I plan on graduating with my PhD in May and am currently job searching for academic positions for next fall.

I am looking into applying to be a full-time biology faculty member at a school which is accredited, but where the biology program does not have "specialized accreditation" for the field.

The question is: is it worth it?

I understand that attending a non-accredited school as a student can be detrimental to long-term success, but is the same true for TEACHING in a non-accredited biology program? Maybe more specifically, what are the pros and cons to working for a non-accredited program?

As a related follow-up: which would be better (or perhaps less worse) for my career as a university professor: full-time position at a poorly ranked non-accredited program or an adjunct position for a accredited program at a better-rated school?

  • I should preface all this by saying that I'm getting my degree from a top 15 school nationally, I'm very ambitious, and could likely get a better job at a better university (to which I am applying). But like all prudent folks before me, I am casting a wide and diverse job-searching net. Oct 20, 2015 at 18:20
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    Are we talking about a program that is too new to be accredited, but likely will be shortly? Or a program that will not be accredited, possibly because it does not meet basic standards of quality?
    – ff524
    Oct 20, 2015 at 18:24
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    To clarify - the institution as a whole is accredited, but the program is not? Is program accreditation is common or almost universal for reputable programs in your field? (It's not universal for all fields.) Oct 20, 2015 at 18:39
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    Decades ago, I got an engineering degree at a well known school. The department was going through re-accreditation at the time, and was getting negative feedback on some of the curriculum changes they had made. The university response was basically that they knew better than the accreditation folks, having worked closely with companies and grad schools on what needed to change, and would be happy to move forward into the 21st century without them. (These days, engineering accreditation has changed dramatically, probably because of several such interactions).
    – Jon Custer
    Oct 20, 2015 at 20:34
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    Is accreditation even standard in biology? This blog post and this article I came across with a quick Google search suggests it isn't, but it's not my field.
    – ff524
    Oct 21, 2015 at 4:21

1 Answer 1


In my experience, very few biology programs are accredited, for example at liberal arts undergraduate colleges. But they're still important, since liberal arts students still ought to be exposed to biology. So I don't think that association with a good quality teaching program will hurt your prospects as a teacher, but unaccredited programs tend not to engage in research very intensively, if at all. So as others have mentioned, you should probably consider a post-doc at a research school if that's your goal.

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