Candidacy Process


Visit the Accreditation Scope and Services page for information regarding training oppertunities for new applicant and current candidate programs.

Benchmark Grid:

The Benchmark Model chart illustrates which features of the Educational Policies and Academic Standards (EPAS) and which accreditation standards (AS) the program is working on during each candidacy visit. For more information on the Candidacy Benchmark Model can be found in the EPAS Handbook.

Formatting Guidelines: Required guidelines for formatting documents for submission to CSWE.

Accreditation Team Approach Grid: Optional resource for managing and delegating duties to team members.

Faculty Hiring Grid: Resource to assist programs in plainning thier faculty hiring thorughout the candidacy process


Candidacy Fees and Related Expenses: List and explanation of fees related to the candidacy process for baccalaureate and master's programs. Direct questions regarding accreditation fees to [email protected]. Direct questions regarding membership fees to [email protected].

Candidacy Eligibility

Candidacy Eligibility Application: The baccalaureate or master's program submits the Candidacy Eligibility Application with supporting materials to begin the candidacy application process. Once approved, the program may submit its draft Benchmark 1 document. 

Benchmark Materials 

  • 2015 EPAS benchmark materials and resources can be found here
  • 2022 EPAS benchmark materials and resources can be found here 

Pre-Candidacy/Determination of Program's Agenda Date

CSWE staff review the programs draft Benchmark 1 document and work with the program to make certain it has fully addressed all requirements of Benchmark 1. After approval of the draft Benchmark 1 document, the program is granted pre-candidacy status. Programs are not formally placed on an agenda until the Draft Benchmark 1 document as been approved by CSWE staff.The date of draft Benchmark 1 approval determines the program’s agenda date (February, June, or October), noted on the timetables below. Timetables include information such as deadlines and required documentation, and guide baccalaureate and master's programs through the Candidacy process. 

2022 EPAS Candidacy Timetables:

Candidacy Visits:

Candidacy Visit Policies (Updated May 2023)

Visit Content:

Meeting with the Institutional Administrators

The BOA expects the visit to begin with the institution’s president/chancellor and any other institutional administrators at the program’s discretion. The program director is to permit the visitor to meet alone with the administrators.

The purpose of this meeting is to explain the accreditation process, learn about the role and place of the program within the institution’s system, answer any questions the administrator may have. When it is not possible to meet with the institution’s president/chancellor, it is acceptable that the site visitor  meet with a designee as determined by the institution. CSWE trusts programs to make this decision and does not need to approve of the designee prior to the visit.

Meetings with the Social Work Program and Stakeholders

The visitor will also meet with the program director, faculty members, the field education director, students, and any other individuals whose presence may be relevant (e.g., field instructors, librarian, community advisory boards, alumni, staff). The purpose of these meetings is for the visitor and program to discuss any strengths, concerns, and questions from the review of the program's document. This time is also used to consult regarding future program development as well as to answer any questions the stakeholders may have.

The BOA does not require or recommend dismissing classes during the visit. It is advised that the schedule be planned to permit participation by all constituents without disrupting the academic schedule.

Exit Interview

BOA visitors hold an exit interview with the primary contact and program director (if different) to convey the findings for inclusion in thevisit report. The program will determine if additional constituents (e.g., administration, faculty.) should be present. The program may ask questions, comment on the findings, or correct any inaccuracies. Visitors may respond to questions but not make judgments of whether the program is in compliance with EPAS, as that judgment rests with the BOA.

Visitors must remind programs that the findings, along with the program’s response to visit report, are reviewed by the BOA before making a decision about compliance. Visitors explicitly inform the institution and program that the BOA will notify them of its decision about program compliance and concerns.

Resources for in-person visits:

Resources for virtual visits:

BOA Decisions
A comprehensive list of possible BOA decisions related to decisions can be found in the EPAS Handbook.

Agenda Adjustments and Postponements of Candidacy Review

A baccalaureate or master's program in pre-candidacy or candidacy may request a permanent one-meeting agenda adjustment at any benchmark. To request an agenda adjustment please submit this form to the program's accreditation specialist. For more information on agenda adjustments during pre-candidacy or candidacy, please review policy 1.2.3 in the EPAS Handbook.