Frequently Asked Questions

Accreditation Process Questions

To be eligible to pursue NAAB accreditation of an architecture program, a program must be housed in a regionally accredited institution. A listing of regional accreditors can be found here. To begin the process of accreditation, a program should schedule a consultation with staff by contacting NAAB at accreditation@naab.org. Prior to starting the process of accreditation, programs are encouraged to review the requirements for accreditation outlined in the Conditions for Accreditation and Procedures for Accreditation.

Programs seeking candidacy may be granted an initial period of candidacy of no less than two years. Programs are required to apply for continuing candidacy every two years and must achieve accreditation within six years of the effective date of the term of initial candidacy.

NAAB terms of accreditation are effective on January 1 of the year in which the visit took place.

Graduates of a program that loses its NAAB accreditation can still satisfy the education requirements for licensure if they graduate within two years of the date when the program lost its accreditation. See the NCARB Certification Guidelines for more information about the two-year rule.

NAAB accreditation is a voluntary process. Programs elect to seek NAAB accreditation as a seal of quality assurance and ensure that students are able to meet architecture licensure requirements. To review jurisdictional requirements, please see NCARB’s Licensing Requirements Tool.

NAAB accredits professional degree programs in architecture, not individual degrees. Licensure candidates who do not hold a degree from a NAAB-accredited program may apply for an EESA evaluation if their jurisdiction requires a NAAB-accredited degree and accepts an EESA evaluation in lieu of the NAAB-accredited degree. To review jurisdictional requirements, please see NCARB’s Licensing Requirements Tool.

NAAB does not rank its accredited programs. All programs that are granted NAAB accreditation are considered to have met the quality assurance threshold set by the NAAB Conditions and Procedures.

Yes. See the list of NAAB-accredited programs outside the United States here.

The 2020 editions of these two documents are currently in effect. Visit the NAAB website for current and historic editions of the Conditions and Procedures.

As required by the NAAB Conditions, each program must make its most recent VTR available on its website. In addition, VTRs from the past ten years are available on the NAAB website. NAAB publishes all VTRs after accreditation decisions are made, for use by current or prospective students and faculty, as well as the public.

The 2020 Conditions for Accreditation do not specify the square footage of any program spaces. Instead, programs are asked to describe how their physical resources support and encourage the full range of student and faculty achievement. See Section 5.6, Physical Resources, of the 2020 Conditions.

NAAB does not recommend faculty workload or contact hours for studios. Programs must demonstrate that they have appropriate and adequate resources to support student learning and achievement. See Section 5.4, Human Resources and Human Resource Development, in the 2020 Conditions.

2020 Conditions and Procedures Questions

Programs may provide both curricular and non-curricular activities as evidence. The narrative in the APR and supporting evidence programs include, will need to demonstrate that all students had substantially similar the same learning experiences for each PC, even if not all students had the same experience. A curricular example would be all students taking one required elective from a list of three courses covering different aspects of the dynamics between the built and natural environments (PC.3).  A non-curricular activity might be a program requirement to work with a community group or organization that have different social contexts but provide opportunities to apply effective collaboration skills (PC.8).

The syllabus for each section must be provided (they do not have to follow the same graphic template, but must all contain the information that NAAB requires). If all sections use the same syllabi (same project, same topics, same grading rubric, etc.), one syllabus would suffice with all faculty listed. Each PC and SC is reviewed and evaluated separately, therefore syllabi need to be provided for each PC and SC that they are intended to satisfy.

Copies of blank exam forms should be included for all Student Criteria (SC). For SC.1-4, programs need to provide aggregated data that demonstrates that student learning outcomes are being achieved. For SC.5-6, programs need to provide graded student exams.

It is up to the school how they choose to provide this evidence. Lecture material is required but its format is up to the school.

Anonymizing student work is not required by FERPA for accreditation purposes. Student work is also no longer to be marked as high-pass or minimum-pass. The process for collection of student work as primary evidence of SC.5 and SC.6 is described in the Procedures, section 3.5.3.

FERPA allows schools to disclose these records, without consent, to accrediting organizations.

