Continuing Education Unit Policies

Policy for Implementation and Awarding of the Continuing Education Unit


Administrative Memorandum #135 of the University of North Carolina General Administration authorizes each campus to develop and implement policies and procedures for non-credit extension program activities utilizing the Continuing Education Unit as the standard unit of measurement of individual participation. Local policies and procedures regulating the utilization of the Continuing Education Unit shall be consistent with those of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the UNC system-wide requirements provided in the Guide for the Use of the Continuing Education: The University of North Carolina.

Definition of Continuing Education Unit (CEU)

  • The Continuing Education Unit (CEU) is a unit that certifies participation in non-academic credit continuing education programs.
  • One Continuing Education Unit is defined as ten contact hours (one contact hour being equal to 60 minutes of instruction) of participation in an approved and organized continuing education experience under responsible sponsorship, capable direction, and qualified instruction. When appropriate, a decimal fractional part of a Continuing Education Unit may be awarded but not less than 0.1 CEU per program.

Program Qualification

Non-credit programs for which individuals may be awarded Continuing Education Units shall satisfy the following criteria:

  • The program shall be planned to meet the educational needs of a specific target population of professionally trained individuals.
  • The following program elements shall be determined during the planning stages and prior to the time the program is approved for implementation: program purposes and objectives; student performance requirements; evaluation procedures suitable for measuring the effectiveness of program design and operation; and the number of contact hours to be recommended for satisfactory completion of performance requirements.
  • The program shall be of an instructional nature sponsored or approved by an academic unit of the campus most appropriate for determining the quality of program content and resource personnel.
  • Provisions made for student registration, shall include the gathering of sufficient information from the student to ensure a permanent record of individual participation.

Program Review and Approval Procedure

  • Program review and approval shall be the responsibility of the Continuing Professional Education unit in the Office of Research, Economic Development and Engagement. The most appropriate academic unit shall recommend to Continuing Professional Education whether CEUs are to be awarded for a program, after determining that the program meets the criteria outlined in Section III. The review and approval shall be consistent with procedures utilized in connection with other non-credit programs sponsored by the University.
  • Upon receiving the approved program, the Associate Director of Continuing Professional Education will review the proposed program to determine compliance with CEU policy.
  • Programs must be submitted for review and approval no later than two weeks prior to the programs start date. A decision to award the CEUs cannot be made after the program has been offered.


  • In accordance with SACSCOC and UNC regulations, only one unit/department on each campus will be responsible for the administration of the continuing education unit process. At East Carolina University, the administrative responsibility for all programs awarding CEUs shall rest with Continuing Professional Education in the Office of Research, Economic Development and Engagement.
  • Continuing Professional Education shall maintain records of all CEUs awarded no less than seven (7) years, along with a complete listing of all approved CEU programs. The form and content of these records should be consistent with nationally recognized standards for the maintenance of Continuing Education Unit records for students and programs. Procedures for recording CEUs shall be established by the Office of Continuing Professional Education in the Office of Research, Economic Development and Engagement.
  • On occasions when a program awarding CEUs is jointly sponsored by two or more campuses, registration procedures should ensure registration with one campus only, in order to preclude duplicate record keeping.

Calculating CEUs

  • In computing the number of Continuing Education Units to be awarded, only the number of complete instructional hours, or the equivalent, shall be considered (for example, a program involving 15, 15.25, or 15.5 contact hours would award a maximum of 1.5 CEU). Approval procedures for “equivalent” activities shall be the same as procedures for program approval. CEUs may be awarded for up to a maximum of 10 hours of instruction per day, assuming that students have no work commitment during the day, and for up to a maximum of 5 hours per day, after working hours.
  • Calculations of contact hours involved in a continuing education experience may include the following elements:
    • Classroom or meeting session time with direct participation between the learner and instructor or discussion leader.
    • Activities that use methods of instruction such as supervised independent study, directed reading, or project-based assignments may be awarded the CEU.
    • Field trips (minus travel and other administrative time) and other experiential course activities may be awarded CEUs, but only on a basis of at least two experiential hours required for each contact hour of instruction.
  • Activities for which CEUs may not be awarded are:
    • Credit programs carrying academic credit, either secondary or collegiate.
    • Orientation programs that deal with such internal topics.
    • Committee meetings or other business activities.
    • Policy assignments, conferences, delegate assemblies, or similar meetings for policy-making purposes.
    • Attendance at entertainment or recreational lecture series, cultural performances, and social activities.
    • Work experience, on-the-job training or apprenticeships do not qualify for the award of CEUs, unless structured as part of a planned educational experience that fulfills these program criteria.
    • Study, assigned readings, reports, written assignments, and other related activities outside of the class or meeting schedule.

Awarding of CEUs

  • A completed Continuing Education Unit Registration Form must be submitted to Continuing Professional Education at the completion of then non-credit program.
  • Program director must submit a typed alphabetical registration list giving activity title, location, date of activity, name of program director, and number of CEUs awarded as the heading. The list should include every participant’s name. This list must be signed by the qualified person certifying that attendees met the minimum requirements for satisfactorily completing the program.
  • Program evaluation forms and/or comprehensive evaluation form must be submitted with registration list.
  • All material must be submitted to Continuing Professional Education in the Division of Research, Economic Development and Engagement before CEUs can be awarded. Materials must be submitted within ten (10) business days of the non-credit program’s conclusion.

CEU Fees

  • All fees for Continuing Education Units (CEUs) shall be determined by Continuing Professional Education in the Office of Research, Economic Development and Engagement.
  • Fees for CEUs shall include all administrative and database management costs.

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