Degree/Certificate Earned (DC) File, Revised September 9, 2005, Updated Guidance for Certificate Reporting 11/15/2016

 

File Description

The Degree/Certificate Earned (DC) file contains records for all degrees, certificates, and transfer modules completed between July 1 of the previous calendar year and June 30 of the current calendar year. The Degree/Certificate Earned (DC) file is intended to be compatible with the annual IPEDS Completion Survey. All records contained in the Degree/Certificate Earned (DC) file must have a corresponding Student Entrance (SE) record within HEI databases for some term prior to the year and term in which a degree/certificate was rewarded.

Submission Schedule

The file must be submitted to HEI no later than September 30 of each year.

Capture Date

The capture date for the Degree/Certificate Earned (DC) file is June 30 of each year.

Relationship to Other File Submissions

If there are students reported in the Degree/Certificate Earned (DC) file that have not been previously reported in a Student Entrance (SE) file, then the Degree/Certificate Earned (DC) file may not be submitted until the Student Entrance (SE) file is submitted, edited with zero errors, and loaded onto the HEI database.

Data Fields

Field Names

Field Attributes and Procedures

Data Format

Campus

Enter a campus code from Institution/Campus Codes.

Alphabetic 
4 characters 
Columns 1-4

Student Identifier

Enter the federally assigned Social Security Number (SSN) whenever possible. If the SSN is unavailable, enter another identifier which uniquely relates to this student. For a given student, the same identifier must be used in all enrollment files.

Alphanumeric 
9 characters 
Columns 5-13 
Left justify

Year

Enter the calendar year of the term in which the degree, certificate, or transfer module was earned.

Numeric 
4 characters 
Columns 14-17

Term

Enter a code from Term Codes indicating the term in which the degree, certificate, or transfer module was earned.

Alphabetic 
2 characters 
Columns 18-19

Level of Degree or Certificate Completed

Enter a code from Level of Degree or Certificate Completed Codes. More information on Transfer Modules can be found here.

Alphanumeric 
2 characters 
Columns 20-21

Academic Program

Enter a code that uniquely identifies this academic program from all others at this campus. If you are correcting data submitted prior to 2003, enter "PRECOLLECTION" into this field. More information on Transfer Modules can be found here.

Alphanumeric 
15 characters 
Columns 22-36

Field of Study

Enter a code from Subject Codes which best describes the field of study for this degree. This code should correspond with the CIP code used for the IPEDS Completion Survey. Transfer modules should have a code of 'TRAMOD'.

Alphanumeric 
6 characters 
Columns 37-42

Credit Hours to Degree

Enter the number of credit hours the student earned at this college or university prior to earning this degree, expressed in tenths.

Numeric 
4 characters 
Columns 43-46

Delete Switch

Enter Y if this record is to be deleted from the database. Otherwise enter N.

Alphabetic 
1 character 
Column 47

Additional Information

(Adapted from IPEDS Completion Survey General Instructions, June 1, 1996. Updated July 1, 2010.)

Split Majors: When a student graduates with a split major, report the award in the area of greater specialization, if possible. Otherwise, the award should be reported in the subject code closest to the combination. If neither of these approaches can be used, the award should be reported as follows:

  • If the split major involves two program specialties within the same group of subject codes, use the "general" or "multiple emphasis" program specialty. For example, a split major involving two languages should be reported in Foreign Languages and Literatures, General (160101); a major in history and political science should be reported under Social Sciences, General (450101).
  • If the split major involves program specialties from a completely different group of subject codes, the award should be reported under the one of greater specialization.

Double Majors: Report second majors by selecting one of the following codes from the Level of Degree or Certificate Completed Codes:

A1

Second Postsecondary award, certificate, or diploma of (less than 1 academic year)

A2

Second Postsecondary award, certificate, or diploma of (at least 1 but less than 2 academic years)

A3

Second Associate's degree

A4

Second Postsecondary award, certificate, or diploma of (at least 2 but less than 4 academic years )

A5

Second Bachelor’s Degree

A6

Second Post-Baccalaureate Certificate

A7

Second Master’s Degree

A8

Second Post-Master’s Certificate

A9

Second Doctor’s Degree

 

Multiple Degrees: If a student actually receives two degrees based on two independent courses of study, (e.g., one in Business and Management and one in Foreign Languages), report each degree under the appropriate subject code.

