The Major Field Report delivers your results for engagement indicators, high-impact practices, and frequencies and statistical comparisons in up to ten categories of related majors and presents them alongside comparison groups in the same categories. Institutions are encouraged to customize major groupings so to examine patterns of similarity and difference by discipline both among their own students and against their comparison groups. Thus, the report has two parts:
Part I: A "within-institution" report that lays out results by related-major categories for your first-year and senior students.
Part II: A "between-institution" report that compares respondents with those of your comparison groups in each related-major category.
Why Look at Majors?
Decades of research on college students holds that student experiences and outcomes are more varied among students within institutions than between institutions. Thus, NSSE encourages institutions to examine internal variations in their students' experiences. The Major Field Report is a model of what these analyses could look like. The Major Field Report also informs department-level improvements in teaching and learning. Deans, department chairs, and faculty may not derive much diagnostic value from institution-wide results. But when information for their schools or departments is known and can be compared to other majors on campus, it may get more traction.
Downloading the Report
Participating institutions are able to download the Major Field Report in late fall shortly after the delivery of the NSSE Institutional Report. NSSE will contact institutions when their reports have been posted on the NSSE Institution Interface.
Institutions are encouraged to identify areas of small and large difference in major fields among their own students and against their comparison groups. This is a useful exercise for all engagement indicators, high-impact practices, and selected items of greatest interest/importance to an institution. Worksheets are available in the NSSE Facilitator's Guide to guide campus discussions about these results.
Customizing Related-Major Categories
Institutions have the option to customize the major categories to match their profile of degrees offered. Institutions can regroup the 138 student-reported majors (or intended majors) into as many as ten new categories via an online form as part of report customization. Institutions choosing not to customize their major categories receive NSSE's ten related-major categories. NSSE also provides a crosswalk (MS Excel) and SPSS syntax to map NSSE’s list of majors to CIP codes.
Arts, fine and applied
English (language and literature)
French (language and literature)
Spanish (language and literature)
Other language and literature
Theater or drama
Other fine and performing arts
Biochemistry or biophysics
Cell and molecular biology
Microbiology or bacteriology
Natural resources and conservation
Physiology and developmental biology
Other agriculture and natural resources
Other biological sciences
Physical sciences (general)
Atmospheric science (including meteorology)
Earth science (including geology)
Other physical sciences
Social sciences (general)
Other social sciences
Hospitality and tourism
Management information systems
Organizational leadership or behavior
Supply chain and operations management
Mass communications and media studies
Public relations and advertising
Early childhood education
Elementary, middle school education
Music or art education
Social studies education
Aero-, astronautical engineering
Computer engineering and technology
Electrical or electronic engineering
Health technology (medical, dental, laboratory)
Healthcare administration and policy
Nutrition and dietetics
Occupational safety and health
Other health professions
Public administration, policy
Public safety and emergency management
Computer information systems
Family and consumer studies
Liberal arts and sciences
Multi, Interdisciplinary studies
Network security and systems
Other computer science and technology
Parks, recreation, leisure studies, sports mgmt.
Professional studies (general)
Technical, vocational studies
Theological studies, ministry
Other, not listed
CIP Crosswalk and Related Syntax
The Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) was developed by the National Center for Education Statistics to track enrollment and degree completion by field of study. To better understand how NSSE's major fields relate to CIP codes, or to add CIP codes into a NSSE data file, download the zip file below which includes a variable crosswalk (MS Excel) and SPSS syntax.
Only frequency distributions will be reported (without statistical comparisons) for Major Field Report categories containing fewer than 20 but at least 5 respondents. No results are reported for categories with fewer than 5 respondents. Although this is a minimum requirement, keep in mind that any statistical result requires a sufficient number of respondents per category to produce a reliable estimate. Due to the disaggregation of results by student-reported major, the Major Field Report results are unweighted.
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