What Is the ACBSP?

What Is the ACBSP?

By Heather Mullinix

Published on January 11, 2021

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The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) provides specialized accreditation for business programs. Currently, more than 1,200 business programs from around the world hold accreditation from ACBSP.

ACBSP began accrediting programs in 1989, and the council remains the only accreditor to certify business programs at the associate level. ACBSP also accredits degrees at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels.

ACBSP remains the only accreditor to certify business programs at the associate level.

ACBSP considers the teaching quality, academic rigor, and student success of the business programs it evaluates. The council places a high value on teaching excellence and helps ensure that schools continuously improve educational offerings.

Earning a business degree requires a significant investment of time, effort, and money, and programmatic accreditation ensures students get their money's worth at school. Choosing an accredited program can also make it easier to transfer credits from an associate program to a bachelor's program or enter grad school. Accreditation from ACBSP demonstrates that a program meets specific standards related to coursework and academic attainment.

Read on to learn how ACBSP accreditation can benefit you and your future career.

What Is the Point of Accreditation?

Schools can earn two general types of accreditation. The first — institutional accreditation — evaluates the overall college or university. Regional and national accreditors evaluate variables like faculty credentials, curriculum standards, academic support, and physical resources.

The quality assurance provided by accreditation helps students choose programs that meet academic and industry standards.

The second type of accreditation looks only at specific programs. This specialized form of accreditation often relates to fields like business, engineering, and nursing. Accreditation helps set benchmarks for program quality.

Both types of accreditation rely on a third-party evaluator to provide an independent review of an institution's programs and policies. This quality assurance helps students choose programs that meet academic and industry standards.

Is ACBSP Accreditation Valuable?

ACBSP offers programmatic accreditation to programs awarding business and business-related degrees. Member schools include 1,200 campuses in more than 60 countries.

The council promotes quality instruction and supports ethical, inclusive, and diverse leadership. It also requires schools to demonstrate continuous improvement and strategic planning processes.

Students value ACBSP accreditation because of its international recognition. Attending an accredited program can also make it easier to transfer credits to a new school or continue your education — there are many articulation agreements in place between accredited associate and bachelor's programs. Additionally, to qualify for certain scholarships or employer tuition assistance programs, you may need to enroll in an accredited program.

Students attending accredited business programs can also join the Delta Mu Delta international honor society, which only accepts business students from ACBSP-accredited campuses. The organization serves about 160,000 members in more than 175 countries. Delta Mu Delta operates a scholarship program and provides members with ample networking opportunities.

ACBSP vs. AACSB

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is another accrediting agency that predates ACBSP. Founded in 1916, the goal of AACSB is to advance research in the field of business. The association currently accredits more than 840 business schools.

AACSB focuses primarily on the research quality of business programs, while ACBSP focuses more on instruction and student learning.

Because AACSB focuses on research, programs with AACSB accreditation tend to be found at larger universities, and the association does not award accreditation to associate programs. In 1988, about 150 schools met in Kansas City and formed ACBSP to provide an alternative accreditation pathway to AACSB. ACBSP developed standards to help maintain high-quality instruction and student learning, instead of focusing on research.

Both types of accreditation signify a high-quality program. Although students interested in academic or research careers may benefit more from attending an AACSB-accredited program, most employers recognize the quality of both forms of accreditation when making hiring decisions.

Learn More About Business Degrees


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