Kennesaw State again awarded the Carnegie R2 classification; is among the largest suburban research universities in the United States

KENNESAW, Georgia (February 3, 2022) – Kennesaw State University has again been recognized as a research-intensive doctoral university, or R2 university, in the latest report of the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The designation also marks the institution as one of the largest suburban research universities in the United States.

According to the Carnegie classification, doctoral research institutions are those that have awarded at least 20 doctoral research/fellowship degrees in the year of upgrading and have spent 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 the number of external awards received. This trend parallels the growth of KSU’s research infrastructure and commitment to undergraduate research Opportunities.

“Kennesaw State has a large undergraduate population and across the Research Office, we are committed to providing them with unique and innovative academic and research experiences,” said Phaedra Corso, Vice President for Research. “Coupled with the contributions of our thriving graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, KSU is poised to become one of the nation’s top R2 institutions.

The University has developed a roadmap to guide the establishment. This roadmap defines goals and initiatives that advance KSU’s institutional mission through building a welcoming community, developing an impactful undergraduate learning environment, increasing academic programs and enrollments, and the promotion of interdisciplinary research to advance new knowledge and discoveries.

In the fall of 2021, the University recorded record enrollment of nearly 43,000 students. The jump reflects a 4.4% increase over the previous year, marking the third consecutive year of substantial growth for the University.

“Kennesaw State’s growth over the past few years will inspire us to continue to develop innovative programs and engaged learning opportunities, such as research, that connect our faculty and students to the community,” said Kathy Schwaig, Acting President of KSU. “We are proud to be recognized as one of the nation’s leading R2 universities and are excited about our future as we continue to work closely with our stakeholders to advance the institution’s academic mission and preparing a highly skilled workforce.”

Kennesaw State’s growth mirrors the growth that has occurred in American suburbs, particularly in Cobb County, Georgia and surrounding communities. Projections from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget call for more than 24 percent growth in the population of Cobb and its adjacent counties — more than 612,000 new residents — over the next two decades.

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

“We are thrilled that Kennesaw State University has earned this well-deserved classification,” said Sharon Mason, President and CEO of Cobb Chamber. “KSU is a valued educational asset to Cobb and our state. Through our SelectCobb strategy, the number one reason businesses choose Cobb is our access to a talented workforce, and KSU is a key driver of our strong business workforce pipeline.

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global connections, and entrepreneurial spirit attract students from across the country and around the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated (R2) doctoral research institution, placing it among an elite group of only 6% of US colleges and universities with R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit

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