Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE)
The College of Optometry was granted the pre-accreditation classification of "Preliminary Approval" by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education on February 15, 2008. "Preliminary Approval" is granted to a professional optometric degree program that has clearly demonstrated it is developing in accordance with Council standards. The program has approval to begin student recruitment, selection and admissions, and to begin offering the program. The pre-accreditation classification of preliminary approval is the only classification available to a new professional optometric degree program, since the ACOE will not grant the accreditation classifications of "Accredited" or "Accredited with Conditions" until the program is fully operational (i.e. nearing the end of its fourth year of implementation.)
The ACOE will review the preliminary approval classification annually during the first three academic years of the program through written reports and/or site visits as deemed necessary by the Council. Not less than 12 months prior to graduation of the program's first class, at the University’s invitation, the ACOE will schedule an on-site visit to be held near the end of the academic year to determine accreditation status. If the program is found to meet the standards of accreditation, the classification of accredited will be granted from the date of evaluation visit, which will occur prior to the graduation of the first class. Information on the ACOE's standards of accreditation and accrediting procedures may be found on the ACOE web page at http://www.theacoe.org/. Information on the various states' licensure requirements may be accessed from the web site of the Association of Regulatory Boards in Optometry at http://www.arbo.org/.
Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
Western University of Health Sciences is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). When a University that is already accredited by WASC makes what is called a "substantive" change to its program, it is required to obtain prior approval. The "substantive change" process is designed to ensure the consistency of quality across all institutional operations. The addition of the new College of Optometry, along with the Colleges of Dental and Podiatric Medicine, represents an "increase in the number of degree programs at the existing degree level" and requires approval by WASC.
Effective December 8, 2008, the WASC Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities granted final approval of the substantive change proposal for the Doctor of Optometry program.
For more information on the accrediting agency, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), please visit www.wascweb.org.