Mission of BYU Continuing Education

The mission of BYU 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.

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

Overall Impact of Programs

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. Additionally, 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.

BYU Bachelor of General Studies Program

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.

BYU Conferences and Workshops

The mission of 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.

BYU Evening Classes

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.

Evening Classes serves approximately 31,000 students per semester. The faculty composition is 40% full–time faculty, who teach on an overload basis; 50% part–time faculty; and 10% student instructors. Students enrolled in Evening Classes report that without these courses, they would be "unlikely" or "very unlikely" to continue their enrollment at BYU or finish their degree. 

BYU Independent Study

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. About 12,000 Brigham Young University day students take BYU Independent Study courses every year.

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.

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.

BYU Salt Lake Center

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.

The BYU Salt Lake Center serves primarily undergraduate students. About 75% of students are 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.