General Majors: The term "general major" is used to designate diversified curriculums within an area of study. Ordinarily, degrees based on a general major should be reported in one of the "general" subject codes, e.g., Physical Sciences, General (400101); Social Sciences, General (450101); Mathematics (270101); etc.

Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies: These refer to fields of study which combine two or more broad groups of subject codes, e.g., Mathematics and Computer Science (300801). These are found within the two-digit subject code "30." When reporting awards under similar fields of study which are not in the current subject code listing, use "309999."

Arts and Sciences or General Programs Not Organized in Occupational Curriculums: These are certificates or degrees based on less than four years of work in the arts and sciences or general programs not organized in occupational curriculums. Such awards should be reported under one of the Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities (2401xx) subject codes.

Definitions and Descriptions of Data Fields

IPEDS Completions Survey: IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System) Completion Survey is submitted annually by colleges and universities to the U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics. The survey collects basic data on the number of recognized completions in postsecondary education programs by the type of program, level of award, and degree conferred. (Adapted from IPEDS Completions Survey Glossary, June 1, 1996.)

Level of Degree or Certificate Completed: Please report certificates using the new designations beginning with the 2017 DC file.

01 Postsecondary award, certificate, or diploma of (less than 1 academic year)
 

An award that requires completion of an organized program of study at the postsecondary level (below the baccalaureate degree) in less than 1 academic year (2 semesters or 3 quarters), or designed for completion in less than 30 semester or trimester credit hours, or in less than 45 quarter credit hours, or in less than 900 contact or clock hours.

T1

Technical Short-Term Certificate:  Certificates awarded by a post-secondary institution for the completion of an organized program of study at the postsecondary level (below the baccalaureate degree) that are designed to be completed in less than 30 semester credit hours (45 quarter credit hours),  or less than 900 clock hours and that are designed for an occupation or specific employment opportunities. These certificates should prepare students for a valid occupational license or third-party industry certification, if available, related to the field of study. These certificates must have been designated Technical Certificates by the Department of Higher Education. Beginning 2017 DC file

G1

General Short-Term Certificate: Certificates awarded by a post-secondary institution for the completion of an organized program of study at the postsecondary level (below the baccalaureate degree) that are designed to be completed in less than 30 semester credit hours (45 quarter credit hours), or less than 900 clock hours that have NOT been designated as technical certificates by the Department of Higher Education. Beginning 2017 DC file

02 Postsecondary award, certificate, or diploma of (at least 1 but less than 2 academic years)
  An award that requires completion of an organized program of study at the postsecondary level (below the baccalaureate degree) in at least 1 but less than 2 full-time equivalent academic years, designed for completion in at least 30 but less than 60 semester or trimester credit hours, or in at least 45 but less than 90 quarter credit hours, or in at least 900 but less than 1,800 contact or clock hours.
T2

Technical Certificate: Certificates awarded by a post-secondary institution for the completion of an organized program of study at the postsecondary level (below the baccalaureate degree) designed for completion in at least 30 but less than 60 semester or trimester credit hours (45 to 90 quarter credit hours), or in at least 900 but less than 1,800 contact or clock hours with the majority of the coursework completed in a prescribed technical area. While the certificates are designed to have value apart from a degree, these certificates should serve as building blocks to an associate degree. The technical certificate is designed for an occupation or specific employment opportunities. These certificates should prepare students for a valid occupational license or third-party industry certification, if available, related to the field of study. These certificates must have been designated Technical Certificates by the Department of Higher Education. Beginning 2017 DC file

G2

General Certificate: Certificates awarded by a post-secondary institution for the completion of an organized program of study at the postsecondary level (below the baccalaureate degree) designed for completion in at least 30 but less than 60 semester or trimester credit hours (45 to 90 quarter credit hours), or in at least 900 but less than 1,800 contact or clock hours with the majority of the coursework completed in a prescribed technical area. While the certificates are designed to have value apart from a degree, these certificates should serve as building blocks to an associate degree.  These certificates have NOT been designated as technical certificates by the Department of Higher Education. Beginning 2017 DC file

