About BYU Continuing Education

The mission of the BYU Division of Continuing Education is to "extend the services and spirit of the university. . .1" by sponsoring and facilitating opportunities for lifelong learning that link the university with Latter-day Saints and other friends of the university who seek learning experiences that are consistent with the unique mission of BYU. Some opportunities include intensive study and activity within the stimulating setting of the BYU campus. Learning opportunities are also provided online and in other inspiring settings.

1President Marion G. Romney, December 1968 Report for Board of Trustees

BYU Continuing Education affects the lives of nearly all BYU undergraduate students prior to their graduation, whether through Evening Classes, Independent Study, the Salt Lake Center, or the Bachelor of General Studies program. Many other students have participated in conferences and workshops, enrolled in adult and youth religion programs sponsored by BYU Continuing Education, or been employed and mentored by BYU Continuing Education. As well, programs are extended to thousands of Church members and others outside the university bounds, giving them exposure to the spirit of the BYU campus.

In BYU Continuing Education, our objectives for contributing to the mission of Brigham Young University are clear. We seek to advance undergraduate learning, collaborate with departments to support university teaching, partner with colleges to support their outreach programs, mentor students in real-world settings that complement their academic majors, help returning students graduate, and extend the influence of BYU beyond its borders to foster lifelong learning and strengthen individuals spiritually.

Former students who left BYU without a degree but who have already completed at least 30 hours as admitted undergraduate students on campus are given a second chance to complete their degree through the Bachelor of General Studies program. Students enroll in individual courses through Independent Study, Evening Classes, and the BYU Salt Lake Center as well as on campus during spring and summer terms.

The degrees are awarded by BYU academic colleges, which also approve the curriculum. The major is general studies with a 30-credit emphasis in one of the following study areas: American studies, English, family history, family life, history, management, and psychology.

The Bachelor of General Studies office provides recruitment, admissions, academic advisement, retention, motivation, graduation, and other assistance to students. At the end of the 2011–12 academic year, 1,300 formally admitted students were enrolled in the program (88% female and, on average, 45 years old), and 1,272 have graduated since the program began.

Feedback gathered from BGS graduates confirms that the degree provides a quality learning experience and fulfills the Aims of a BYU Education. In a 2011 survey of graduates, 96% were satisfied to very satisfied with their overall experience in the program. At the same time, 92% rated the overall quality of the program as very good to excellent, and 97% indicated they had mostly or fully achieved their goals.

The mission of BYU Conferences and Workshops is to assist the university in its outreach efforts by providing excellent administrative support for academic departments in order to produce high–quality, self–sustaining programs. By attending to the logistical details, Conferences and Workshops enables the faculty to extend their finest scholarship, teaching, and creative work to the larger Church and university communities while attending to their primary responsibilities of teaching students, researching, and writing.

Annually, the department offers over 200 outreach programs to more than 50,000 participants. Both credit and noncredit programs are offered, including conferences, workshops, symposia, short courses, seminars, test–prep courses, and youth camps. Although most credit offerings are time–condensed in nature, all credit offered through Conferences and Workshops is granted by an academic department or college and is governed by established accreditation standards.


A variety of programs directly benefit undergraduate students. For example, Conferences and Workshops provides assistance with student teaching and internships (Washington, D.C./Houston Urban Student Teachers; education interns; Courtesy Placement Student Teaching), gives undergraduate students practical experience in their academic fields (Counseling Workshop, Creative Dance, Young Ambassadors’ Singing Entertainer, Late Summer Honors, Science Fair, Sports Camps), and offers students the chance to interact with key people in the discipline and industry in annual or one-time programs (Counseling Workshop, Books for Young Readers, Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers, Taggart Symposium, Professional Landcare Network Student Career Days, International Double Reed Society conference, Dance and the Child International conference).

Test preparation services also benefit students (Test Prep Courses: ACT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT, DAT, CPA Review, Bar Review).

Academic departments have opportunities to view the performance of youth at conferences or workshops, and these prospective students may be invited to attend BYU (Young Ambassadors’ Singing Entertainer, Theatre Workshop, Young Musicians’ Summerfestival, Dance Camps, Sports Camps, Jazz Festival). Finally, other programs help prepare youth for college.

The Department of Evening Classes supports 59 of the university’s 74 academic departments by offering courses taught by their faculty and part–time instructors on an overload or part–time basis after 4:00 p.m. Evening Classes enables the university to leverage scarce faculty and physical resources by providing more courses in the evening hours with additional pay to instructors.

