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 two areas: branding and external market perception.
The unit seeking to be recognized independently of the larger parent organization must demonstrate and document that it is branded separately to the level that external stakeholders clearly distinguish between degrees offered within the unit and those within other academic units in the university. To demonstrate such independence of brand, the unit should demonstrate that its outreach activities and products clearly distinguish it from the other academic units offering business degrees. Evidence may include (1) public relations related to market positioning; (2) promotional materials such as websites, electronic and print advertising, and recruiting materials and activities that clearly distinguish it from the parent organization; (3) business school name, faculty, and degree titles that clearly distinguish the unit from the other academic units offering business degrees; and (4) other brand differentiation between the unit seeking independent accreditation and other academic units offering business degrees within the parent organization.
2. External Market Perception
The unit to be accredited must demonstrate that there is no brand or market confusion between degrees offered by the unit and those offered by other units offering business degrees under the parent organization. This criterion is focused on the extent to which the external markets (learners, employers, other stakeholder groups, and the public) perceive that the business academic unit is differentiated from other academic units within the parent organization. This differentiation may include elements such as student markets served, admissions requirements that are different between the unit and parent organization, the level of degrees offered, placement histories, starting salaries, and employer and community perceptions.
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.
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.