Carnegie Classification

The Carnegie Classification is the leading framework for describing institutional diversity in U.S. higher education.

Derived from empirical data on colleges and universities, it has been widely used in the study of higher education, both as a way to represent and control for institutional differences and also in the design of research studies to ensure adequate representation of sampled institutions, students or faculty.

Since 2005, the Carnegie Classification system has used a structure of six parallel classifications:

  • Basic Classification (the traditional Carnegie Classification Framework)
  • Undergraduate Instructional Program Classification
  • Graduate Instructional Program Classification
  • Enrollment Profile Classification
  • Undergraduate Profile Classification
  • Size & Setting Classification

These classifications provide different lenses through which to view U.S. colleges and universities, offering researchers greater analytic flexibility. These classifications were updated using the most recent national data available as of 2018 and collectively they depict the most current landscape of U.S. colleges and universities.

Bucknell's Profile Across the Six Carnegie Classifications

(1) BasicBaccalaureate Colleges — Arts & SciencesBac/A&S
(2) Undergraduate Instructional ProgramArts & Sciences plus Professions; Some Graduate Coexistence*A&S + Prof/SGC
(3) Graduate Instructional ProgramPost-baccalaureate ComprehensivePostbac-Comp
(4) Enrollment ProfileVery High UndergraduateVHU
(5) Undergraduate ProfileFull-time, Four-year, More Selective, Lower Transfer-inFT4/MS/LTI
(6) Size and SettingMedium Four-Year, Highly ResidentialM4/HR

*A&S+Prof/SGC: Arts & sciences plus professions, some graduate coexistence. 60-79% of bachelor's degree majors were in the arts and sciences and graduate degrees were observed in up to half of the fields corresponding to undergraduate majors.

Bucknell’s Uniqueness

Each institution can now be described more comprehensively by its composite profile in the set of all Carnegie classifications. Across all classifications, the theoretical number of possible classificatory combinations far exceeds the number of US higher education institutions. The higher education landscape is thus "patchy," with certain combinations of Carnegie classifications represented by a number of institutions and other combinations with no institutions at all.

One practical consequence occurs in the process of peer selection — no other institution in the Carnegie database is an exact match for Bucknell's profile.

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Institutional Research & Analytics