03 Associate's degree
  An award that requires completion of at least 60 semester credit hours (or 90 quarter credit hours); and normally requires at least 2 but less than 4 years of full-time equivalent college work.
04 Postsecondary award, certificate, or diploma of (at least 2 but less than 4 academic years)
  An award that requires completion of an organized program of study at the postsecondary level (below the baccalaureate degree) in at least 2 but less than 4 full-time equivalent academic years, or designed for completion in at least 60 but less than 120 semester or trimester credit hours, or in at least 90 but less than 180 quarter credit hours, or in at least 1,800 but less than 3,600 contact or clock hours.
05 Bachelor’s Degree
  An award (baccalaureate or equivalent degree, as determined by the Secretary, U.S. Department of Education) that that requires completion of at least 120 semester credit hours (or 180 quarter credit hours) and normally requires at least 4 but not more than 5 years of full-time equivalent college-level work. This includes all bachelor's degrees conferred in a 5-year cooperative (work-study) program. A cooperative plan provides for alternate class attendance and employment in business, industry, or government; thus, it allows students to combine actual work experience with their college studies. Also includes bachelor's degrees in which the normal 4 years of work are completed in 3 years.
06 Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
  An award that requires completion of an organized program of study equivalent to 18 semester credit hours beyond the bachelor's. It is designed for persons who have completed a baccalaureate degree, but do not meet the requirements of a master's degree.
07 Master’s Degree
  An award that requires the successful completion at least 30 semester credit hours (or 45 quarter credit hours) of work beyond the bachelor’s degree and that requires the successful completion of a program of study of at least the full-time equivalent of 1 but not more than 2 academic years of work beyond the bachelor's degree. Some of these degrees, such as those in Theology (M.Div., M.H.L./Rav) that were formerly classified as "first-professional", may require more than two full-time equivalent academic years of work.
08 Post-Master’s Certificate
  An award that requires completion of an organized program of study equivalent to 24 semester credit hours beyond the master's degree. It is designed for persons who have complteted a baccalaureate degree, but do not meet the requiremnts for a doctoral degree.
17 Doctor’s Degree- Research/Scholarship
  A Ph.D. or other doctor's degree that requires advanced work beyond the master's level, including the preparation and defense of a dissertation based on original research, or the planning and execution of an original project demonstrating substantial artistic or scholarly achievement. Some examples of this type of degree may include Ed.D., D.M.A., D.B.A., D.Sc., D.A., or D.M, and others, as designated by the awarding institution.
18  Doctor’s Degree- Professional Practice
  A doctor's degree that is conferred upon completion of a program providing the knowledge and skills for the recognition, credential, or license required for professional practice. The degree is awarded after a period of study such that the total time to the degree, including both pre-professional and professional preparation, equals at least six full-time equivalent academic years. Some of these degrees were formerly classified as first-professional and may include: Chiropractic (D.C. or D.C.M.); Dentistry (D.D.S. or D.M.D.); Law (J.D.); Medicine (M.D.); Optometry (O.D.); Osteopathic Medicine (D.O); Pharmacy (Pharm.D.); Podiatry (D.P.M., Pod.D., D.P.); or, Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.), and others, as designated by the awarding institution.
19 Doctor’s Degree- Other
  A doctor's degree that does not meet the definition of a doctor's degree - research/scholarship or a doctor's degree - professional practice.
A1 Second Postsecondary award, certificate, or diploma of (less than 1 academic year)
A2 Second Postsecondary award, certificate, or diploma of (at least 1 but less than 2 academic years)
A3 Second Associate's degree
A4 Second Postsecondary award, certificate, or diploma of (at least 2 but less than 4 academic years)
A5 Second Bachelor’s Degree
A6 Second Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
A7 Second Master’s Degree
A8 Second Post-Master’s Certificate
A9 Second Doctor’s Degree
TA

Second Technical Short-term Certificate (Beginning 2017 DC file)

GA

Second General Short-term Certificate (Beginning 2017 DC file)

TM Transfer Module

Academic Program Code: This program must have been approved by OBR or be a certificate program of less than 30 semester hours, and submitted in an AP File for this institution. In 2003 we began collecting Academic Program Code, which added fifteen more characters to the DC file. The DC file edits now require this field for any year, including those prior to 2003 when this field was not collected. When correcting DC files for terms prior to 2003 please insert "PRECOLLECTION" into this field. The edits have been created to accept the phrase "PRECOLLECTION" for years prior to 2003.

