Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Comparative and International Education

First Adviser

Wiseman, Alexander W.


In addition to accrediting American colleges and universities that enroll over 20 million students a year, the US regional accrediting agencies also accredit international institutions. Existing research on international accreditation has not previously investigated the impact that international activity might have on the standards used by US regional accreditors. Examining the changes in accreditation standards from 2000 to 2017, relative to regional accreditation agencies’ international activity over the same period, this research found that international activity is associated with changes in accreditation standards. In particular, international accreditation was found to be associated with the content of accreditation standards pertaining to curriculum and education, faculty and instructional staff, students, and a small number of additional topics pertaining to institutional operations. In some topics, international accreditation was found to be associated with isomorphism across regional accrediting agencies, while in others areas, this study found that international activity was associated with increased diversity among accreditation standards. This variation suggests that the relationship between international accreditation and accreditation standards is complex and warrants further research.