Field of study of person

Status: This standard was approved as a departmental standard on June 20, 2011.


Field of study refers to the discipline or area of learning or training associated with a particular course or program of study.

Person refers to an individual and is the unit of analysis for most social statistics programs.


A person can be assigned a field of study based on the discipline or area of learning or training of a particular course or education program he or she has taken or is taking. Some typical applications are: the education program associated with the person's highest certificate, diploma or degree; the person's highest trade certification or diploma; the program or course the person completed most recently; and, the person's current program of study.

Conformity to relevant internationally recognized standards

The international standard classification related to field of study is the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED). The Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) is much more detailed than ISCED but the categories are quite compatible.


Relation to previous version

  • Field of study of person June 20, 2011 to current

    This standard replaces the previous standard entitled "Major field of study". The current standard clarifies that a person can be assigned a field of study based on either their current or past discipline or area of learning or training. The definition has been updated to be more consistent with the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP). In particular, instructional programs are now considered to be a "discipline or area of learning/training" rather than "a combination of courses and experiences".

  • Major field of study July 15, 1998 to June 19, 2011

    'Field of study of person' replaces the standard 'Major Field of Study' as of June 20, 2011.

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