In 2007, Evening Classes offered 2,485 course sections of 840 unique courses to approximately 31,000 students (unduplicated head count); these students enrolled in an average of 2.2 courses for a total of 68,988 enrollments. Most sections offered at Evening Classes are undergraduate courses. Enrollees include 59% of the university’s undergraduate students and 14% of the graduate students. Nearly 98% of the students who graduate from BYU enroll in evening classes, taking an average of 7.5 courses.

The faculty composition is 40% full–time faculty, who teach on an overload basis; 50% part–time faculty; and 10% student instructors. Course evaluation data for fall 2007 showed no substantial differences in student ratings in evening courses compared with courses taught by regular full–time faculty.

In a 2008 study, a percentage of students enrolled in Evening Classes reported that without these courses, they would be "unlikely" or "very unlikely" to continue their enrollment at BYU (9%) or complete their degree (12%). Another 37% of all responders reported that it would take them an additional year or longer to graduate without evening classes.

BYU Independent Study is one of the nation’s largest distance education programs. It provides the majority of courses offered to students enrolled in the Bachelor of General Studies program; supplements BYU, BYU–Idaho, BYU–Hawaii, and LDS Business College curriculum portfolios; and supplies high–quality courses to middle school and high school students. In 2007, there were 172,000 course enrollments. Of that total, 24,000 were university enrollments; 127,000 were high school enrollments; and 21,000 were personal enrichment enrollments. About 12,000 Brigham Young University day students take BYU Independent Study courses every year. Over the last three years, approximately one–third of Brigham Young University graduates have taken at least one BYU Independent Study course. Student registration data and student exit surveys show that 75% of university enrollments are from members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter–day Saints, with 55% of these coming from BYU matriculated students and 45% from students registered at other universities.

As of April 2010, BYU Independent Study offers a total of 544 courses. Of those, 251 are university courses, 213 are high school courses and 80 are personal enrichment courses. Courses can be taken online or by ordering a paper manual.

Independent Study courses often help fill gaps in course availability for face–to–face classrooms on campus or meet other academic needs. For example, the Math Department developed Math 97 as an Independent Study course which allowed the department to reassign faculty resources to upper-division courses. The Math Department also offers five additional courses through Independent Study which generate revenue used to expand the capacity of the math lab on campus. The first–year English course for BYU students is also offered through Independent Study to help meet the high demand for this general education course, giving students greater flexibility in their schedules. French 202 utilizes podcasts of lecture materials and readings from French native speakers which facilitate not only independent study but study abroad and supplements content taught in regular face–to–face courses.

Independent Study high school courses also provide exposure to BYU and the Church for thousands of high school students across the nation. About 75% of high school enrollees are not members of the Church.

The mission of the BYU Salt Lake Center is to support BYU by providing students with an excellent resource for credit programs within the Salt Lake Valley. In support of the degree programs available at BYU, approximately 200 sections of many different credit courses from across much of the university curriculum are offered each semester.

Through established processes, academic department approval is given for all credit courses and the instructors who teach them, assuring parity of content, rigor, and quality with those offered on the Provo campus. During the 2007–2008 academic year, there were 152 part–time, adjunct instructors employed on a contractual basis to teach at the center and 26 full–time BYU faculty teaching on an overload basis.

The BYU Salt Lake Center serves primarily undergraduate students. In fall 2007, there were 1,808 students attending the center, and 1,639 were undergraduates (91%). About 75% of students were admitted day students who may also be taking classes at both campuses. Services provided at the center include student registration and records, student accounts, financial aid, academic advisement, veterans’ affairs, bookstore, computer lab, testing center, library, media, security, parking, and facilities maintenance.

Nearly 1,000 students completed the 2008 winter semester student survey. In one open-ended question, students reported what they liked most about the center. The most common comment was about student appreciation for the smaller class sizes and quality of courses (357). Students also liked the location because of its convenience, closeness to work and home, and easy access to the freeway and commuter rail (224). A similar number of students (199) made positive comments about the faculty and their availability and willingness to help. Others valued how the classes fit their schedule and were offered at convenient times (181); the inviting, friendly, and less–crowded atmosphere (158); and a quality, state–of–the–art facility (147).

There were no substantial differences in course ratings between the Salt Lake Center and campus university courses. Course evaluations for the Salt Lake Center from spring 2006 through winter 2007 show that 82% of students agreed to very strongly agreed that they learned a great deal in the course, and 81% agreed to very strongly agreed that the course helped them develop intellectual skills.