Graduate Instructional Program Methodology
For a flowchart illustrating the logic of the six all-inclusive Classifications, click here.
The instructional program classifications are based on degree conferrals (not offerings) for 2013-14 as reported to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) through the IPEDS Completions collection. These were the most current data available for all institutions. The advantage of using degree data is that degrees are reliable artifacts of instructional activity, and they permit detailed analysis by field of study. The trade-off is that they are inherently retrospective—it takes a few years for new programs to show up in the data. There is a time lag until graduates are produced, and a second lag for release of the data reporting those graduates. Similarly, degree data may include degrees for programs that have since been closed. Whatever time period is used, there will always be some schools where program changes are too recent to be reflected in the degree data.
Degree conferral data come from the IPEDS Completions survey corresponding to degree conferrals from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014. (These were the most recent data available for all institutions.)
In the Completions data, institutions report annual degree conferrals by degree level and field of study. Field of study is reported using a standard taxonomy known as the Classification of Instructional Programs, or CIP. The CIP groups fields under six-digit codes of the form xx.yyzz, which can be aggregated at the two-digit (xx) or four-digit (xx.yy) level.
Institutions Awarding Master's or Professional Practice/Other Doctoral Degrees
Colleges and universities that offer graduate training but that do not award research/scholarship doctorates are identified as having "Postbaccalaureate" graduate programs, because they include both master's programs and professional programs (such as a law school, medical school or other professional doctoral program). Among this group, an appreciable number offer graduate training in a single field. We classified these institutions separately, identifying those specializing in education, business, or another single field (education and business account for the largest share of master's degrees nationally).
Next, we identified those institutions with comprehensive offerings as indicated in the record of conferrals, where "comprehensive" is defined as awarding at least one master's or professional/other doctoral degree in each of the following disciplinary domains: humanities, social sciences, and STEM* fields, and one or more professional fields (such as business, education, engineering, health professions, public policy, or social work).
The remaining institutions were separated into those whose offerings span arts & sciences and professional fields (including a small number with graduate programs exclusively in the arts & sciences) and those whose graduate programs are exclusively in professional fields. Finally, we divided each of these groups according to the plurality of degrees (arts & sciences, education, business, and other professional fields).
For this analysis, degrees reported in IPEDS as professional practice or "other" doctoral degrees are considered broadly as postbaccalaureate degrees and not "research doctoral degrees." We believe that institutions whose only graduate program is in such a field (such as a law school or seminary) are more appropriately included in the non-doctoral group. Institutions offering multiple professional doctoral programs, such as law and medicine, typically also award the research doctoral degrees (mostly, Ph.D. but also often including such degrees as Ed.D. when designated by the institution as a "research/scholarship" doctoral degree) and are thus automatically included in the research doctoral group.
* STEM: Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Institutions Awarding Research Doctoral Degrees
We followed a similar procedure for research doctoral institutions (defined as institutions that awarded at least one research doctoral degree in 2013-14). First, we identified institutions with a single research doctoral program based on the degree record. Next, we identified institutions with comprehensive doctoral offerings: those awarding doctorates in the humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields, plus doctoral degrees (research/scholarship, professional practice, or other) in one or more professional fields (such as business, education, engineering, law, and medicine). Of these "comprehensive doctoral" institutions, we created two subcategories based on the presence or absence of medical or veterinary degrees (this includes allopathic medicine, osteopathic medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine).
The remaining institutions were differentiated with respect to the plurality of research doctoral conferrals, in this case differentiating universities emphasizing the humanities and social sciences, those emphasizing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and those emphasizing professional fields other than engineering.