CIP Code Assignment Policy

Process for Assigning CIP Codes to Academic Programs


The federal government’s Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) code taxonomy is part of a system which allows tracking and reporting of program enrollments and completion data at higher education institutions. Each academic program is assigned a CIP code describing the curriculum and occasionally the degree. The CIP code taxonomy facilitates comparisons of programs across colleges and universities more reliably than by just considering program names. Although CIP codes are mostly invisible to students and faculty, they are important administratively for federal financial aid, considerations related to visas for international students, and for federal reporting.

CIP Code Structure

A CIP code is a six-digit code, made up of three groupings of two digits. The first two digits define the most general grouping of related programs (call the CIP area). For example, all CIP codes that start with 26 are in the broad area called “Biological and Biomedical Sciences”. The second two digits represent sub-areas within the two-digit sequence. For example, under the CIP code 26 are 26.01 (Biology), 26.02 (Biochemistry), and 26.03 (Botany). The full six-digit code represents a specific academic program. For example, 26.0205 is the CIP code for Molecular Biochemistry.

CIP Code Assignment

The appropriate CIP code is assigned by the department/unit faculty to an academic program when it is created and sent through the curriculum approval process. Responsibility for assigning CIP codes to new academic programs, or for changing existing CIP codes, rests with the respective college/unit with input from Institutional Research and Effectiveness, Office of the Registrar, Graduate Studies, Financial Aid, Office of International Affairs, and the Associate Provosts. 

If input front the reviewing offices conflicts with the CIP code recommendation of the unit, the Office of the Provost will arrange for an additional evaluation and make the final determination on the most appropriate CIP code for the program. Changes to CIP codes must also follow the same process and be approved through the UCDC undergraduate or graduate curriculum committees (as a program change) to become effective at the start of the next Fall term.