Extension Courses: Contract Credit

If your organization offers professional development courses, programs, or conferences, consider offering extra value to your students with transcripted credit through SSU's Contract Credit program.

It's Easy!

Simply submit a proposal outlining your activities and the basis of award of credit, following the credit guidelines listed below, along with instructor qualifications. Upon approval, you can offer continuing education units and/or academic credit, which students may use for their career or academic goals.


  • CEUs are awarded by Sonoma State, one of the 23 campuses in the prestigious California State University system.
  • SSU Contract Credit program provides permanent records of educational accomplishments for your participants who have completed significant non-credit educational and career enhancement experiences.

Credit Guidelines

Courses may be offered for continuing education hours (CEU), academic credit, or a choice of either. Credit is awarded for instructional activity only; breaks, meals, conference registration, or other non-instructional time is not included. Both types of credit are recorded by the University and transcripts may be requested.

Keep these criteria in mind as you design your course:

Continuing Education Units (CEU) Academic Credit**

A CEU is a measurement of professional growth and development often applied in situations where the instructional activity provides professional training and continuing education activity which does not meet the deeper academic focus required for academic credit courses, or when a certain number of hours of continuing education are required to fulfill re-licensure requirements for professionals such as nurses, counselors, psychologists and attorneys.

The CEU may be used for the quantitative measurement, recording, reporting, accumulation, transfer and recognition of participation by adults in non-credit continuing education activities.

If CEUs will be used for pay scale advancements, please check with your district office/agency/employer regarding acceptance of these units.

An academic credit unit is a measurement based on the number of instructional contact hours along with additional student work through assignments and projects outside of scheduled class times. An academic credit course proposal must demonstrate in a course syllabus the number of hours taught, topics covered, the nature of sufficient assignments and assessments based on clear student outcomes that demonstrate academic rigor.

Academic credit courses will be counted as general electives if applied toward a bachelor’s degree or other academic program, unless specifically approved to meet specific certification or credential requirements by the appropriate SSU academic department. Such a request must be explained and justified in full in the contract course request.

Basic Guidelines: Basic Guidelines:
  • According to CSU Executive Order (EO 1099), for each hour of class time, .1 (1/10th) CEU is granted. By this calculation, a 10-hour session would grant 1 CEU and a 3-hour workshop would yield .3 CEUs.
  • A decimal fractional part of a CEU may be awarded when appropriate. For example, a workshop that meets for 11 hours is eligible to provide 1.1 CEU.
  • Participants must attend the full number of instructional hours in order to be granted credit.
  • Out-of-class work is not generally required.
  • CEU credit does not count as academic credit and cannot count toward a degree.
  • Academic credit may be offered in 1-unit increments up to 4 units for one course.
  • Lecture classes: each academic semester unit requires 15 hours of class time and 30 hours of supporting work outside of class.
  • Activity or laboratory classes, such as art or science: 30 instructional hours and 15 out-of-class hours.
  • These hours include instructional activity only.
  • Students must complete assignments demonstrating they understand the theoretical base(s) of course content, and must be assessed on their learning.
Type of Award: Type of Award:

Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

All courses are graded Cr/NC.

  • Up to 24 units of Extended Education academic credit (including Contract Course units) may be applied toward a baccalaureate degree as elective credit. Students wishing to receive specific credit for major, minor, or certificate requirements should speak with an advisor to determine whether contract credit courses would be accepted.
  • Up to 9 units of Extended academic credit (including Contract Course units) may be applied toward a master's degree, upon approval of the program's advisor. Due to the high-level focus of most graduate programs, Contract Credit units are rarely accepted towards a graduate degree.
** Note: Contract course requests for academic credit require additional review and are approved/denied solely at the discretion of the appropriate SSU academic department.


New Contract Credit Course Proposals

New course proposals will first be reviewed by the SEIE Curriculum Committee for completeness of information supplied and compliance with the general criteria (as listed in the above table). Upon approval, a suitable course number will be determined and the proposal will be forwarded to the appropriate Department(s) for signature.

SEIE requires at least twelve weeks for a new course to be reviewed and approved. Please note, new courses cannot be approved between May 15 and August 15. Only after approval is communicated, should publicity mentioning CEU or academic credit from SSU be disseminated to your prospective students.

During the process, you may be asked to submit additional information or to make changes to bring your proposal into compliance with guidelines. New course proposals should include:

  • A completed Course Proposal Form with:
    • Instructor contact information, including brief biography
    • Offering agency, if any
    • Course information, including brief description
    • Schedule, time, and location
    • Type of credit requested
  • A narrative describing class objectives
  • Instructor resume or curriculum vita (include appropriate qualifications and degrees)
  • A draft of the syllabus and class schedule
  • List of Course handouts (provide up to 3 examples)

In addition, academic credit proposals must include the following in a draft syllabus:

  • Course learning objectives/student outcomes
  • An example of at least one reading assignment
  • An example of at least one assessed assignment (what students will be doing to earn credit, such as writing a paper, taking a test, keeping a journal, or developing lesson plans). This activity must be related to stated objectives.
  • Sufficient information to justify the approval of academic credit units (i.e., the nature of student work with academic rigor).


Repeat Course Proposals

Courses which have been approved within the last year and are being offered again with no substantial change to the syllabus or instructor, may be proposed again as a repeat course. Repeats courses require six to eight weeks for re-approval.

If a course has substantial changes in content, delivery, instructor, or if it has been more than one year since the course was previously approved by SSU as a contract course, please follow the New Course proposal process above.

To schedule a class again (within one year of previous approval), we will need:

  • The Course Proposal Form
  • Course description
  • Schedule of activities
  • Dates and information on previous approval
  • SEIE may request a new copy of the course syllabus and assignment examples, if necessary, for review.


Course Fees

See Fee Schedule for more information.