Credit Hours to Degree: The number of credit hours the student earned (via instruction) at this institution to obtain this degree. This includes all (instructionally earned) credits earned at any branch campus of this university or college, and all credits earned in pass/fail courses at this institution. This does not include credit hours transferred from another university or college, nor credits waived due to examination credit or previous life experience. If the college or university transitioned to a different calendar (i.e., quarters to semesters) credit hours should reflect the calendar in which the degree was earned.

Edit and Load Specifications

Revised October 29, 2013

Error Code

Edit Message Text

Programming Logic

(Text that appears in primary edit results)

(Detailed and technical explanation of the conditions that triggered the error)

001

The Campus Code is not in the Institution/Campus Codes table

If Campus Code does not exist in the Campus Code Column of the Institution/Campus code verification table or the Campus code is CYCC

013

The Delete Switch is not Y or N

If Degree/Certificate Delete Switch is not Y or N

035

There are non-blank characters beyond the allotted record length for this file

If there are non-blank characters beyond 32 characters

040

The Campus code in the input record does not correspond to the login Institution code

If the Campus Code is in the Institution/Campus code verification table and does not relate to the Institution Code in the current login

069

This student does not have a Student Entrance record

If there is not a Student Entrance table entry for OBRID assigned to this Student Identifier (from Institution/SSN table) and Institution (from Header Record) for any Admission Area Code and any Year or Term

082

Term is not in Term verification table

If Term is not in Term verification table for this Year and Term

083

Combination of Field of Study and Campus is invalid.

If the subject code is not "TRAMOD" AND The combination of Field of Study (Subject Code) and Campus is not in the Course Level/Subject Code/Campus verification table for this year and term. If you are getting this error, please send us the Subject Code Request spreadsheet for the year, term, campus and CIP code that needs added to our system.

084

Level of Degree or Certificate Completed is not in the Level of Degree or Certificate Completed verification table

If Level of Degree or Certificate Completed is not in Level of Degree or Certificate Completed Codes verification table for this submission year

087

Degree/Certificate Completed entry does not exist for this record

If Degree/Certificate Delete Switch is Y and there is not already an entry in the Degree/Certificate Completed table for this OBRID, Campus, Year, Term, Level of Degree or Certificate Completed, Field of Study, Credit Hours to Degree

1CC

If Degree Level is TM then the field of study should be TRAMOD (and vice versa)

If the degree level is TM then the field of study should be TRAMOD and if the field of study is TRAMOD then the degree level should be TM.

225

Term is WI or SP but Year is not current year

If the Term is WI or SP and Year is numeric and is not equal to current year (from Header Record)

226

Term is AU but Year is not one less than current year

If the Term is AU and Year is numeric and is not one year less than current year (from Header Record)

227

Credit Hours to Degree is not numeric

If Credit Hours to Degree is not numeric in each character position

228

Year is not numeric in each character position

If Year is not numeric in each character position

229

Term is SM but Year is more than two years prior to the current year

If the Term is SM and the Year is numeric and is not the current year (from Header Record) or not one year less than the current year

247

The Degree Level for this student identifier is inappropriate for the Admission Area of the student reported in the SE

If the "Level of Degree or Certificate Completed" in the submission record is valid and the combination of "Level of Degree or Certificate Completed" and the Admission Area for this student identifier in the Student Entrance is not in the Admission Area/Degree Certificate Level table for the year in the header record OR If more than one Admission Area exists for this student at this institution, check the combination of each Admission Area (SE) and Degree Level (DC) against the Admission Area/Degree Certificate Level table. If one of those combinations matches the table, then do not write Error 247 OR If the academic program and campus code matches the table Academic Program Degree Cert Exception table, do not write Error 247. Note: Combination of GRD/10 in the Admission Area/Degree Certificate Level verification table is valid only if the Field of Study is 512001 or 512099

437

Field of Study is for Short Term Certificates Only: This Degree Level is Invalid for Short Term Certificates

If Error 083 was not triggered and if campus is valid per edit D AND Degree level <> “01” and <> "A1" and the Field of Study matches a value in the DC Subject Code column in the Alternative Subject table for a Year equal to the submission year

616

Academic Program Code is not in the Academic Program code column of the Academic Program table for this institution

If the Academic Program Code is not in the Academic Program code column of the Academic Program table for this campus, year and term of degree

A12

Term is SM but Year is not one less than current year

If the Term is SM and Year is numeric and Error 229 was not tripped and Year is not one year less than current year (from Header Record)

A16

Duplicate Degree/Certificate Completed record already exists in this file submission

