The ACBSP accredits associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level degree programs in business and business-related fields at institutions with bachelor’s and/or graduate degree programs. Business-related programs include disciplines such as economics, leadership, and interdisciplinary areas such as business education, computer information systems, and sport management, among others. All degree programs offered by the business school are normally included in the ACBSP accreditation process. The ACBSP expects that traditional areas of business specialization such as business administration, accounting, finance, human resources, information management, international business, management, marketing, and other business-related fields will normally be offered through the business school. However, the ACBSP also respects the differences that exist within institutions of higher education, and realizes that institutions may have valid reasons for offering some business or business-related programs outside of the business school. An institution is encouraged to include these programs in its ACBSP accreditation whenever possible.
All business degree programs, at the associate-degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and doctoral degree levels, normally will be included in the ACBSP accreditation process. All off-campus locations of an institution that offer degree programs in business and business-related fields normally will be included in the ACBSP accreditation process, as long as those programs are under the degree-granting authority of the institution seeking accreditation. Where multiple campuses exist within the framework of one institution, the ACBSP Board of Commissioners will determine which campuses may be included. All business and business-related programs normally will be included in ACBSP accreditation regardless of whether they are administered or delivered solely by the business school or through.
The unit responsible for administering the business and business-related degree programs in an institution may be a department, division, school or college. This unit should be led by a doctorally- or professionally-qualified business educator. If a business-related degree is to be excluded from the accreditation process, the institution must so state and provide its rationale for the exclusion. All business and business-related programs, regardless of mode of delivery, should normally be included in ACBSP accreditation. This includes online programs, distance learning programs, adult degree completion programs, accelerated programs, and other nontraditional programs, regardless of whether these programs are administered by the business school. The decision concerning which degree programs will be included in the accreditation process will be made well in advance of the study year. The ACBSP Board of Commissioners will determine, based on the information provided, whether or not a program will be included in the accreditation process. Factors to be considered by the commissioners in making this decision include the following:
Business course content of the program: If 20 percent or more of the total credit hours for an undergraduate degree program, or 50 percent of the total credit hours for a graduate degree program are business courses, then it is assumed that the program is a business program and should be included in the ACBSP accreditation process.
Accreditation or potential accreditation by a non-business accrediting association: If a particular program is subject to accreditation by a non-business accrediting association (e.g., a business education degree program that is or can be accredited by one of the education accrediting associations, or an engineering management program that is or can be accredited by ABET), the institution is justified in asking that the degree program not be included in the ACBSP accreditation process.
Degree programs with non-business professional licensure considerations. For example, the PE certification in engineering requires graduation from a program with professional accreditation; however, that accreditation should be in engineering, not in business. In these situations, the institution is justified in asking that the degree program not be included in the ACBSP accreditation process.
Operational control of the program: For example, some institutions have business-related adult degree completion programs that are not under the control of the business school. Control includes issues such as program and curriculum design, hiring and professional development of faculty, student selection and oversight, and awarding of degrees. It is assumed that all business programs will be included in the ACBSP accreditation process; however, if the business school has little or no operational control over a program, exclusion of that program may be justified.
Communication with stakeholders: Stakeholders, including faculty, current and potential students and their families, and employers are entitled to know which programs are and are not accredited by the ACBSP. If a program is represented in printed or electronic materials alongside accredited programs, it is assumed that that program will be included in the ACBSP accreditation process. To be excluded, programs must be clearly distinguished from accredited programs by degree name and title, program descriptions, and other representations to stakeholders.