Who accredits Physics/Astronomy programs?

  • Thread starter csmcmillion
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In summary, there is no formal accreditation program for physics and astronomy programs in the US, unlike the gold standard of ABET accreditation for EE programs. Chemistry has an optional ACS accreditation, but physics does not have anything through the APS. While physics is part of the basic level of ABET accreditation, it is only for calculus-based introductory classes. This may be due to the lack of a clear professional path for physicists with only a bachelor's degree, unlike engineers and chemists. The UK does have an accreditation program for physics undergraduate programs through the Institute of Physics, but it is unclear if there is an equivalent in the US or elsewhere. Ultimately, it seems that a PhD from a reputable institution is the main factor in evaluating the quality of a
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csmcmillion
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My background is EE where (in the US) the gold standard is ABET accreditation. Is there an analogous accreditation for physics/astronomy programs (something beyond regional accreditation of the University)?
 
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  • #2
I don't think there's any accreditation for physics or astronomy programs in the US. Chemistry has optional ACS accreditation, but physics doesn't have anything through the APS. Physics is part of any ABET accreditation, but only to the basic level (calculus based intro classes, mostly).
 
  • #3
That is correct, there is no formal accreditation program for physics degree programs in the US, like there is for chemistry.

I guess this is because there is no clear professional path for "physicists" who have only a bachelor's degree, unlike engineers and chemists.
 
  • #4
I think in the UK Physics undergrad programmes are accredited by the IoP - the Institute of Physics. Not sure if there is anything equivalent in the US or elsewhere.
 
  • #5
I'm sure people just look at where you got your PhD to make sure you went to a decent place.
 

1. What is accreditation and why is it important for Physics/Astronomy programs?

Accreditation is a process of evaluating and verifying the quality of education and programs offered by an institution. It ensures that the institution meets certain standards of excellence and provides students with a high-quality education. For Physics/Astronomy programs, accreditation ensures that the curriculum, faculty, and resources are up-to-date and relevant, and that graduates are well-prepared for careers in the field.

2. Who is responsible for accrediting Physics/Astronomy programs?

In the United States, accreditation is typically done by private, non-governmental organizations called accrediting agencies. These agencies are recognized by the Department of Education and are responsible for evaluating and accrediting institutions and programs within specific fields, such as Physics and Astronomy.

3. How do I know if a Physics/Astronomy program is accredited?

You can check the accreditation status of a Physics/Astronomy program by visiting the website of the accrediting agency or the institution itself. Accredited programs will usually display their accreditation status on their website or in their promotional materials. You can also contact the institution directly to inquire about their accreditation status.

4. Can a Physics/Astronomy program be accredited by multiple agencies?

Yes, it is possible for a Physics/Astronomy program to be accredited by multiple agencies. However, most institutions choose to be accredited by one agency for a particular field of study. This is because each agency has its own set of standards and criteria for accreditation, and it can be challenging for an institution to meet the requirements of multiple agencies.

5. Is accreditation necessary for a career in Physics or Astronomy?

While accreditation is not a requirement for a career in Physics or Astronomy, it is highly recommended. Accredited programs provide students with a solid foundation in the field and are recognized by employers and other institutions. Additionally, some employers may require applicants to have graduated from an accredited program. Further, if you plan on pursuing advanced degrees in Physics or Astronomy, accreditation is often necessary for admission into graduate programs.

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