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What do you mean by an "accredited" university?


In most countries the word University is a protected name, and granted to institutions after significant demonstration of academic rigor and research scholarship. 


However in some countries the word "University" is registered as a business name, and degrees are granted for "life experience". A majority of such universities are in the USA and UK, but there are some in Asia, Europe and Africa. Unidegree.com considers as "accredited" only those universities accredited by the 5 regional accrediting agencies in the USA, or those that have a Government or Royal Charter such as a university in the UK would normally have.


Universities in the USA need to have a State license to issue degrees. Some licensing authorities are more stringent than others in issuing such licenses. After licensing, universities need to get their programs accredited, as an assurance of good quality. Usually the minimum time period from licensing to accreditation is two years. AECSA considers as "Approved Universities" only those universities that are accredited by the 5 regional accrediting agencies in the USA, or those that have a Government or Royal Charter such as a university in the UK or Australia would normally have.


For licensed universities to get AECSA “Approved” status, they must apply to AECSA for an academic audit of their degree programs. Only new universities that have programs that are of ‘accreditation level’ quality will be listed as an “Approved” university by AECSA.


Given below is an extensive guide to active, emerging and recent degree mills and officially unaccredited universities, obtained from many sources including the Bear's Guide to Degree Mills, the Economist and the Higher Education Supplement of the Australian.


*Disclaimer: Many Non Traditional Universities and Degree Mills based universities have names very similar (and sometimes the same) to genuine universities in other countries. Just because a university name appears on the lists below does not mean there isn't an accredited university of the same name.
Prospective students therefore should not accept or reject a university just because its name appears on a list provided by Unidegree.com, which takes no responsibility for prospective student actions due to the publication of the following lists.
Unidegree.com would welcome communication from universities whose names appear in these lists and are either genuinely accredited, or have been misclassified, and it will be happy to revise the list once the error is confirmed.
Students should ask a university the following questions before making their choice of an education:


  • Does the university provide an address of a campus location (many unaccredited universities have only PO Boxes or mailing addresses)?


  • If the university states that it is an online university, does it clearly provide its authority (licence) to issue degrees?


  • If a campus location is given, do they have students at that campus? If so, how many? Do not be afraid of asking such questions.


  • Is the university a private university? Does the university have accreditation? Does the university have license or accreditation to issue degrees? Who has provided this license or accreditation? Is the licensing or accrediting agency recognised by a government authority?


  • Is the university claiming to give degree purely for "Life Experience" without any formal coursework? Some students may actually want such an institution, but should be vary that degrees from such institutions may not carry much weight.


The compilation is separated into two lists*:


1.Degree Mills.


These 'universities' offer to "confer" degrees based on life experience, with prices ranging from $300 to about $10,000.


View listing of Degree Mills


2.Non-Traditional Institutions


The following "non-traditional" degree institutions may offer instruction and mentoring, but lack official course recognition. Some credit may be given for work experience. Some of these Non-Traditional or Online universities may have a State based ‘license’ to issue degrees. In the USA, newly licensed institutions need to wait a minimum of two years to apply for accreditation. If you wish to see if a newly licensed university has ‘Accreditation Level’ quality programs, see if it appears as an AECSA’s “Approved Degeee” in the Universities list.


View listing of Non-Traditional Institutions