From brain surgery to car repairs, somebody in Washington is eager to teach you whatever you want to know. Real universities, alternative universities, schools of whatever and neighborhood recreation centers all are beginning a new term. COLLEGES

Most area colleges offer a full range of traditional university courses on a degree-credit or non-credit basis, as well as personal enrichment courses, informal workshops and seminars. Admission requirements range from flexible to none. Registration is underway now, and most classes start within the next two weeks.

AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT GRADUATE SCHOOL -- Independence Avenue between 12th and 14th streets SW. College level, work-related and personal-enrichment programs begin January 10. $23 per credit hour, with a discount for advance payment. Call 447-6337.

AMERICAN UNIVERSITY -- Massachusetts and Nebraska avenues NW. The Division of Continuing Education offers degree and non-degree courses beginning January 10 at the main campus and other area locations. $207 per credit hour. Non-credit classes begin throughout the spring. $50 and up per course. Call 686-2500.

ANNE ARUNDEL COMMUNITY COLLEGE -- 101 College Parkway, Arnold. Degree and non-degree courses begin January 17. $26 per credit hour for county residents, $52 for other Maryland residents and $104 for non-residents. Personal-enrichment courses begin through the spring. $20 to $45. Call 261-2842 or 301/647-7100.

ANTIOCH COLLEGE SCHOOL OF LAW - 2633 16th Street NW. The Center for Legal Studies offers M.A. in Legal Studies programs in six fields of specialization. It also permits enrollment in individual courses. Courses on campus $420, independent study courses $240. Call 463-0725.

CATHOUC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA -- 620 Michigan Avenue NE. University College offers courses for credit beginning January 20. $125 per credit hour. Call 635-5256. The Adult Education department offers non-credit personal enrichment courses through the spring. Approximately $50 per course. Call 635-5789.

COLUMBIA UNION COLLEGE -- Flower and Carroll avenues, Takoma Park. A variety of courses begins today, but registration continues through January 13. $157 per credit hour. Courses may be audited without credit for $40 to $90 per course. Call 270-9200.

GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY -- 4400 University Drive, Fairfax. The School of Continuing Education offers courses for credit beginning January 24, but the student quota is frozen. A waiting list is being maintained. Courses are $49 per credit hour for Virginia residents and $93 per credit hour for non-residents. Call 323-2000.

GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY -- 2121 I Street NW. The School of Continuing Education offers courses for credit beginning January 17 at the main campus and other locations. $135 per credit hour. Also available are courses in para-professional certificate programs. $250 to $300 each. Call 676-7000.

GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY -- 37th and O streets NW. The School of Summer and Continuing Education offers courses for credit beginning January 11. $242 per credit hour. Non-credit personal-enrichment classes begin February 12. $30 to $155. Call 625-3001.

HOWARD COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE -- Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. Degree and non-degree courses begin January 31. $26 for Howard County residents, $52 for other Maryland residents, $100 for non-residents. Personal-enrichment courses begin through the spring. $15 to $50 each. Call 301/992-4800.

HOWARD UNIVERSITY -- 2121 Georgia Avenue NW. The university offers part-time and special programs in each of its 17 schools and colleges. $91 per credit hour. Call 636-6150.

JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY EVENING COLLEGE -- 5485 Harper's Farm Road, Columbia. Undergraduate and graduate-level courses in education, administration and applied behavioral science begin January 24. $90 per credit hour. Call 596-5713 or 301/997-8045.

MARYMOUNT COLLEGE -- 2807 North Glebe Road, Arlington. Credit courses in four divisions begin January 10. $120 per credit hour. Call 558-9115.

MONTGOMERY COLLEGE -- Three campuses: 7600 Takoma Avenue, Takoma Park: Route 355 at Mannakee Street, Rockville; 20200 Observation Drive, Germantown.Credit courses begin January 24. $31.90 per credit hour for Montgomery County residents, $63.80 for other Maryland residents, $88 for non-residents. Also, 200 non-credit personal-enrichment courses begin during January. $12 to $195 per course. Call Takoma Park campus, 587-4090; Rockville campus, 279-5000; Germantown campus, 972-2000.

