Information for US Students
This page contains information for prospective students from the USA and is based on
questions we have received over the past 6 years. If you
have another question you'd like to see answered on this FAQ, please let
us know. (Be sure to also see our standard SAO FAQ
questions may be answered there!)
Are the SAO degree programs accredited in the USA?
SAO is a fully accredited degree program within Swinburne, and Swinburne
University is in turn fully accredited by the Australian Government. For
more details, see the SAO accreditation page.
To our understanding, that puts us on an equal standing with any
foreign university, from the US accreditation point of view. However,
the US accreditation system is rather complex, as there is no single
accrediting body. We believe that the US accreditation system works
something like this:
Can I take SAO units to count towards my astronomy classes for
continuing education credits?
The easiest thing for SAO to do would be to get ourselves accredited with
one of these agencies, then all prospective students could be given a letter
of accreditation by this agency. But the problem is that not all
universities/colleges in the US accept all accreditation agencies, so we might
need to get this done many times! Therefore we have to leave it to
prospective students to seek accreditation by their local accrediting bodies.
For more information, see the American Council on Education (ACE) and the
Council on Higher Education
Accreditation (CHEA) websites.
We can confirm that SAO students have successfully had their SAO degrees
accredited in California by the Educational Records Evaluation Service (ERES), in Kentucky
by the Kentucky Department of Education, and in Iowa by the
- there are many universities and colleges running many courses;
- the universities/colleges are accredited with the government and
the courses are accredited with the university/college;
- there are also many accreditation agencies -- these are generally
- there is no national accreditation agency that accredits all the
universities and colleges;
- there are national accrediting bodies, but not all accrediting
agencies belong to them;
- the universities/colleges do not recognise all of the accreditation
agencies (you can probably see the looming problem...!)
That depends on the Dean of your college. SAO allows students to enrol in
single units on an 'individual unit enrolment' basis (i.e. so you don't have
to enrol in one of our degree programs). Whether your college then allows
this unit to be counted towards your continuing education credits depends on
approval from your Dean.