CIP Codes


The Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) is a taxonomy of academic disciplines at institutions of higher education in the United States.

The CIP was originally developed by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) of the U. S. Department of Education in 1980, and was revised in 1985, 1990 and 2000. The 2010 edition is the fourth and current revision of the taxonomy.

The programs within the CIP are organized on three levels:

  1. Two-digit series that indicate a board subject area. Example: 09 "Communication, Journalism and Related Programs."
  2. Four-digit series, of which the last two numbers represent an intermediate aggregation with that broad subject. Example: 09.09 "Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communication."
  3. Six-digit codes, of which the final two numbers indicate the specific subject matter of the individual program or course. Example: 09.0901 "Organizational Communication, General."

Example of a CIP

  • 09. Communication, Journalism and Related Programs: Instructional programs that focus on how messages in various media are produced, used, and interpreted within and across different contexts, channels, and cultures, and that prepare individuals to apply communication knowledge and skills professionally.
    • 09.09 Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communication: Instructional content for this group of programs is defined in codes 09.0901- 09.0999.
      • 09.0901 Organizational Communication, General: A program that focuses on general communication processes and dynamics within organizations. Includes instruction in the development and maintenance of interpersonal group relations within organizations; decision-making and conflict management; the use of symbols to create and maintain organizational images, missions, and values; power and politics within organizations; human interaction with computer technology; and how communications socializes and supports employees and team members.

The 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 2010 edition of the CIP lists 47 broad subject areas, 50 new four-digit series and more than 300 new six-digit codes. More than 350 codes were revised from the 2000 edition.


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.

Since it was first published in 1980, the CIP has been used by NCES in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and its predecessor, the Higher Education General Information Survey (HEGIS), to code degree completions. It is also used by other Department of Education offices, such as the Office for Civil Rights, the Office of Vocational and Adult Education and the Office of Special Education, and serves as the standard on instructional programs for other federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Commerce (Bureau of the Census), the Department of Labor (Bureau of Labor Statistics) and others. The CIP is used by state agencies, national associations, academic institutions and employment counseling services for collecting, reporting and analyzing instructional program data.

The Ohio Board of Regents has adopted the CIP (also known as "subject field" or “subject code”) for determining course subsidy. All of Kent State courses and their assigned CIP code are reported to the state three times a year (spring, summer, fall).

In 2007-08, the Ohio Board of Regents implemented a new model structure to be used in the allocation methodology for subsidy, referred to as State Share of Instruction (SSI). The new taxonomy increased the number of models, from 16 to 26, to decrease the variance between a model’s average cost and the average cost for the subject field/level of instruction combinations within that model.

Primary structure is now related to groupings of subject fields rather than by level of instruction (e.g., general studies, baccalaureate, master’s, doctorate) to make it easier to understand by both academic administrators and policy makers. The three model groupings are the following:

  • Arts and Humanities (AH)
  • Business, Education and Social Sciences (BES)
  • Sciences, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEM, STEMM or STEM2)

Learn about the process Ohio Board of Regents uses to calculate student full-time enrollment (FTE) for subsidy.


  1. Visit the RPIE Login page.
  2. Enter your FlashLine user name and password. (You must have permission to access this site. Contact Therese Tillett if you do not.)
  3. Enter the parameters you want (college, course subject, etc.).
  4. The application will return a table containing the college, courses, course titles, subsidy model, rate per FTE (in thousands), current CIP code and hyperlink to all CIP descriptions in that broad subject area.
  5. If you want to review different CIP code descriptions or change the CIP code attached to the course, please be cognizant of the level of the course you are selecting:
    1. B - Baccalaureate: Assign to this level all courses that are specialized within a discipline for the bachelor’s degree. The course should be considered specialized when a specific set of knowledge or skills is required prior to enrollment. Typically these courses are reserved for students majoring in the field. Also, assign this level to specialized courses designed to serve a related discipline.
    2. D - Doctoral: Assign to this level all courses specifically designed for the instruction of doctoral students in which enrollment is normally available only to students who have progressed beyond the level of a master's degree. The doctoral level component of a graduate course designed to serve both this level and the master's level should also be assigned to the doctoral level.
    3. G - General Studies: Assign to this level all courses that are general, introductory or core courses. Courses that satisfy distributive requirements—the set of courses that provide students with a broad knowledge base, generally in the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences, for an associate or bachelor’s degree—should be assigned to the General Studies level.
    4. M - Master's: Assign to this level all courses that are designed for graduate instruction and are not specifically designed for doctoral students (see Doctoral above). Courses that represent the graduate-level component of advanced undergraduate courses (where a specific designation has been made that the course is creditable toward a graduate degree) should be assigned to this level, as should the master's level component of a graduate course designed to serve both this level and the doctoral level.
    5. P - Professional: Assign to this level all courses that are professional courses leading to the first professional degree offered by a school or college of law, dentistry, medicine, veterinary medicine, optometry, osteopathy or professional psychology.
    6. T- Technical: Assign to this level only those courses that are part of an associate degree program of technical education and are within the technical portion of a curriculum as defined by current Board of Regents’ program approval standards. Courses that are “basic” and “non-technical” within those standards should be assigned to the General Studies level.
    7. V Developmental: Assign this level to courses that are below college level (basic writing skills courses; basic reading skills courses; basic mathematics skills courses; and study skills courses).
  6. To change the CIP code, double click on the desired number. That will take you to a new window, where you will enter the rationale for selecting the new number. All CIP code revisions will be reviewed by the Office of Curriculum Services and the Division of Research, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness before being implemented.


You should select a CIP based on the correlation between the subject matter of the course and the six-digit code descriptions.

Browse all CIP codes and descriptions

Additional Resources