Considering Accreditation

NASPAA Accreditation is the peer review quality assurance process for graduate-level, master’s degree programs in public policy, affairs, and administration. 

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NASPAA’s accreditation process, driven by public service values, is mission- and outcomes-based, and grounded in an in-depth self-evaluation of programs using the NASPAA Accreditation Standards – the quality benchmark of graduate public service programs around the world. Programs seeking accreditation use the self-study process to support ongoing program improvement, strengthen their commitment to public service education, and showcase their accomplishments. The Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation (COPRA) is the Council for Higher Education (CHEA)-recognized accreditation body for graduate degree programs in public policy, administration, and affairs, globally. 

Accredited programs must contribute to the knowledge, research, and practice of public service, establish observable goals and outcomes, and use information about their performance to guide program improvement. They must practice truth in advertising and ensure their students achieve learning objectives in five domains essential to public service. NASPAA accreditation is awarded at the master’s degree program level only, not at the school or institutional level.

Is your program eligible to seek accreditation?

To be eligible for NASPAA accreditation, your program must be a master’s degree in public policy, affairs, or administration (or similar title denoting a professional master’s degree preparing students for professional careers in public service). Your program must be a member in good standing of NASPAA, and your home institution should be regionally or nationally accredited, or be recognized by the equivalent quality assurance body in your country.

To provide the sufficient data and assessment processes required to complete a review, programs should be in operation for at least a four year period before seeking NASPAA accreditation.  Programs that have not been in operation for at least four years must provide a rationale as to the sufficiency of program data to support an evaluation.  Programs should also have a nucleus faculty of at least 5 full-time faculty members.

Programs based outside the United States are eligible for NASPAA accreditation! For more information on accreditation for programs outside of the United States, see this page.

See the Overview and Timeline page for detailed information about seeking NASPAA Accreditation.

Want to learn more? This video playlist provides an overview of NASPAA Accreditation and your next steps.

Individual videos and PowerPoints:
Why Seek NASPAA Accreditation?

NASPAA Accreditation as an Outcome (PowerPoint)
NASPAA Accreditation as a Process (PowerPoint)
Eligibility for NASPAA Accreditation (PowerPoint) 

Click here for videos accessible in China.