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CIP Codes

What are Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) Codes?

The Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) Codes were developed by the U.S. Department of Education as the national taxonomic standard of academic program titles for federal surveys and state reporting of institutional data. Each Cornell program of study (that is, major or graduate field) is associated with a six-digit CIP Code for the purposes of reporting data to the federal government.

It is our institutional obligation to identify the six-digit program that best describes the program.

CIP Codes have been associated with academic programs at Cornell for many years.  On occasion, there is a desire to change the CIP code associated with an academic program. Any academic program exploring a CIP code change should contact IRP for additional guidance.

What is the process for changing a CIP Code?

On occasion, there may be a need to change the CIP code associated with an academic program of study because (1) the existing CIP code designation was made in error and the mistake needs to be corrected; or (2) the academic program has evolved since the time it was created to the extent that a different CIP code now best describes the program.

Within Cornell, requests for CIP code changes are first reviewed by an advisory committee appointed by the Provost. Proposals to change existing CIP codes must be made in writing and address the following:

  • The reason for the proposed change: (1) the existing CIP code designation was made in error or (2) the academic program has evolved to the extent that a different CIP code now best describes the program.
  • The detailed rationale underlying the proposed change, including the fit between the curriculum, the program title, and the current and proposed CIP codes.
    • If you are seeking a CIP designation that qualifies as STEM, illustrate that more than 50% of the required credits for the degree program provide predominantly STEM content by listing required courses, their credits, and a brief justification (such as a description of desired learning outcomes) that the content is STEM (that is, emphasizing the scientific method, quantitative reasoning, and/or technology).
    • An academic program that aligns in name with an existing CIP designation (e.g. Anthropology appears to align well with the CIP designation of “Anthropology 45.0201”) needs to convincingly and specifically demonstrate why the so-named program aligns better with a different CIP code title (e.g., under “Geographic Information Science 45.0702”).
    • It is highly likely that a programmatic or curricular change or evolution necessitating a corresponding CIP code change will also require the submission of an academic program change proposal to the New York State Education Department (NYSED). Specifically, if there is a change in the program’s focus or design, or if there is a cumulative change from the department’s last-approved curriculum in one-third or more of the required credits, the program must submit a proposal to NYSED for approval.
  • Evidence that the proposed change has been endorsed by program faculty and the college dean(s) (or designee(s)).

Colleges may submit proposals for CIP code changes to Kristin Walker in Institutional Research and Planning (IRP). IRP will distribute proposals to the advisory committee, the Office of the University Registrar and the Office of Financial Aid.

When determining whether a proposed CIP code change will best describe the academic program, the advisory committee will carefully consider the college’s written submission. The advisory committee may request additional information from the college as needed and consult with Institutional Research and Planning, the Office of Financial Aid, or other university officials, to understand the potential impact of the change. The advisory committee will provide the Provost with the college’s written submission, any additional information it considered, and its written recommendation regarding the CIP code change request. The Provost may accept or reject the recommendation or return the matter to the college and/or advisory committee for further consideration.

If the university determines that a CIP code should be changed, the following external approvals must be secured before the new CIP code can be implemented:

  • If a programmatic change necessitated the change in CIP code, the program’s new content must be reviewed and approved by NYSED.
  • For any CIP code change at a contract college, SUNY will need to be consulted.
  • As a condition of the university’s Title IV program participation agreement, all CIP code changes need to be approved by the United States Department of Education (ED). Note that ED may require proof of NYSED’s approval or documentation that such approval was not required.

Securing external approvals from state and federal agencies can take significant time.

Academic programs who are seeking a change to their CIP code may contact IRP for assistance in understanding the process.