IPEDS Degree Definitions

Undergraduate Certificate (1-2 years) A postsecondary award, certificate or diploma, that requires completion of an organized program of study of at least one but less than two full-time equivalent academic years, or designed for completion in at least 30 but less than 60 semester credit hours, or in at least 900 but less than 1,800 contact hours.

Undergraduate Certificate (2-4 years) A postsecondary award, certificate or diploma, that requires completion of an organized program of study of at least two but less than four full-time academic years, or designed for completion in at least 60 but less than 120 semester credit hours, or in at least 1,800 but less than 3,600 contact hours.

Associate Degree. An award that requires completion of an organized program of study of at least 2 but less than 4 years of full-time academic study or more than 60, but less than 120 semester credit hours.

Bachelor’s Degree. An award that requires completion of an organized program of study of at least 4 but not more than 5 years of full-time academic study with at least 120, but less than 150 semester credit hours.

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate. An award that requires completion of an organized program of study requiring 18 semester credit hours beyond the bachelor’s and is designed for persons who have completed a baccalaureate degree, but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of “master”.

Master’s Degree. An award that requires completion of an organized program of study of at least one full-time but not more than 2 academic years of work beyond the bachelor’s degree, consisting of at least 30, but less than 60 semester credit hours.

Post-Master’s Certificate. An award that requires completion of an organized program of academic study of 24 semester credit hours beyond the master’s degree but does not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctor’s level.

First-Professional Degree. An award that requires completion of an organized program of study that meets all of the following criteria: (1) completion of the academic requirements to begin practice in the profession; (2) at least 2 years of college work prior to entering the program; and (3) a total of at least 6 academic years of college work to complete the degree program, including prior required college work plus the length of the professional program itself.ยน

Advanced Certificates: New definitions of post-baccalaureate and postmaster’s certificates and First Professional Certificate (Post-Degree) better define this old category. Level 6 Eliminate First-Professional Certificate (Post-Degree). An award that requires completion of an organized program of study designed for persons who have completed the first professional degree.

Doctor’s Degree. The highest award a student can earn for graduate study. The Doctor’s degree classification includes such degrees as Doctor of Education, Doctor of Juridical Science, Doctor of Musical Arts, Doctor of Public Health, and the Doctor of Philosophy in any field.