Mission of the Planning Accreditation Board


The Planning Accreditation Board’s (PAB) mission is to promote excellence among planning programs and ensure high quality education for future urban planners.

Core Values

The PAB embraces the following five core values:

  • Stewardship: preserving the knowledge base of the urban planning profession with which the Board has been entrusted and supporting the innovations that enhance this knowledge base over time.
  • Collaboration: advancing the dialogue and partnerships between the academic and practitioner communities.
  • Communication: articulating the value of an accredited urban planning education to students and the communities they will study and serve.
  • Integrity: maintaining a commitment to fairness, transparency, consistency and state-of-the-art accreditation practices.
  • Leadership: providing leadership in sharing and encouraging instructional innovation.


In order to accomplish its mission, the PAB:

  • Accredits graduate and undergraduate planning programs in North America.
  • Mentors programs to further academic excellence in professional education.
  • Collects and provides data on the state of planning education (student profiles, performance, placement, effectiveness, etc.).
  • Strengthens professional education in partnership with its sponsors: the ACSP (Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning), the AICP (American Institute of Certified Planners), and APA (the American Planning Association).

Strategic Plan

In July 2017, PAB adopted a 5-year strategic plan that will guide the organization’s activities through 2022. The strategic plan builds on PAB’s accomplishments, strengths, and key themes that emerged from a 2017 retreat with participation from leaders of ACSP, AICP, and APA. Please click here to view the PAB Strategic Plan.

ASPA Membership and CHEA Recognition

PAB is a member of the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA) and adheres to the ASPA Code of Good Practice.

PAB is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), adheres to the CHEA Recognition Policy, and undergoes periodic review. Click here to view PAB’s 2016 interim report, and report follow-up to CHEA. PAB’s interim report was accepted June 2017.

The CHEA website provides detailed information, including an important item that discusses degree mills and accreditation mills.

What is Accreditation?

Accreditation is a system for recognizing educational institutions and professional programs for performance, integrity and quality. This recognition is extended primarily through nongovernmental, voluntary associations. These accreditors establish criteria for accreditation, arrange site visits, evaluate institutions and professional programs, and confer accreditation.

Although accreditation is basically a private, voluntary process, it is often a consideration in decisionmaking by governmental funding agencies, scholarship commissions, foundations, employers, and potential students.

The Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) accredits university programs in North America leading to bachelor’s and master’s degrees in planning. PAB standards are developed with input from the public and our sponsoring organizations: the American Planning Association (APA); APA’s American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP); and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP).

PAB Accreditation Standards Review

PAB is in the process of reviewing its accreditation standards for planning programs. To learn about the process and how you can be involved click here

Useful Documents

Accredited Planning Programs

The list of PAB-accredited planning programs.

Planning Programs Granted Candidacy Status

The list of planning programs seeking accreditation which have been granted Candidacy Status.

Considering Accreditation?

Instructions for becoming an accredited planning program.

Summary of Recent Actions

History of Accredited Programs

This list includes all degree programs currently and previously accredited by the PAB.

2017 Accreditation Standards

(File Download: 338kB)

Standards approved March 3, 2017.
Programs submitting Self-Study Reports in 2018 will use the 2017 standards.

PAB Policies and Procedures Manual

(File Download: 492kB)

PAB combined its Accreditation Document with its Policies Manual to form a single new manual: The PAB Policies and Procedures Manual. This new manual contains all the PAB policies and procedures and provides guidance on the accreditation process.

The Value of Accreditation

(File Download: 268kB)

How it works and how it benefits students and the public; a brief document developed by regional, national and programmatic accrediting organizations, and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

CHEA YouTube Video: Accreditation and Its Value To You

Accreditation Toolkit

A publication by CHEA designed to provide information on accreditation to students, faculty, presidents, chancellors, and governing boards of higher education institutions. For updated information broken down by group, please visit: https://www.chea.org/accreditation-toolkit