MOUNT VERNON COLLEGE -- 2100 Foxhall Road NW. The School for Continuing Education offers a variety of non-credit personal enrichment courses beginning January 24. $50 to $90 per course. (Courses for credit began January 3.) Call 331-3539.

NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH GRADUATE SCHOOL -- Bethesda. The Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences Inc. offers undergraduate and graduate-level evening courses in science, mathematics and languages beginning February 7 at the NIH campus. $32 per credit hour; half-price to students over 60. Call 496-7976.

NORTHERN VIRGINIA COMMUNITY COLLEGE -- Five campuses: 8333 Little River Turnpike, Annandale; 3001 North Beauregard Street, Alexandria; 1000 Harry Flood Byrd Highway, Sterling; 6901 Sudley Road, Manassas; 15200 Smoketown Road, Woodbridge. Winter session day and evening credit and non-credit classes started today, but students may still register for them. Spring session begins in March. $15.50 per credit hour for Virginia residents, $66 for non-residents. The Community Services Division offers a wide range of personal-enrichment courses through the winter and spring. Prices vary. Call 323-3000.

PRINCE GEORGE'S COMMUNITY COLLEGE -- 301 Largo Road, Largo. Degree and non-degree courses begin January 17. $22 for Prince George's County residents, $52 for other Maryland residents, $90 for non-residents. The Community Services division offers personal-enrichment courses throughout the spring. $12 to $40. Call 322-0806.

SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY -- 501 I Street SW. Degree and non-degree day and evening courses in administration, accounting, computer science and other professional fields begin January 10. $95 per credit hour. Call 488-8162.

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY, EDWARDSVILLE -- Bolling Air Force Base SE. The next session in a degree-credit-only M.B.A. program begins March 15. $450 per course. Call 563-3033.

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY, CARBONDALE -- Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 6825 16th Street NW. Weekend-only courses leading to a B.A. in Health Care Administration continue in six-week cycles through May. Non-degree enrollments accepted. $327 per course. Call 726-2122.

STRAYER COLLEGE -- 601 13th Street NW and 3045 Columbia Pike. Degree and non-degree courses in administration, marketing, accounting and computer science began January 3, but late registrations are accepted. The spring session begins March 29. $62 per credit hour. Call 783-5180.

TRINITY COLLEGE -- Michigan Avenue and Franklin Street NE. The School of Continuing Education offers degree and non-degree courses beginning January 18. $168 per credit hour. Also, "Lunchtime Learning" mid-day classes begin February 10. $100 per course. Call 269-2298.

UNIVERSITY OF THE DISTRICT OF COULUMBIA -- 4200 Connecticut Avenue NW and five other campuses. Day and evening degree and non-degree courses begin January 10. $42 per course for D.C. residents, $184 per course for non-residents, plus $17 registration fee. Personal enrichment courses begin through the spring. Prices vary. Call 282-7300.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND -- College Park. University College offers day, evening and weekend undergraduate and graduate degree, non-degree and personal enrichment courses on and off campus beginning January 24. It also sponsors the Open University guided independent study program. $56 per credit hour for Maryland residents and non-residents. Call 454-5825.

UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA -- Falls Church Regional Center, 2990 Telestar Court, Falls Church. Degree and non-degree college courses begin January 24. Undergraduate, $40 per credit hour, graduate $44. Personal enrichment classes begin through the spring. $40 to $50. Call 698-9010.

VIRGINIA POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE AND STATE UNIVERSITY EXTENSION -- 2990 Telestar Court, Falls Church. Degree-only graduate courses in administration, economics, engineering, computer science and human resources begin March 26. $54 per credit hour for Virginia residents, $59 for non-residents. Non-credit classes begin through spring. Prices vary. Call 698-6000. ALTERNATIVE U.s

LEARNING WORKS -- 4824 Montgomery Lane, Bethesda. Personal-enrichment courses ranging from computer programming to massage begin in January and February at locations in Washington and Montgomery County. $12 to $80. Call 657-4488.