If there is another matching record in this submission for this Student ID, Campus, Field of Study, Credit Hours to Degree, Level of Degree or Certificate Completed, Program Code and Delete Switch

A17

Degree/Certificate Completed table entry already exists for this record

If Degree/Certificate Delete Switch is N and there is already a Degree/Certificate Completed table entry for this OBRID (from Institution/SSN table), Campus, Fiscal Year, Field of Study, Credit Hours to Degree, and Level of Degree or Certificate Completed AND There is not another matching record with Delete Switch set to Y

A50

Level of Degree or Certificate is 01 or 02 but Credit Hours to Degree is less than or equal to 20

If the Delete Switch is N and the Level of Degree or Certificate is 01 and 02 and Credit Hours to Degree is numeric and less than or equal to 20

A51

Level of Degree or Certificate is 03, 04, or 07 but Credit Hours to Degree is less than or equal to 30

If the Delete Switch is N and the Level of Degree or Certificate is 03, 04, and 07 and Credit Hours to Degree is numeric and less than or equal to 30

A52

Level of Degree or Certificate is 05, 09, or 10 but Credit Hours to Degree is less than or equal to 60

If the Delete Switch is N and the Level of Degree or Certificate is 05, 09, and 10 and Credit Hours to Degree is numeric and less than or equal to 60

A53

Level of Degree or Certificate is 06 but Credit Hours to Degree is less than or equal to 18

If the Delete Switch is N and the Level of Degree or Certificate is 06 and Credit Hours to Degree is numeric and less than or equal to 18

A54

Level of Degree or Certificate is 08 but Credit Hours to Degree is less than or equal to 24

If the Delete Switch is N, Level of Degree or Certificate is 08 and Credit Hours to Degree is numeric and less than or equal to 24

A55

Credit Hours to Degree is greater than or equal to 300

If the Delete Switch in the input record is N and the Term Type Code from Academic Calendar table for this Institution is Q (on quarter calendar) and Credit Hours to Degree is numeric and greater than or equal to 300

A56

Credit Hours to Degree is greater than or equal to 200

If the Delete Switch in the input record is N, Term Type Code from Academic Calendar table for this Institution is S (on semester calendar) and Credit Hours to Degree is numeric and greater than or equal to 200

A57

Two or more degrees will have been awarded to this student during this year and term

If Degree/Certificate Delete Switch is N and there is already a Degree/Certificate Completed table entry for this OBRID, and Fiscal Year and Term OR If Degree/Certificate Delete Switch is N and there is another matching entry in this submission for this Student Identifier and same Term AND As a result of loading this submission there would be two or more rows on the table

A58

Three or more degrees will have been awarded to this student during this fiscal year

If Degree/Certificate Delete Switch is N and, if loaded, there would be three or more rows or records for this Student Identifier at this Institution in the Degree/Certificate table or in this submission for this Fiscal Year AND As a result of loading this submission there would be three or more rows on the table

B19

Student ID matches an ID that was formerly used to identify another student

If this Student Identifier matches a Previous Identifier with Data Area code set to “S” for this institution in the Identifier Change table

C17

Degree level indicates second major but a first major for this SSN and level is not found

If Delete Switch is N AND Level of Degree or Certificate Completed is A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, A7, A8 or A9 AND there is not a record in this submission or a row in the DC table (for this year) that matches this Student ID and level accordingly: 01 = A1, 02 = A2, 03 = A3, 04 = A4, 05 = A5, 06 = A6 ,07 = A7 ,08 = A8 ,09 = A9

C22

This student does not have a Student Enrollment record

If there is not a Student Enrollment table entry for OBRID assigned to this Student Identifier (from Institution/SSN table) and Institution (from Header Record) for any Admission Area Code and any Year or Term

C33

Level of Degree or Certificate is WI but Credit Hours to Degree is greater than 45

If the Delete Switch is N and the Level of Degree Certificate is WI and Credit Hours to Degree is numeric and greater than 45

C57

Subject Code for this program code does not match what was reported in the AP file

If the degree code is not TM and there are no combinations for this subject code and program code in the academic program table for this institution

C59 Level of Degree Code Invalide If the degree code is 01 or 02. (Starting with 2017 reporting, schools should use T1 or G1 instead of 01, and T2 or G2 instead of 02, to report their certificates. Starting with 2018 reporting this will be an error)