Institutional accreditation involves the examination of an entire institution of higher education and all of its functions.  In the United States, institutional accreditation is carried out by the six regional accrediting bodies and a number of national accrediting bodies that have been recognized by the United States Department of Education.  Institutional accreditation by a recognized accrediting body is required in order for students to have access to federal funds.  Outside of the United States, most countries have government-based institutional accreditation.   Program accreditation, such as that provided by the IACBE, involves a specific and comprehensive evaluation of particular programs offered by a higher education institution.  Programmatic accreditation is available in many different disciplines.  The IACBE provides a process by which institutions of higher education can earn program accreditation for their business programs.

Once an academic business unit has been accepted into candidacy, it has up to five years to complete the accreditation process and achieve accreditation for its business programs.  The process typically takes 2-4 years.  When the IACBE Board of Commissioners grants accreditation, it is valid for a period of up to 7 years.  At that time, the academic business unit prepares a new self-study, undergoes a new site visit, and is reviewed for reaffirmation of accreditation by the Board of Commissioners.

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 associate's, bachelor’s and/or graduate degrees.

For the purposes of inclusion in the IACBE’s scope of accreditation, a program of study is considered to be a ‘business program’ if and only if it satisfies all of the following three 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 credit hours (or contact hours as applicable) in the traditional areas of business education in the courses, modules, subjects, etc. comprising the program constitute 20 percent or more of the total hours required for an undergraduate degree, diploma, or other equivalent credential, or 50 percent or more of the total hours required for a graduate degree, diploma, or other equivalent credential;
  • The program appears on a student’s official transcript, diploma supplement, or other official record of program completion.

Furthermore, all majors, concentrations, specializations, emphases, options, and tracks contained within a program will also be encompassed by the IACBE’s scope of accreditation if and only if they satisfy the following two criteria:

  • Fifty percent or more of the credit hours (or contact hours as applicable) required for any major, concentration, specialization, emphasis, option, or track are in the traditional areas of business education;
  • The majors, concentrations, specializations, emphases, options, and tracks appear on a student’s official transcript, diploma supplement, or other official record of program completion.

In order to become an educational member of the IACBE, an academic business unit must submit an application for educational membership, pay its membership dues, provide evidence that its parent institution has a publicly-stated mission appropriate to a college or university, submit a copy of the most recent catalog, bulletin, prospectus, brochures, or other materials for the institution's undergraduate and graduate degree programs and provide evidence that its parent institution has nationally-recognized institutional accreditation (or its equivalent) and grants business degrees at the bachelor's, master's, or doctoral level.  For more information about becoming an educational member of the IACBE, see Become a Member.

Membership dues for the 2024 membership year for all IACBE members are $2,750.  For members with business accreditation, there is an additional accreditation maintenance fee of $500-$1500 (based on number of accredited programs).  For members with specialized accounting accreditation, there is a separate accreditation maintenance fee of $200.  Annual membership dues for a given calendar year are payable in advance and must be paid before December 15 of the prior year, or late fees may be assessed.  Note:  2024 membership dues of $2,750 were invoiced in September 2023 for all current members with maintenance fees of $500-$1500 (based on number of accredited programs) for business accreditation and $200 for specialized accounting accreditation for all accredited members.  These 2024 membership dues needed to be paid by December 15, 2023.  For more information on accreditation maintenance fees, see Costs and Fees page.

Annual dues for the 2024 membership year are $2,750.  For new members of the IACBE, 2024 membership dues are prorated according to the date of joining as follows:

  • January 1 - March 31  -- $2,750
  • April 1 - June 30  --  $2,075
  • July 1 - September 30  -- $1,400
  • October 1 - December 31  -- $675

Payments may be remitted by check, by credit card, or by wire transfer.  Checks should be made payable to IACBE and mailed to 11960 Quivira Road, Suite 300, Overland Park, KS  66213.  For credit card payment and wire transfer information, please contact Accounting at IACBE World Headquarters.

Yes, the IACBE has established a mentoring program to assist its members through the accreditation process.  For more information about this program, please see Benefits of Membership.

The Annual Conference and Assembly Meeting (ACAM) provides an excellent opportunity to learn more about the IACBE and its accreditation process.  It is also a significant professional development opportunity where sessions on best practices in business education are presented by experts from IACBE member institutions.  In addition, the ACAM provides excellent networking opportunities.  IACBE conferences are known for their positive, collegial atmosphere.  For more information about our next annual conference, please see Annual Conference.

In order to become a site-visit peer reviewer, you must successfully complete a training process.  Site-visit peer reviewer training is usually conducted at the annual conference and at special workshops throughout the year.  For more information, please contact IACBE World Headquarters.

If a business program is accredited by the IACBE, the academic business unit has demonstrated that the program complies with the IACBE's accreditation principles.  To learn what programs are accredited, the date of the next site visit, and other details pertaining to an accredited member of the IACBE, please visit Member Status Information to search our member database by various member criteria.

The IACBE has developed a Procedure for Third-Party Complaints.  This procedure is designed to provide the information necessary to determine whether further investigation by the IACBE is warranted, and to protect the rights of students, parents, IACBE members, the IACBE, and the public.  This procedure must be followed in order for the IACBE to investigate a complaint.  For detailed information about this procedure, please refer to IACBE's Procedure for Third-Party Complaints.

The United States Department of Education does not recognize professional accrediting associations in business.  Therefore, none of the business accrediting associations are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Yes.  The Board of Directors of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) has granted recognition to the IACBE.

IACBE accreditation helps to ensure that your business degree is of high-quality.  IACBE-accredited programs have undergone a rigorous self-evaluation and on-site evaluation by highly-trained reviewers.  In addition, the institution and its academic business unit have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in business education and are involved in a continuous quality improvement process based on the assessment of student learning outcomes.

Institutions with IACBE-accredited business programs typically accept business degrees from other institutions with IACBE-accredited business programs.  Earning a business degree from an institution with IACBE-accredited programs can enhance the likelihood that your degree will be recognized by other institutions.

The IACBE accredits business programs, not entire institutions or individual courses.  The decision to accept transfer credits depends entirely on the individual institution and varies by institution.

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