As established by the Collateral Organizations (ACSA, AIA, AIAS, and NCARB) that have funded the organization since 1940, NAAB provides accreditation services and oversight to ensure architecture programs meet key quality assurance responsibilities. In 2020, with the support of the Collateral Organizations, NAAB embraced a more comprehensive approach to accreditation, one that utilizes outcome-based criteria to assess not only whether a program effectively teaches, but also whether students are learning and demonstrating competency in their area of study. This is the mission of accreditation and is the core of the shared commitment embraced by NAAB and the Collateral Organizations.

What is accreditation?

Accreditation, is a review of the quality of higher education institutions and programs. In the United States, accreditation is a major way that students, families, government officials, and the press know that an institution or program provides a quality education.

Any accreditation system includes five core elements:

  • The evaluation is carried out by a non-profit, non-governmental organization.
  • The program or institution prepares a self-evaluation report.
  • The program or institution hosts a visit by a team.
  • Judgments are made by peers who are trained.
  • The program has opportunities to respond to the process at certain points along the way.

What is architectural accreditation?

NAAB accreditation is the primary means by which professional degree programs in architecture assure quality to students and the public. In addition to the five core elements, the NAAB system also relies on the work of students to demonstrate that the program is preparing all graduates with the knowledge and skills needed for the next steps in their careers, including experience and, examination.

Why should I choose an accredited architecture program?

Architecture, like law and medicine, is regulated at the state level. The NAAB-accredited degree meets the education requirement for registration in all 55 U.S. jurisdictions; it is required in 35. Graduating from a NAAB-accredited program does not guarantee registration. Nevertheless, those who have earned one are likely to complete the Architect Registration Examination is less time.

What is NAAB’s accreditation process?

The NAAB accreditation cycle may range from every few years to as many as eight years. Every program seeking either new or renewal of accreditation must go through a number of steps, with support and oversight provided by NAAB at every step of the way:

  • Architecture Program Report: Programs prepare a written summary of performance based on the NAAB Conditions and Procedures for Accreditation.
  • Peer review: Accreditation review and site visits are conducted by a team of educators, practitioners, regulators, and students.
  • Preparation of visiting team report (VTR): The report, prepared by the visiting team at the end of its visit, summarizes its findings.
  • Action by the NAAB Board: Based on the program’s complete accreditation record, the Board grants accreditation.
  • Ongoing external review: Architecture programs continue to be reviewed over time on cycles that range from every few years to eight years.

On average, NAAB conducts 30 site visits resulting in a Visiting Team Report (VTR) for each program. In addition, NAAB expects to evaluate 100+ maintenance reviews, 175 annual report reviews and conduct 4-6 workshops and trainings, in addition to other accreditation functions.

30 Site Visits
100+ Maintenance Reviews
175 Annual Reports
4-6 Workshops & Trainings