Program Accreditation

Shelbie King Hall

The granting of accredited membership by an accreditation commission signifies that an institution has successfully demonstrated compliance with the procedures, standards, and guidelines of the association. Integral to this voluntary process is ongoing, regularized self-evaluation and peer review.

Accreditation, in practical terms, is a stamp of approval; it is a sign that an institution ascribes to, believes in, and has met an external set of basic criteria for the programs it offers. In some cases, accreditation assists in the transfer of credits from one institution to another. In all cases, it indicates that threshold standards are adhered to in a fashion that provides a base of academic strength and operational integrity. The University of Alabama in Huntsville holds college or program accreditations from the following accreditation commissions:

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges is the recognized regional accrediting body in the eleven U.S. Southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia) and in Latin America for institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, master's or doctoral degrees.

The Commission's mission is the enhancement of educational quality throughout the region, and it strives to improve the effectiveness of institutions by ensuring that institutions meet standards established by the higher education community that address the needs of society and students.

Accreditation by the Commission on Colleges signifies that the institution (1) has a mission appropriate to higher education; (2) has resources, programs, and services sufficient to accomplish and sustain that mission; and (3) maintains clearly specified educational objectives that are consistent with its mission and appropriate to the degrees it offers; and that it is (4) successful in assessing its achievement of those objectives and demonstrating improvements. Accreditation by SACSCOC is a statement of the institution's continuing commitment to integrity and its capacity to provide effective programs and services based on agreed-upon accreditation standards.

Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)

ABET is a not-for-profit, non-governmental accrediting agency for programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology. The agency is recognized as an accreditor by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

ABET accreditation provides assurance that a college or university program meets the quality standards of the profession for which that program prepares graduates.

ABET accredits programs, not institutions. The agency provides specialized accreditation for post-secondary programs within degree-granting institutions already recognized by national or regional institutional accreditation agencies or national education authorities worldwide.

ABET’s accreditation is voluntary, and to date, more than 3,400 programs at nearly 700 colleges and universities in 28 countries have received ABET accreditation. Approximately 85,000 students graduate from ABET-accredited programs each year, and millions of graduates have received degrees from ABET-accredited programs since 1932.

The Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) is an ABET discipline-specific accreditation.

American Chemical Society (ACS)

ACS promotes excellence in chemistry education for undergraduate students through approval of baccalaureate chemistry programs. ACS-approved programs offer a broad-based and rigorous chemistry education that gives students intellectual, experimental, and communication skills to become effective scientific professionals. Benefits for an ACS approved program include:

  • Institutions with an ACS-approved chemistry program attract top high school talent looking for established and rigorous departments.
  • Approved departments are staffed by accomplished faculty, contain a modern and well-maintained infrastructure, and provide a coherent chemistry curriculum.
  • Employers find graduates of approved programs to be better prepared for technical employment.
  • The approval process provides a mechanism for departments to evaluate their program, identify areas of strengths and opportunities for change, and leverage support from their institutions and external agencies.

Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)

AACSB provides internationally recognized, specialized accreditation for business and accounting programs at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral level. The AACSB Accreditation Standards challenge post-secondary educators to pursue excellence and continuous improvement throughout their business programs. AACSB Accreditation is known, worldwide, as the longest standing, most recognized form of specialized/professional accreditation an institution and its business programs can earn.

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

Officially recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a national accreditation agency, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is an autonomous accrediting agency, contributing to the improvement of the public's health. CCNE ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate, graduate, and residency programs in nursing.

CCNE serves the public interest by assessing and identifying programs that engage in effective educational practices. As a voluntary, self-regulatory process, CCNE accreditation supports and encourages continuing self-assessment by nursing programs and supports continuing growth and improvement of collegiate professional education and post-baccalaureate nurse residency programs.

National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD)

NASAD, founded in 1944, is an organization of schools, colleges, and universities. It has approximately 339 accredited institutional members. It establishes national standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees and other credentials.

The major responsibility of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design is the accreditation of education programs in art and design, including the establishment of curricular standards and guidelines for specific degrees and credentials.

The Association also provides counsel and assistance to established and developing institutions and programs. NASAD is recognized by the United States Department of Education as the agency responsible for the accreditation of all art and design curricula.

National Association of Schools of Music (NASM)

NASM, founded in 1924, is an organization of schools, conservatories, colleges and universities with approximately 651 accredited institutional members. It establishes national standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees and other credentials. Institutional Membership is gained only through the peer review process of accreditation.

National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)

The NCATE accreditation system is a voluntary peer review process that involves a comprehensive evaluation of the professional education unit (the school, college, department, or other administrative body that is primarily responsible for the preparation of teachers and other professional school personnel). The review is based on the NCATE Unit Standards, a set of research-based national standards developed by all sectors of the teaching profession. Accreditation requires an on-site review of the unit and a review of the individual programs within the unit. Using NCATE unit standards, a group of examiners, known as the Board of Examiners (BOE), conducts an on-site visit and evaluates the unit's capacity to effectively deliver its programs. The review of individual programs is a review conducted by the state or electronically through NCATE and the specialized professional organizations, depending on the type of partnership NCATE has developed with the unit's state.