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frequently asked questions

  1. How much does it cost to apply for ASBMB accreditation?
    The ASBMB is currently offering accreditation services free of charge for a limited time.  
  2. When should an accreditation application be submitted?  Is there a deadline?
    Applications are accepted and reviewed twice annually: in the spring and fall.  The spring application deadline is March 1.  The fall application deadline is October 1.  
  3. How long will it take for ASBMB to review department applications?
    Reviews will be completed within 6-months following each application deadline.  
  4. Are newly established BMB programs eligible for ASBMB accreditation?
    Yes, newly established BMB programs may apply for provisional-accreditation.  
  5. How long is accreditation good for?
    Standard accreditation is good for a term of seven-years.  Provisional accreditation is good for a term of three-years.  The latter is intended to allow sufficient time for applicants to make adjustments to its BMB program based on the recommendations of the ASBMB Accreditation Committee.  At the end of the three-year term, programs/departments are encouraged to reapply for full-accreditation.   
  6. Under what circumstances are provisional accreditation of a department or program granted?
    The ASBMB accreditation committee may grant provisional accreditation to newly established BMB programs and to existing programs that meet most but not all requirements for ASBMB accreditation.  In the latter case, the committee will provide detailed recommendations on areas that need improvement.  Provisional accreditation is good for a 3-year term, at the end of which, departments/programs are encouraged to reapply for full-accreditation.  Departments/programs may receive provisional accreditation twice.  
  7. Can we substitute a letter of support from the dean or equivalent with one from the department chair?
    No.  A letter from a dean or provost is required.  If a letter cannot be obtained in time to meet the application deadline, a letter from the department chair may be submitted.  But the application will not be deemed complete until a letter from the dean or provost is submitted as an addendum.  
  8. If our program was not granted accreditation what steps can we take to appeal the decision?
    Unsuccessful applicants can resubmit a revised application at the next convenient deadline.  It is recommended that resubmitted applications include a letter briefly outlining their response to the prior evaluation summary.
  9. How does my department/program maintain ASBMB-accredited status?
    Each department must resubmit an accreditation application during the last 12-months of their accreditation term.  The process for submission and review of renewal applications will be identical to that used for new applications.  
  10. Which schools have received ASBMB accreditation?  
    See Schools.
  11. What is the difference between having my department or program accredited and the degree certification program?
    There are two different components to the ASBMB accreditation program: 1) Departments or programs can be accredited by the ASBMB and 2) Students graduating from the accredited institution who wish to have an ASBMB-certified degree may take the ASBMB standardized degree-certification exam.  Only students graduating from an ASBMB-accredited department or program are eligible to receive an ASBMB certified degree.  For more information about the certification exam, please consult the Accreditation Program Guide.
  12. Is there a cost associated with taking the ASBMB standardized certification exam?
    A fee will be charged for administering and evaluating the standardized exam.  The fee will be charged to the department offering the BMB degree(s).  At this time, the exam is still in development and a fee structure has not been set.
  13. Will students have to pay to take the ASBMB standardized certification- exam?
    No, the exam fees will be assessed to the department/program from which the student is graduating.  Our goal is to avoid creating an economic disincentive for students wishing to earn an ASBMB certified degree. (See Q11)
  14. Will my department’s accredited status be affected by the number of graduates taking the ASBMB standardized certification-exam? 
    No. The number of students taking the exam will not affect the status of a department/program’s accreditation.  Taking the assessment exam is optional for those students who wish to earn the ASBMB degree certification.
  15. When will the ASBMB standardized certification exam be offered?
    The exam is currently undergoing beta-testing and review. The first version of the standardized exam is expected to be available to the 2015 graduating class. 
  16. How will the ASBMB certification exam be administered and evaluated?
    The exam will be administered by the department faculty.  Accredited programs will designate a departmental representative who will receive the assessment instrument, return the completed assessment instrument and all unused copies thereof. The representative will be charged with maintaining the confidentiality of the assessment instrument on behalf of the ASBMB.  The exams may be requested online at www.asbmb.org/accreditation. 
  17. When should students take the ASBMB certification exam?  
    The ASBMB will post the examination period each year on the ASBMB Degree Accreditation website, www.asbmb.org/accreditation.  The exam will be administered and evaluated in time for graduation.  
  18. How do departments/programs or individual students request the ASBMB assessment exam?
    The exam may be requested online prior to the examination period.  Specific instructions will be provided at the ASBMB Degree Accreditation program website: www.asbmb.org/accreditation. 
  19. What types of questions will the ASBMB certification exam contain and will it be evaluated?
    Each exam will consist primarily of short answer questions based on outcomes from the core foundational areas.  The exam will be evaluated by ASBMB trained professionals.  
  20. How will the ASBMB certification exam scores be distributed? 
    Students will be notified directly as to whether they successfully passed the exam.  The designated departmental representative will receive the names of all students who received a certified degree so that the students may receive appropriate recognition upon graduation.  Departmental representatives will receive aggregated scores only, both for each question and for the assessment examination as a whole.
  21. How will the students who pass the ASBMB standardized certification exam be recognized at graduation?  
    Students will be recognized as deemed appropriate by their institution.  ASBMB will provide students with a certificate of certification and a cord to wear at graduation. 
  22. Can students studying at schools/departments that are not accredited by the ASBMB take the ASBMB standardized exam?
    No, only students expecting to graduate from an ASBMB accredited department/school are eligible to take the ASBMB standardized exam. 
  23. To whom should I address my questions to regarding the accreditation process?
    Please address application and administrative questions to Ms. Weiyi Zhao, wzhao@asbmb.org, ASBMB Manger of Education.  Specific questions regarding department accreditation should be addressed to Adele Wolfson, awolfson@wellesley.edu, Chair of the sub-committee on departmental accreditations.  Inquiries regarding student assessment and degree certification or suggested questions for future examination should be sent to Peter J. Kennelly, pjkennel@vt.edu, chair of the accreditation working group.  
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