SFU has been granted formal accreditation, effective September 1, 2015, by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), an independent, non-profit agency.

The NWCCU is one of six independent regional agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to evaluate the quality and institutional effectiveness of post-secondary institutions. Simon Fraser is accredited by a U.S. agency because Canada doesn’t have a comparable institutional accreditation body.  

About Accreditation

Accreditation allows an assessment by our peers (educators and researchers) who have the same aspirations to high standards as we have at Simon Fraser University. Currently, SFU has certain programs or faculties that have attained specific academic accreditation relating to their field. 


The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities is a non-governmental, non-profit, membership organization, overseeing regional accreditation for over 160 institutions in the seven-state Northwest region – Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington – and for a limited number of institutions outside the U.S. Its decision-making body consists of up to 24 Commissioners – institutional representatives and public members – a chair, and the President, who is ex-officio. Click here for its accrediation standards.

The Benefits of Accreditation

SFU is the first Canadian post-secondary research intensive university to be accredited.

Benefits of accreditation include:

  • Increase accountability - through regular external assessments of our adherence to best-practice standards.
  • Set clear benchmarks - Establish clearer benchmarks/standards for assessing educational goals and students’ learning experiences.
  • Enhance the value of an SFU degree, locally and internationally.
  • Build relationships - Strategically build our relationships with U.S. institutions, including government, foundations, and collegiate sports associations. 
  • Foster public confidence - in our ability to adhere to our stated vision and goals.

SFU's Accreditation Term

Accreditation is an ongoing status that must be reaffirmed periodically. Now that SFU has achieved initial accreditation with the NWCCU, it enters into a seven-year cycle that consists of regular reporting and peer reviews. A decision regarding reaffirmation of accreditation takes place at the conclusion of the seven-year cycle.

Educational Goals

Educational goals are a set of attributes that every SFU graduate should possess and represent the university’s ongoing commitment to the improvement of programs and courses.

In 2022, SFU adopted Educational Goals for all undergraduate students as part of our accreditation with the NWCCU.  SFU’s Educational Goals for undergraduates are based on the recommendations of a 2018 working group and revisions made by the Senate Committee for University Teaching and Learning:

SFU Students Are:

Strong, purposeful and inclusive communicators. They can:

  • Analyze and interpret ideas through various media, including but not limited to effective written, verbal, quantitative, and visual arguments.
  • Evaluate and use source materials effectively and ethically to support and advance ongoing and new knowledge.   
  • Promote inclusive, collaborative problem-solving through respectful interpersonal communication.

Practical, creative and critical thinkers. They have the capacity to:

  • Articulate broad and deep knowledge of a field of study, including core assumptions, key concepts, standard methodologies, and common approaches, both theoretical and applied. 
  • Pose thoughtful questions, analyze and interpret information and arguments, and apply information from multiple disciplines to solve problems.
  • Engage critically in experiential activities to demonstrate a reflective and integrated understanding and develop practical, creative, and scholarly solutions

Our students are community-engaged individuals. They have learned to:

  • Respect Indigenous communities’ goals of self-determination and well-being, and actively engage in SFU’s collective responsibility of working towards Reconciliation. 
  • Understand and respect diversity, practice inclusion, work towards equity, and gain and promote understanding of local, regional, and global communities. 
  • Evaluate ethical values and the social context of problems; apply diverse perspectives in scholarship. 
  • Contribute to the communities in which they work and live through reciprocal and relationship building, and participate in community-embedded challenges or opportunities.