Three levels of institutional membership are recognized by ATHEA:
Institutional Membership. This is the entry into ATHEA and the starting point for all institutional members who may seek accreditation. The institution must have legal authorisation to operate as a tertiary educational institution, have students in a programme of higher education, be in existence for at least 1 year, and offer and teach their own institution’s programmes. If, for example, an institution is teaching for another institution but has no academic programmes of their own, they could not be an Institutional Member.
Candidate for Accreditation. An Institutional Member who has completed all of the requirements for candidacy status as stated in the ATHEA Accreditation Process Manual will be a considered a candidate for accreditation. The Institutional Member must have graduates of the programme and be in existence for at least 3 years. The specific term for candidacy is Transnational Higher Education Accreditation-Candidate, or ATHEA-Candidate.
Accredited. Once a Candidate for Accreditation completes a self-evaluation, passes a site evaluation, and is accepted into accreditation status by the ATHEA Board of Commissioners, the institution is awarded accreditation. The THEA-Candidate must have at least 2 cycles of graduates (students that start and finish the programme) from their institution. The specific term for accredited is ATHEA-Accredited.
In order to become an Institutional Member of the ATHEA, an academic institution must:
An Institutional Member is not allowed to claim or imply candidacy or accreditation by the ATHEA Board of Commissioners until candidacy or accreditation has been officially granted and awarded.