Graduate Student Completions, by Award Level

The total number of graduate credentials earned rose sharply between 1996 and 2016, growing from about 527,000 to over 1 million. While there were increases across all award levels, the largest were in post-baccalaureate certificates (44,028 new degrees—a 276.3 percent increase) and master’s degrees (394,049 new degrees—a 99.7 percent increase). Master’s degrees rose from 75.0 percent to 77.0 percent of all graduate credentials, and post-baccalaureate certificates increased from 3.0 percent to 5.8 percent. Professional degrees fell from 13.7 percent of the total in 1996 to 10.4 percent in 2016, and doctoral degrees fell from 8.3 percent of the total to 6.8 percent.

Graduate School Completions, by Award Level: 1996 to 2016


U.S. Department of Education, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016