If you are considering online PhD programs or brick-and-mortar universities with online PhDs, it is essential that you check for proper accreditation during your research. Accreditation demonstrates that an academic institution or program meets high standards of quality in all aspects. Degrees from accredited PhD programs are recognized by governments, academic institutions, professional organizations and employers throughout the world. There are 2 basic types of accreditation: institutional accreditation covers an entire university while specialized accreditation examines a particular program within an educational institution, such as psychology or accounting. Specialized accreditation is vitally important for PhD students. PhD students in accredited programs can be confident that they will receive quality instruction from qualified faculty and have access to adequate educational resources to become successful graduates. Additionally, when leaving a PhD program that has proper accreditation, PhD graduates can be certain that they will be eligible for professional licensing in their field. In fact, state licensing boards in most professional specializations only accept degrees from properly accredited programs.
Popular PhD programs in the healthcare field include psychology and pharmaceutical science. The American Psychological Association (APA) oversees the accreditation of PhD programs in both clinical and counseling psychology. A full listing of currently accredited programs is available on the organization’s website. In pharmaceutical science, PhD programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). ACPE is also the national accrediting agency for professional programs and continuing education programs in pharmaceutical science.
Business and Finance
In the business field, leading PhD programs include management, marketing, finance and accounting. PhD programs in these subjects and others are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the leading business accreditation agency in the world. The AACSB offers 2 accreditations. The first general business accreditation includes PhD programs in 15 different business subjects. The second accreditation, available only to programs that have already attained the first, is a special accreditation for accounting programs. Students can browse full lists of programs that have earned the general business accreditation and the accounting accreditation.
PhD programs in education and education administration are accredited by the National Council on Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). NCATE offers 2 levels of accreditation. The first level, known as initial teacher preparation (ITP), covers only bachelors and masters programs that prepare teachers for licensure. The second level of accreditation, known as advanced preparation (ADV), includes doctoral programs.
Public Service, Law and Government
PhD programs in public affairs and public administration are among the most popular subjects in this area. However, no accreditation agency currently works in these subjects at the PhD level. At the masters degree level, the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) carries out program accreditation across the country. If you are looking for quality PhD programs in public affairs or public administration, you would do well to consider those programs with full masters level accreditation from NASPAA. Such accreditation ensures that a school has demonstrated a high level of performance at the graduate studies level, with qualified faculty and robust academic resources. You can identify accredited programs that offer PhD degrees using the program search tool on the NASPAA website.
Technology and Computers
The premier program accreditation agency in the technology, computer science and engineering fields is the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). However, ABET does not offer specialized accreditation for PhD level programs in these fields. In fact, there is no accreditation agency for these types of programs at the PhD level. To ensure that a given PhD program adheres to rigorous quality standards, you can check for general program accreditation by ABET, which will demonstrate that the school adheres to high academic standards in technology and computer programs. Visit the ABET website to search a database of accredited programs.
The engineering field features a variety of popular PhD programs, including chemical engineering, mechanical engineering and materials science. Like the computer science field, there is currently no accreditation agency dealing with programs at the PhD level. However, ABET does offer accreditation for bachelors and masters programs in this field. Engineering schools with ABET accreditation have passed a rigorous evaluation process designed to confirm the highest level of academic quality. While PhD programs at these schools are not specifically included in the process, ABET accreditation demonstrates that the school is dedicated to high standards.
Communication and Arts
Accreditation for PhD degree programs in the arts is carried out by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). NASAD accreditation is granted to arts programs with a wide variety of subject specialties, including art history, art education, visual arts and several design disciplines. Visit the NASAD website to view a list of schools with accredited programs.