Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education
The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, or simply the Carnegie Classification, is a framework for classifying colleges and universities in the United States. Created in 1970, it is named after and was originally created by the , but responsibility for the Carnegie Classification was transferred to Indiana University's Center for Postsecondary Research, in 2014. The framework primarily serves educational and research purposes, where it is often important to identify groups of roughly comparable institutions. The classification includes all accredited, degree-granting colleges and universities in the United States that are represented in the National Center for Education Statistics Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).
The Carnegie Classification was created by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education in 1970. The classification was first published in 1973 with updates in 1976, 1987, 1994, 2000, 2005, 2010, and 2015. To ensure continuity of the classification framework and to allow comparison across years, the 2015 Classification update retains the same structure of six parallel classifications, initially adopted in 2005. The 2005 report substantially reworked the classification system, based on data from the 2002–2003 and 2003–2004 school years.
On October 8, 2014, the Carnegie Foundation transferred responsibility for the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education to the Center for Postsecondary Research of the Indiana University School of Education in Bloomington, Indiana. The classification retained the Carnegie name after the Center for Postsecondary Research took over on January 1, 2015.
Information used in these classifications comes primarily from IPEDS and the College Board.
The number of institutions in each category is indicated in parentheses.
Doctorate-granting Universities are institutions that awarded at least 20 research/scholarly doctorates in 2013–14. Professional doctorates (M.D., J.D., etc.) are not included in this count but were added as a separate criterion in 2018–19. The framework further classifies these universities by their level of research activity, as measured by research expenditures, number of research doctorates awarded, number of research-focused faculty, and other factors. A detailed list of schools can be found in the List of research universities in the United States.
Master's Colleges and Universities are institutions that "awarded at least 50 master's degrees in 2013–14, but fewer than 20 doctorates."
Baccalaureate Colleges are institutions where "bachelor's degrees accounted for at least 10 percent of all undergraduate degrees and they awarded fewer than 50 master's degrees (2013–14-degree conferrals)."
Associates Colleges are institutions whose highest degree is the associate degree, or bachelor's degrees account for fewer than 10 percent of all undergraduate degrees (2013–14-degree conferrals).
Special Focus Institutions were classified "based on the concentration of degrees in a single field or set of related fields, at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Institutions were determined to have a special focus with concentrations of at least 80 percent of undergraduate and graduate degrees. In some cases this percentage criterion was relaxed if an institution identified a special focus on the College Board's Annual Survey of Colleges, or if an institution's only accreditation was from a body related to the special focus categories".
Tribal Colleges are institutions that belong to the American Indian Higher Education Consortium.
The Undergraduate Instructional Program classification combines (a) the ratio of Arts and sciences and professional fields (as defined in the (CIP)) and (b) the coexistence of programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels (again using the CIP).
The framework categorizes institutions based on the proportion of undergraduate majors in arts and sciences or professional fields, based on their two-digit CIP.
The framework categorizes institutions based on the proportion of undergraduate and graduate programs (defined by their 4-digit CIP) that coexist.
The Graduate Instructional Program classification indicates (a) if the institution awards just master's degrees or master's degrees and doctoral degrees, and (b) in what general categories they predominantly award graduate degrees. Institutions that do not award graduate degrees are not classified by this scheme.
Institutions that offer graduate and professional programs (such as law schools) but do not award the doctorate are classified as having Postbaccalaureate graduate programs. These programs are classified by the fields in which the degrees are awarded.
Institutions that offer doctoral degrees, including medical and veterinary degrees, are classified by the field in which they award degrees.
The Enrollment Profile of institutions are classified according to (a) the level of the highest degree awarded and (b) the ratio of undergraduate to graduate students.
The framework classifies institutions' Undergraduate Profile according to (a) the proportion of part-time undergraduate students to full-time students, (b) the institutions selectivity in admitting undergraduate students, and (c) the percentage of students who transfer into the university.
The framework classifies Enrollment Status according to the ratio of part-time to full-time students (degree seeking students in four-year institutions).
Selectivity is classified according to the SAT and ACT scores of first-time first-year students. This classification only applies to four-year or higher institutions. As of the 2010 edition the criteria were as follows ()
Transfer origin characterizes the percentage of students who transfer to the institution, and only applies to four-year or higher institutions.
Size and Setting classifies institutions according to (a) size of their student body and (b) percentage of student who reside on campus. This does not apply to exclusively graduate and professional institutions and special-focus institutions.
The size of institutions is based on their full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment. FTEs are calculated by adding the number of full-time students to one-third the number of part-time students. Two-year colleges are classified using a different scale than four-year and higher institutions.
In contrast to previous classifications, the 2005 classification scheme provides a "...set of multiple, parallel classifications." According to Alexander C. McCormick, Senior Scholar at The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and director of the classifications project, "The five new classifications are organized around three central questions: 1) What is taught, 2) to whom, and 3) in what setting?" In addition to the new classification categories, the previously used classification scheme ("Basic classification") has been revised.
The Carnegie Foundation is also developing one or more voluntary classification schemes that rely on data submitted by institutions. The first focuses on outreach and community engagement, and the second on "...how institutions seek to analyze, understand, and improve undergraduate education."
The Carnegie Foundation has no plans to issue printed editions of the classifications. Their has several tools that let researchers and administrators view classifications.
The "basic classification" is an update of the original classification scheme. In addition to changing names of some categories, the 2005 revision differs from previous editions in that it:
Prior to the 2000 edition, the Carnegie Foundation categorized doctorate-granting institutions according to the amount of federal funding they received. The 2005 edition categorizes doctoral-institutions according to their research support but uses a more complex formula than used in previous editions. Despite the fact that it is no longer used by the Carnegie Foundation, the descriptor Research I is still commonly used in reference to universities with the largest research budgets, often by the institutions themselves in their promotional materials.