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Discover why accreditation is key point to consider when you’re evaluating an analytics degree or graduate certificate. Learn more about regional accreditation for colleges & universities, DASCA accreditation for data analytics programs, and AACSB accreditation for Schools of Business. You can also look for additional quality markers from INFORMS and business organizations.
What is Accreditation?
Accreditation is a voluntary quality assessment pursued by universities, colleges, and even degree programs. It’s an important step to take—accreditation proves that an institution or program has met a set of universal quality standards.
Accreditation is granted by a wide range of independent bodies (e.g. regional accrediting agencies) and organizations (e.g. AACSB). Take a look at CHEA’s list of institutional & program accreditors to see how many are out there!
Who Accredits Analytics Programs?
U.S. Colleges & Universities: Regional Accreditation
U.S. colleges & universities have the option to seek regional accreditation or national accreditation. These accreditations are granted to the entire institution.
- Regional: Public and non-profit private colleges & universities in the USA pursue regional accreditation from one of six regional accrediting agencies (e.g. NWCCU, HLC, NECHE, etc.). The process is overseen by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
- National: National accreditation tends to be reserved for trade & vocational schools, online universities, for-profit schools, and career programs that offer degrees & certificates. National accrediting agencies include DETC, DEAC, COE, and the like.
If you wish to earn an academic degree or certificate (online or on-campus), always apply to a U.S. university or college that holds regional accreditation. You can use CHEA’s Database of Institutions to check that the accreditation is up-to-date.
Why is Regional Accreditation So Important?
Regional accreditation is the gold standard. Attending a regionally accredited institution will make it easy for you to:
- Apply for financial aid packages, scholarships & fellowships
- Transfer credits to other regionally accredited college & university programs
- Be eligible for corporate tuition reimbursement plans
- Qualify for U.S. analytics jobs—many employers ask for a regionally accredited degree in the requirements section
- Apply to U.S. graduate programs—many universities will only accept candidates with a regionally accredited bachelor’s degree or the international equivalent
You may find a nationally accredited school in the U.S. offering a cheap analytics program, but it’s not worth the money. You’ll be cutting yourself off from all kinds of career avenues and educational benefits.
Data Analytics Programs: DASCA Accreditation
Data Science Council of America (DASCA) is an organization devoted to the profession of data science. In addition to offering popular industry certifications (e.g. SBDA), DASCA also grants specialized accreditation to academic & higher learning programs in data science, data analytics, and data engineering.
- DASCA accreditation is still relatively new, so many analytics programs haven’t yet applied for it. You don’t need to choose a DASCA-accredited degree or certificate. But it is an additional quality marker.
- Interested in a data science degree? Some programs with DASCA accreditation also seek out Artificial Intelligence Board of America (ARTiBA) accreditation.
For more on the SBDA, check out our guide to popular analytics certifications & professional certificates.
Business Analytics Programs: AACSB Accreditation
AACSB stands for the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International. AASCB is an international non-profit association that grants specialized accreditation to an entire School of Business.
- If you’re interested in a business-focused analytics program (e.g. MS in Business Analytics, MS in Management Information Systems, etc.), ask if the School of Business has AACSB accreditation.
- You can also use AACSB’s tool to search for AACSB-accredited schools and filter by location, delivery, format, and even field (e.g. data analytics).
It’s not a “must-have.” AACSB accredits less than one-third of Schools in the country. However, you’ll usually discover that top-ranked Schools of Business in the USA also hold AACSB accreditation.
Additional Quality Markers
Standard Quality Markers
Your best bet is to choose a regionally accredited college or university that has a solid academic reputation for computer science & business. Evaluate the entire Department and/or School when you’re considering a degree or certificate program:
- Relevant Coursework: Is the curriculum up-to-date? Will you be learning the latest analytics methods & technologies?
- Faculty Experience: Do analytics professors work in the real world? How much industry experience do they have?
- Research Credentials: How much research money does the School and/or Department receive for its analytics centers & labs?
- Industry Connections: What kinds of analytics & data science projects are they currently running?
- Career Support: Does the Department organize seminars & job interviews? Does it fund certification training and conference trips? Where do alumni end up being employed?
Business School Rankings
Interested in business analytics and related programs? Do some research on the reputation of the School of Business. Name recognition matters—employers looking at your résumé will be impressed if your degree is from a top-ranked School in the USA.
- Bloomberg Businessweek Best B-Schools
- Financial Times Business School Rankings
- Forbes Best Business Schools
- Fortune Top Business Schools
- U.S. News & World Report Best Business Schools
INFORMS Prizes & Awards
INFORMS is a highly respected association for professionals in analytics, operations research & data science fields. Each year, it hands out a number of prizes & awards to individuals, research groups, teachers, and institutions.
- Thinking about a research-focused analytics program? Ask if anyone in the Department of Computer Science or Operations Research has won an INFORMS award.
- We also want to note that INFORMS gives the UPS George D. Smith Prize to an academic department/program for excellence in operations research, management science, or analytics.