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Accredited Ph.D. Degree Online: How to Verify Accreditations

Higher Education Articles February 27, 2013

The most crucial part of any degree program is having proper accreditation, particularly when it comes to doctoral degree level. A Ph.D. program without proper accreditation will be useless. In this article, we will discuss accreditation for Ph.D. degree programs offered online.

Verifying Online Ph.D. Programs Accreditation

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education ( has a database online that list all of the postsecondary institutions, which are currently or has been accredited by agencies that are recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education. Currently, the database lists over 6,900 programs and institutions and their accreditation. The Higher Education Act of 1865 defines the quality of education.

The database has been organized, so individuals can search by accrediting agencies or name of the institution. The search results may be refined to certain cities or states. Once a specific school in the database has been chosen, there will detailed information on the primary accrediting agency and the school’s contact information. Also, the database will return results, which include any specialized accreditations like specialized research areas or professional programs along with information on whether accreditation is national or regional. Individuals may use the website to search for programs, residencies, and internships.

Accreditation Information

Accreditation is not mandatory, and some schools will decide to not seek accreditation. Schools that elect to not seek accreditation will still provide an adequate education. However, when students who graduated from the program present their credentials to potential employers, since the degree that they have earned is not accredited; it will be detrimental to their future academic and professional goals. There are two types of accreditation (specialized and institutional) according to the U.S. Department of Education ( When the entire institution meets accreditation standards, this means they are institutionally accredited. Specialized accreditation applies to internal schools and departments in an institution. National and regional are the two types of accrediting agencies. The Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) administer the national accreditation. Six agencies, which divide up the nation into districts, administer regional accreditation.

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