OPEN UNIVERSITY -- 3333 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington. Open U. offers hundreds of mostly one- and two-session mini-courses on almost everything at various area locations. $6 to $40. Call 966-9606.

SMITHSONIAN ASSOCIATES -- 1000 Jefferson Drive SW. A variety of lecture and studio art courses begin January 24 at the Smithsonian museums. $50 to $100 each, with discounts for members. Call 357-3030.

YES EDUCATIONAL SOCIETY -- 1035 31st Street NW, Washington. Lectures and classes in human-potential fields begin January 14 at various locations. $5 to $125. Call 241-1434. SPORTS AND OUTDOORS

Area recreation departments, YMCAS/YWCAS and outdoors schools offer a wide range of sports, outdoors, dance, and crafts activities for children and adults.

ARLINGTON COUNTY RECREATION -- 300 North Park Drive. Call 558-2700.

ALEXANDRIA COMMUNITY PROGRAMS -- 1108 Jefferson Street. Call 838-4828.

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY RECREATION AND PARKS -- Crownsville. Call 621-9552.

D.C. RECREATION -- 3149 16th Street NW. Call 673-7660.

FAIRFAX COUNTY PARK AUTHORITY -- 4030 Hummer Road, Annandale. Call 941-5000.

HOWARD COUNTY RECREATION AND PARKS -- 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City. Call 992-2483.

INNER QUEST -- 140 Queen Street, Leesburg. Hiking, rockclimbing, skiing classes and expeditions for groups and individuals. Call 703/471-1014.

MARYLAND NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK AND PLANNING COMMISSION -- sponsors programs throughout suburban Maryland. In Montogmery County call 468-4050; in Prince George's County call 699-2407.

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE -- sponsors outdoors activities and classes throughout the area. Call 426-6975.

OUTDOOR UNIVERSITY -- 508 North Washington Street, Alexandria. 32 instructors lead winter and summer classes and outdoors adventures. Some free, others $10 to $695. Call 548-3838.

WASHINGTON WOMEN OUTDOORS -- sponsors a variety of trips and activities. Call 942-8677.

YMCAS -- 1711 Rhode Island Avenue, Washington. Call 862-9622.

9401 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda. 530-3725.

2614 Kenhill Drive, Bowie. 262-9622.

9800 Hastings Drive, Silver Spring. 585-2120.

420 East Monroe Avenue, Alexandria. 549-0850.

3422 North 13th Street, Arlington. 525-5420.

9124 Little River Turnpike, Fairfax. Call 323-1222.

YWCAS -- 624 Ninth Street NW. 638-2100.

2701 Bel Pre Road, Silver Spring. 460-3900.

8101 Wolf Trap Road, Vienna. 560-1111. ARTS & CRAFTS & MORE

AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE -- conducts lectures and classes on movies. Call 828-4055.

ARLINGTON COUNTY VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS -- 300 North Park Drive, Arlington. Cultural activities and classes for children and adults year-round. Call 558-2161.

CORCORAN SCHOOL OF ART -- New York Avenue at 17th Street NW. 90 lecture and studio art courses begin January 17. $4 to $350 per course. Call 638-3211.

DANCE EXCHANGE -- 420 Seventh Street NW. Classes in dance and movement begin in January and February. Call 783-8900.

JACKSON SCHOOL ARTS CENTER -- 30th and R streets NW. Lecture and studio art classes. $20 to $190. Call 686-2500.

THE LAUREL ARCHEOLOGICAL SOCIETY -- sponsors lectures and digs. Call 776-2854.

THEATER MOVEMENT EXCHANGE -- 1327 F Street NW. Classes in ballet and jazz dancing for children and adults. Call 783-6063.

TORPEDO FACTORY ARTS LEAGUE -- 101 North Union Street, Alexandria. Artists conducts workshops in their specialities. Call 836-8564.