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Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP)



To assure that graduate programs are assigned a proper CIP code based on their prescribed program of study.



This policy pertains to all graduate degree programs under the Graduate School.

In 1985, the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) developed a taxonomic scheme to facilitate the organization’s collection and reporting of fields of study and program completions. The Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) titles and program descriptions are intended to be generic categories into which program completions data can be placed, not exact duplicates of a specific major or field of study titles used by individual institutions. The CIP codes are standard statistical coding tools that reflect current practice, and are not a prescriptive list of officially recognized or permitted programs. The CIP is the accepted federal government statistical standard on instructional program classifications and is used in a variety of education information surveys and databases. More germane to this policy, CIP codes are used by the Department of Homeland Security to grant STEM-OPT extensions for students on a standard F-1 visa; see Eligible CIP Codes for the STEM OPT Extension.

Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) Code
A taxonomic scheme that supports the accurate tracking and reporting of fields of study and program completions activity. CIP was originally developed by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). See <a href=''>CIP Classification of Instructional Programs</a> for more information. <a href=''>Click here for a listing of all current CIP codes.</a>

Policy Statement

  1. CIP code assignment (for new programs) and CIP code changes (to existing programs) are to be based solely on a program’s course of study. Furthermore, the choice of CIP code must be one that most accurately reflects the program curriculum.


  1. New programs request a CIP code on the Program Proposal Form.
  2. Requests to change an existing program’s CIP code can be addressed to the Director of Graduate Council Administration of The Graduate School.

The procedure for The Graduate School’s CIP code review process can be found in P1 - Procedure for CIP Code Requests.


P1 - Procedure for CIP Code Requests

Revision History

  • Approved by the Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of The Graduate School, Aug. 30, 2020. Effective immediately.
    • New policy.
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