Kennesaw State elevated to R2 doctoral university

KENNESAW, Ga. | Dec 31, 2018

New status reflects increased focus on research and scholarship

Kennesaw State University has been elevated to an “R2” designated institution – doctoral university with high research activity – in the revised 2018 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Learning, the second-highest classification for research institutions in the country. KSU is one of only 259 institutions to carry the “R1” or “R2” designation. 

According to the Carnegie classifications, doctoral research institutions are those that awarded at least 20 research/scholarship doctoral degrees during the upgrade year and had at least $5 million in research expenditures.

“This is an exciting step forward for Kennesaw State and places the University among a select group of institutions in the nation,” said President Pamela Whitten. “In addition to our expanding doctoral programs, this designation is especially significant for our students who are benefitting from increased opportunities to work alongside faculty researchers on important discoveries, while learning, first-hand, how to engage in their own research.”

In April 2019, Kennesaw State will host more 4,000 student researchers from around the country at the 33rd annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research. This is the first time a university in Georgia has hosted this national conference.

In a message to the campus community this morning praising the efforts of faculty, students and staff, Whitten said, “As you all know, our goals for KSU have been to enhance student success and the student experience to become the best R3 in the country. We will now be revising the latter goal to become one of the top R2 universities in the U.S.”

Last week, Kennesaw State named internationally renowned researcher, Phaedra Corso – who currently serves as the director of the Economic Evaluation Research Group in the College of Public Health and the associate director of the Owens Institute for Behavioral Research at the University of Georgia – as vice president for research. She will join the University in February.

Kennesaw State was elevated in 2015 to an R3 doctoral research institution from its previous classification as a larger Master’s College and University – M1.

The Carnegie Classification has been the leading framework for recognizing and describing diversity among U.S. higher education institutions since 1970, when the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education developed the method of classifying colleges and universities to support its program of research and policy analysis. The classifications, derived from empirical data on colleges and universities, reflect changes among institutions and are used in the study of higher education.

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit