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I. Context

Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) codes are used by the US Department of Education to identify fields of study. They are used to classify instructional programs and to collect, analyze, and report data on postsecondary education. There are over 500 unique CIP codes, each representing a specific field of study, such as biology or engineering.

All programs (majors, minors, or certificates) are assigned an appropriate CIP code at the time they are created.  Guidance on selecting CIP codes is included in the CIM help forms (see https://cim.psu.edu/user-guides/program-management/add-program/).   

II. Principles

  1. All programs (majors, minors, or certificates) have an assigned CIP code.
  2. All options within a major typically share the CIP code of the major.
  3. When academic units share a major curriculum, which is indicated in the Bulletin by having identical images, the CIP code must be the same.
  4. For closely related majors (especially those with the same name), there is a presumption that the CIP codes be the same. 

III. Requests to Change a CIP Code

Typically, requests to change CIP codes result from one of two situations:

  1. The program content has evolved since it was initiated such that a different CIP code is now better aligned with the curriculum, or
  2. Additional CIP codes were added to the federal database, often in emerging fields, that offer a better alignment than the originally assigned code. 

Requests to change CIP codes are be initiated by the ACUE Dean on behalf of any college with authorization to offer the program. For curricula that are shared across multiple campuses/colleges, the proposal can be made by one unit, but all participating units must be consulted prior to submission. 

Requests are submitted to the Office of Undergraduate Education.  Requests should list the program title, current CIP code, requested CIP code, and a rationale for the requested change.  Unless it is correcting an obvious error, the request should focus on how the requested code more accurately represents the content of the program than the existing code. 

Change requests will be shared with all members of ACUE to ensure there are no related programs that should be considered or might be impacted. 

The Office of Undergraduate Education will act on the request. If approved, the proposer will be notified, and the Office of the University Registrar will implement the change.  Undergraduate Education will maintain the original request to document the rationale for the decision.  If the proposal is not approved, an explanation will be provided to the proposer who will have the opportunity to appeal to the Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education, whose decision will be final.

Approved: ACUE (4-6-23)