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The online version of the IPEDS Glossary provides definitions for almost 500 postsecondary-related terms used in the collection and dissemination of IPEDS data.

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Term Definition Related terms

The use of this term was discontinued in IPEDS as of the 2010-11 data collection, when use of the new postbaccalaureate award categories became mandatory.

May refer to a degree, certificate, or level of student.

A first-professional degree was an award that required completion of a program that met 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. First-professional degrees may be awarded in the following 10 fields:

  • Chiropractic (D.C. or D.C.M.)
  • Dentistry (D.D.S. or D.M.D.)
  • Law (L.L.B., J.D.)
  • Medicine (M.D.)
  • Optometry (O.D.)
  • Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.)
  • Pharmacy (Pharm.D.)
  • Podiatry (D.P.M., D.P., or Pod.D.)
  • Theology (M.Div., M.H.L., B.D., or Ordination)
  • Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.)

A first-professional certificate was an award that required completion of an organized program of study designed for persons who had completed the first-professional degree. Examples could be refresher courses or additional units of study in a specialty or subspecialty.

A first-professional student was a student enrolled in one of these programs.

The 12-month FTE for first-professional students was calculated using the unduplicated headcounts reported on the 12-month enrollment component. Since the 12-month unduplicated headcounts do not differentiate between full-time and part-time students, an estimation was used. The ratio of full-time to part-time first-professional students from the previous collection year fall enrollment(which corresponds to the same academic year students) was calculated, and this ratio was applied to the 12-month unduplicated headcount. Adding the resulting full-time and one-third part-time student estimates results in the FTE for first-professional students.


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National Center for Education Statistics -
U.S. Department of Education