Kennesaw State again awarded Carnegie R2 Classification; listed among the largest suburban research universities in the U.S.

KENNESAW, Ga. | Feb 3, 2022

Kennesaw State University has once again been recognized as a doctoral university with high research activity, or an R2 university, in the most recent report by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The designation also marks the institution as one of the largest suburban research universities in the U.S.


According to the Carnegie classification, 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.

Since its R2 designation in 2018, Kennesaw State has seen a substantial increase in new external funding and in the number of external awards received. This trend parallels growth in the KSU research infrastructure and commitment to undergraduate research opportunities.   

“Kennesaw State has a large undergraduate population and through the Office of Research, we are committed to providing unique and innovative academic and research experiences to them,” said Phaedra Corso, vice president for research. “Coupled with the contributions of our thriving graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, KSU is on the way to becoming one of the top R2 institutions in the country.” 

The University has developed a roadmap to guide the institution. This roadmap sets goals and initiatives that advance KSU’s institutional mission through the creation of a welcoming community, the development of an impactful undergraduate learning environment, the increase of graduate programs and enrollment, and the promotion of interdisciplinary research to advance new knowledge and discovery.  

In Fall 2021, the University experienced record-breaking enrollment of nearly 43,000 students. This leap reflected a 4.4 percent increase from the previous year, marking the third consecutive year of substantial growth for the University. 

“Kennesaw State’s growth over the last several years will drive us to continue to develop innovative programming and engaged learning opportunities, such as research, that connect our faculty and students to the community,” said KSU Interim President Kathy Schwaig. “We are proud to be recognized as one of the largest R2 universities in the nation and are excited for our future as we continue to work closely with our stakeholders to advance the academic mission of the institution and prepare a highly educated workforce.”

The growth at Kennesaw State mirrors the growth that has occurred in America’s suburbs, particularly in Cobb County, Georgia and its surrounding communities. Projections from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget anticipate over 24 percent growth in the population of Cobb and its adjacent counties – over 612,000 new residents – over the next two decades. 

With over 44 percent of KSU’s student body coming from these counties, it is vital that KSU’s academic programs, student resources, and community investment keep up with these dynamic and ever-evolving needs.

“We’re excited that Kennesaw State University has earned this well-deserved classification,” said Sharon Mason, Cobb Chamber president and CEO. “KSU is an esteemed educational asset to Cobb and our state. Through our SelectCobb strategy, the top reason companies choose Cobb is our access to a talented workforce, and KSU is a key driver behind our strong workforce pipeline for businesses.”

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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