Policies and Guidelines

See the latest policies and guidelines governing CODA accreditation.

About CODA Policies and Guidelines

The Commission publishes an Evaluation and Operational Policies and Procedures Manual, which details policies and procedures for all institutions sponsoring dental, allied dental and advanced dental education programs.  Additionally, the Commission published Guidelines for reporting program changes, educational activity sites, and enrollment increases.  Electronic submission guidelines and privacy and data security requirements are also provided.

Review the evaluation and operational policies and procedures governing accreditation.
Learn how site visits may be temporarily conducted virtually or in a hybrid manner. 
See the most recent updates from CODA leadership and staff.
Learn about program director responsibilities, policies, procedures and standards. 
Review the process for filing a complaint against a CODA-accredited program or CODA.
Submit applications, reports, self-studies, site visit materials and more.

Current CODA Policies

Policy and Procedure Manual

The purpose of the Evaluation & Operational Policies & Procedures manual is to provide information about the Commission on Dental Accreditation’s accreditation policies and procedures for all institutions sponsoring dental, allied dental and advanced dental education programs. It contains background information on the Commission and its accreditation policies, as well as specific information to assist programs in attaining accreditation and in preparing for on-site reviews. The information in this manual applies to all dental education programs except where specifically noted. Dates following each policy refer to the date of the Commission action to Adopt, Revise or Reaffirm the policy. A reference noted as CODA: 7/00; 4, indicates that additional information can be found on page four (4) of the Commission’s July 2000 minutes.

Current manual:
Evaluation & Operational Policies & Procedures manual


Program Changes, Deadlines and Other Report Guidelines

The Commission on Dental Accreditation recognizes that education and accreditation are dynamic, not static, processes. Ongoing review and evaluation often leads to changes in an educational program. The Commission views change as part of a healthy educational process and encourages programs to make them as part of their normal operating procedures.

Changes have a direct and significant impact on the program's potential ability to comply with the accreditation standards. These changes tend to occur in the areas of finance, program administration, enrollment, curriculum and clinical/laboratory facilities, but may also occur in other areas.

All program changes that could affect the ability of the program to comply with the Accreditation Standards must be reported to the Commission. When a change is planned, Commission staff should be consulted to determine reporting requirements.

Changes that require prior Commission approval must be reported by May 1 or November 1 and must be reviewed by the appropriate Review Committee and approved by the Commission prior to implementation to ensure that the program continues to meet the accreditation standards.

Changes that do not require Review Committee and Commission review must be reported to the Commission in writing at least thirty (30) days prior to the anticipated implementation of the change.

Policy on Missed Deadlines: So that the Commission may conduct its accreditation program in an orderly fashion, all institutions offering programs accredited by the Commission are expected to adhere to deadlines for requests for program information. Programs/institutions must meet established deadlines to allow scheduling of regular or special site visits and for submission of requested information. Program information (i.e. self-studies, progress reports, annual surveys or other kinds of accreditation-related information requested by the Commission) is considered an integral part of the accreditation process. If an institution fails to comply with the Commission's request, or a prescribed deadline, it will be assumed that the institution no longer wishes to participate in the accreditation program. In this event, the Commission will immediately notify the chief executive officer of the institution of its intent to withdraw the accreditation of the program(s) at its next scheduled meeting.

Please contact Commission staff to determine reporting requirements and deadlines.

Approval of Sites Where Educational Activity Occurs (Off-Campus Sites)

The Commission on Dental Accreditation recognizes that students/residents may gain educational experiences in a variety of settings and locations. An accredited program may use one or more than one setting or location to support student/resident learning and meet Commission on Dental Accreditation standards and/or program requirements. The Commission expects programs to follow the EOPP guidelines and accreditation standards when developing, implementing and monitoring activity sites used to provide educational experiences.

The Commission on Dental Accreditation must be informed when a program accredited by the Commission plans to initiate educational experiences in new settings and locations. Additionally, changes to educational activity sites that impact the use of the site (e.g. minor to major site, or termination of enrollment at or discontinued use of major site) must be reported. To assist programs in reporting the addition of off-campus sites where educational activity occurs, guidelines have been developed.

Guidelines for Reporting and Approval of Sites Where Educational Activity Occurs (PDF)

Reporting Educational Activity Sites Flow Chart (PDF)

Enrollment Increases

The Commission on Dental Accreditation monitors increases in enrollment. An increase in enrollment must be reported to and approved by the Commission prior to implementation. Failure to comply with the policy will jeopardize the program's accreditation status.

Electronic Submission Guidelines

The Commission has launched an Online Submissions Portal. Those who wish to submit applications, self-study, and/or large reports to the Commission may do so through this online Portal:

Online Portal

The Policy on Electronic Submission of Accreditation Materials states that programs will provide the Commission with an electronic version of all accreditation documents/reports and related materials. These documents may include but are not limited to self-study guides, responses to site visit/progress reports, initial accreditation applications, reports of program change, transfer of sponsorship and exhibits. The Commission will provide programs with electronic submission guidelines including accepted formats. Accreditation documents/reports and related materials must be complete and comprehensive.

HIPAA Compliance

Commission Policy and Procedure Related to Compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

HIPAA is the federal law that governs how "Covered Entities" and “Business Associates” handle the privacy and security of patients' protected health information (PHI). HIPAA Covered Entities include health care providers and health plans that send certain information electronically. The Commission may be deemed a "Business Associate" of certain institutions that are HIPAA Covered Entities. A Business Associate is an individual or entity that performs a function or activity on behalf of a HIPAA Covered Entity involving the use or disclosure of individually identifiable health information. Business Associates must comply with certain HIPAA Security and Privacy rules and implement training programs. The program's documentation for CODA must not contain any patient protected health information (“PHI”) or sensitive personally identifiable information (“PII”). If the program submits documentation that does not comply with the Privacy and Data Security Summary for Institutions/Programs (linked below), CODA will assess an administrative fee of $4000 per program submission to the institution; a program’s resubmission that continues to contain prohibited data will be assessed an additional $4000 fee.

Privacy and Data Security Summary for Institutions/Programs (PDF)