Frequently Asked Questions
- Can you tell me about consultation visits?
- I think I need to submit a substantive change notice. What do I need to do?
- What process must an accredited program go through if it wishes to transition to an accredited school of public health?
- Can you provide guidance about preparing an interim report?
- How do I go about preparing a response to the site visit team’s draft report?
- What is the timeline for my next site visit and what years of data will I have to report on?
- What would constitute adequate faculty resources for my school or program?
- How do I track and report graduation rates?
- How do I collect and report job placement rates?
- What are third-party comments and how do I request them?
- What is my school or program’s initial date of accreditation?
- Do you have any statistics about CEPH accreditation?
- Can you tell me more about the annual reporting process?
1. Can you tell me about consultation visits?
- All schools and programs with applications accepted by the Council must have a consultation visit.
- All schools and programs outside the US must have a consultation visit before submitting an application.
Consultation visits are not mandatory for, but may be helpful to, the following groups:
- Universities considering developing an accredited MPH program or school of public health
- Unaccredited MPH programs interested in applying for accreditation
- Accredited schools and programs with reaccreditation reviews in the coming one to two years
- Accredited schools and programs considering significant structural or curricular changes
More information about consultation visits
2. I think I need to submit a substantive change notice. What do I need to do?
A substantive change notice is a document that updates CEPH of a change or changes that you have made within your accredited school or program.
CEPH’s Accreditation Procedures requires that accredited schools and programs provide prior notice to the Council of any substantive change.
3. What process must an accredited program go through if it wishes to transition to an accredited school of public health?
CEPH’s Accreditation Procedures discuss “seeking change in category,” when a CEPH-accredited program wishes to become a CEPH-accredited school, on p. 11. In brief, you will complete an application, prepare a full self-study using the appropriate criteria, host an on-site visit and undergo a full Council review.
4. Can you provide guidance about preparing an interim report?
Accredited schools and programs are required to submit interim reports when the Council finds non-compliance with one or more accreditation criteria. When the Council finds the school or program “partially met” or “not met” on any criterion, the school or program must resolve the issue(s) to come into compliance. Interim reports are the means for documenting that the school or program has resolved the issue(s).
5. How do I go about preparing a response to the site visit team’s draft report?
Schools and programs who have undergone a full accreditation review have the opportunity to respond to the team’s draft report before it is reviewed by the Council for an accreditation decision.
Approximately eight weeks after the site visit’s completion, the dean or program director will receive a copy of the site visit team’s report. The report will detail all of the team’s findings regarding the school or program’s compliance with each applicable criterion and will briefly describe the reasoning or evidence that led to the team’s finding.
The school or program does not need to address all criteria found “partially met” or “met with commentary.” The opportunity for response exists for a number of reasons: to comport with good accreditation practice; to ensure due process in accreditation decisions; and to assist the Council in making consistent and accurate decisions. There is no one response format that fits all schools and programs, and providing responses to each of the team’s findings can hinder, rather than help, the Council’s efforts to focus on the issues that are most salient to your school or program’s review.
Provide a response in areas where you have substantive information that will elucidate the Council’s review in a way that is not already documented in the record (ie, in the self-study and site visit team’s report). You may use the response as an opportunity to document areas of disagreement, differing interpretations or significant developments since the site visit, but you are not required to respond to areas that you feel are already well and accurately documented.
The school or program response will be embedded in the Accreditation Report. You can find the Accreditation Report Template here.
6. What is the timeline for my next site visit and what years of data will I have to report on?
Schools and programs can plan for the next accreditation review as soon as an application is accepted (for applicants) or a term of accreditation is granted.
Timeline for accredited schools and programs seeking reaccreditation:
For reaccreditation reviews, schools and programs have up until their expiration dates to host an on-site visit. As long as the site visit occurs before the expiration of the accreditation term, CEPH automatically extends accreditation until the Council’s next decision-making meeting (CEPH Accreditation Procedures). This means that schools and programs seeking reaccreditation do not have to worry about calculating a site visit date that accommodates the Council’s decision-making schedule. Schools and programs only need to satisfy one requirement in site visit scheduling: the site visit must conclude before the final day of the accreditation term.
- Accreditation term expires July 1, 2017: site visit should occur between January and June 2017.
- Accreditation term expires December 31, 2017: site visit should occur between September and December 2017.
CEPH does not schedule site visits in July or August.
The preliminary self-study is due five months before the site visit. Approximately eight weeks later, CEPH staff will provide a set of detailed comments from peer reviewers. The program or school can then make changes and must submit the final self-study one month before the site visit.
