Schools that are interested in AACSB accreditation must be a member of AACSB’s Business Education Alliance before applying to pursue accreditation. Schools should familiarize their faculty and administration with the AACSB accreditation guiding principles and standards along with the initial accreditation process. Taking the time to understand the accreditation process and standards before submitting an eligibility application provides a greater understanding of AACSB accreditation, which is typically reflected in a school’s application.
Prior to beginning the accreditation application process, a school must determine the scope of accreditation, meaning the degree programs to be included in the AACSB review process. 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 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. Details on determining program exclusions are available below.
In contrast to institutional accreditation, schools may apply as a single academic unit within a larger institution offering business and management degree programs. 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 (IAC). This application must be approved prior to the submission of the eligibility application. More in-depth information on the unit of accreditation can be found here. Schools should contact an AACSB accreditation staff member to discuss their institutional structure and whether accreditation as an academic unit is applicable before completing the eligibility application.
After determining scope of accreditation, a school may begin the first stage in the accreditation process by completing the eligibility application. The eligibility application process involves a review of a school in order to determine whether it meets the eligibility criteria for pursuing AACSB accreditation. A school should review the eligibility application for business accreditation prior to submitting an application. Eligibility applications are accepted at any time.
Once the accredited entity is determined, the next step is to gain agreement on which programs within the accredited entity will be included in the scope of accreditation. This is referred to as “programmatic scope.” Programmatic scope will normally include all business degree programs at the bachelor’s level or higher within the accredited entity. Schools may request exclusion of certain degree programs, subject to approval by the appropriate AACSB committee.
• Included Programs
Included programs are degree programs in which 25 percent or more of the content for baccalaureate degree programs, or 50 percent or more of the content for post-baccalaureate degree programs, relates to business disciplines such as accounting, economics, finance, legal studies, management, management information systems, marketing, and quantitative methods.1
• Excluded Programs
Excluded programs are programs with business discipline content below the thresholds noted above, or for which a specific exclusion request has been granted by AACSB.
A complete description of program exclusion criteria is available in the Philosophy of AACSB Accreditation section of the 2020 Business Accreditation Standards.
Program exclusions may be requested at any time during the accreditation process by submitting an exclusion request form.
1 The percentage of business content is calculated by dividing the maximum total number of business credits that can be taken in a degree (including electives) by the total number of credits required to earn the degree. For example, a 120-hour bachelor’s degree with 30 or more hours of business credits would normally be included in scope unless an exclusion request is granted by the appropriate AACSB committee