State Authorization for Distance Education

If an institution is offering postsecondary education through distance or correspondence education to students in a State in which it is not physically located or in which it is otherwise subject to State jurisdiction as determined by the State, the institution must meet any State requirements for it to be legally offering postsecondary distance or correspondence education in that State. An institution must be able to document to the Secretary the State's approval upon request.

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State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)

Effective March 17, 2016, the Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission (GNPEC) approved Emory University to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). A “State authorization reciprocity agreement” is an agreement between two or more States that authorizes an institution located and legally authorized in a State covered by the agreement to provide postsecondary education through distance education or correspondence courses to students in other States covered by the agreement. Participation in NC-SARA is voluntary and requires an annual renewal. SARA authorizes Institutions that are members to provide online education to students from all SARA member states.

View approved states and institutions

Programs and Courses

Emory University offers the following online programs and courses:

Doctor of Ministry (DMin) Candler School of Theology
Undergraduate Courses Emory College of Arts and Sciences
Modular Executive Masters of Business Administration (MEMBA) Goizueta Business School
Prerequisite Courses Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)* Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing
Executive Master of Public Health (EMPH) Rollins School of Public Health
Juris Masters (JM) School of Law
Master of Laws School of Law
Bachelor of Science in Medical Imaging (BMSc) School of Medicine

The following programs are not online programs. However, they have on-the-ground experiences, “i.e.” (practicums, internships, residency, clinical rotations, etc.) that are conducted out-of-state, and therefore are subject to the Department of Education regulations surrounding state authorization.

  • Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)* School of Medicine 
  • Physician Assistant (PA)* School of Medicine
  • Anesthesiology Assistant (AA)* School of Medicine

*Programs that lead to professional licensure

Status of Non-SARA States and Territories


  • California – Emory University does not have a physical presence in the State of California and may offer distance/online education programs and courses to California residents.
  • Florida – The Florida Department of Education does not require an application to offer distance/online education, therefore, Emory University may offer distance/online education programs and courses to Florida residents.
  • Massachusetts – For Out-of-State Online/Hybrid Program Approvals, the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education is undertaking the process of updating its regulations regarding the approval of such programs and courses at this time. Until these regulations are in place, Emory University may offer distance/online education programs and courses to Massachusetts residents.


  • American Samoa – not pursing state authorization until we have a clear definition of their requirements
  • Guam – not pursing state authorization until we have a clear definition of their requirements
  • N. Marianas Islands – not pursing state authorization until we have a clear definition of their requirements
  • Puerto Rico – recognizes Emory University as an exempt higher education institution offering distance academic programs and distance religious programs from outside the licensing jurisdiction of Puerto Rico to students in the Island, 2015-2018
  • Virgin Islands – not pursing state authorization until we have a clear definition of their requirements

Professional Licensure Disclosure Statement

Emory University’s academic programs that lead to licensure prepare students to sit for exams in the State of Georgia or for National exams. In compliance with the §668.50(b)(7) Professional Licensure/Certification (PLC) education requirements, if you are a student planning to pursue a degree in one of our online programs that lead to professional licensure, Emory University enforces the expectation that it is the responsibility of the student to know whether the course or program meets requirements for professional licensure in their state, territory or country. Licensing regulations are different from state to state, it is the prospective and enrolled student’s responsibility to understand current regulations or special requirements surrounding whether the online program selected in the student’s state of residence is recognized.

If you have any questions regarding licensure requirements, you may contact the higher education agency in your state. State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) provides a list of contacts.

View Contacts

Complaint Process

The Department of Education requires Emory University to provide contact information for filing complaints with the University, its accrediting agency, and the appropriate state agency charged with handling complaints to out-of-state students in states where the student resides.

Students who desire to resolve a complaint should follow the University’s student complaint policy

If a complaint cannot be resolved after following the schools procedures, a student may file a complaint with the following agencies:

  1. As a SARA institution, a complaint can be filed with the Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Commission (GNPEC) by completing the SARA Online Student Complaint Form
  2. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) is the accrediting body that affirms Emory University. Please read their policy “Complaint Procedures” before filing a complaint with SACSCOC. 
  3. If a complaint cannot be resolved, you may be able to file a complaint in your state. Complaint resolution by state for out-of-state students may be submitted to the appropriate authority in your state of residence. 

Additional Information

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