NASAD Accreditation Recognizes UXD Program Quality

Learn about the importance of university and program accreditation, and how the Kent State UXD Program’s NASAD accreditation supports student success.


Kent State University’s online Master’s in UXD program is proud to be accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). The only accreditation agency covering the entire field of art and design that the United States Department of Education recognizes, NASAD has approximately 360 member institutions.1

What you need to know about accreditation

Accreditation and the systems for credentialing educational programs and institutions were developed to help assure high-quality instruction based on current research and professional practice. Accreditation has significant financial ramifications, so understanding the system can help you choose an undergraduate or post-graduate degree program wisely.

Various agencies offer accreditation in different educational arenas. Some have national scope, while some have regional authority. Kent State University has institutional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a regional accrediting agency that is a member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), a national organization focused on higher education accreditation. The HLC accreditation considers all the university’s onsite and online degree programs. Kent State has held HLC accreditation since 1915. Counterintuitively, regional accreditation is usually more prestigious than national accreditation because the regional accrediting agencies are older, and most non-profit colleges and universities have regional accreditation.2

Some accrediting agencies have a narrow subject focus, while others cover multiple disciplines. In the arts field, NASM and NAST are national agencies that accredit music and theater schools, respectively. NASAD, as mentioned, covers the entire field of art and design.

Some accrediting agencies are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), while others are not. Just as you should research the particulars of an educational institution before enrolling, you should also investigate the agencies that provide credentials to those institutions. Websites for the DOE and the CHEA are good resources for researching accreditation.

Accreditation’s Impact on Graduate School Financing

School accreditation can impact your graduate school financing plan in a couple of different ways. The first is concerning financial aid. A school must have credentials from an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for you to take advantage of federally backed financial aid. A second potential impact is on eligibility for tuition support from your employer. Tuition reimbursement programs often require that your degree program is accredited.

Accreditation Assures You of High Educational Standards

The root purpose of accreditation is to assure students and the public that the program adheres to high quality standards. A reputable accreditation signals that your tuition investment is money well-spent.

Credentialing agencies typically require schools to submit to periodic reviews to maintain their status. An accreditation commission or other decision-making body reviews institutional self-study coupled with peer evaluations. In addition to educational standards and guidelines, NASAD accreditation requirements include institutional ethics as well as instructional standards. All NASAD member institutions agree to abide by NASAD’s code of ethics. The code encompasses consideration of the school’s responsibility to the student, along with such topics as faculty appointments, financial aid, and advertising.

The organization’s informational brochure points out that NASAD accreditation requirements are an educational framework “within which each institution develops the specifics of its unique program. In no case should’ standards and guidelines’ imply standardization.1" There are significant differences in curriculum and other degree requirements among programs with the same credentials. Accreditation is not a shortcut for selecting your degree program. It is a baseline qualification upon which you should layer considerations of faculty, coursework, and the other elements of how the program advances your personal and professional goals.

Because Kent State is an institutional member of NASAD with UXD accreditation, the online Master’s in UXD faculty has access to the latest information on design, related arts, and pedagogy developments. This access helps them stay on the cutting edge of UXD education, meaning that KSU’s UXD accreditation will help you graduate with an advanced degree that is also ahead of the pack.

UXD Accreditation’s Impact on Your Career

UXD is a hot field that continues to provide in-demand jobs during the pandemic. Employment agency Robert Half says starting salary for UX designers ranges from $80,000 to $102,0003. Indeed says that the average base salary in the United States is $89,343.4. That’s good financial news, and the field continues to grow, with more UX design roles available now and in the future. But the flip side is that there’s a lot of competition in the field.

Kent State’s online Master’s in UXD can set you apart from the competition and prepare you for success on one of several lucrative UXD career paths. Hiring managers want to know that you are well-trained in the principles of good design and content strategy, as well as current best practices. KSU’s fully online program integrates theory and practice in a curriculumthat empowers you to get to the heart of design problems and build creative solutions. NASAD accreditation reinforces the value of our program both in terms of the education you will receive as a KSU student and the salary you can command when you graduate.

Design Career Success Into Your Graduate Studies

The balance of theory and practical application delivered by Kent State University’s online Master’s in UX Design helps you stand out in the crowded UXD field. HLC and NASAD accreditation assure you that your education meets high standards. The credentials assure potential employers that you can deliver good results from the day of hire. As a student, you will have opportunities to collaborate with your peers, network with well-connected and professionally passionate faculty members, and build your portfolio—all without the need to relocate or leave your current job. As a graduate, you will have the Kent State faculty and alumni network backing you. Find out more about the student experience here. Then start your application to begin designing your bright future in UXD.


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Dr. Astrid N. Sambolín Morales is an Assistant Professor in Kent State Online’s 100% Online Master of Education degree in Cultural Foundations. She received her PhD in Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity from the University of Colorado Boulder and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research provides a more nuanced picture of the agency, resistance, and empowerment enacted by displaced Puerto Rican m(others) in the U.S., and her work was funded by several grants, including the University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center, the BUENO Center for Multicultural Education, the URBAN Research Network, and the NAEd Spencer Foundation.