Once AACSB membership is established, a school should familiarize its faculty and administration with the AACSB Accreditation Standards and the accreditation process. After doing so, a school may begin the accreditation process by completing the eligibility application, the first stage in the accreditation process. The Eligibility Application Process involves a review of a school in order to determine if it is eligible to pursue AACSB Accreditation. Eligibility applications are accepted at any time.
AACSB Accreditation is granted by default to the institution. In this case, all of the institution’s business and management programs are included in the scope of the AACSB Accreditation review. It is possible, however, in the case of institutional accreditation to limit the programs included in the review by receiving formal approval to exclude particular programs from the scope of accreditation.
To initiate the eligibility application process, please submit an Accreditation Eligibility Request. AACSB Staff will contact you regarding your application.
To view an outline of the eligibility application, click here: Eligibility Application Outline.
In order to exclude certain programs in an institutional review, the following criteria must be met. Select an option below to expand the item and learn more:
Participation refers to the level of contribution of the included business programs in the development, delivery, and oversight of a program or programs. If the business programs included in the accreditation review provide 25 percent or more of an undergraduate program content or 50 percent or more of graduate program content, the degree program is presumed to be a business program, and it should be included in the review. The institution can request the exclusion of a program exceeding the above percentage threshold, but the burden of persuasion falls to the reviewed institution.
Distinctiveness refers to the ability of students, faculty, and recruiters to clearly distinguish the program from those business programs included in the accreditation review. For example, degree programs should be included in the review if they are business programs announced or advertised in catalogs, brochures, web sites, or other materials in conjunction with programs that are included in the accreditation review. Likewise, all degree programs whose published materials describe them along with the included programs should be in the review. That is, to be excludable, degree programs must not be presented along with the included programs either in the institution’s materials, or in materials from the program for which exclusion is requested.
To be excludable, programs must be clearly distinguishable from the included programs by title, by published descriptions, and in representations to potential students, faculty, and employers. The intent is to allow exclusion of programs that are separate from the included programs, but to avoid exclusion of programs when such exclusion would create confusion about which programs of the institution have achieved accreditation.
Control refers to the level of administrative control the faculty and administration of included programs have over the program(s) seeking exclusion. Areas of control include program design; faculty hiring, development, and promotion; student selection and services; curriculum design and management; and awarding of degrees. When the leadership of included programs controls (or influences) those features that are a part of a program seeking exclusion, the program should be included.
In contrast to institutional accreditation as described above, schools may apply as a single academic unit within a larger institution offering business and management degree programs. Schools that would like to seek accreditation as a unit must apply for unit accreditation and this must be done before the submission of the eligibility application. For schools that do not make such a request, the assumption is that all business and management degree programs offered at the institution will be within the AACSB Accreditation purview (institutional accreditation).
Schools wishing to seek academic unit accreditation must demonstrate a sufficient level of independence in the following four areas. Select an area below to expand the item and learn more.
Independent branding of the business academic unit relates to the following: (1) market positioning; (2) promotion (e.g., websites, electronic and print advertising, collateral materials, etc.) of the business and management degree programs and other programmatic activities offered within the business academic unit; (3) business school name, faculty, and degree titles; and (4) other brand differentiation between the business academic unit and other academic units within the institution.
This criterion is focused on the extent to which the external markets (students, employers, other stakeholder groups, and the public) perceive that the business academic unit is differentiated from other academic units within the institution. This differentiation may include elements such as student admissions, graduate recruiting and placement histories, and starting salaries.
Financial relationships relates to the following: (1) approval of operating and capital budgets for the business academic unit; (2) the business academic unit’s control over a large portion of the funds available to the unit; (3) subsidies to the institution; and (4) ownership or control of physical and financial assets.
Autonomy of the business academic unit is described in terms of its adherence to the policies and procedures of the larger institution or in terms of the source of approval of or constraints on its activities related to the following areas: (1) the strategic plan of the business academic unit; (2) approval of key decisions of the business academic unit; (3) appointment of the head or senior leader of the business academic unit; (4) geographic separation of the business academic unit and the larger institution; and (5) any other significant attribute of the relationship that affects the autonomy of the business academic unit.
What considerations should be made when determining scope of accreditation?
> View various scenarios that serve as guidelines as you make scope of accreditation decisions.
Complete and submit Eligibility Application and Applicant Profile Sheet to firstname.lastname@example.org. Request any program exclusions as necessary.
The Eligibility Application outline is located here and the Applicant Profile sheet is found here.
The appropriate accreditation committee (IAC) reviews the application to determine if academic unit has sufficient level of independence from the institution.
If Unit application is declined, the business school can still apply as an institution.
The Initial Accreditation Committee (IAC) reviews the application to determine if eligibility criterion are met and if the school can feasibly achieve accreditation in the allotted amount of time.