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External accreditation and recognition

Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) accreditation and recognition

Many of the Open University qualifications and modules are accredited or recognised by a wide range of Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRBs).

PSRBs are defined by the QAA as a diverse group of organisations that include professional bodies, regulators and those with statutory authority over a profession or a group of professionals. They accredit or endorse programmes and courses that meet professional standards, provide a route through to the professions, or are recognised by employers. PSRBs set standards for, and regulate standards of, entry into their particular professions and often participate in quality assurance activities.   

All courses which are described as accredited should confer some additional benefit to the student. Examples of this are chartered status, exemption from exams or completion of a course which is recognised as preparing them for employment in a particular sector.

PSRB accreditations are managed within faculties and the Academic Quality and Standards team maintains an overview of, and support for this activity. Proposals for PSRB accreditations are included in qualification approval processes and PSRB accreditation outcomes feed into internal annual monitoring and periodic quality review processes.  

A log of PSRB accreditation and recognition of OU qualifications and modules is submitted annually to the Academic Quality and Governance Committee and to the Scottish Funding Council as part of annual quality reporting processes.  The PSRB accreditation log is also used to inform an annual Unistats return which in turn informs the student facing Discover Uni website, owned and operated by the UK’s higher education funding and regulatory bodies.  Course records on this site display a statement describing the type of accreditation associated with the course and explain the benefit of the accreditation to prospective students.

Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

The Open University is an accredited institution and a member of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) with its accreditation status being reaffirmed by the Commission in 2020.  MSCHE is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the US Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The accreditation covers all aspects of the University including its mission, operations and finances, as well as assurance of the standards and quality of its provision. The next re-accreditation will be due in 2028, with a mid-point peer review in 2024.

The accreditation supports the University’s position as a global institution and provides an international lens through which to view its activity. Through providing assurance that the University meets US accreditation standards, the accreditation may support students in getting their OU degree recognised outside the UK.