Aquinas College Earns National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) Accreditation

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Aquinas College has been accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), an honor that validates what decades of AQ music alumni have known for many years. 

The Music program at Aquinas College has been recognized by alumni as providing opportunities for music students to develop individual potential, and now has the accreditation to back it. This is the first time in the College’s history that accreditation was sought and awarded.

“The long history of offering a quality music education at Aquinas College now has the NASM accreditation to support what generations of graduates have known for years,” said Barbara Witham McCargar, Chairperson and Associate Professor of Music. “We are thrilled at having received accreditation this fall, and plan to use this to fuel and further our attention on quality and the development of strong programs that students seek in order to have bright futures as creative people.” 

According to McCargar, accreditation for Aquinas College by NASM means that students and faculty know that our program and college have been evaluated and that we have met the standard which the association of member institutions holds for music education at the undergraduate level.  Fellow member institutions and prospective students, along with their parents, teachers, and counselors, can trust that Aquinas College’s faculty, facilities, curriculum and administration are in place to provide an excellent educational experience in the music field.

The Aquinas College Music Department aspired for accreditation several years ago, after a visit and review by a NASM representative. That visit spurred excitement within the Music Department, and Music faculty and staff bonded together to prepare for the lengthy and detailed accreditation process. 

McCargar led the charge, and prepared the final report in the fall of 2018. The formal application was submitted in early January, and Music faculty and staff worked diligently to prepare for a NASM on-site visit this past February. According to McCargar, “While on campus, the NASM review committee took a tour, met with many administrators, faculty and students, visited the JLH Library, and observed a performance by several of our students during our bi-weekly MCAP Performance Class.”

It wasn’t until the Annual NASM Meeting of members in Chicago last month (November 2019) that Aquinas College learned about its accreditation status. According to McCarger, “This was truly a collaborative process and I thank everyone for their support.”

About NASM:

Founded in 1924, the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) is an organization of schools, conservatories, colleges, and universities with approximately 639 accredited institutional members. It establishes national standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees and other credentials for music and music-related disciplines, and provides assistance to institutions and individuals engaged in artistic, scholarly, educational, and other music-related endeavors.

Purpose of NASM:

The purpose of the Association as articulated in its Constitution is:

  • To advance the course of music in American life and especially in higher education.

  • To establish and maintain threshold standards for the education of musicians, while encouraging both diversity and excellence.

  • To provide a national forum for the discussion of issues related to these purposes.

NASM is located at 11250 Roger Bacon Drive, Suite 21, Reston, VA 20190-5248. Visit for more information. 

About Aquinas College Music Minors: