• Becoming Accredited

How to Become Accredited by WSCUC

The Commission has established formal procedures by which institutions can move through the required stages that lead to accreditation. These stages include:

  • Eligibility
  • Initial Accreditation*

Each stage has specific criteria, processes, and time frames. An institution starting the procedures for seeking accreditation should carefully consider the requirements for each step to ensure its understanding of the process and be aware that the time frame may take several years depending on the maturity of institutional development.

*If Initial Accreditation is not achieved after a Seeking Accreditation Visit, Candidacy may be granted.

Steps to Becoming Accredited


There are three things to do to seek initial eligibility.

First, determine if you are ready to seek accreditation by reaching out to the WSCUC Vice President who oversees the eligibility process to discuss your institution’s intent and readiness. Prepare by reviewing the How to Become Accredited Manual.

Second, attend a WSCUC-sponsored workshop that describes the level of readiness expected of the institution at each step as it moves through Eligibility to Initial Accreditation.

Third, submit the Notification of Intent to Apply for Accreditation form. This form triggers the start of the eligibility review process.

Initial Accreditation

Once granted eligibility, the next step is to pursue initial accreditation. This is done by:

Submitting the Application for Accreditation form and associated fee.

Submitting the Letter of Intent.

Filling out and submitting the required supporting documentation.

The Eligibility Review Committee

Eligibility applications are peer-reviewed by the Eligibility Review Committee (ERC).

Learn More About the ERC

Becoming Accredited FAQs

Who may apply for WSCUC accreditation?

Postsecondary institutions for whom substantial portions of the institution’s educational offerings are programs that lead to degrees and that offer one or more programs leading to the baccalaureate or higher degree may apply to the Commission for eligibility. International institutions that have successfully completed the WSCUC Expression of Interest process may also apply.

How many years and visits will it take to become accredited?

WSCUC does not set a number of required visits or years to achieve Initial Accreditation. WSCUC places the emphasis on an institution coming into compliance with its four (4) Standards of Accreditation and accompanying 39 Criteria for Review. See the How to Become Accredited Manual for more information.

What is the process for accreditation?

There are typically three stages to accreditation: (1) Eligibility, (2) Preaccreditation (Candidacy), and (3) Initial Accreditation. Each stage has specific criteria, processes, and timeframes.

Becoming Accredited Resources

The resources listed below are specific to the process of seeking accreditation with WSCUC. You can refine your search by resource type and keyword. As you update the filters the resources below will adjust automatically. To explore all resources, regardless of the audience or resource type, use the main resource search page.


Becoming Accredited

This page provides information and resources for institutions interested in seeking WSCUC accreditation.


Application for Accreditation Form

To become accredited by WSCUC, Institutions must submit the application for accreditation form along with the candidacy/initial accreditation fee.


Eligibility Criteria to the Standards Comparison Guide

The Eligibility Criteria to the Standards Comparison guide speaks to the alignment between the Eligibility Criteria and the Criteria for Review described in the 2013 Standards of Accreditation established by WSCUC. It shows that the Criteria anticipate the Standards; it does not suggest that meeting the Criteria (result of a paper review) constitutes assurance that the institution will meet the Standards (result of a self-study and on-site review).


How to Become Accredited Manual

The How to Become Accredited Manual describes the level of readiness expected of the institution at each step as it moves through Eligibility.


Incubation Policy

This policy concerns the Review, Monitoring and Approval of Proposed Incubation Relationships with WSCUC Accredited Institutions. The incubation policy applies to proposals in which an entity that is not WSCUC accredited seeks to create a formal relationship with a WSCUC accredited institution with the stated intent of the unaccredited entity evolving within the accredited institution to the point of becoming separately accreditable under WSCUC policies. Note: This policy has been put on pause. At its October 15, 2021 meeting, the Executive Committee paused consideration of incubation arrangements to allow for a review of the policy and experiences, with an eye to potential clarification of the intent and provisions of the Incubation Policy. A revised policy may be brought to the Commission at a future time.


International Accreditation Webinar (2021)

Description of WSCUC's process for considering international institutions for Eligibility and potential Initial Accreditation. The WSCUC Standards of Accreditation are the same for all institutions, with one additional step for international institutions called an Expression of Interest (EOI) phase.


International Institution Expression of Interest Proposal

International institutions are invited to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) proposal using this template to initiate the accreditation application process.


International Institutions

A brief summary of the international accreditation process including a list of currently accredited and eligible international institutions.


Letter of Intent Template

Institutions applying for Initial Accreditation with the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) must submit a Letter of Intent using this form prior to their Seeking Accreditation, Visit 1.


Notification of Intent to Apply for Accreditation Form

The Notification of Intent to Apply for Accreditation Form formally expresses an institution’s intention to pursue accreditation with the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). Taking this action, together with any related expenditures, is endorsed by formal action of the institution’s governing board.