Undergraduate Completions: 2001 to 2021

Between 2001 and 2021, the total number of undergraduate degrees and certificates awarded annually increased from about 2.1 million to nearly 3.9 million. The total number of short-term certificates awarded also increased, from roughly 276,000 to about 745,000; this was the highest percent change of any undergraduate degrees and certificates between 2001 and 2021 (170 percent increase). The total number of bachelor’s and associate degrees awarded increased by 83 percent and 66 percent, respectively. In contrast, the total number of long-term certificates decreased approximately 20 percent from about 12,500 to 10,000. Note that for any given student, data in this chapter reflect only their primary major or field of study to avoid multiple counts of a single degree completion.

Undergraduate Completions, by Award Level, Select Years: 2001, 2005, 2009, 2013, 2017, and 2021


U.S. Department of Education, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, 2021


Data reflect undergraduate degrees and certificates earned at all Title IV–eligible, degree-granting institutions.  

Short-term certificates include those that were of less than two academic years.  

Long-term certificates include those that were of at least two but less than four academic years.