ProQuest's policy is to accept master's theses and dissertations from all institutions which have been accredited by one of the six regional accrediting bodies (Middle States Association, New England Association, Higher Learning Commission (formerly, North Central Association), Northwest Association, Southern Association and Western Association) for inclusion in the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses database. Regional accreditation means that the accredited institutions are eligible for membership in the Council of Graduate Schools, which is the standard by which the higher education community judges itself. Master's theses and dissertations from independent medical and law schools accredited by the AMA and ABA are also accepted.
We regularly conduct focus groups, interviews and other data gathering measures to ascertain if the content of the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses database should be expanded to allow for participation from other non-regionally accredited universities. Each time, the staff and administrators of the nation's graduate schools and research libraries make abundantly clear that a narrow definition of accreditation should be applied to institutions represented in the database. In other words, the market credibility of the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses database rests on the basic standard of institutional quality control as measured by regional accreditation. If an institution wishes to be included in the community of higher education institutions that appear in the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses database, that institution must be evaluated and judged as a peer of the community, requiring regional accreditation.