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Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) Code Procedures at UW-Madison

Procedures related to CIP code assignments, revisions, and Lumen Structures proposal requirements.

Procedures on CIP codes

At UW-Madison, CIP code assignments for academic programs (majors and certificates, specifically plan types of MAJ, MIN, CRT, CAP) are determined at the time a new program is approved by the University Academic Planning Council (UAPC) and, if relevant, the UW System Board of Regents.

Data, Academic Planning & Institutional Research (DAPIR), in consultation with UW System Administration (Office of Policy Analysis and Research) assign CIP codes, which are then communicated to the Office of the Registrar where the value resides in the academic plan table in the Student Information System (SIS). UW System Administration also retains records of program CIP codes. For the overall principles on CIP code selection, see Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) Codes.

The CIP code determination is based on:

  • the program curriculum,
  • program learning outcomes,
  • current UW-Madison program array of CIP codes,
  • UW System program array of CIP codes, and
  • allows for consideration of the national trends for academic programs in any given area.

Initial Assignment of CIP Codes

For new academic programs (degree/major), DAPIR assigns a preliminary CIP code when the NOI is submitted to UW System Administration. After the University Academic Planning Council reviews the full proposal, DAPIR confirms the initial assignment and determines the final CIP code.

CIP codes are intended for degree-granting programs. Therefore, sub-plans (named options) cannot be assigned CIP codes; they are associated with the CIP code of the parent program.

Changes to CIP Code Assignments

Changes to CIP codes must be approved through UW-Madison governance and by UW System Administration. DAPIR works with programs considering changes to CIP codes to determine whether they are appropriate based on the principles for assigning CIP codes.

CIP code changes are only made effective starting in a fall term to ensure that there is no disruption to student financial aid disbursement, international student visa considerations, and associated federal reporting requirements that factor in CIP code assignment.

Changes to curriculum, learning outcomes, program name, and CIP code are not allowed at the same time. If all these items are being revised, consider creating a new program and phasing out the old as these changes indicate a substantial shift from the original intent of the program as approved through governance.

If the program wants to shift the curriculum and the CIP code, they must submit a change to the curriculum first. A subsequent proposal may be submitted to revise the CIP code, but the change will take effect in a different academic year.

As programs progress through governance, DAPIR reviews the CIP code when there is significant change to the learning outcomes and/or curriculum. If it is appropriate, CIP codes may be reassigned effective a fall term.


To change a CIP code, a Lumen Structures proposal must be filled out. In the Lumen Knowledgebase for Lumen Structures, there is a form that requires the following information:

  1. The current CIP code and its official description,
  2. The proposed CIP code and its official description,
  3. The rationale/justification for how the proposed CIP code is a better description for the degree/major than the current assignment, (The most common reason is because the curriculum and/or the learning outcomes have changed from the time of the original approval and it is an essential consideration in any CIP code assignment. Despite any external motivations or benefits for a change in CIP code the CIP code must accurately represent the program learning outcomes and curriculum, and stand up to any scrutiny by internal or external audiences),
  4. Information demonstrating that the CIP code change will not have adverse impacts on students, and
  5. Memos of support or concurrence from closely related programs, if relevant.

CIP Change Impacts on International Students

When a program's CIP code changes, and there are continuing international students enrolled in the program, the I-20 for each F-1 international student must be updated. If there are any J-1 students enrolled, International Student Services (ISS) will need to update the DS-2019 and provide the Department of State with justification for the change and proof that the academic objective remains the same. As such, when a CIP change is being proposed, it is very important that the department reach out to Inernational Student Services to align this required and important work. ISS will ask for a list of the continuing international students enrolled before the change is made to ensure accurate updates for all students.

KeywordsCIP, federal, description, code   Doc ID110521
OwnerKaren M.GroupAcademic Planning
Created2021-04-26 13:54:47Updated2023-12-06 12:24:51
SitesAcademic Planning
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