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Scope of Accreditation

Scope of Accreditation

The IACBE accredits associate-, bachelor's-, master's-, and doctoral-level business programs at colleges and universities around the world.

> The IACBE's Scope of Accreditation

Scope of AccreditationScope of Accreditation

The IACBE accredits business programs that lead to degrees at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels in institutions of higher education worldwide that grant bachelor’s and/or graduate degrees. The IACBE does not accredit business programs of institutions of higher education that offer only associate degrees in business.

The IACBE expects business programs to be delivered by an established academic business unit. For the purpose of the accreditation of business programs by the IACBE, an ‘academic business unit’ is defined to be an organizational unit that is responsible for the administration and delivery of the business programs of the institution. This unit can be a department, division, school, college, institute, academy, faculty, or other organizational structure. However, the IACBE respects the differences that exist between institutions of higher education, and realizes that institutions may have valid reasons for offering some business programs through other academic units of the institution. In addition, it is expected that the academic business unit, and other academic units within the institution that offer business programs, will be led by doctorally- or professionally-qualified business educators.

Definition of a Business Program

For the purposes of inclusion in the IACBE’s scope of accreditation, a ‘business program’ is defined as follows:

Business Program: A program of study consisting of an organized set of business and business-related courses, modules, subjects, etc. that satisfies all of the following criteria:

  • The program leads to the awarding of a degree, diploma, or other equivalent credential at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral level;
  • The courses, modules, subjects, etc. in the traditional fields of business education1 comprising the program constitute 20 percent or more of the total requirements for an associate- or bachelor’s-level degree, diploma, or other equivalent credential;
  • The courses, modules, subjects, etc. in the traditional fields of business education comprising the program constitute 50 percent or more of the total requirements for a master’s- or doctoral-level degree, diploma, or other equivalent credential;
  • The institution indicates through its website, catalog, bulletin, prospectus, marketing brochures, or other materials that it offers the program, or the program appears on a student’s official transcript, diploma supplement, or other official record of program completion.

Furthermore, all business and business-related majors, concentrations, specializations, emphases, options, and tracks comprising any portion of the program are also encompassed by the IACBE’s scope of accreditation if they satisfy the following criteria:

  • Fifty percent or more of the requirements for any major, concentration, specialization, emphasis, option, or track are in the traditional fields of business education;
  • The institution indicates through its website, catalog, bulletin, prospectus, marketing brochures, or other materials that the majors, concentrations, specializations, emphases, options, and tracks are offered as part of the program, or the majors, concentrations, specializations, emphases, options, and tracks appear on a student’s official transcript, diploma supplement, or other official record of program completion.

Consequently, programs of study and all majors, concentrations, specializations, emphases, options, and tracks comprising any portion of the programs that satisfy the criteria listed above will normally be included in the IACBE’s scope of accreditation.


1 The following typical disciplinary areas are considered to be the ‘traditional fields of business education’: accounting, business administration, business ethics, business law, business-related quantitative methods, economics (principles of microeconomics and macroeconomics), finance, human resources, information management, international business, management, and marketing.

Further Defining the Scope

For the purpose of further defining the scope of IACBE accreditation:

  • The IACBE expects that business programs will normally be offered through the academic business unit. However, the IACBE respects the differences that exist within institutions of higher education, and realizes that institutions may have valid reasons for offering some business programs outside of the academic business unit. All business programs normally will be included in the IACBE accreditation review regardless of whether they are administered or delivered by the academic business unit or through other academic units of the institution.
  • All business programs regardless of degree level normally will be included in the IACBE accreditation review.
  • All campuses, educational locations, and instructional sites of an institution at which business programs are offered normally will be included in the IACBE accreditation review, as long as those programs are under the degree-granting authority of the institution seeking accreditation. Where multiple campuses, educational locations, and instructional sites exist within the framework of one institution, the IACBE will determine which of those campuses, educational locations, and instructional sites may be included in a single accreditation review.
  • All business programs, regardless of mode of delivery, normally will be included in the IACBE accreditation review. This includes online programs, adult-degree completion programs, accelerated programs, and other ‘nontraditional’ programs, regardless of whether these programs are administered by the academic business unit.

More Information

The IACBE’s Accreditation Process Manual describes the quality assurance process that is used by the IACBE in its accreditation of business programs and provides additional details regarding the IACBE’s scope of accreditation.

Accreditation Process Manual (PDF)

Advancing Academic Quality in Business Education Worldwide
The Diamond Standard for Quality Assurance in Business and Management Education

International Accreditation Council for Business Education | Advancing Academic Quality in Business Education Worldwide