Example working backward from the date of the site visit:
- Site visit in February 2017
- Final self-study due in January 2017 (one month before site visit)
- Comments provided to school or program by November 2016 (about three months before site visit)
- Preliminary self-study due in September 2016 (about five months before site visit)
Timeline for initial accreditation reviews:
After a school or program’s application is reviewed and approved, the school or program must submit an acceptable self-study document within two years. An on-site visit by a team of peer reviewers will follow the self-study submission by approximately five months. To calculate a general range for site visit dates, applicants should add five to seven months to the preliminary self-study due date.
- Application accepted September 20, 2014, preliminary self-study due September 20, 2016: site visit would typically occur between February and April of 2017.
- Application accepted June 13, 2015, preliminary self-study due June 13, 2017: site visit would typically occur between November 2017 and January 2018.
The preliminary self-study due date is established at the time of the application’s acceptance and is communicated in the Council’s initial letter inviting the school or program to begin the accreditation process. If the school or program wishes to choose an earlier review schedule, the preliminary self-study will be due five months before the site visit. Approximately eight weeks after preliminary self-study submission, CEPH staff will provide a set of detailed comments from peer reviewers. The school or program can then make changes and must submit the final self-study one month before the site visit.
Examples based on the acceptance of the application and the date of the site visit:
- Application accepted September 20, 2014 and site visit scheduled for March 2017
- Preliminary self-study due September 20, 2016
- Application accepted September 20, 2014 and site visit scheduled for November 2016 (an early review schedule is undertaken in consultation with CEPH staff)
- Preliminary self-study due in June 2016
The school or program may elect to submit a self-study earlier than required. Contact CEPH staff to discuss such schedules.
Reporting years for both accredited and applicant units:
Specific data requests for each criterion are included directly in the accreditation criteria. Instructions and examples of reporting years are provided for each data template.
The criteria request most data for “the last three years.” The review process defines this as the most recently available three years preceding the site visit. Calendar years or academic years may be covered; either is fine, as long as you maintain consistency and clearly note any exceptions. Since the Council is interested in the most recent data at the time of the site visit, some data may still be pending at the time of the preliminary self-study submission. This is fine, and empty cells can be accompanied by a footnote indicating that data will be available in the final self-study.
Start with the date of your site visit—not your preliminary self-study due date—and use the most recent three years.
- Site visit scheduled in October 2016, preliminary self-study due in May 2016. Final self-study contains outcome measure data for 2013-2014, 2014-2015 and 2015-2016. Preliminary self-study leaves empty cells as needed to be completed before final self-study submission.
- Site visit scheduled in March 2017, preliminary self-study due in October 2016. Final self-study contains outcome measure data for 2013-2014, 2014-2015 and 2015-2016.
Particularly if the school or program is new, relatively little historical data may be available on which to base assessments. In such cases, the process of analysis and the resulting self-study document may be more oriented to baseline data for the measurement of outcomes. Regardless of the history of the school or program, if any requested data are unavailable in either the preliminary or final self-study, indicate this and insert footnotes below the applicable table(s) to explain. Updates between the preliminary self-study and the final self-study are typically required, and can be made in the final self-study or presented during the site visit.
7. What would constitute adequate faculty resources for my school or program?
A number of factors are considered when determining whether a school or program has adequate faculty resources including appropriate training and experience, sufficient primary and secondary faculty, student-faculty ratios and organizational and geographic context.
8. How do I track and report graduation rates?
Reporting accurate graduation rates requires detailed tracking. CEPH provides answers to the most frequently asked questions related to part- vs. full-time students, bachelor’s vs. master’s students, joint-degree students and those who change their major or area of study after enrolling.
More information about graduation rates
9. How do I collect and report job placement rates?
Reporting accurate job placement rates is an important part of accreditation requirements. CEPH understands that this can be challenging and provides strategies regarding how and when to administer surveys, answers to why this reporting is required and an example timeline for collecting and reporting information.
More information about job placement rates
10. What are third-party comments and how do I request them?
The request for third-party comments provides a school or program’s stakeholders with the opportunity to submit feedback to CEPH on the school or program and its practices, procedures and policies.
More information about third-party comments
11. What is my school or program’s initial date of accreditation?
For schools and programs accredited for the first time after September 2014, the initial accreditation date accounts for the self-study and site visit process.
More information about initial accreditation date
12. Do you have any statistics about CEPH accreditation?
CEPH has compiled data about the number of accredited schools and programs, accredited online degrees and applicants.
13. Can you tell me more about the annual reporting process?
CEPH has compiled frequently asked questions – related to both the purpose and mechanics of web entry – related to the annual reporting process.