Office of the Provost


Accreditation is a process by which educational institutions or units within an institution are recognized for their performance, integrity and quality. This recognition entitles them to the confidence of the educational community and the public, and the process of accreditation creates a process by which they can continuously improve. The University of Washington is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) and more than six dozen of its programs are accredited by discipline-specific bodies.

Types of accreditation

Institutional accreditation

The University of Washington is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), one of six regional accrediting organizations recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. According to the NWCCU, regional accreditation is a process of recognizing educational institutions for performance, integrity, and quality; this recognition entitles them to the confidence of the educational community and the public. Accreditation also qualifies the institution and its enrolled students for access to federal funds that support teaching, research, and student financial aid.

When granted, accreditation by the NWCCU is not partial. It applies to the entire UW at the time of the most recent comprehensive evaluation. Accreditation indicates that the institution as a whole is substantially achieving its mission and that it meets the NWCCU’s expectations for compliance with accreditation criteria.

Specialized accreditation

Many undergraduate and graduate programs at the UW are accredited as well. The evaluation of these programs is conducted by a specialized accrediting body, often discipline-specific and associated with a national professional organization. Though each of these organizations may have different definitions of eligibility, criteria for accreditation, and operating procedures, accreditation by a specialized accrediting agency is one means of assuring quality of the accredited programs.

NWCCU accreditation standards

According to the NWCCU, accreditation standards articulate the quality and effectiveness of accredited institutions, and collectively provide a framework by which these institutions can continuously improve. These five standards also are key indicators by which institutions are evaluated by peers. Read excerpts of the standards, with additional details available on the NWCCU’s website.

Accreditation of the UW

Accreditation of the University of Washington was reaffirmed in January 2014, after a comprehensive self-evaluation report and site visit in autumn 2013. The UW’s next seven-year accreditation cycle involves a number self-studies and updates to the NWCCU:



  • Standard 2: Resources and Capacity
  • Update of Standard 1


  • Standard 3: Planning and Implementation
  • Standard 4: Effectiveness and Improvement
  • Standard 5: Mission Fulfillment, Sustainability, and Adaptation
  • Update of Standards 1 and 2

Accreditation steering committee

  • Sean Gehrke, Director, Office of Educational Assessment
  • Erin Guthrie, Director, Institutional Data & Analysis
  • Sarah Hall, Associate Vice Provost, Planning and Budgeting
  • Erik Hofer, UW-IT Deputy Chief Information Officer
  • Joseph Janes, Chair, Faculty Senate
  • Jason Johnson, Senior Associate Dean, Undergraduate Academic Affairs
  • Sharon Jones, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, UW Bothell
  • Kevin Mihata, Associate Dean for Educational Programs, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Patricia Moy, Associate Vice Provost, Academic and Student Affairs
  • Jill Purdy, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, UW Tacoma
  • Mark Richards, Provost
  • JoAnn Taricani, Faculty Legislative Representative
  • Joel Tobin, Compliance & Risk Services
  • Joy Williamson-Lott, Dean, Graduate School


For more information about the UW’s accreditation process, contact