Schools throughout the United States and its territories offer thousands of similar programs of study, but each have their unique program names and descriptions. The U.S. Department of Education (ED), which collects and reports data about these programs of study, developed the classification of instructional programs (CIP) to:
- Map those programs to a shared understanding of what a given program of study includes.
- Collect data from schools on programs of study offered.
- Create reports on educational trends for use by government and the public.
The CIP’s comprehensive list of programs are broken into related categories. Each program has a name and an individual code.
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a unit in the ED, manages both the CIP and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), the database that collects and tracks data on postsecondary programs of study. Every ten years, NCES updates the CIP to add, remove, and revise programs that reflect changing fields of study. NCES last updated the CIP in 2020.