There is a section in the beginning of the APR Template that asks programs to provide a narrative regarding progress made on each Not Met SPC from the last visit. Depending on which SPC it is, it may be evaluated as part of a more comprehensive PC or SC as part of the 2020 Conditions. In this section the program could state that the SPC is no longer specifically required under the 2020 Conditions and therefore the program decided to (options):

  1. Include it within courses Arch xxx under PC.x (or SC.x).
  2. Include it within their curriculum as an elective or other required courses that do not fulfill SC or PC.
  3. Not include it in their program.

The Shared Values are defined in the 2020 Conditions.  How the program implements them in the program is up to each program. 

The Shared Values offer programs the opportunity to define the means and methods most appropriate to their mission, context, and pedagogy to prepare students with a set of core values that are essential and fundamental to the practice of architecture.

Shared Values are included in the Matrix because they need to be woven through the curriculum. Further, a response for each value identifies how the program continuously addresses these values as part of its long-range planning (Condition 5.2). They are included in the Matrix as a tool to help programs ensure they do so and ensure their APR and evidence submissions are complete and programs can move through the accreditation process.

Information on Outcome Based Assessment Framework may be found on the Events and Trainings page on our website (2020 Conditions and Procedures: Outcomes-Based Assessment Framework).

Yes. The program needs to provide primary evidence (2020 Procedures, section 3.5.3) of integration for each area of the Condition.

The school first determines which courses satisfy which requirement. In general, the requirement for student work is for a year’s worth of classes or the full academic cycle in which the courses are offered. For a fall 2020 visit, work from fall 2019 through spring 2020 would be appropriate; for a spring 2021 visit, work from winter 2020 through fall 2020 would be appropriate, so long as all the courses that the school says they use to satisfy SC.5-6 have been taught in that timeframe. (The requirement is that the work for SC.5-6 come from the same group of students if portions of both courses satisfy some aspects of both SC.5 and SC.6. If one course covers SC.5 completely and another course covers SC.6 completely then the work does not have to be from the same group of students.)

 

If the syllabus and learning objectives are identical for each section, all sections are treated as one pool from which randomly select student examples are taken.

If one course offers sections with different syllabi and learning objectives, the program must submit evidence from each section.

The institution/program defines what is considered passing. The syllabus typically would have the grading rubric in it. If a D is passing as defined by your program, then students receiving D would be included in the list of passing students from which work will be randomly selected. 

Student work required for SC.5 and SC.6 will be uploaded 45 days in advance of the visit. This gives the team the opportunity to review the work before the visit, and ask any clarifying questions. Programs will walk the team through the location and organization of files, but will not walk reviewers through each project. The team will look at all the student work provided and make a judgment as to the integration of the components of SC.5 and SC.6 as was done in the past.

For group work, include a summary of individual student contribution to the group work. Each student in the group must have received a passing grade for the class; if one student did not, that project should not be selected.  

 

Course X

Course Y

Student A

Spring 2020

Fall 2018

Student B

Spring 2020

Fall 2017

Student C

Spring 2020

Did not attend for undergrad

For SC.5-6 programs must provide student work from both courses. In the above example, student C’s work is not eligible to be submitted as evidence for because they did not enroll in Course Y.

If three required courses are needed to show the complete evidence for SC.5 or SC.6 and in a cohort there is one student who did not pass all three of those courses, then that student’s work should not be included. The expectation would be that if there were 45 students in that cohort, there would only be 44 names (or ID number) on the class list submitted to NAAB for SC.5-6.

NAAB Conditions are outcome-based, thereby requiring programs to demonstrate how quality assurance is validated in their programs. NAAB does not prescribe a definition, rather inviting programs to define and address EDI through the relevant activities, via Shared Value, Condition 5.5 and PC 8, related to EDI, in the context of their own program and their institution’s mission.

For virtual site visits through 2023, a physical visiting team room is not a requirement as all student work will be uploaded to the program’s digital platform. Even after 2023, the 2020 Procedures requires that all evidence be submitted digitally at least 45 days before the visit. Student work is only required for SC.5 and SC.6. A physical exhibition is not required by NAAB.

 

  • Video Tour for Virtual Site Visit
  • Documentation/evidence to support the narrative in APR for Condition 3 (Program and Student Criteria). Student work is only required for SC.5 and SC.6. Please see the Digital Guidelines.

A professional video is not necessary; someone touring the building(s) and support spaces using a smartphone to show each type of space is perfectly acceptable as long as the audio and visuals are clear. Videos should ideally be no longer than 15 minutes.