Undergraduate 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. 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 as of 2015. 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.
The undergraduate instructional program classification is based on three pieces of information: Distribution of degrees (and certificates for associate's institutions) across broad disciplinary areas (undergraduate program mix), and the extent to which an institution awards graduate degrees in the same fields as undergraduate degrees (graduate coexistence). Baccalaureate-granting schools awarding more associate's degrees than bachelor's degrees were classified as "Baccalaureate/Associate's Colleges."
Special Focus (two-year and four-year) and Tribal Colleges were included as distinct categories for this classification
Undergraduate Program Mix
In past updates of the Carnegie Classifications, Arts and sciences and professional fields were generally defined at the 2-digit level of the CIP. With the 2015 update, we expanded that definition to the full 6-digit level of CIP codes. In most cases, the CIP codes for an entire 2-digit domain have the same designation. However, with this change, we have more comprehensively aligned the different field classification schemes used for associate's degrees and less than two year certificate; baccalaureate degrees; and graduate degrees. The Completions data allow for up to two majors per degree, and we used information from both majors (thus the denominator in the percentage calculation is the total number of majors, which can be greater than the total number of bachelor's degrees because of double majors). The mapping of fields of study to arts & sciences or professions is documented in this Excel file.
We assigned associate's institutions to one of three categories, grouping the corresponding categories of the basic classification. High transfer includes institutions in which fewer than 30 percent of awards (associates degrees and less than two-year certificates) were awarded in vocational & technical fields (see the Basic Classification methodology for more details). At the other end of the spectrum, high vocational & technical includes institutions in which 50 percent or more of the awards were conferred in vocational & technical fields. The remaining associate's colleges were designated as "mixed transfer/vocational & technical."
We assigned four-year institutions to one of five categories based on the proportion of bachelor's degrees awarded in arts & sciences and professional fields. Institutions with at least 80 percent of bachelor's degrees in arts and sciences or professional fields were assigned to the corresponding "focus" pole of the continuum, and the remaining schools were assigned to the middle categories according to the majority of majors (with the boundaries set at 60 percent of the corresponding domain). The middle category thus includes institutions with 41 to 59 percent of bachelor's degrees in each domain.
The graduate coexistence measure was calculated using the 4-digit series of the CIP, to more precisely differentiate disciplines. We identify three levels of graduate coexistence: none (including both exclusively undergraduate colleges and schools with graduate programs but where there the degree data suggest no overlap with undergraduate programs), some (graduate degrees in some but less than half of undergraduate fields), and high (at least half).