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 Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). 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 given 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) reviews and evaluates student complaints regarding online and 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 complaint to the Massachusetts DHE. 

    If you are a resident of Massachusetts and your complaint is not resolved at the institutional level, you may proceed to the DHE’s resident consumer complaint procedure.

    If you are a resident of a SARA member state (other than Massachusetts) and your complaint is not resolved at the institutional level, you may proceed to the DHE’s non-resident SARA consumer complaint procedure.  Please note that complaints about student grades and student conduct violations are expressly excluded from SARA review.  

    Information about complaint procedures is available below in the “Additional State Approvals” section for enrolled students from California and other specifically stated programs that are operating beyond the scope of SARA.

Additional State Approvals

  • California

    Lesley University is approved to operate pursuant to California Education Code (CEC) section 94890(a)(1), which approves Lesley University due to its accreditation by the New England Commission of Higher Education. 

    Access the California consumer complaint process.

    California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education
    P. O. Box 980818
    W. Sacramento, CA 95798-0818
    Phone: 888.370.7589 Fax: 916.263.1897

    2018 Performance Fact Sheet - Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (pdf)
    2018-2019 Lesley University Undergraduate Catalog (pdf)
    2018-2019 Lesley University Graduate Catalog (pdf)

  • North Carolina

    North Carolina participates in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.

    The Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina has issued Lesley University a license to offer Master of Clinical Mental Health Counseling degrees in: Art Therapy, Dance/Movement Therapy, Expressive Arts Therapy, and Music Therapy. Valid through April 2, 2020.

    North Carolina Post-Secondary Education Complaints
    University of North Carolina General Administration
    c/o Student Complaints
    910 Raleigh Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2688
    Phone: 919-062-4550
    Email: studentcomplaints@northcarolina.edu
    http://www.northcarolina.edu/complaints

  • Texas

    Lesley University is not regulated in Texas under Chapter 132 of the Texas Education Code.

  • Washington

    Washington participates in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.

    Lesley University is authorized by the Washington Student Achievement Council and meets the requirements and minimum educational standards established for degree-granting institutions under the Degree-Granting Institutions Act. This authorization is subject to periodic review and authorizes Lesley University to offer specific degree programs. Authorization by the Council does not carry with it an endorsement by the Council of the institution or its programs. Any person desiring information about the requirements of the act or the applicability of those requirements to the institution may contact the Council at P.O. Box 43430, Olympia, WA 98504-3430. For information about educator certification, visit the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.
     

    Access to the Washington consumer complaint process.

School-by-School Accreditation Information

  • Graduate School of Education

    All programs are encompassed under our institutional accreditation by the New England Commission of Higher Education. 

    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. See CAEP annual reporting measures

    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 Commission of Higher Education.

    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: Expressive Arts Therapy Program is accredited by the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association.
    • The Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Music Therapy Program 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 Commission of Higher Education.
    • 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).
    • The Social Work BSW program is currently in Pre-Candidacy for Accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation.
  • College of Art and Design
    • All programs are encompassed under our institutional accreditation by the New England Commission of Higher Education 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.