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Carnegie Classification System, the

CARNEGIE CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM, THE


The Carnegie Classification (of Institutions of Higher Education) is a taxonomy of U.S. colleges and universities. The categories are based on information about the institutions, such as types of degrees conferred, academic disciplines offered, and specialization. The classification system shows the diversity of American colleges and universities. The purpose of the Carnegie Classification system is to assist in higher education research efforts; it is not intended to rank the quality of the institutions.

History and Updates

The Carnegie Classification system was developed in 1970 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, an independent, nonprofit center for educational research and policy studies. The Classifications were first published in the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education's report, New Students and New Places (1971). Revisions to the classifications were published in 1976, 1987, 1994, and 2000. Reclassifications reflect changes in the U.S. institutions, such as new colleges, closings, and the developments in existing institutions. Data from the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) are used to update revised editions of the Carnegie Classification. An extensive revision planned for 2005 will offer a multiple-classification system that will allow for more types of comparisons among the variety of institutions.

Classification Categories In 2000

The Carnegie Classification system includes all U.S. colleges and universities that grant degrees and are accredited by the U.S. Secretary of Education. Based on the 2000 edition of the Carnegie Classification, there are ten categories of institutions. Each category is briefly described below, and examples of public, private not-for-profit, and private for-profit institutions in each category are shown in Table 1.

  • Doctoral/Research UniversitiesExtensive: These institutions typically offer a wide variety of baccalaureate degrees and award fifty or more doctoral degrees per year across at least fifteen academic disciplines. Doctoral degrees include the Ph.D., Doctor of Education, Doctor of Juridical Science, and Doctor of Public Health, among others.

TABLE 1

  • Doctoral/Research UniversitiesIntensive: These institutions typically offer a wide variety of baccalaureate degrees and award at least ten doctoral degrees per year across at least three academic disciplines or at least twenty doctoral degrees per year overall.
  • Master's Colleges and Universities I: These institutions typically offer a wide variety of baccalaureate degrees and award forty or more master's degrees per year across three or more academic disciplines.
  • Master's Colleges and Universities II: These institutions typically offer a wide variety of baccalaureate degrees and award twenty or more master's degrees per year.
  • Baccalaureate CollegesLiberal Arts: These institutions award at least half of their baccalaureate degrees in liberal arts fields. Examples of liberal arts fields include English, foreign languages, biological sciences, mathematics, philosophy and religion, physical sciences, social sciences, and humanities.
  • Baccalaureate CollegesGeneral: These institutions award less than half of their baccalaureate degrees in liberal arts fields.
  • Baccalaureate/Associate's Colleges: In these institutions, the number of bachelor's degrees awarded represent at least ten percent but less than half of all undergraduate awards.
  • Associate's Colleges: This is the largest category in the Carnegie Classification. In these institutions, the number of bachelor's degrees awarded represent less than ten percent of all undergraduate awards.
  • Specialized Institutions: These institutions typically award degrees in a particular field. Examples include medical and law schools; religious institutions, such as seminaries and rabbinical schools; schools of business, engineering, art, and design; and military institutes.
  • Tribal Colleges and Universities: These institutions are members of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium and are typically tribally controlled and located on reservations.

1994 Classifications

The 1994 edition of the Carnegie Classification comprised the following eleven categories, outlined below for comparison with the revisions that were made in 2000:

  • Research Universities I typically offered a full range of baccalaureate programs, awarded fifty or more doctoral degrees, and received annually $40 million or more in federal support.
  • Research Universities II also typically offered a full range of baccalaureate programs and awarded fifty or more doctorates, but they received between $15 million and $40 million per year in federal support.
  • Doctoral Universities I offered a full range of baccalaureate programs and awarded at least forty doctoral degrees annually in five or more disciplines.
  • Doctoral Universities II offered a full range of baccalaureate programs and awarded at least ten doctoral degrees in three or more disciplines or twenty or more doctorates per year total.
  • Master's (Comprehensive) Colleges and Universities I offered a full range of baccalaureate programs and awarded forty or more master's degrees annually in three or more disciplines.
  • Master's (Comprehensive) Colleges and Universities II also typically offered a full range of baccalaureate programs, but they awarded twenty or more master's degrees per year in one or more disciplines.
  • Baccalaureate (Liberal Arts) Colleges I were primarily undergraduate colleges with a major emphasis on baccalaureate programs. They awarded forty percent or more of their degrees in liberal arts fields, and their admissions policies were selective.
  • Baccalaureate (Liberal Arts) Colleges II were also primarily undergraduate colleges with a major emphasis on baccalaureate programs. They awarded less than forty percent of their degrees in liberal arts fields, and their admissions policies were less selective.
  • Associate of Arts Colleges offered associate of arts certificate or degree programs.
  • Specialized Institutions offered at least fifty percent of degrees in a particular field. Examples include medical and law schools; faith-related institutions, such as seminaries and rabbinical schools; schools of business, engineering, art, and design; and military institutes.
  • Tribal Colleges and Universities were members of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium and were typically tribally controlled and located on reservations.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

The Carnegie Foundation, the third oldest foundation in the United States, was founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1905 and chartered by an act of Congress the following year. Governed by an independent, national board of trustees, the Carnegie Foundation uses its endowment to support educational research and publications. In addition to establishing the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, the foundation developed the largest pension system in the United States (TIAACREF), founded the Educational Testing Service, developed the Graduate Record Exam, and published numerous influential studies on the American higher education system. The Carnegie Foundation is located in Menlo Park, California.

See also: Higher Education in the United States, subentry on System.

bibliography

Carnegie Commission on Higher Education. 1971. New Students and New Places. New York: McGraw-Hill.

internet resource

Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. 2001. "Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education." <www.carnegiefoundation.org>

Amy Hirschy

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