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Online PhD Degree Programs – Accreditation of Universities in Japan

The highest quality of education is ensured by the accreditation processes conducted by various academic assessment and evaluation bodies in different countries around the world. Such accreditation allows educational institutions to be recognized by peer institutions as equivalent in relevance and quality. All levels of education could be accredited. The way, however, that these accreditation procedures are done from one country to another varies. Owing to the differences in government policies, the formation of these accreditation bodies also differs. Aside from standardizing the quality of education, educational accreditation also helps ensure that whatever government funding is accorded to an education institution is well spent.

In most countries, only those educational institutions that are accredited are eligible for government funding and for extension of scholarship funds. Various study programs, including online PhD degrees, likewise go through the accreditation procedures for international recognition. Mostly, only those degrees or certificates awarded by accredited institutions, both conventional study programs and online PhD degree programs, are given credit.

The Japanese educational system is quite extensive with millions of students enrolled in almost 1000 educational institutions in Japan’s prefectures. And recently, there are already institutions offering online PhD degrees. These educational institutions are supposed to go through accreditation through the Japan University Accreditation Association or the JUAA. This is a voluntary group composed of representatives from its member universities. The JUAA follows the accreditation model of several accreditation agencies in the United States. This group was established in 1947, initially with a membership of 46 universities both public and private. In 2002, the revision of Japan’s School Education Law has mandated the evaluation of all universities in Japan for accreditation once within periods of seven years.

The accreditation is done through a series of steps starting with the submission of an applicant-university of a self-study to JUAA for the review of the University Accreditation Committee. A site visit follows, after which a draft accreditation is sent to the applicant university for their opinion. After a dialogue between the committee and the applicant-university, the committee prepares its recommendation for accreditation and then announces it to the public. JUAA has been conducting assessment and evaluation procedures for universities since 2004, for junior universities since 2006, and for professional graduate schools of business since 2008.

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