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The Joint Academic Coding System (JACS) is owned and maintained by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) and the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and is used for subject coding of provision across higher education in the UK. JACS was first introduced in 2002/03 (UCAS year of entry 2002 and reporting year 2002/03 HESA) to replace the two different classifications systems previously used by the two organisations. JACS is currently used to code the subjects of both higher education courses and the individual modules within them across the full range of higher education provision.

Since the range and depth of subjects available for study in higher education is not static, it is necessary to review JACS on a regular basis to ensure that it is current and up to date. A first review of a subset of subject areas resulted in JACS 2.0 introduced for 2007 year of entry (UCAS) and 2007/08 reporting year (HESA).

A second review of JACS has just been completed, leading to the production of JACS 3.0 for use from 2012/13 (UCAS year of entry 2012). The intention of this review was to understand any new developments in the identified areas that may not have been reflected in the JACS 2.0 classification and/or to identify anything that was otherwise missing or incorrectly classified.

A number of subject areas were identified as needing review. It was also intended that particular attention be paid to ensuring that JACS was suitable for coding foundation degree provision. Investigation was also undertaken as part of this review to see whether or not JACS could also be used for classification of research.

Each area was the responsibility of a different joint UCAS/HESA team. A large number of subject experts were consulted as part of this process, and thanks go to them for their contributions. In particular thanks go to the relevant Subject Centres.

Reviewed subject areas

The links below are to background papers setting out the detail underpinning the changes in each area:

Review of Music, Dance and Drama codes

Review of Nursing codes

Review of Emergency services codes

Review of Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology codes

Review of Mathematics and Computing codes

Review of Agriculture and Landscape design codes

Review of Languages codes

Review of Bioengineering codes

Review of Criminology codes

Review of Classics codes

Review of Complementary medicine codes

Review of Sport codes

Use of JACS for coding research

JACS 3.0 classification

The full JACS 3.0 classification has been prepared. This information may also be downloaded in comma-separated file format.

A mapping document showing all of the differences between the JACS 2.0 and JACS 3.0 classifications has also been prepared. The first column details the full JACS 2.0 classification and any new codes or slightly amended wording of any JACS 2.0 codes have been listed in the second column.

Use of JACS 3.0

As with the transition from JACS 1.7 to JACS 2.0, UCAS is intending to leave Course codes unchanged for the migration to JACS 3.0, unless specifically requested by the institution. This is designed to both simplify the implementation and to cause the least amount of disruption to institutions during the process. UCAS will be updating the JACS codes - also known as HESA 1, 2 and 3 codes that are used to populate the UCAS Data for HESA Transaction (*J) - and this analysis is underway with institutions due to be notified of any intended changes in the coming months. Please be aware that this means that UCAS will be using both JACS 2.0 (for 2011 courses) and JACS 3.0 (for 2012 courses) concurrently until the cycle is closed September 2011.

HESA will expect all records included in the 2012/13 Student Record and Staff Record to be coded to JACS 3.0.