In contrast to institutional accreditation, schools may apply for AACSB Accreditation as a single academic unit within a larger institution offering business and management degree programs. Schools seeking accreditation as a unit must apply for unit accreditation before submitting the eligibility application for initial accreditation. Schools that have earned accreditation may also apply for accreditation as a single academic unit.
Schools seeking single academic unit accreditation must demonstrate a sufficient level of independence in the following four areas: branding, external market perception, financial relationship with the institution, and business academic unit autonomy.
Independent branding of the business academic unit relates to the following: (a) market positioning; (b) 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; (c) business school name, faculty, and degree titles; and (d) other brand differentiation between the business academic unit and other academic units within the institution.
2. External Market Perception
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.
3. Financial Relationships With the Institution
Financial relationships relates to the following: (a) approval of operating and capital budgets for the business academic unit; (b) the business academic unit’s control over a large portion of the funds available to the unit; (c) subsidies to the institution; and (d) ownership or control of physical and financial assets.
4. Business Academic Unit Autonomy
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: (a) the strategic plan of the business academic unit; (b) approval of key decisions of the business academic unit; (c) appointment of the head or senior leader of the business academic unit; (d) geographic separation of the business academic unit and the larger institution; and (e) any other significant attribute of the relationship that affects the autonomy of the business academic unit.
After determining eligibility for unit of accreditation, a school may begin completing the academic unit application. The academic unit application process involves a review of a school in order to determine if it meets the eligibility criteria to pursue academic unit of accreditation. A school should review the Business Unit of Accreditation Application prior to submitting an application. Academic unit applications are accepted at any time.
1. Submit an accreditation eligibility request to obtain the unit application. The application inquiry form is located at aacsb.edu/accreditation/inquiry.
2. Complete the Business Unit of Accreditation Application and submit to the Initial Accreditation Committee (IAC) at email@example.com. AACSB-accredited schools submit unit application to the Continuous Improvement Review Committee (CIRC) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. An accreditation staff member reviews the unit application for completeness and requests any additional information needed from the school.
4. The appropriate accreditation committee (IAC or CIRC) reviews the unit application to determine whether the academic unit has a sufficient level of independence from the institution.
5. After the IAC or CIRC reviews the unit application, the school will receive a decision letter with the next steps in the accreditation process.