In keeping with our vision “to provide world leadership” in encouraging the highest quality collegiate programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology education, our Global Council (GC) establishes processes for mutual recognition of ABET-accredited programs in the United States and corresponding programs in other countries through Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs).
The Global Council receives frequent requests from organizations outside the United States, seeking technical assistance in developing or gaining recognition for their accreditation systems. Our services to help higher education agencies or organizations outside the U.S. in developing quality assurance processes are formalized under Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs). Often the underlying goal of these requests is to prepare an accrediting agency or higher education authority for entrance into an international MRA, such as the Seoul, Washington, Dublin, or Sydney accord.
What MRAs Recognize
MRAs (also known as “accords”) recognize the substantial equivalence of mature accreditation systems and programs accredited by signatory organizations within their jurisdictions. Signatories of MRAs agree that the graduates of programs accredited by the accord’s signatories are prepared to begin practice of the profession at the entry level.
Why We Engage in MRAs
We enter into MRAs with appropriate higher education agencies/organizations in other countries as a mechanism to promote the quality improvement of applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology education around the world.
Joining in MRAs
Through our Global Council, we may enter into an MRA with recognized higher education authorities or quality assurance organizations outside of the United States. We also sponsor such organizations’ membership in the Washington Accord, Sydney Accord, Seoul Accord, and other accords to which we are a signatory, subject to the following conditions:
- The organization has an on-going, profession-controlled, peer-review accreditation system for applied science, computing, engineering, or engineering technology degree programs at institutions of higher education within the country.
- The organization has completed a minimum of five (5) accreditation cycles prior to their request for entry or sponsorship into the MRA.
- The organization has received recognition, approval, and/or authorization of operating status from a national educational ministry, legislative mandate, or other appropriate authority (governmental or non-governmental).
- The organization provides a mechanism whereby the professions related to the programs accredited have representation within its governance structure, and professional peers are involved in a voluntary manner in the accreditation process, including formulation of accreditation criteria, policies and procedures, and decisions about accreditation actions.
- The organization has goals, objectives, criteria, policies, and procedures in educational quality assurance consistent with the practices we recognize.
- The organization demonstrates a willingness to share studies, proposals, discussions, minutes of board/commission meetings, and accreditation policies and procedures; and, by mutual consent, agrees to participate as observers in meetings and site visits, and contribute to the understanding of other signatories’ systems of accreditation.
- Each party to the MRA adjudges accreditation decisions by the other party to be acceptable and substantially equivalent based on evidence that graduates demonstrate acceptable educational preparation for entry into the practice of the discipline for which the program is being accredited.
- The organization recognizes and agrees that ABET may enter into other MRAs with other entities within the same country or region when judged appropriate by ABET.
- The MRA is in effect for a mutually agreeable finite period of time and includes an exit clause that allows either entity to withdraw from the agreement with appropriate written notice.
- The MRA does not preclude ABET from accrediting a qualifying program if requested to do so by an institution, regardless of geographic location.
Procedures for Developing and Implementing MRAs
We follow the procedures below in developing and implementing MRAs:
- The Global Council conducts a preliminary review and evaluation of a candidate organization’s accreditation system through exchange of pertinent documentation.
- A positive outcome enables the Global Council to arrange for the exchange visit of appropriate representatives. A negative outcome terminates the review, unless the candidate requests ABET assistance in further development of its accreditation system.
- The MRA must have appropriate procedures for on-site reviews of candidate organizations, and ABET reserves the right to participate in these reviews. The visits should include opportunities for interviews with appropriate authorities, observance of decision meetings, and allow an assessment of the cultural setting in which the system operates.
- The reports of the review teams of candidate accrediting organizations are presented to the Global Council for consideration and approval. When a recommendation includes the possibility of establishing an MRA, a draft MRA document accompanies the recommendation from the Global Council. Any financial commitment related to the implementation of the MRA must be specified in writing. In addition, any manpower required to implement the MRA must also be specified on an annual basis.
- Any evaluations or consultations to be undertaken as a result of an MRA will be completed in accordance with established ABET policies and procedures, insofar as possible. Due recognition is given to different economic, cultural, environmental, political, and societal factors, as well as purely technical/educational matters.
Please contact our Senior Manager – International Relations for more information about MRAs.