In the United States, accreditation is a non-governmental, peer-review process that assures the quality of the postsecondary education students receive. Educational institutions or programs volunteer to undergo this review periodically to determine if certain criteria are being met.
It is important to understand, however, that accreditation is not a ranking system. It is simply assurance that a program or institution meets established quality standards.
There are two types of accreditation: institutional and specialized.
ABET, http://www.abet.org, is responsible for the specialized accreditation of educational programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology.
The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) provides institutional accreditation for Oregon State University.
The Bachelor of Science & Honors Bachelor of Science degree programs in Radiation Health Physics are accredited by the Applied & Natural Science Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org.
The Bachelor of Science & Honors Bachelor of Science degree programs in Nuclear Engineering are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org.
Nuclear engineering program specific outcomes:
Radiation health physics program specific outcomes:
In addition to these detailed external reviews, each graduate program assesses its students' progress and gathers additional information that allows it to improve its policies and procedures. These assessments are designed to determine whether students are achieving graduate program learning objectives and whether strategies used to assist students in reaching their learning outcomes should be modified.
Overarching Graduate Learning Outcomes for doctoral and masters programs were proposed by the Graduate Council and approved by the Faculty Senate on Jan 13, 2011 (doctoral) and April 14, 2011 (masters). The graduate outcomes, as approved by Faculty Senate, are:
Learning outcomes for PhD Degree programs state that the student shall:
(a) produce and defend an original significant contribution to knowledge;
(b) demonstrate mastery of subject material; and
(c) be able to conduct scholarly activities in an ethical manner.
These outcomes are to be assessed at the program level. Outcome (a) is already part of the assessment performed at the final oral exam and the GCR is specifically required to raise this metric. Outcome (b) is part of every unit's requirements for students and is assessed by course work grades and preliminary examinations. Outcome (c) is new and will require the units to be sure the students are informed/trained as to what is required to conduct scholarly activities in an ethical manner. There is an array of methods the units could choose to use, such as the Graduate School course on Responsible Conduct of Research, along with other courses, instruction in research groups, etc.
Additional outcomes, the assessment of all outcomes and the specification of learning objectives related to these outcomes are to be carried out at the program level and reviewed periodically.
Learning outcomes for Master's Degree programs state that the student shall:
(a) Conduct research or produce some other form of creative work, and
(b) Demonstrate mastery of subject material, and
(c) Be able to conduct scholarly or professional activities in an ethical manner.
The assessment of these outcomes and the specification of learning objectives related to these outcomes are to be carried out at the program level.
The assessment of program-level learning outcomes is to be formative, providing guidance for students as they work toward achieving required outcomes, and summative, determining satisfactory progress toward degree completion. Students are to be informed of the additional outcomes and the strategies used to assess progress toward achieving the outcomes. The current Graduate assessment plans, submitted to the Director of Assessment, were implemented beginning in January 2012.