A scholar's discipline is commonly defined and recognized by the university faculties and learned societies to which he or she belongs and the academic journals in which he or she publishes research. However, there exist no formal criteria for the status of an academic discipline. Disciplines vary between well-established ones that exist in almost all universities and have well-defined rosters of journals and conferences and nascent ones supported by only a few universities and publications.
A discipline usually has several sub-disciplines or branches, but the distinguishing lines between these are often both arbitrary and ambiguous.
There is no consensus on how some academic disciplines should be classified (e.g., whether anthropology and linguistics are social sciences disciplines or humanities disciplines). More generally, the proper criteria for organizing knowledge into disciplines are also open to debate.
An asterisk (*) denotes a field whose academic status has been debated among this article's editors.
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP 2000): Developed by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics to provide a taxonomic scheme that will support the accurate tracking, assessment, and reporting of fields of study and program completions activity.