Baccalaureate & Graduate Nursing Program Application Process

A program begins the accreditation review process by requesting new applicant status. New applicants for accreditation are eligible for a maximum accreditation term of 5 years. New applicant status signifies an affiliation with CCNE; it is not a status of accreditation. CCNE accreditation actions are retroactive to the first day of the program’s most recent CCNE on-site evaluation. New applicants should schedule accreditation reviews accordingly. (CCNE Procedures, p. 6)

A program requesting new applicant status must submit its written application and new applicant fee to CCNE.

Applications for accreditation must be emailed as a single PDF document to The application is reviewed by CCNE staff, and, if needed, by the CCNE Executive Committee in order to determine completeness of the application and readiness of the program to initiate the accreditation review process.

For information about the new applicant fee, including amount, please see the CCNE Fee Structure. If you require an invoice, please contact and attach the completed Program Information Form.

The written application must include:

  1. A letter of request signed by a) the chief executive officer (e.g., president) of the institution in which the program is located, b) the chief academic officer (e.g., provost) of the institution, and c) the chief nurse administrator of the nursing unit. In addition to requesting CCNE to begin the accreditation process, the letter should clearly indicate when the program for which accreditation is being sought began enrolling students, and when the program anticipates hosting the on-site evaluation (e.g., spring or fall review cycle, and the year).
  2. Evidence that the parent institution is accredited by an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The institution provides an explanation if it holds applicant, candidacy, or similar status with the institutional accrediting agency; or if it is on probation, warning, show cause, or similar status with the institutional accrediting agency.
  3. Evidence that the institution has received approval or authorization from the recognized institutional accrediting agency and state higher education authority, if applicable, to offer the nursing program(s). The institution provides an explanation if such approval or authorization is not necessary for a particular nursing program.
  4. Evidence that the nursing program is approved or otherwise authorized by all applicable state boards of nursing. The institution provides an explanation if the program is on probation, warning, show cause, or similar status with the state board of nursing. The institution provides an explanation if such approval or authorization is not necessary for a particular nursing program.
  5. Payment of the fee for new applicants as indicated in CCNE's fee structure.
  6. A completed CCNE Program Information Form.
  7. A catalog, bulletin, or other publication (print or electronic) for the institution and the program.
  8. Documentation that briefly summarizes the ability of the program to meet the established accreditation standards. The program should present this information in 5 pages or less. This documentation must include the following:
    1. a description of the educational setting and the organizational structure of the institution;
    2. a stated program mission, with supporting goals and expected outcomes, related to the institutional mission; and
    3. a description of the curriculum and the resources available to support the program.

A request for new applicant status will be accepted at any time, but new applicants should understand that once a program is accepted as a new applicant, the program must proceed toward accreditation. Specifically, a new applicant must submit a complete self-study document and host an on-site evaluation by CCNE within 2 years of the date of acceptance as a new applicant; failure to do so will result in termination of new applicant status. 

A degree program must have students enrolled for the equivalent of one academic year (e.g., two semesters) prior to hosting an on-site evaluation. CCNE will only consider exceptions to this requirement if the total length of the degree program is less than 18 months and the program provides a compelling rationale for needing an earlier on-site evaluation. A post-graduate APRN certificate program must have had at least one student enrolled within the past two years or have at least one completer within the past two years. On-site evaluations are generally scheduled with CCNE a minimum of 12 months in advance. Post-graduate APRN certificate programs must host an on-site evaluation concurrently with a baccalaureate degree program, master’s degree program, and/or DNP program.  At any time during new applicant status, but no later than the day prior to the CCNE Board’s decision-making meeting at which the program will be reviewed for accreditation, a program may withdraw its application without prejudice, on written notice to CCNE, and no further review activities will be conducted. There is a 6 month waiting period after an application is withdrawn before a program may initiate a new request for applicant status.

Related Documents

Procedures for Accreditation of Baccalaureate and Graduate Programs

Program Information Form

Fee Structure