The 2017 Self Study is prepared for the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). It will also be reviewed by an evaluation team of faculty and administrators from peer institutions chaired by Dartmouth University President Philip Hanlon, to visit campus October 29-November 1, 2017.

The Self Study focuses on various dimensions of the University as prescribed by the accreditors such as organization and governance, academic programs, planning and evaluation, institutional resources, and educational effectiveness. Because most of Harvard’s graduate and professional Schools are separately accredited, the report emphasizes the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and in particular the College, along with the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. It was prepared in consultation with various groups and colleagues from across Harvard’s campus, as coordinated by a Steering Committee chaired by Scott Edwards, the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and professor of organismic and evolutionary biology.

After clicking on the "Read Report" link below, you will be prompted for your HarvardKey credentials.  Please send any comments, questions, or other feedback to

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Accreditation FAQ

What is accreditation? Why should a university be accredited?

Accreditation is a voluntary, peer review process. It serves 4 main purposes: (1) to assure quality to the public, (2) to ease student transfer between institutions by signaling quality, (3) provides institutions with access to federal financial aid, and (4) certifies a graduate’s credentials to employers.

An “accredited” university meets the Standards for Accreditation established by an accrediting agency.  The Standards ensure that an institution has appropriate and clear goals, sufficient resources to achieve them, is fulfilling its objectives, and will continue to do so....

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Who accredits the accreditors?

Accreditors, such as CIHE, are organizations federally recognized through the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI), a bipartisan committee established under the Higher Education Act Amendments of 1992.  NACIQI recognition indicates that an accreditor can adequately determine whether an institution is of sufficient quality to qualify for federal funds for financial aid and other programs.

In addition, CIHE is recognized through the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, which has five standards for accreditors: (1) They are required...

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How does reaccreditation work? What is the process?

According to CIHE, accredited institutions are typically reviewed for accreditation every ten years.  That process, called the comprehensive evaluation, begins with the preparation of a self-study, which typically takes 12-18 months to prepare and addresses all of the Standards for Accreditation.  After reading the self-study, a committee consisting of faculty and administrators from similar institutions visits campus to meet with the university president, faculty, students and staff.  The committee provides recommendations to the Commission, which then...

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What are CIHE Standards for Accreditation?

CIHE Standards for Accreditation, most recently revised in 2016, examine “institutional quality” in 9 areas, which are:

  1. Mission and Purposes
  2. Planning and Evaluation
  3. Organization and Governance
  4. The Academic Program
  5. Students
  6. Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship
  7. Institutional Resources
  8. Educational Effectiveness
  9. Integrity, Transparency, and Public Disclosure

More detailed information about the Standards for Accreditation can be found on the CIHE...

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