All HEA subscribing institutions can make one free accreditation submission consisting of up to five programmes in every four-year cycle. Additional accreditation submissions are charged at £6,000. Once awarded, accreditation lasts for a period of four years.
Accreditation does not cover programmes or resources that are developed for commercial sale. The HEA offers a separate Approvals service for programmes of this nature. Please see Approvals.
Applications for accreditation are made using the HEA accreditation submission template. Full participant-facing guidance must also be provided for each programme to be accredited.
HEA accreditation panel meetings review applications for accreditation against the four accreditation criteria. Accreditation decisions are made by a panel of three independent accreditors chaired by a member of HEA staff. Accreditors are either Senior or Principal Fellows of the HEA, undertake both initial training and continuing professional development with the HEA in relation to HEA Fellowships and are required to demonstrate they remain in good standing.
Accreditation panel outcomes
The accreditation panel process will lead to one of three accreditation decisions being made for each programme presented:
- Accredit – accreditation can be awarded with no further action. Feedback may include recommendations for future development and identification of good practice.
- Accredit subject to conditions – the programme can be accredited subject to some minor clarifications and/or enhancements. Within the feedback, areas of good practice will be identified and an accreditation action plan will be provided. The institution will then need to provide evidence that the conditions within the action plan have been met before accreditation is awarded.
- Returned for further development – where it is judged that major development is required to meet the accreditation criteria the programme(s) is returned to the institution with explanatory guidance. A new submission will be reviewed by a new accreditation panel.
Once awarded, accreditation will be in place for a four-year period. The HEA requires an Annual CPD Review for all non-credit bearing programmes.
Please refer to the HEA accreditation policy 2016-17 for further explanation both in terms of process and requirements related to HEA accreditation.