Masters Degree Accreditation Assessment Process
We welcome applications for Master's Degree Accreditation from all UK universities. Accreditation is usually achieved through the assessment steps as outlined below; the Accreditation Assessment Panel will consider the evidence submitted, and judge how the programmes meet the assessment criteria. This whole process will normally take 6 – 12 months.
All supporting documents and relevant forms can be found under Master's Degree Accreditation important documents.
Formal Expression of Interest
To start the process of applying for master's degree accreditation you must first complete and submit a Formal Expression of Interest form to the Accreditation Team. Deadlines for the receipt of these forms are 1st September and 1st February each year.
On the form you will be asked to indicate which subject stream your programme is broadly aligned to; if you are submitting multiple programmes you are able to select more than one stream. The streams are:
- Molecular Aspects of Biology
- Whole Organism Biology
- Ecological and Environmental Science
The subject streams are for assessment purposes only; once accredited, your programmes will not be labelled as such. The form also asks for potential site visit dates, and once the form is received we will work with you to arrange a suitable date.
Letter of Intent and Supporting Documentation
The second step is to submit your documentation. We will work with you to arrange a suitable document submission date, with the deadline for documentation usually 8 weeks before the site visit.
The following must accompany your documentation:
Letter of intent – this should summarise the key characteristics of the programme, and how it meets the accreditation criteria.
Accreditation matrix – titles for all documentation submitted should be entered into an accreditation evidence matrix indicating where evidence for the criteria can be found.
On the specified submission date, all of your documentation should be submitted electronically by 17:00 via the mySociety portal. Upon application, you will be sent a link enabling you to upload your documentation to the portal. Please contact the Accreditation Team for further information if required.
Stage One Report
The submitted documentation will then be assessed by the Accreditation Assessment Panel, which will produce a Stage One Report outlining the assessment. Universities will be provided with the Stage One Report (approximately a week before the site visit) and advised if the application will continue to the next stage. If appropriate at this point, universities will also have the opportunity to submit additional evidence prior to entering the next stage of assessment.
Site Visit and Stage Two Report
A site visit will be conducted by the Panel to evaluate the university's facilities, speak to students and recent graduates about their learning experience, and to discuss the application with the university. If appropriate, provisional recommendation of accreditation will be provided during the site visit. Following the site visit the panel will produce a Stage Two Report as a record of the day; this will be provided to the university.
Accreditation Committee and Stage Three Report
Following the site visit, the Assessment Panel will recommend to the RSB Accreditation Committee whether accreditation should be awarded, withheld, or awarded subject to minor amendments. Following ratification by the committee, the university will be provided with a Stage Three Report in which the university is required to indicate how they are working on the conditions and recommendations agreed by the Committee. Once the Stage Three Report has been approved by the chair of the assessment panel the programmes will be formally awarded accreditation for a period of five years, and the university will be able to publicise their success.
The charge for the assessment of the application and site visit will be £3,500. This fee covers all expenses associated with the assessment and visit except for overnight accommodation for the assessment panel. Universities will be required to book accommodation for the panel members in a suitable nearby hotel for the evening before the site visit. The assessment fee will be invoiced following receipt of the Formal Expression of Interest form. Please note if your application is unsuccessful the assessment fee is a non-returnable payment.
Accreditation Annual Fees
The fees for master's accreditation will be charged on an annual basis according to the number of programmes submitted and as agreed by the Society. The Society will consider the level of work required for the application, the number of students and the complexity of programmes in order to ensure, as far as possible, that costs are representative and equitable. The first year's fee will be required to be paid once accreditation has been awarded and formally ratified by the Accreditation Committee.
The table below is representative of fees charged in 2023; however the Society reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation during the accreditation period.
Programmes Cost per Year
1 £ 3,000
2 to 5 £ 4,000
6 to 10 £ 5,000
11 + £ 6,000
Supporters of Accreditation