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Computer Science Accreditation Council (CSAC) moves to an outcome based accreditation approach


The CIPS Computer Science Accreditation Council (CSAC) undergraduate program accreditation policies and procedures historically have been intended for programs that prepare graduates for entry into a profession appropriate to the program's discipline. In specifying its criteria for achieving accreditation in a computing discipline, the Council aims to establish a relationship between a) defining minimum standards or objectives, b) focusing on achievement of graduate attributes instead of being overly prescriptive, and c) encompassing flexibility within which students can set individual goals and tailor their programs.To more closely align with these objectives, CSAC has now fully moved to an outcome based accreditation approach.  

In the new approach, graduate attributes take precedence, and the counting of courses is only a guideline not a requirement. Outcome based accreditation is a paradigm shift from the traditional accreditation model, which narrowly focused on the content and produced students with varying degrees of achievement levels and did not consistently produce learners which could perform effectively in the work place.  Outcome based assessment has changed the focus for learning institutions from the content to the learner and focusses curriculum design and teaching on what students can actually do after they are taught.

The new approach aligns the criteria with the Seoul Accord Graduate Attributes and with many provincially mandated academic unit reviews, most of which have now moved to an outcome-based approach.

For more information on CSAC accreditation visit or contact Gina van Dalen, Manager Professional Standards at

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