Preconditions to Accreditation

All programs applying for accreditation review must meet five preconditions. Programs must demonstrate in their Self-Study Reports that they meet the preconditions of accreditation at each accreditation review. The existence of a campus-based program which meets all preconditions is a prerequisite for an application from a program delivered via distance education. For accreditation purposes, programs are evaluated in the same way regardless of locations or modalities of delivery.

As the PAB is desirous of promoting innovation and experimentation in planning education, programs which do not meet the preconditions in a strictly literal sense, but which meet the spirit of these provisions, may petition the PAB for special consideration. Such petitions and Self-Study Reports must provide evidence that the Program meets the spirit of the preconditions.

1. Program Graduates: Programs shall have granted the degree for which accreditation is sought to at least 25 students.

2. Accreditation Status of the Institution: The Program’s parent institution shall be accredited by an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or by its successor organization.

3. Program and Degree Titles: Formal titles of programs and degrees shall contain the word “planning.”

4. Length of Program: Undergraduate degree programs shall require a minimum of four academic years of full-time study or the equivalent. For students for whom the graduate degree constitutes the first professional degree in planning, a minimum of two academic years of full-time study or the equivalent in planning is required.

Guideline: Residency. A Program, whether undergraduate or graduate, shall normally require students’ presence at the accredited program institution for a minimum of two academic years, or its equivalent. The intentions of this guideline are to ensure significant interaction with other students and with faculty, hands on collaborative work, socialization into the norms and aspirations of the profession, and observations by faculty of students’ interpersonal and communication skills. Programs departing from campus-centered education by offering distance learning, international exchanges, or innovative delivery systems must demonstrate that the intentions of this guideline are being achieved, and that such programs are under the supervision of fully qualified faculty. Such determination may include, but is not limited to, evidence of faculty of record, and communications between faculty and students.

Guideline: Fast-tracking. Programs that combine undergraduate education with a graduate degree in planning in a total of less than six academic years or the equivalent shall meet the standards of an accredited graduate degree.

Guideline: Dual Degrees. Programs may allow a degree in planning to be earned simultaneously with a degree in another field, in less time than required to earn each degree separately. All standards of an accredited graduate degree in planning must be met and the electives allowed to meet requirements of the other degree must be appropriate as electives for a planning degree.

5. Primary Focus: The degree Program’s primary focus shall be that of preparing students to become practitioners in the planning profession.


PAB Chair's Message Regarding the Amendment

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Amendment to the Accreditation Standards - Draft 1 (Word)

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This is a stand-a-alone Word document marked for the proposed changes.

Public Comments to Proposed Standards Amendment

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A compilation of all the comments received during the first public comment period (November 16 – December 15).

PAB Standards

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The comment period is now closed. Thank you for your participation in this process.

Preconditions to Accreditation

Standard 1: Strategic Planning and Progress

Standard 2: Students

Standard 3: Faculty

Standard 4: Curriculum and Instruction

Other Important Information

PAB Existing Standards

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PAB Presentation Summarizing the Amendment

(File Download: 103kB)

Amendment and Revision Procedures

Approval Process and Implementation – Key dates