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ColumnsDestination USA: Accreditation to validate programmes

Destination USA: Accreditation to validate programmes

Published: 3rd Jan 2022 12:02 am | Updated: 8th Jan 2022 10:48 pm

Last week, we started a discussion about ‘accreditation’ in our special topic series on US higher education. We saw how accreditation is a system for recognising educational institutions and professional programmes for their level of quality, performance, and integrity and helps students in selecting acceptable institutions for their applications. The article also referred readers to a database of accredited programmes and institutions published by the US Department of Education that they can visit before shortlisting US colleges and universities.

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In addition to the identification of an accredited university, it is also recommended that students identify academic programmes with professional accreditation. Such programmatic or professional accreditation is generally granted by commissions managed by professional organisations in specific fields. Today, we share with our readers the programmatic accrediting bodies for some prominent fields of study that Indian students opt for in the United States.

Engineering: The professional accrediting organisation for the field of engineering is the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (www.abet.org). The accreditation process at ABET is carried out by four different accreditation commissions based on the sub-fields of study within the Engineering discipline. Students may search for the accredited programs in engineering at https://amspub.abet.org/aps/name-search?searchType=institution.

Business: Professional accrediting organisations for business administration include the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (www.aacsb.edu), the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programmes (www.acbsp.org ), the MBA Association, (www.mbaassociation.org ) and the Executive MBA Council (www.emba.org).

Nursing: Students seeking admission in nursing schools and programmes may visit the websites of the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (https://www.aacnnursing.org/CCNE) and the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission – NLNAC (https://cnea.nln.org/) that are recognised accreditation agencies for baccalaureate nursing programmes in the United States. Also, students should make sure that the nursing school is approved by the State Board of Nursing.

Education: Identifying academic programmes with professional accreditation in the field of education is especially relevant since, after completion of a programme in education, students generally seek licensure or certification from the State where they want to practice. The professional accrediting organisation for the field of education is the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation or CAEP (www.caepnet.org).

Journalism and Mass Communication: The professional accrediting association for the field of journalism and mass communications is the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications http://www.acejmc.org/accreditation-reviews/accredited-programs/.

Public Health: The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) is an independent agency that is recognised by the US Department of Education to accredit public health programs and provide information about the accredited schools and programs of public health. Students may find more information at https://ceph.org/about/org-info/who-we-accredit/accredited/.

Law: The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) provides list of approved programmes/schools in the field of law (https://www.lsac.org/choosing-law-school). Public Policy & Administration: Students may visit the website of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (www.naspaa.org) which is the professional accrediting organisation for programmes in the field of public policy and administration.

For the full list of accrediting agencies recognised by the US Department of Education, students may visit: https://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg5.html#Nationally_Recognised Overall, identifying an accredited academic programme and institution of study for higher education in the United States is a crucial aspect of the US university application process. However, students should evaluate all aspects of a school’s offerings before making a decision to enroll.

Monika Setia ( Regional Officer and EducationUSA Adviser at the United States-India Educational Foundation based at the US Consulate General Hyderabad. Please visit https://educationusa.state.gov/centers/educationusa-usief-hyderabad for more information)


Q. I am applying for master’s programmes at US universities. How can I identify the cost of attendance of the programme? – Ravi Kumar

A. Websites of universities under consideration are good sources to check the tuition fee, cost of living, and other expenses to ascertain the cost of attendance at a US university. This information can be found on the admissions page of the university or on the bursar webpage (bursar is the office of budget and finance at a university). Make sure to take note of both the tuition fee and other additional costs, including the cost of housing, books and supplies, transportation, health insurance, personal expenses, etc. In addition, make note of whether the tuition is for residents or non-residents (as an international student, you will be paying the non-resident fee). These costs vary based on the type of institution, location, and program of study.

Q. If one is applying to undergraduate programmes in the United States, from whom should we take the letter of recommendation?

A. Letters of recommendation, sometimes also called letters of support or reference letters, are a critical piece of undergraduate applications to US universities. In general, higher education institutions in the United States require letters from one school counsellor and sometimes one or two school teachers. Some institutions also accept additional recommendations from coaches or other recommenders. In cases where a school counsellor is not available, students may request either the principal or another teacher nominated by the principal to write the letter. Recommendations should not be written by direct family members.

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