CIP Codes

CIP codes have a significant impact on both the university and individual students. Various administrative units, including Institutional Research and the Office of the Registrar, rely on these codes for academic reporting. A program's CIP code may also affect whether an international student on a F-1 visa can qualify for a STEM OPT extension.

CIP codes are standardized six-digit numbers that link an academic program to a specific discipline for federal reporting purposes. They are created by The National Center for Education Statistics to provide a taxonomic system that allows colleges to categorize and describe academic programs. CIP codes enable accurate tracking, assessment, and reporting of field of study data for students, alumni, and institutions.

Colleges and departments should consider the implications of changing a program’s CIP code. This may impact a student’s ability to graduate, e.g., if the change is not aligned with their intended coursework. In addition, CIP code changes require an additional review and approval by NYSED to ensure consistency with their academic taxonomy. Various administrative units rely on CIP codes, including the Registrar’s Office and Institutional Research. For example, these CIP codes are included when a college submits enrollment figures to the state.

For international students, the CIP code also plays a role in their eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT) extensions. In order to apply for the 17-month OPT extension, an international student must have a degree with a CIP code designated as STEM. New academic programs are assigned a CIP code by the Registrar’s Office in consultation with the dean’s offices and program faculty. When a CIP code is changed, the College dean should submit the request to IRP for review and approval. IRP will consult with the Registrar’s Office, Institutional Research, and other departments as necessary to determine whether the proposed CIP code accurately describes the program’s content.

Changes to A Program's CIP Code
CIP Codes 1

Changes to A Program’s CIP Code

In some cases, a degree program’s CIP code may need to be changed to reflect the field of study better. Such changes can be a result of (1) errors in the original CIP code designation or (2) an academic program that has evolved to the extent that a different CIP code more accurately describes the degree. In such cases, departments interested in exploring a change should contact IRP for guidance.

It is important to note that a change to a degree program’s CIP code will impact all concentrations associated with that program. For example, if an academic program is classified as STEM Designated, then that change must also be made to all of the individual concentrations within the degree. This process requires careful consideration of internal and external contexts and is best undertaken with a thorough review and revision of the academic program.

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