On August 30, 2017, the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research awarded full recognition (accreditation) to The American University of Kurdistan. In doing so, AUK became the first and only private university in the Kurdistan Region to receive accreditation before graduating any of its students.
Governmental accreditation ensures that educational institutions meet and maintain standards of academic excellence. Colleges and universities around the world recognize their accreditation status as a major criterion for admission to international research consortia and exchange programs. In addition, students holding degrees from accredited institutions are significantly more likely to be admitted to international graduate programs.
The AUK is committed to raising the standards of higher education in the region and to providing its students with all the opportunities afforded to internationally respected universities. To that end, the University will continue to seek professional, program-level accreditations, partnerships with other prestigious organizations, and ultimately, institutional regional accreditation from the United States.
U.S. Regional Accreditation
The American University of Kurdistan is currently pursuing Candidacy Status for Accreditation with the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). Accreditation is a self-regulatory, non-governmental peer review process. The NECHE is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, affirming that its Standards and processes are consistent with best practices in quality assurance and monitoring for the institutions it accredits. Over several decades, NECHE has developed standards, policies, and procedures to carry out a process of peer review leading to institutional accreditation. The Commission believes that the process of pursuing U.S. regional accreditation is a capacity-building exercise for the institution.As an institution of higher education that not only by its name, but also by its mission, the AUK publicly declares itself to be an “American-style institution”. As stated in its institutional mission, the AUK is committed to providing students an educational experience modeled on American best practices. This includes:
- A values-based liberal arts and professional education, fostering an intellectual climate that encourages dedication to life-long learning, supporting faculty and student academic inquiry that addresses local and regional challenges, and modeling and promoting a dedication to community service and social responsibility;
- A significant proportion of faculty and staff who are either from the United States or have attained one or more degrees from U.S. institutions.
- English as the language of instruction and operations.
- Offering academic degree programs with curricula, course structures, student learning outcomes, etc. that parallel programs in the U.S. as well as facilitate student mobility;
- Incorporating within the bachelor’s degrees, a program of General Education that allows students to achieve proficiency in a set of core skills while enhancing their breadth of knowledge in disciplines across the liberal arts and sciences;
- Establishing admission policies that review applicants holistically and accepts them based on their potential to academically succeed at AUK; and
- A commitment to access to a higher education for all students, regardless of ethnicity, religion, or economic status.