Lesley University was founded in 1909 and is recognized as a nonprofit organization under Massachusetts law and as a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Lesley University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Many individual programs are also accredited or endorsed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and other organizations.  See school-by-school accreditation information below.

The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education has granted Lesley University degree-granting authority for the following degrees: Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor, Master, Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts, and Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in the fields of professional education and related educational services, general education, human services, mental health, management and organizational behavior, Associate in education and human services, Doctor of Philosophy in Expressive Therapies, Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Studies, and Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling and Psychology.

State Authorization

Lesley University is an approved SARA institution.  As described by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, the SARA portal entity for Massachusetts, SARA is an acronym for the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, which is an interstate agreement that allows colleges and universities located in a SARA member state to offer online classes in other SARA member states without needing to obtain authorization to do so from each state individually.  SARA consists of a national network of member states, districts, and territories that agree to comply with the rules, policies, and procedures set forth by the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA).

According to NC-SARA, membership in SARA includes 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and California is the only state that has not joined SARA.  Lesley is authorized to operate in California through its authorization process.  For more information about Lesley’s authorization in California, see the Additional State Approvals section below.

  • Programs Leading to Professional Licensure

    Lesley University's licensure-track degree programs comply with program-specific requirements in Massachusetts. We cannot confirm whether a course or program of study will meet the educational requirements for professional licensure or certification in any state other than Massachusetts. We advise all applicants and students to determine whether the program meets requirements for licensure or certification in the state in which they reside or plan to practice. 

  • Complaint Process for Online and Low-Residency Students

    At Lesley, we attempt to resolve student complaints within our academic and administrative departments.  Online and low-residency students who have a complaint about a University process or procedure may submit a written complaint at online.resolution@lesley.edu. We'll forward the complaint to the appropriate academic or administrative department, and email you to let know that the issue is being reviewed. We'll attempt to resolve the complaint quickly.

    The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE), in its capacity as the SARA portal entity for Massachusetts, reviews and evaluates student complaints regarding distance learning programs offered by Massachusetts-based institutions that are members of SARA.  Students must first attempt to resolve their complaint using Lesley’s internal complaint process, described above.  After exhausting this process, students may submit a SARA Complaint to the Massachusetts DHE.  Please note that complaints about student grades and student conduct violations are expressly excluded from SARA review.  For information about the DHE’s SARA complaint process, please visit the DHE website and its Complaint Policy and Process.

    Online and low residency students can also file a complaint through the appropriate state agency in their state of residence. Review the Contact information for all 50 states and the District of Columbia as provided by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) at www.sheeo.org.

Additional State Approvals

School-by-School Accreditation Information

  • Graduate School of Education

    All programs are encompassed under our institutional accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. 

    Our Educator/Counselor Preparation and Professional Development Program is accredited under the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) Quality Principles through the CAEP Accreditation System through 2021. We will seek accreditation under the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Standards in Fall of 2021. Formed in 2013, CAEP is the single specialized accreditor for educator preparation, and administers TEAC accreditation.

    The Graduate School of Education is also affiliated with:

    • American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
    • National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification Interstate Agreement
  • Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences

    All programs are encompassed under our institutional accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

    Accreditations for the Division of Counseling Psychology

    • Our Educator/Counselor Preparation and Professional Development Program is accredited under the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) Quality Principles through the CAEP Accreditation System through 2021. We will seek accreditation under the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Standards in Fall of 2021. Formed in 2013, CAEP is the single specialized accreditor for educator preparation, and administers TEAC accreditation
       

    Accreditations for the Division of Expressive Therapy

    • The Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Art Therapy program is accredited by the American Art Therapy Association.
    • The Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Dance Therapy program is accredited by the American Dance Therapy Association.
    • The Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Drama Therapy Program is accredited by the North American Drama Therapy Association.
    • The Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Music Therapy is accredited by the American Music Therapy Association.
  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
    • All programs are encompassed under our institutional accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
    • Our Educator/Counselor Preparation and Professional Development Program is accredited under the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) Quality Principles through the CAEP Accreditation System through 2021. We will seek accreditation under the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Standards in Fall of 2021. Formed in 2013, CAEP is the single specialized accreditor for educator preparation, and administers TEAC accreditation.
    • The baccalaureate Business Management program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (ACBSP).
  • College of Art and Design
    • All programs are encompassed under our institutional accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.
    • Member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design.

Inquiries regarding Lesley’s accreditations and state authorization should be emailed to state.approvals@lesley.edu.