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Understanding your Immigration Document

This page will help you understand the program of study section on your immigration document and the CIP code (Classification of Instructional Programs) assigned to your academic program. Please select the appropriate section below based on your visa type and student/scholar status.

Understanding your Form I-20 for F-1 Students

Understanding your I-20 Program of Study and the “Major 1” description and number

The "Program of Study" section on the Form I-20 includes important information regarding a student’s level of education (bachelors, master’s, doctorate or other) and the CIP code corresponding to the Northwestern major program of study. A six-digit code is assigned to each major at Northwestern University based on the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code as defined by the U.S. Department of Education. Sometimes, the CIP code description is different from the NU major name because the CIP code is used to categorize majors at universities across the entire United States.  

 For example, below you will see the Major 1 description and CIP code of “Digital Communication and Media/Multimedia” with CIP Code 09.0702. This code (09.0702) is assigned to multiple academic programs/majors at Northwestern, including Journalism, Integrated Marketing Communication, and Media, Technology & Society. 

I-20 program of study section example

 A full list of Northwestern program majors and corresponding CIP Code and CIP code descriptions as determined and formally approved by the appropriate academic department at Northwestern can be found at Northwestern Academic Programs and CIP Codes. Please note this list is organized first by education level (Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate) and then by CIP Code, in numerical order within each education level. 

 

How can I find out if my academic program qualifies for the STEM OPT Extension?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) maintains a complete list of fields that fall within the regulatory definition of “STEM field” that qualifies certain degrees to fulfill the STEM OPT extension requirement. This list is known as the STEM Designated Degree Program list.  

The  Northwestern Academic Programs and CIP Codesalso identifies programs with a STEM eligible CIP code. Please note this list is organized first by education level (Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate) and then by CIP Code, in numerical order within each education level. 

Understanding your DS-2019 for J-1 Students

Understanding your Form DS-2019 Subject/Field Code & Remarks

Section 4 on the Form DS-2019 includes important information regarding a student’s exchange visitor category (bachelors, master’s, doctorate or non-degree) and the CIP code corresponding to the Northwestern major program of study.  A six-digit code is assigned to each major at Northwestern University based on the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code as defined by the U.S. Department of Education. Sometimes, the CIP code description is different from the NU major name because the CIP code is used to categorize majors at universities across the entire United States; however, the NU program/major name is indicated in the Subject/Field Code Remarks.  

 For example, below you will see the Subject/Field Code 45.0603, which is associated with the CIP description “Econometrics and Quantitative Economics”. This code (45.0603) is assigned to multiple academic programs/majors at Northwestern, including Accounting, Economics, and Finance.  

 ds2019-section4-example

A full list of Northwestern program majors and corresponding CIP Code and CIP code descriptions as determined and formally approved by the appropriate academic department at Northwestern can be found at Northwestern Academic Programs and CIP Codes. Please note this list is organized first by education level (Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate) and then by CIP Code, in numerical order within each education level. 

How can I find out if my academic program qualifies for the Academic Training STEM Extension?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) maintains a complete list of fields that fall within the regulatory definition of “STEM field” that qualifies certain degrees to fulfill the STEM extension requirement. This list is known as the STEM Designated Degree Program list.  

The  Northwestern Academic Programs and CIP Codesalso identifies programs with a STEM eligible CIP code. Please note this list is organized first by education level (Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate) and then by CIP Code, in numerical order within each education level. 

Disclaimer 

The NU academic program list with corresponding CIP codes is provided as a courtesy to Northwestern  international students. This list of programs is NOT inclusive of all academic programs at NU, only those for which we have historically issued immigration documents. Please note that the OISS does not determine or set CIP codes. If you have a question about the CIP code assigned to your program, please contact your academic department directly. OISS is not responsible for, and expressly disclaims liability for, any errors or omissions relating on this list.