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Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education

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The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education is a report classifying all accredited degree-granting colleges and universities in the United States. It is widely used as a basis for comparison of colleges and universities.

The Carnegie Classification been prepared by the Carnegie Foundation since 1973; reports were issued in that year, 1976, 1987, 1994, and 2000. The next report, due in 2005, will substantially rework the classification system.

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Categories

In the most recent report, institutions are classified as Doctoral/Research Universities, Master's Colleges and Universities, Baccalaureate Colleges, Associate's Colleges, or Specialized Institutions.

Doctoral/Research Universities

Doctoral/Research Universities award nontrivial numbers of doctoral degrees annually. They are further classified as Extensive or Intensive, depending on the number of disciplines in which they awarded doctoral degrees.

Master's Colleges and Universities

Master's Colleges and Universities award nontrivial numbers of master's degrees annually. They are further classified as I or II, depending on the number of master's degrees awarded.

Baccalaureate Colleges

Baccalaureate Colleges are those where at least ten percent of the degrees awarded are baccalaureate (bachelor's, or four-year) degrees. They are further classified as Liberal Arts (at least half of degrees are baccalaureate and at least half are in the liberal arts), General (at least half of degrees are baccalaureate), or Baccalaureate/Associate's (all others).

Associate's Colleges

Associate's Colleges offer mostly associate's (two-year) degrees or certificate programs; fewer than ten percent of degrees awarded are baccalaureate.

Specialized Institutions

Specialized Institutions include theological seminaries, teaching colleges, military academies, and other nongeneral institutions.

Previous categories

Prior to the 2000 edition, Carnegie categorized doctorate-granting institutions according to the amount of Federal funding they received. This criterion and its related categories have been abolished, but the expression Research I is still commonly used in reference to universities with the largest research budgets, often by the institutions themselves in their promotional materials.

Previous editions also differentiated undergraduate colleges according to selectivity of undergraduate admissions.

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