brown College Certificate
Method of study

Year of Study

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Program Availability

Domestic students
Sept. 2020 Continuous Open Enrollment
Jan. 2021 Continuous Open Enrollment
May 2021 Continuous Open Enrollment
International students
This program is currently only available to domestic students.

Full Description

Academic Upgrading is a program for English-speaking adults who need to upgrade their communications, math and science skills in order to prepare for college level post-secondary programs, apprenticeship or employment.

Communications courses are offered at the following levels of study:

  • Foundations
  • Pre-ACE
  • ACE (Academic and Career Entrance, Grade 12C equivalent course for college admission purposes)
  • Personal and Professional Exploration (ACE level course designed to solidify student plans for college and careers)

Math courses are offered at the following levels of study:

  • ACE Workplace Math
  • ACE Business Math (Grade 12C equivalent course for college admission purposes)
  • ACE Apprenticeship Math (Grade 12C equivalent course for college or Apprenticeship admission purposes)
  • ACE Technology Math (Grade 12C equivalent course for college admission purposes)

Science Courses (Physics, Chemistry, Biology) are offered only at the ACE level for college admission purposes.

The Academic Upgrading program also offers academic and vocational counselling. Program length varies for each student according to their beginning level, their goals and their progress.

This program has intakes throughout the year. Prospective students participate in an assessment of reading and writing skills to determine academic preparedness for participation.

Students begin the program with a three-week orientation to determine their appropriate upgrading class level, and create a learning goal plan. Applicants not fluent in English may be referred to an English as a Second Language program.

Students may be eligible for a transportation allowance.

There are no fees. This program is funded by the Employment Ontario branch of the Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU).

Program Standards and Learning Outcomes

Every Ontario community college program is designed to deliver a set of specific program learning outcomes. Program learning outcomes are statements that describe the knowledge and skills that students are expected to demonstrate by the end of their program of study.

Programs are designed to deliver both vocation or discipline-specific learning outcomes and more generic eessential employability skills (including communication, numeracy, critical thinking and problem solving, information management, interpersonal and personal skills).

Required Courses

Courses will vary depending on students’ goals and their current level of study.

semester courses
CodeCourse name
BIOL7104ACE - Biology
CHEM7104ACE - Chemistry
PHY7104ACE - Physics
COMP7101ACE Computer Studies
COMP7041LBS Computer Studies
ENGL7028Foundations Communications
ENGL7030Pre-ACE - Communications
ENGL7101ACE Communications
MATH7101ACE Math for Technology
MATH7102ACE Math for Apprenticeship
MATH7103ACE Math for Business
MATH7105ACE Workplace Math
PREP7138ACE Personal and Professional Exploration

Detailed course outlines


There are no fees. This program is funded by Employment Ontario through the Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU).

Financial Assistance

This program is not eligible for OSAP funding.

Admission Requirements

  • Resident of Ontario
  • Admission assessment
  • Fluency in English
  • Mature student status (19 years of age or older)

Suitable for adults planning to begin a new career or enrol in apprenticeship.

Call 416-415-5000, ext. 3560 or email to attend a program information session.

How Do I Apply to the Program

George Brown College’s Academic Upgrading program offers intakes into the program every month. Information sessions are held weekly and everyone is welcome to attend a session to determine if this program is right for them in preparing for their post-secondary, employment or apprenticeship goals.

For information on upcoming information sessions, please call 416-415-5000, ext. 3560 or email

In order to apply for Academic Upgrading, all learners will complete a reading and writing assessment. Appointments for assessments are made during the information session. Assessment sessions are booked weekly throughout the year as space permits.

Contact Us

For more information, call 416-415-5000, ext. 3560 or email

Want to explore different options for post-secondary programs and careers?

Join our free week-long CHOICES class, offered at St. James Campus. To learn more about CHOICES, visit, email

Are you interested in writing the Mature Student assessment? Take our free three-week Mature Student Assessment Preparation class, offered throughout the year. Register at or email

Are you thinking of applying to a degree program at George Brown College but are missing a prerequisite course? Register for our Degree Bridging (U-level) courses. Courses are tuition-free and offered throughout the year in English, Math, Sciences and Biology. These courses are accepted by George Brown College and Curriculum Services Canada as U-level equivalent courses for entrance to George Brown degree programs (courses currently not accepted for entrance to Ryerson BScN program and course credits are not transferrable to universities or other institutions). Register here!

Want to upgrade for post-secondary or apprenticeships online?

ACE level classes in math, sciences, computers and communications are available online through our ACE Distance Program! Visit or email for more information.

Are you Deaf or hard-of-hearing?

George Brown also offers Academic Upgrading for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Adults. Visit for more information.

If you are a Deaf or hard-of-hearing adult and would like to study online, you can join Deaf Learn Now. Visit for more information.

Visit Our Campus

The Academic Upgrading program office is located within the School of Work and College Preparation. The office is in room 524A at 200 King St. E. (St. James Campus, “A” building), Toronto.

Book a general campus tour to see the common areas of the campus (i.e. cafeteria, student services, the gym, etc.) or explore our virtual tour.

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    George Brown College is continually striving to improve its programs and their delivery. The information contained in this calendar is subject to change without notice. It should not be viewed as a representation, offer or warranty. Students are responsible for verifying George Brown College admission, graduation, and fee requirements as well as any requirements of outside institutions, industry associations, or other bodies that may award additional designations concurrently with, or after completion of, a George Brown College program.