What is Accreditation?

Accreditation is a system for recognizing educational institutions and professional programs for performance, integrity and quality. This recognition is extended primarily through nongovernmental, voluntary associations. These accreditors establish criteria for accreditation, arrange site visits, evaluate institutions and professional programs, and confer accreditation.

Although accreditation is basically a private, voluntary process, it is often a consideration in decisionmaking by governmental funding agencies, scholarship commissions, foundations, employers, and potential students.

The Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) accredits university programs in North America leading to bachelor’s and master’s degrees in planning. PAB standards are developed with input from the public and our sponsoring organizations: the American Planning Association (APA); APA’s American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP); and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP).

Mission of the Planning Accreditation Board


The Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) ensures high quality education for future urban planners.

Core Values

The PAB embraces the following five core values:

  • Stewardship: preserving and enhancing the knowledge base of the urban planning profession with which the Board has been entrusted.
  • Collaboration: building and sustaining a bridge between the academic and practitioner com­munities.
  • Communication: fostering awareness of urban planning education and its environment.
  • Integrity: maintaining a commitment to fairness, transparency, and consistency.
  • Leadership: maintaining currency with regard to state-of-the-art accreditation practice and instructional innovation.


In order to accomplish its mission, the PAB:

  • Accredits graduate and undergraduate planning programs in North America.
  • Mentors programs to further academic excellence in professional education.
  • Collects and provides data on the state of planning education (student profiles, performance, placement, effectiveness, etc.).
  • Strengthens professional education in partnership with its sponsors: the ACSP (Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning), the AICP (American Institute of Certified Planners), and APA (the American Planning Association).

Strategic Plan

In January 2012, PAB adopted a 5-year strategic plan that will guide the organization’s activities through 2016. The strategic plan builds on PAB’s accomplishments, strengths, and key themes that emerged from a 2011 retreat attended by leaders of ACSP, AICP, and APA. Please click here to view the PAB Strategic Plan.

ASPA Membership and CHEA Recognition

PAB is a member of the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA) and adheres to the ASPA Code of Good Practice.

PAB is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), adheres to the CHEA Recognition Policy, and undergoes periodic review. The CHEA website provides detailed information, including an important item that discusses degree mills and accreditation mills.

Amendment to Accreditation Standards

To view draft one of the proposed amendment to the Accreditation Standards, Click here. The first 30-day comment period is now closed.

Useful Documents

Accredited Planning Programs

The list of PAB-accredited planning programs.

Planning Programs Granted Candidacy Status

The list of planning programs seeking accreditation which have been granted Candidacy Status.

Candidacy Information

Instructions for becoming an accredited planning program.

Summary of Recent Actions

History of Accredited Programs

This list includes all degree programs currently and previously accredited by the PAB.

Accreditation Standards

(File Download: 425kB)

Standards approved April 14, 2012.

PAB Policies and Procedures Manual

(File Download: 644kB)

PAB combined its Accreditation Document with its Policies Manual to form a single new manual: The PAB Policies and Procedures Manual. This new manual contains all the PAB policies and procedures and provides guidance on the accreditation process.

The Value of Accreditation

(File Download: 268kB)

How it works and how it benefits students and the public; a brief document developed by regional, national and programmatic accrediting organizations, and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

CHEA YouTube Video: Accreditation and Its Value To You

Accreditation Toolkit

(File Download: 1MB)

A publication by CHEA designed to provide information on accreditation to students, faculty, presidents, chancellors, and governing boards of higher education institutions.