Sponsoring Institution Application Information

Note: On July 1, 2020, the transition to a single GME accreditation system concluded. Some of the information on this page may no longer be relevant as a result. Direct questions regarding accreditation/application status to singleGME@acgme.org.


Under the terms of the agreement (Memorandum of Understanding) among the ACGME, AOA, and AACOM, all AOA institutions not already accredited by the ACGME as Sponsoring Institutions may apply for ACGME institutional accreditation. In order for AOA institutions to become ACGME-accredited, they must apply for Sponsoring Institution accreditation. AOA institutions that submit an accreditation application between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2020, under the terms of agreement, receive pre-accreditation status upon submission of a complete application.

Every ACGME-accredited residency or fellowship program must be overseen and supported by an ACGME-accredited Sponsoring Institution. In order to receive and maintain institutional accreditation, Sponsoring Institutions must substantially comply with the Institutional Requirements. Each Sponsoring Institution must identify a designated institutional official (DIO) who has the authority and responsibility for oversight and administration of its programs. The ACGME’s Institutional Review Committee assesses Sponsoring Institutions’ compliance with the Institutional Requirements through periodic accreditation reviews.

Steps to Submitting a Successful Sponsoring Institution Application:

Step 1: Locate and read the ACGME Institutional Requirements and FAQs.

The Institutional Requirements can be located on the Institutional Application and Requirements page of the Institutional Review Committee section of the website. The FAQs are available in the FAQ section on the same page.

Step 2: Locate the contact information for the ACGME staff of the Institutional Review Committee.

Contact information for the staff of the Institutional Review Committee can be found on the Committee’s section of the website. Contact a member of the staff with any questions during the application process.

Step 3: Locate, complete, and submit the “Intent to Apply for Institutional Accreditation” form.

The Intent to Apply for Institutional Accreditation form is downloadable from the Institutional Application and Requirements page of the Institutional Review Committee section of the website, under the “New Sponsoring Institution Application” header. The completed form must be submitted electronically to ADS@acgme.org. Once received, ACGME staff will provide the identified DIO with login access to the Accreditation Data System (ADS) via e-mail, which allows the Sponsoring Institution to prepare and submit the application.

Step 4: Log into ADS and complete the Institutional Application.

The Institutional Accreditation Application is completed entirely in ADS. DIOs log into ADS and enter or upload all required information, including the Initial Institutional Application document found on the Institutional Application and Requirements page of the Institutional Review Committee section of the website, under the “New Sponsoring Institution Application” header.

Step 5: Submit the application!

Once the DIO has entered and uploaded all necessary information, he or she should review the application and ask others within the Sponsoring Institution (e.g., Graduate Medical Education Committee members, executive leadership, faculty members, program directors, administrators, etc.) to review it as well.

After the application has been thoroughly reviewed by the GME leadership of the Sponsoring Institution, the DIO submits the application to the ACGME’s Institutional Review Committee via ADS for review. The institution will immediately receive a status of pre-accreditation if it was an AOA institution on July 1, 2015. The ACGME staff will then process the application and schedule it for review by the Institutional Review Committee.

For more information about institutions with pre-accreditation status, visit the Sponsoring Institution Pre-Accreditation page.

Step 6: Initiate program applications.

If a Sponsoring Institution has pre-accreditation status, the DIO can initiate new (core) specialty program applications in ADS. New specialty program applications can be submitted in ADS while the Sponsoring Institution remains in pre-accreditation. Such programs will receive pre-accreditation status upon submission of complete program applications if they were AOA-approved on July 1, 2015, however they will not be able to receive Initial Accreditation until the Sponsoring Institution has Initial Accreditation.

For more information about the program application process, visit the Program Application page.