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Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) Code

What is the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) Code?

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.

What is the STEM OPT Extension?

The STEM OPT extension is a 24-month period of temporary training that directly relates to an international student on an F-1 visa whose program of study in an approved STEM (that is, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) field. Approved fields are designated by CIP Codes.

Eligible F-1 students with STEM degrees who finish their program of study and participate in an initial period of regular post-completion OPT (often for 12 months) have the option to apply for a STEM OPT extension.  Students may not apply for STEM OPT extensions during the 60-day grace period following an initial period of regular post-completion OPT.

What are the eligible CIP Codes for the STEM OPT Extension?

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) maintains a STEM Designated Degree Program list which includes all Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields that qualify an international student on an F-1 visa for a STEM OPT extension.

What is Cornell’s process for changing a CIP Code?

CIP Codes have been associated with academic programs at Cornell for many years.  On occasion, there is a need to change the CIP code associated with an academic program.  When such a need arises, the academic program’s faculty must have an internal discussion to affirm support for the change and must:

  1.  Evaluate course offerings and confirm that a majority of courses offered fit the proposed designation.
  2.  Assess peer departments at other institutions to see whether similar classifications apply.
  3.  Provide a justification to the dean of the college and secure the Dean’s approval for the change.
  4.  Send the justification with support from the Dean to the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (for undergraduate majors) or the Dean of the Graduate School (for graduate fields) for final approval. Please include the Vice Provost for International Affairs, the office of Institutional Research and Planning, and the Office of the University Registrar in your communications loop to facilitate the re-classification in administrative systems and processes.
  5. Once the CIP Code change has been approved, the Office of the University Registrar will update PeopleSoft and notify appropriate stakeholders.

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