"Are you accredited?

Will my degree be accepted abroad?"


These two questions are probably the ones most often asked by foreign applicants. Still, Thai universities appear to be surprised about these questions that nobody is easily able to give you a satisfying answer. That might the same, however, if you ask the same questions to a German university. This uncertainty comes from very different supervision and quality control instruments in the US on the one hand, and in almost all other countries on the other. Let's begin with a short overview of what accreditation is, and end with a tip how to find out best whether the university of your choice is a real one, rather than a fake.



What is accreditation?

According to Wikipedia, Educational accreditation is a type of quality assurance process under which services and operations of an educational institution or program are evaluated by an external body to determine if applicable standards are met. If standards are met, accredited status is granted by the agency.
In most countries in the world, the function of educational accreditation is conducted by a government organization, such as a ministry of education. In the United States, however, the quality assurance process is independent of government and performed by private membership associations.

Organizations other than national ministries of education, which issue credentials or certify third parties against official standards, are themselves formally accredited by the standards bodies; hence they are sometimes known as "accredited certification bodies". The accreditation process ensures that their certification practices are acceptable, typically meaning that they are competent to test and certify third parties, behave ethically, and employ suitable quality assurance.



What about Thai universities?

In order to name itself a university and to issue internationally recognized academic degrees, independent of public or private university, it needs the accreditation of the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand. Being just accredited by a U.S. accreditation organization, but not by the national government, would make this university a 'degree mill' with fake degrees.

As Wikipedia correctly explains, government accreditation is the normal case in far the most countries of the world. Since countries, and with them, their national governments, are mutually recognized by international contracts, so are their actions. If a national government rules quality and curricula itself, additional accreditation by a foreign organization might be obtained, but that is clearly not the rule.

As a public university in Europe would be, most Thai universities are therefore very surprised if somebody assumes they might issue fake degrees.

A Thai university will only then apply for an accreditation issued by a U.S. accreditation organization, if this university plans to get active in the United States, for example with an own graduate school, or if it identifies U.S. students as a major target group (...and is tired of being asked for accreditation again and again :-)



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