Bradley University CIP Code Policy

Approved December 2021

The Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) codes are used by various agencies to classify individual academic programs. CIP codes are important to several processes, both internal and external to Bradley. Some examples include institutional reporting to external agencies, such as the federal or state government through the Integrated Postsecondary Education System (IPEDS), and Illinois Higher Education Information System (IHEIS-IBHE), as well as program changes or notification of new program offerings to The Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The assigned CIP code may also have implications for international students, in terms of the programs in which they can enroll and their ability to remain in the country upon graduation. The assigned CIP code must be as accurate as possible in reflecting the curriculum and learning outcomes as the program may need to justify its CIP code to an external entity, such as our accreditor or the federal government.

At Bradley, all CIP codes were reviewed by units during the 2019 Program Prioritization Process. The Registrar’s Office, in consultation with the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and the Associate Provost made recommendations for changing CIP codes based on an individual department’s stated rationale. Since that time, the Registrar has consulted with individual departments in identifying CIP codes via the National Center of Education Statistics’ (NCES) CIP database at

Assigning a CIP Code to a new degree program

CIP Codes are assigned based on matching the curriculum and learning outcomes to a CIP Code description. For any new undergraduate or graduate degree program the following process is to be used to assign an appropriate CIP Code:

  1. The initial assignment (which may include several options) of a CIP Codes is made by the Registrar in consultation with the appropriate Department Chair.
  2. The Registrar will ensure that the CIP Code is entered and maintained in the Student Information System.

Request a change of CIP Code for an existing degree program

A request for changing a CIP Code should be based on identifying a mismatch between the program curriculum/learning outcomes and the description of the assigned CIP Code. Thus, changes are intended to improve the accuracy of the assigned CIP Code. The following process applies to any program requesting a change to an existing CIP Code:

  • The department/program chair should meet with the Registrar and the Director of Institutional Effectiveness to understand the assigned CIP Code and to discuss implications.
  • The department chair drafts a rationale and recommendation for changing the CIP code in collaboration with the department faculty. The final rationale and recommendation are submitted to the Dean for review. The rationale should include the following:
    1. The current CIP Code and its official description,
    2. The proposed CIP Code and its official description,
    3. A justification for how the proposed CIP Code better aligns with the curriculum, course content, and learning outcomes.
    4. Supporting documentation that may include curriculum, course content, and learning outcomes from programs at other institutions that use the proposed CIP Code.
  • Dean’s review and decision.
    1. If the Dean supports the request - they will forward it to the Registrar.
    2. If the Dean denies the request, they will provide the department information about the reason for the denial. The Dean will also inform the Registrar of the decision
  • The Registrar will share the supported request with the Director of Institutional Effectiveness and the Associate Provost. The Registrar, Director of Institutional Effectiveness, and Associate Provost will make a recommendation to the Provost regarding the change in CIP code based on the department’s rationale.
  • The Provost makes the decision whether or not to change the CIP code.
  • The Registrar will notify the Department Chair, Dean, Office of Institutional Effectiveness, and Office of Financial Aid about the decision to change the CIP code.
  • The Registrar will ensure that the CIP Code is entered into the Student Information System, effective immediately upon final approval.