Eligibility and Scope
Institutions meeting NASM standards and requirements for music institutions and programs determined as applicable by the Commission on Accreditation, the Commission on Community College Accreditation, or the Accrediting Commission for Community and Precollegiate Arts Schools, and agreeing to abide by the Association’s Code of Ethics, shall be accorded accredited institutional Membership. Institutions eligible to apply are:
- Colleges, conservatories, independent schools, and universities offering baccalaureate degrees, graduate degrees, or both, including any eligible associate, professional non-degree-granting, community, or precollegiate programs. These institutions are reviewed by the Commission on Accreditation.
- Conservatories and independent schools offering, at the postsecondary level, only non-degree-granting professional programs, including any eligible community or precollegiate programs. These institutions are reviewed by the Commission on Accreditation.
- Community colleges offering associate degrees, including any eligible community or precollegiate programs. These institutions are reviewed by the Commission on Community College Accreditation.
- Conservatories and independent schools offering only community or precollegiate programs. These institutions are reviewed by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Precollegiate Arts Schools.
For further information, see “Basic Criteria for Membership” in the NASM Handbook, Standards for Accreditation I.A., I.B., and I.C.
Definitions of Institutional Membership and Membership Categories
Institutional Membership signifies accreditation. Institutions eligible to apply for membership include colleges, universities, and independent schools of music. There are two types of institutional membership:
- Associate Membership may be granted to baccalaureate and/or graduate degree-granting institutions, community colleges, and non-degree-granting institutions applying for the first time that meet all curricular standards and all other applicable standards of the Association, and which are developing in areas related to purposes or operations. Accreditation with Associate Membership is valid for up to five years. At the end of this period, such institutions will be required to satisfy all criteria for Membership in the Association.
- Membership may be granted to baccalaureate and/or graduate degree-granting institutions, community colleges, and postsecondary non-degree-granting institutions meeting all of the standards of the Association. Institutions approved for Membership are granted five-year periods of accreditation. At the end of five years, such institutions are expected to apply for renewal of Membership. Institutions approved for renewal of Membership are granted ten-year periods of accreditation.
When certain criteria are met, NASM reviews community education divisions of collegiate-level programs. These are undertaken on the same schedule as reviews for the collegiate music unit(s), unless an institution specifically requests a different schedule. More detail is found in the NASM accreditation document Procedures for Institutions.
For more information about institutional membership categories, see the Bylaws, published in the NASM Handbook. The standards for all types of institutional Membership are also published in the NASM Handbook and any current addenda.
Review Periods and Cycles
- All institutions filing successful initial applications for accredited institutional Membership are granted a five-year period of accreditation. Postsecondary institutions may be designated Members or Associate Members of NASM. Community and precollegiate institutions are designated Members of NASM.
- After the first five-year period of Membership, institutions are reviewed for continuation on a ten-year cycle.
- All member institutions are responsible for annual reports and for obtaining Commission approval for new curricula or substantive changes during periods between regular accreditation reviews.
- The designated Commission has the authority to require a partial or a full reexamination at any time upon prior notice to the institution.
Regional or National Accreditation
Colleges, community colleges, universities, and other institutions that grant postsecondary degrees or credentials in other fields in addition to music must have regional or national accreditation from a nationally recognized accrediting agency as a condition of accredited institutional Membership in NASM.