Asee peer logo

The Value of ABET Accreditation to Computing Programs

Download Paper |


2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Computing & Information Technology: Curriculum and Assessment

Tagged Division

Computing and Information Technology

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Michael Oudshoorn Northwest Missouri State University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Dr. Michael Oudshoorn is a faculty member in the School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Northwest Missouri State University. His research interests include computer science education, programming languages, parallel and distributed computing. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Adelaide, Australia.

visit author page


Rajendra K. Raj Rochester Institute of Technology Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Rajendra K. Raj is a Professor of computer science at the Rochester Institute of Technology. His current research interests span large-scale data management, distributed systems, and privacy/security, especially related issues in cloud data management and mobile computing, and applied to a variety of domains including healthcare, finance, and other critical infrastructure sectors. Dr. Raj also works in computer science and cybersecurity education including curriculum design and program assessment. Prior to RIT, he worked at a financial services firm, where he developed and managed leading-edge global private cloud infrastructures for a variety of financial applications. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Washington, Seattle.

visit author page


Stan Thomas Wake Forest University

visit author page

Stan Thomas has over three decades of experience in computing and computing education. He has served on the faculty of Wake Forest University since 1983, serving as chair from 2004 to 2011, with visiting appointments at the United States Air Force Academy and Lahore University of Management Science, Lahore, Pakistan. His research interests are data management, data analysis and computer science education. Dr. Thomas earned his undergraduate degree in mathematics from Davidson College and a PhD in computer science from Vanderbilt University. Stan spent four summers as research faculty at the NASA Kennedy Space Center and has worked as a consultant with several organizations. He has been an ABET program evaluator since 1996 and served as the chair of the Computing Accreditation Commission in 2014-15. Stan is a Senior member of IEEE-CS and was identified as a CSAB Fellow in 2013.

visit author page


Allen Parrish United States Naval Academy

visit author page

Allen Parrish is Professor of Cyber Science and Chair of the Department of Cyber Science at The United States Naval Academy, effective June 2016. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Parrish served for 26 years on the faculty at The University of Alabama, with roles that included Associate Vice President for Research, Founding Director of the Center for Advanced Public Safety, and Professor of Computer Science. The Center for Advanced Public Safety (CAPS) is a 125-person R&D organization involving faculty, research scientists, engineers and students - dedicated to innovation in traffic safety and public safety technology, as well as research in decision support systems, data analytics and cybersecurity. Throughout his career and through his work with CAPS, Dr. Parrish has obtained approximately 200 funded projects totaling approximately $100M from a variety of state and federal sponsors. Dr. Parrish has published in approximately 100 refereed journals and conferences, and is internationally active in computer science education, having served as the Chair of the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, and currently is chair of a major effort to revise the computing accreditation criteria and to develop new accreditation criteria for cybersecurity. Dr. Parrish received a Ph.D. in computer and information science from The Ohio State University in 1990.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Institutional accreditation by regional or national accreditation organizations provides assurance that a university as a whole provides quality education. However, it does not look specifically at the quality of each individual degree program, program-level accreditation is needed to ensure that degree programs meet established standards that are set by accrediting bodies, based on disciplinary guidelines in areas as diverse as curriculum, faculty expertise, student admission and graduation requirements, available facilities and financial resources. In particular, program-level accreditation focuses on the quality of both the degree program and the characteristics of its graduates

For programs in computing, engineering and engineering technology, as well as applied and natural science, ABET has been the accrediting body. Within ABET, the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) is charged with accrediting computer science, information systems, and other computing programs, initially in the United States but now in more than 20 countries across the world. In computing, program accreditation has been viewed as optional, unlike engineering, where nearly all American engineering programs are accredited through the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET, both because graduates from an ABET-accredited program find it easier to get licensed as a Professional Engineer and because of wider acceptance of the accreditation process by the engineering communities. Despite the lack of mandatory accreditation, an increasing number of institutions seek accreditation for their computing programs each year, suggesting that the community is finding value in accreditation. These programs can state they have passed a rigorous review, and their graduates have learned what they need to know about that area of study. Moreover, graduates of ABET accredited programs also get global acceptance due to its conformance with the Seoul Accord that provides mutual recognition of accredited academic computing programs that prepare graduates for professional practice.

Based on the authors' experiences both as faculty associated with accredited and non-accredited computer science programs and as program evaluators for ABET, this paper examines the process and requirements for achieving ABET accreditation for computing programs, and discusses the value of computing accreditation for students, faculty, institutions, program constituents and global society at large.

Oudshoorn, M., & Raj, R. K., & Thomas, S., & Parrish, A. (2018, June), The Value of ABET Accreditation to Computing Programs Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31135

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2018 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015