All accredited and applicant programs submitting a self-study for full or contingent accreditation must complete an online self-study using the Commission on Accreditation (CoA) Portal. Below is a list of frequently asked questions related to the self-study submission process. Please contact the Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation for additional information on the self-study process.

How does a program begin its accreditation self-study?

Accredited programs are assigned a self-study due date in the winter of the year before that in which their next site visit is scheduled. Once the program is informed of that due date, the self-study will open in the CoA Portal. Programs applying for initial accreditation must first register in the Portal. Once that registration is confirmed by the Office, the online self-study opens and the program can begin crafting responses to the focused questions and completing the required tables.

Can the self-study be submitted via hardcopy?

No. All self-studies are to be submitted online in the CoA Portal. Applicant programs seeking initial accreditation must first register on the CoA Portal in order to have the self-study made available for completion.

Note: The application to declare “Intent to Apply” must be submitted via hardcopy. See the additional information and the templates for “Intent to Apply”.

How long should a program be operating before it applies for accreditation?

Programs without proximal and distal outcome data can apply for contingent accreditation. See Implementing Regulations (PDF, 1.5MB) C-29 D, C-26 I, and C-22 P for details on contingent accreditation for each level of training. Programs are eligible to apply for full accreditation when they can provide both proximal and distal outcome data consistent with the requirements of the relevant data Implementing Regulation (IR C-18 D, IR C-16 I, IR C-16 P).

How many students must be enrolled in a program in order to apply for accreditation?

For a doctoral program to apply for “accredited, on contingency” status, it must have enrolled a minimum of two student cohorts, one of which must be engaged in practicum training. Internship programs may apply for “accredited, on contingency” status when they can ensure that at least 2 interns will be on site at the time of the site visit. Postdoctoral residencies may apply for “accredited, on contingency” status when they can ensure that at least one resident will be on site at the time of the site visit.

Can the self-study instructions be accessed outside of the CoA Portal?

Yes. Narrative preparation sheets are available on the commission's website for programs to use as they draft responses to the focused questions and complete the required tables. Programs should use the narrative preparation sheets for the year during which they will be site visited. This means that accredited programs assigned self-study due dates prior to September 1 should use the current year’s narrative preparation sheets. Accredited programs assigned a self-study due date of September 1 or later should use the upcoming year’s narrative preparation sheets.

If you are a program seeking initial accreditation and you have questions about which preparation sheets to use based upon your anticipated submission date, please contact the office.

What approvals are required for self-study submission?

For doctoral programs, the CoA requires that a department-level administrator (e.g., department chair or dean) and the president/institutional director provide countersignatures prior to self-study submission. Internships and postdoctoral programs must only secure a countersignature from the president/institutional director. The countersignature indicates that those parties with authority over the program have approved the contents of the self-study, and the signature of the president/institutional director serves as an invitation for the CoA to conduct a site visit. These parties will also receive copies of the CoA decision letter. See the FAQ about the countersignature process.

What fees are due at the time of submission? Is the application fee refundable if we withdraw or a site visit is not authorized?

Application fees are only for the initial self-study. The review process will not commence and the self-study is not deemed to have been fully submitted until the application fee is paid. Applicant programs can request an invoice for the application fee prior to submission of the initial self-study by contacting the office. Fees can be paid by check (made out to the APA Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation) or by credit card. To pay by credit card, please call the office.

The application fee is not refundable, regardless of the CoA’s decision concerning a site visit or the awarding of accreditation. Programs withdrawing their applications from consideration will also not receive a refund. The application fee schedule is available here.

How soon should we submit the self-study to ensure that we have our site visit by a particular date?

The office cannot predict whether or how soon a site visit will be granted. Applications for accreditation are reviewed in the order in which they are submitted. Depending on the number of applications received, the timeline for review may take several months. Please note that authorization of a site visit is never guaranteed. Further, upon authorization of a visit the CoA cannot guarantee a specific timeframe for the site visit or final decision.

If an applicant program receives accreditation, what will be the initial date of accreditation?

As of Jan. 1, 2018, the initial date of accreditation (for applicant programs that become accredited) will be the last day of the meeting at which the CoA makes the final accreditation decision. Students/trainees completing the program after the initial date of accreditation are considered to have completed an APA accredited program.