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Professional Accreditation


The primary purpose of professional accreditation is to ensure that graduates from specific programs are professionally qualified and competent. The University also recognises that external accreditation of its programs by professional bodies is an important component of a quality assurance framework. During the process of professional accreditation a program is assessed against predetermined criteria within certain specified categories (for example, objectives, curriculum content, resourcing, staff profile), with the aim of reaching a conclusion about whether the program meets minimum standards set by the relevant accrediting body.

Regulated and Non-regulated Professions

Professional accreditation can either be regulated or non-regulated. Regulation is enforced by government on behalf of the public in occupations where public safety needs to be ensured. Professions such as architecture, nursing, medicine, and psychology are regulated whereas engineering, accountancy and journalism are unregulated.

In unregulated professions, national professional associations themselves may establish an accreditation function as part of their wider professional services and operations. However, such accreditation is at the request of the individual university and is not obligatory.

Accreditation and Registration

Accreditation and Registration are two separate and different processes. The purpose of accreditation is to ensure that a program of study meets essential criteria in the training and education of its graduates in particular fields. Registration, however, is the licensing of the individual graduate to work as a professional. Most professional areas require both accreditation and registration.

Benefits of Accreditation

Professional accreditation provides programs conducted by the University with the following benefits:

  • recognition by employers of graduates
  • adherence to a code of ethics
  • independent quality assurance
  • currency of curriculum content and standards
  • a standard for national and international comparison
  • employment mobility for graduates.

Value of National Accreditation

  • Ensures compliance with national guidelines and standards
  • Ensures nationally compatible and comparable registration standards and qualifications
  • Promotes transparency, visibility and ongoing quality enhancement
  • Promotes collaboration with universities to ensure on-going improvements to programs and response to new developments
  • Promotes collaboration with accreditation systems in other countries (mutual recognition). Promotion of greater transnational consistency
  • Audits workforce supply and demand with the aim of advising on requirements for places in universities.

Who can I contact at the University about Professional Accreditation?

Learning & Quality Support

Professional Accreditation at the University of Adelaide

The professional accreditation of programs offered by the University is conducted by a variety of accrediting bodies such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia, Engineers Australia and the Australian Medical Council. The University has no influence over the accreditation process and fully recognises the independence of the accrediting bodies. However, the University has established certain procedural practices to ensure that all instances of accreditation are recorded, that a schedule of impending accreditations is maintained and that issues identified through accreditation are formally addressed by the University.

The University also recognises that reports by accrediting bodies are a valuable source of information about the quality of programs offered by the University. This information is of interest to external organisations such as TEQSA and issues identified during an accreditation are relevant to program reviews and annual monitoring. For these reasons copies of all reports provided by professional accreditation bodies and any associated documentation are to be held centrally within the University.

In order to facilitate this process, the University has adopted the following principles:


The University:

  1. recognises the independence of all organisations conducting the professional accreditation of a program.
  2. supports the seeking of professional accreditation of a program where and whenever such accreditation improves the quality of a program and/or enhances the employment opportunities of graduates.
  3. requires that all issues identified through professional accreditation are reported to the appropriate University committee(s).
  4. will maintain a schedule of all impending professional accreditations.
  5. will maintain a record of all accreditations for a period of seven years.
  6. requires that information obtained from professional accreditations is available for quality assurance purposes in program reviews and TEQSA audits.
  7. requires that issues identified through accreditation processes are addressed promptly and systematically.

Accreditation Procedures

The accreditation procedures used by the various professional bodies vary significantly. Some are very formal, involve lengthy site visits and require significant input by staff members whereas others are less formal and involve limited staff input. Although the University has no control over the actual accreditation process of an individual professional body, the University requires that the following procedures are observed for all programs being accredited:

The checklist which details the accreditation process at the University of Adelaide is available here.

1. Annual Notification

Each Executive Dean will inform the DVC&VP(A) of all accreditations that will occur in the following academic year. Learning and Quality Support (LQS) will contact each Executive Dean during semester two in order to facilitate this process.

2. Accreditation Submission

Documentation required by accrediting bodies will be prepared within the relevant school, the final draft approved by the Executive Dean and forwarded under the Provost's signature to the accrediting body. The Executive Dean will ensure that, a copy of the draft submission is provided to the Director, Learning and Quality Support, at least two weeks prior to the planned sign-off by the Provost as part of the University's quality assurance process and to ensure that senior management are aware of the accreditation.

Please note: Learning and Quality Support's role is to conduct a final quality assurance check of documentation prior to submission. Submissions that are in draft form or still require proof-reading should not be submitted. 

3. Site Visits

Individual schools will coordinate site visits and meetings with school staff in accordance with the requirements of the accrediting body. At completion of the visit, the members of the accrediting body will meet with the Executive Dean and Provost to discuss any major issues identified during the visit.

4. Accreditation Report and Response

Upon completion of the accreditation process the accrediting body considers the information that it has collected and produces a report that identifies any issues that need attention by the University in order to satisfy the requirements for accreditation. The relevant Executive Dean will ensure that a response addressing any issues is forwarded to the accrediting body within 60 days of receipt of the report (or earlier if required by the accrediting body). The Executive Dean will ensure that an implementation plan to resolve any identified issues is developed and implemented by the end of the following semester.

5. Communication within the University

The Executive Dean shall ensure that copies of the report, the faculty's response and the implementation plan are provided to the DVC&VP(A), who will refer the documents to the Quality Enhancement Committee and Academic Board to address any University-wide issues identified.

The DVC&VP(A) will authorise the display of information relating to any accreditation undertaken for the purpose of quality improvement on the Learning and Teaching website.

6. Marketing Accredited Programs

Faculties and schools must not state a Program is professionally accredited in any marketing or promotional material (including, but not limited to, Degree Finder, any other University web page, flyers/brochures) until professional accreditation confirmation is received from the accrediting body.

7. Records

Learning and Quality support will maintain on the Learning & Teaching website:

  • A schedule of all accreditations due in the next 3 years; and
  • Details of all accreditations conducted over the previous 7 years.


The Executive Dean will oversee the accreditation process, which includes preparation of the accreditation submission, coordination of site visits and the lodging of copies of all correspondence, reports, implementation plans and accreditation certificates with the RMO.


Accreditation Reporting Schedules

Programs at the University are accredited by professional organisations. Such accreditation ensures that graduates of a program are professionally qualified and competent to work in their chosen vocation. It also serves as a quality measure for individual programs.

The individual professional organisations accredit programs for varying periods of time. Accreditation schedules for each of the University Faculties are detailed below.

Also available is a list of Re-accreditations due in the current year.


References on Professional Accreditation


Joint Statement of Principles for Professional Accreditation Universities Australia has provided advice on the role of accrediting bodies.

A DET-sponsored review is currently in process to survey and characterise the extent and scope of professional program accreditation processes in Australia (June 2018). Information will be provided when this review is finalised.

Professions Australia

Medical Board of Australia

Engineers Australia


Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)

Professional Associations Research Network




Professional Standards Authority


Accreditation Canada


International Engineering Alliance


Division of Academic and Student Engagement

The University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005

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