International Programs

The mission of the American Academy for Liberal Education (AALE) is to promote excellence in liberal education by providing recognition of schools and programs that maintain the highest standards of liberal arts learning. In keeping with this mission, AALE accredits liberal arts programs through the baccalaureate level outside of the United States. The review process and final decision are based on the AALE Program Standards of Excellence in Liberal Education.

What are the benefits of AALE International Program accreditation?
International programs share in the same benefits as U.S. post-secondary liberal arts programs including engaging in a comprehensive self-study to explain how effectively the program realizes its stated liberal arts mission and meets standards of excellence for liberal arts learning. Successful applicants receive public recognition of this accomplishment. Once accredited, international programs join a membership dedicated to sharing best practices for high student achievement of liberal arts learning objectives; promoting the importance of teaching and instructional practices suitable for liberal education; and developing innovative ways to foster life-long learning that prepares students for productive engagement with the world.

What does accreditation by a U.S. accrediting agency mean?
The practice of higher education accreditation first appeared in the United States in the late 19th century as a way of establishing educational standards and evaluating admissions procedures. By the 1930’s regional and national accrediting agencies operated as an accepted feature of higher education providing the public with formal acknowledgments of programs and institutions that met minimum quality standards.

Today numerous accreditation agencies and organizations function in the United States. These accreditors award accreditation to an educational entity that meets accepted standards, documented through a self-study, evaluated by a peer-review process and monitored by the accrediting body. U.S. accreditation agencies and organizations are recognized by students, parents, educators, and the public-at-large for the expertise of their governing bodies that set standards of quality and ensure institutions and programs regularly assess and address areas of improvement so quality is maintained.

U.S. accreditation agencies and organizations are non-governmental; they are not operated by state or federal authorities. Accreditation agencies and organizations however may seek recognition by the U.S. Secretary of Education in order to allow U.S. members to access federal funding such as the Title IV student loan program. To better understand the practice of accreditation in the United States and the relationship of accreditation to U.S. federal law and the U.S. Department of Education please visit

What is the process for International Program accreditation?
The process for International Program accreditation follows the essential steps for U.S. Program accreditation. The process begins with an initial inquiry and consultation with AALE staff concerning eligibility requirements. The program submits an Application for Eligibility Review with accompanying documentation. (Affiliate Membership, a non-accreditation status may be recommended if potential applicants need additional time to work with AALE staff to determine readiness for an Eligibility Review and meeting a designated timeline for formal application.) Upon successful completion of the eligibility review, the program receives information on and a designated timeline for completing the application process. The formal application includes a self-study, a site evaluation visit and a formal response to the site evaluation visit report. Completed applications are forwarded to the Council of Scholars for recommendation and then presented to the Board of Trustees for final decision. Potential applicants for International Program accreditation are encouraged to review the AALE website for a broader understanding of accreditation and to contact AALE staff with specific eligibility questions.

Additional AALE International Program accreditation information and documents: