Analytic Quality Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2004-21, Analytic Quality Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 22 September, 2021 , © Lee Harvey 2004–2021.


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Specialized accreditation

core definition

Specialized accreditation refers to any accreditation process that relates to specific discipline areas.

explanatory context

Specialized accreditation is mainly a term used in the United States.

analytical review

The UNESCO definition of specialized accreditation is:

The accreditation of individual units or programmes (e.g., professional education), by “specialized” or “programme” accrediting bodies applying specific standards for curriculum and course content. (Vlãsceanu, et al., 2004, p. 20)

CHEA (2002) states:

Specialized and Professional Accreditors: (U.S.) Accredit specific programs or schools, such as law schools, medical schools, engineering schools, and health profession programs. (See also national accreditors and regional accreditors.) (U.K.) Professional and statutory bodies that approve or recognize specific programs (e.g., law, medicine, engineering, health professions, architecture) in the context of the requirements for professional qualification. Some such organizations have a prescribed statutory responsibility to approve or recognize programs and/or determine the academic standards and professional and vocational components of such programs.


The principle, thus, also applies to professional accreditation in the UK and other countries, where professional or regulatory bodies scrutinize or otherwise have input or control over curricula. In many senses this is the same as programme accreditation.

Specialised accreditation is also being developed on an international basis, for example, EQUIS accreditation of business schools.

EQUIS is the leading international system of quality assessment, improvement, and accreditation of higher education institutions in management and business administration. Its fundamental objective, linked to the mission of the efmd, is to raise the standard of management education worldwide. EQUIS facilitates standard setting, benchmarking, mutual learning, and the dissemination across borders of good practice.. (EQUIS, undated)

associated issues


related areas

See also


accreditation body

accreditation portfolio

accreditation status

accreditation survey

duration of accreditation

institutional accreditation

programme accreditation


regional accreditation


Council For Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) 2001, Glossary of Key Terms in Quality Assurance and Accreditation, last updated 23 October 2002, accessed 18 September 2012, page not available 30 December 2016.

EQUIS, undated, European Quality Improvement System EQUIS,, site undated, accessed November, 2004, no longer available 25 January 2012.

Vlãsceanu, L., Grünberg, L., and Pârlea, D., 2004, Quality Assurance and Accreditation: A Glossary of Basic Terms and Definitions (Bucharest, UNESCO-CEPES) Papers on Higher Education, ISBN 92-9069-178-6, available at, accessed 20 September 2012, still available 30 December 2016, still available 29 December 2016.

copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2021

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