New Fields of Science Hierarchy
Last update: July 12, 2020

Fields of Science Updated

After being used for decades by XSEDE and its predecessor programs, the Field of Science hierarchy for categorizing allocation requests was long overdue for a replacement. Based on an NSF program organization from the distant past, the old hierarchy was long (more than 150 options); peppered with entries that were clearly NSF programs (SBIR, anyone?) and not actual fields of science; and limited to those areas within NSF's scope. The new list is based on an international standard from the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The new Fields of Science will appear in the allocation request forms starting in mid-July.

New List Features

We provide the new list below to help users find their area of work in the new hierarchy and to describe a few key features:

  • Two new top-level areas—Medical Sciences and Agricultural Sciences—were not represented at all in the old list. Take a look at these areas if they might apply to you.
  • With the exception of Natural Sciences, the hierarchy is only two levels deep for most areas, reducing the number of choices presented to users in those areas.
  • For some areas, we have provided examples here (from the OECD document) of the fields of science encompassed in many of the areas to help clarify the intent.
  • Most of the Natural Sciences categories should look familiar to long-time users. Frequently used FOS entries from the old list often re-appear in the new list, while little used FOS entries from the old list may have been deprecated.
  • All areas offer an "Other" option if you feel your work is not represented in the more specific fields.

Using the New List

Along with the new hierarchy, the allocations submission interface now requires you to select an option from the lowest level of the hierarchy. This allows us to collect FOS data at a consistent level of detail from all requests.

  • If you are requesting an allocation to use XSEDE-allocated resources for a university class or coursework, select the field of science for the topic of the class. (Do not choose one of the education or training options.)
  • For cross-disciplinary or multi-disciplinary activities, the allocation submission form allows you to associate one primary and multiple secondary fields of science with your request.
  • The "Other" top-level area, in general, should NOT BE USED by most researchers. These options are provided primarily to separate activities by XSEDE and Service Provider staff from those of our research community.

New Fields of Science Hierarchy

  1. Natural Sciences (NAT)
    1. Mathematics (MTH)
      1. Pure Mathematics
      2. Applied Mathematics
      3. Statistics and Probability
      4. Other Mathematics
    2. Computer and Information Sciences (CIS)
      1. Computer Science
      2. Applied Computer Science
      3. Software Engineering, Systems, and Development
      4. Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Systems
      5. Visualization and Human-Computer Systems
      6. Informatics, Analytics and Information Science
      7. Other Computer and Information Sciences
    3. Physical Sciences (PHY)
      1. Astronomy and Planetary Sciences
      2. Condensed Matter Physics
      3. Gravitational Physics
      4. Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
      5. Nuclear Physics
      6. Particle and High-Energy Physics
      7. Fluid and Plasma Physics
      8. Other Physical Sciences
    4. Chemical Sciences (CHE)
      1. Physical Chemistry
      2. Organic Chemistry
      3. Inorganic and Nuclear Chemistry
      4. Analytical and Materials Chemistry
      5. Other Chemical Sciences
    5. Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES)
      1. Atmospheric Sciences
      2. Climate and Global Dynamics
      3. Magnetospheric and Upper Atmospheric Physics
      4. Geophysics and Geochemistry
      5. Geology and Solid Earth Sciences
      6. Oceanography and Ocean Sciences
      7. Hydrology and Water Resources
      8. Other Earth and Environmental Sciences
    6. Biological Sciences (BIO) — Note also the new areas for Medical Sciences (3) and Agricultural Sciences (4)
      1. Biophysics
      2. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
      3. Cell Biology
      4. Genetics
      5. Developmental Biology
      6. Systematics and Population Biology
      7. Ecology
      8. Environmental Biology
      9. Behavioral Sciences Biology
      10. Other Biological Sciences
    7. Other Natural Sciences
  2. Engineering and Technology (ENG)
    1. Civil Engineering
    2. Electrical, Electronic, and Information Engineering
    3. Mechanical Engineering
      nuclear related engineering (but nuclear physics is under Natural Sciences: Physical Sciences)
    4. Chemical Engineering
    5. Materials Engineering
      (biomaterials falls under Industrial Biotechnology [2.9]; nanoscale materials to be Nanotechnology [2.10])
    6. Medical Engineering
      physical characteristics of living material as related to medical implants, devices, sensors; (biomaterials falls under
    7. Environmental Engineering
      environmental and geological engineering, geotechnics; petroleum engineering, (fuel, oils), energy and fuels; remote sensing; mining and mineral processing; marine engineering, sea vessels; ocean engineering
    8. Environmental Biotechnology
      environmental biotechnology; bioremediation, diagnostic biotechnologies (DNA chips and biosensing devices) in environmental management; environmental biotechnology related ethics
    9. Industrial Biotechnology
      industrial biotechnology; bioprocessing technologies (industrial processes relying on biological agents to drive the process) biocatalysis, fermentation; bioproducts (products that are manufactured using biological material as feedstock) biomaterials, bioplastics, biofuels, bio- derived bulk and fine chemicals, bio-derived novel materials
    10. Nanotechnology
      nano-materials and nano-processes; (biomaterials to be [2.9])
    11. Other Engineering and Technologies
  3. Medical and Health Sciences (MED)
    1. Basic Medicine
      anatomy and morphology (plant science to be 1.6); human genetics; immunology; neurosciences (including psychophysiology); pharmacology and pharmacy; medicinal chemistry; toxicology; physiology (including cytology); pathology
    2. Clinical Medicine
      obstetrics and gynecology; pediatrics; cardiac and cardiovascular systems; critical care medicine and emergency medicine; surgery; radiology; dentistry, dermatology; gastroenterology; oncology; general and internal medicine; other clinical medicine subjects; integrative and complementary medicine (alternative practice systems)
    3. Health Sciences
      health care sciences and services; nursing; nutrition; public and environmental health; tropical medicine; parasitology; infectious diseases; epidemiology; occupational health; sport and fitness sciences; social biomedical sciences; medical ethics; substance abuse
    4. Medical Biotechnology
      health-related biotechnology; technologies involving the manipulation of cells, tissues, organs or the whole organism; biomaterials (as related to medical implants, devices, sensors); medical biotechnology related ethics
    5. Other Medical Sciences
  4. Agricultural Sciences (AGR)
    1. Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries
    2. Animal and Dairy Science
    3. Veterinary Science
    4. Agricultural Biotechnology
    5. Other Agricultural Sciences
  5. Social Sciences (SOC)
    1. Psychology
    2. Economics and Business
    3. Educational sciences
    4. Sociology
    5. Law
    6. Political science
    7. Social and economic geography
    8. Media and communications
    9. Other social sciences
  6. Humanities (HUM)
    1. History and Archaeology
    2. Languages and Literature
    3. Philosophy, Ethics, and Religion
    4. Arts
    5. Other humanities
  7. Other (OTH)
    1. Training
    2. Staff Activities (XSEDE or SP)
    3. Performance Evaluation and Benchmarking
    4. Infrastructure and Instrumentation
    5. Science and Engineering Education
    6. Other