Accreditation is a rigorous process
1. Become an educational member of AACSB
An institution must be an educational member of AACSB to apply for accreditation.
2. Submit unit of accreditation application
Business academic units that would like to enter the accreditation process as the unit of accreditation must submit a unit of accreditation application for review and approval by the Initial Accreditation Committee. This unit of accreditation application must be approved prior to the submission of the eligibility application. Schools considering applying as an academic unit should contact an AACSB accreditation staff member to discuss their institutional structure and whether accreditation as an academic unit is applicable. View more in-depth information on the unit of accreditation.
3. Submit eligibility application and develop initial self-evaluation report (iSER)
The applicant school submits an eligibility application (for business and/or accounting accreditation) as the first step toward AACSB accreditation. A school may apply for business and accounting accreditation simultaneously, or for accounting accreditation following the achievement of business accreditation. An eligibility application fee applies. View Applicable Accreditation Fees.
A preliminary review of the eligibility application is conducted by AACSB staff. If the application is determined to include all necessary information, it will be escalated to the Initial Accreditation Committee (IAC) or Accounting Accreditation Committee (AAC) for a final decision.
When the application is approved, a volunteer business school administrator (such as a dean) is assigned to the applicant school as a mentor to assist with the development of an initial self-evaluation report (iSER). This assigned mentor must avoid any appearance of conflict of interest. At this time, an AACSB accreditation staff liaison is also assigned to the school. This liaison serves as the primary contact person at AACSB for all accreditation-related questions.
4. Pay IAC or AAC acceptance and initial accreditation fee
The applicant school will receive an official letter from AACSB informing the institution that its eligibility application has been approved and that a mentor has been assigned. An invoice for the IAC or AAC process acceptance fee and initial accreditation fee will be sent to the school and must be paid in full within one month of receipt.
5. Accreditation standards alignment
The assigned mentor works with the applicant school to determine its current alignment with the accreditation standards and assist with the development of an iSER. If the mentor finds that there is no reasonable expectation that the school can develop a successful plan to align itself with the accreditation standards in the maximum allotted time, they will so advise.
6. Submit final iSER and strategic plan
With the mentor's consent, the applicant school submits its iSER along with its strategic plan to the IAC or AAC for review at its regularly scheduled meeting (view upcoming meeting dates). The iSER is generally completed in one year; however, it may take a maximum of two years.
The IAC or AAC reviews the iSER. This review will lead to one of the following outcomes:
a. Acceptance of the iSER with a recommendation that the school develops a final self-evaluation report (SER), following an invitation to apply for initial accreditation (IAC or AAC must concur).
b. The iSER is accepted with a recommendation that the school enters the implementation phase of the iSER. The school is asked to submit annual progress reports to inform the committee of its progress toward alignment with the standards. The mentor then continues to work with the school until it is invited to submit an application for an initial accreditation visit (for business and/or accounting).
c. Further development of the iSER is needed. A revise-and-resubmit recommendation is made to the school.
d. The iSER is not accepted, as it is determined that the applicant school will not be able to align itself with the AACSB accreditation standards within the maximum time allowed to complete the initial accreditation process (for business and/or accounting). The committee may ask the school to withdraw from the accreditation process.
7. Final SER review, pre-visit analysis, and school visit
The team reviews the final SER, as well as conducts a pre-visit analysis, which is reviewed and approved by the IAC or AAC, and then sent to the school.
The visit takes place and the peer review team provides a visit report to the applicant school, which includes a recommendation for accreditation, deferral, or denial of accreditation. The report and recommendation are forwarded to the IAC or AAC for concurrence.
8. Ratification or denial of accreditation
Recommendations for accreditation or denials of accreditation are ratified by the IAC or AAC. Recommendations are forwarded to the AACSB board of directors for ratification.
9. Submit final documents
Documents should be completed, saved, and submitted via myAccreditation by the predetermined due dates. If you have any questions, contact your AACSB accreditation staff liaison.