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Any postgraduate course that contains a professional component, for example medicine, engineering or accountancy, has to gain approval and become accredited from the professional body that is relevant to that subject area. So, in the UK an accountancy degree may be accredited by the Institute of Chartered Accountants or Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

Why is accreditation important?

Choosing a postgraduate course that has been accredited by a professional body is extremely important for two reasons:

  1. AccreditationIf you wish to pursue certain postgraduate careers in the area that you have studied, it is essential that your qualification has been recognised and accredited by a relevant professional body. This is because for some careers you will not be able to get a job unless your course has been accredited. It is vital that you check whether the job you are aiming for requires accreditation, and then ensure that your chosen postgraduate course has been accredited by the correct professional body.
  2. Knowing that your postgraduate course is deemed as being important in a professional capacity assures you that the course you are on meets with the necessary quality standards. Courses will not be accredited if they do not meet the standards that are set by the relevant professional body. If you know that a postgraduate course has been accredited you can be sure that the quality of the course will be good.

What are the advantages of a course being accredited?

  1. Quality indicator – if a course has been accredited by a professional body it is a good indicator of the quality of the program. However, do bear in mind that if the course hasn’t been accredited it doesn’t always mean that the course is bad, it could still be a reputable course, so do your research before dismissing a course out of hand.
  2. Career advancement – accreditation may be necessary for certain careers, but this isn’t the always the case, so check if you need to have an accredited qualification before you make your decision.
  3. Potential financial assistance – the bodies that offer accreditation may also offer financial help if you choose to study a particular course.

Examples of some professional accrediting bodies

Here are examples of some professional accrediting bodies – you can click on the links to access their websites:


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