ABET Accreditation Evaluation Is an 18-Month, Five-Step Process.
ABET accreditation is the culmination of a practice of ongoing self-assessment and continuous improvement, which assures confidence that ABET-accredited programs are meeting the needs of their students, preparing graduates to enter their careers, and responsive to the needs of the professions and the world. This process has to be initiated by the institution.
For a visual timeline of the accreditation process, see Accreditation Step-by-Step.
Beforehand – Assessment and Eligibility
Before seeking ABET accreditation, your program should determine if it falls into the categories that we accredit, and that it meets our Eligibility Requirements. Prior to seeking an accreditation review, each program must have a functioning assessment process in place that meets our criteria for accreditation in three areas: Program Educational Objectives, Student Outcomes, and Continuous Improvement.
The Accreditation Process
Programs seeking initial accreditation by a commission for which the institution currently has no ABET-accredited programs must undergo a Readiness Review. One preliminary Self-Study Report per program should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by October 1. The Readiness Review—one of our eligibility requirements—will help determine whether or not your program is ready to submit a formal Request for Evaluation (RFE).
Request for Evaluation
Programs that have:
- met all eligibility requirements for ABET accreditation,
- implemented assessment processes, and
- if required, completed the readiness review may begin the accreditation process by filing a Request for Evaluation (RFE) by January 31 of the year in which the program is seeking an on-site visit.
Every RFE must be accompanied by one official transcript from a recent program graduate.
For programs located outside of the U.S., the RFE must also be accompanied by the Request for Acknowledgement (RFA) form and all required certified/official translations.
Once your program has submitted a Request for Evaluation, it must submit a Self-Study Report to ABET Headquarters by July 1. The chair of your program’s accreditation review team will then instruct you on distributing copies of the Self-Study Report to each member of the review team. Helpful resources for preparing the Self-Study Report can be found in the ABET Symposium presentation archive.
The On-Site Visit
On-Site visits are typically scheduled between September and December in the same year of an RFE submission. For programs located in the U.S., the on-site visit usually takes place between September and December, generally Sunday through Tuesday. Programs outside the U.S. may have a different schedule.
Once the on-site visit is set, you will be asked to schedule interviews and provide meeting spaces and display materials to assist the review team in its evaluation. The on-site visit will conclude with an exit meeting, at which the review team will convey its findings.
Helpful resources to assist your program in preparing for the on-site visit can be found in the ABET Symposium presentation archive.
Due Process and the Accreditation Decision
Approximately two to three months after the on-site visit, we will send your institution a Draft Statement containing a section for each program reviewed. The institution has a 30-Day Due Process response period from receipt of the Draft Statement to provide information on actions the programs have taken to resolve any identified shortcomings.
The back-and-forth process of the due process review period must be completed before the commission’s decision-making meeting in July, when each team chair presents his/her team’s findings to the commission responsible for the accreditation decision.
A Final Statement is prepared and sent to the institution by August 31. The Final Statement is based on the review team’s findings, the program’s responses, and communicates the accreditation commission’s decision.