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Accreditation Process

For university accreditation, the Middle States Commission requires a comprehensive self-study and site evaluation every 10 years and a periodic update report in the 5th year between decennial reports.


Both regional and specialized accreditors undertake the task of accreditation in similar ways: each typically requires a self-study by the institution or program under review, a review by peers (including a site visit in most cases), and a judgment about accredited status. These judgments are based on standards of quality developed by the accrediting organization in consultation with the higher education community.

  • Self-study: Institutions or programs seeking accreditation typically prepare a self-study—an examination of whether their operation meets the standards of the accrediting organization.
  • Team visit and report: Higher education faculty and administrators, practitioners in specific fields, and members of the public make up “teams” that visit an institution or program to determine whether or not the standards of the accrediting organization are being met.

Cornell’s last decennial self-study was submitted in 2011. Previously submitted reports can be found here.