Letter of Application for Candidacy Status

The following information should be included in the Letter of Application for Candidacy Status, submitted on the institution’s letterhead and under the signature of the Chief Executive Officer:

  1. Degree title(s) offered by program;
  2. Name of planning program;
  3. Name of college or home unit;
  4. Name of institution;
  5. Statement demonstrating your degree program’s readiness to undergo initial accreditation review, based on the PAB Standards. Include information highlighting the need for the program, the capacity to conduct the program, and institutional support for the program.
  6. Compliance with Preconditions to Accreditation. * All programs applying for accreditation review must meet five preconditions. Programs [undergoing re-accreditation also] must demonstrate in their Self-Study Reports that they meet the preconditions to accreditation. 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.
    • Program Graduates: Programs shall have granted the degree for which accreditation is sought to at least 25 students.
      This precondition ensures that there is sufficient program experience for the evaluation of the program’s performance relative to the accreditation criteria.
    • 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.
    • Program and Degree Titles: Formal titles of programs and degrees shall contain the word “planning.”
      This precondition encourages institutions to employ nomenclature which accrurately indicates the program’s emphasis. The nomenclature is an important identifier for prospective students, as well as for the employers of the program’s graduates. Evidence of course coverage and faculty qualifications shall be submitted that justifies the program and degree titles.
    • 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.
      This precondition ensures that the program has the flexibility to offer the full curriculum of planning and related courses which are appropriate for an accredited degree.
      >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 all the criteria 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 criteria 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.
    • Primary Focus: The degree program’s primary focus shall be that of preparing students to become practitioners in the planning profession.
      Only those degree programs which are engaged explicitly in the education and training of professional planners are eligible for accreditation. Specifically excluded are: (1) Ph.D. programs; (2) undergraduate programs which are pre-professional, rather than professional, in intent; (3) programs which teach planning as a subject interest, rather than as a field of professional practice; (4) urban studies or urban affairs programs; and (5) programs with a primary mission other than that of training professional planners (for example, programs in which planning is a major or specialization available to students pursuing a degree in a related field).

PAB Accreditation Standards Review

PAB is in the process of reviewing its accreditation standards for planning programs. To learn about the process and how you can be involved click here

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.

Considering Accreditation?

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.

2017 Accreditation Standards

(File Download: 338kB)

Standards approved March 3, 2017.
Programs submitting Self-Study Reports in 2018 will use the 2017 standards.

PAB Policies and Procedures Manual

(File Download: 492kB)

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

A publication by CHEA designed to provide information on accreditation to students, faculty, presidents, chancellors, and governing boards of higher education institutions. For updated information broken down by group, please visit: https://www.chea.org/accreditation-toolkit