Yale

Best National Research Universities
Top 100 Consensus Ranked Schools 2021

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Best National Research Univ 02 02

Students who want a place at one of the best research universities are in the right place with College Consensus. With the Top Consensus Ranked National Research Universities, College Consensus brings prospective college students all they need to know about the best research universities nationwide. For future professionals, researchers, scientists, and scholars, College Consensus gathers data from national and international ranking agencies and reliable student reviews for a complete view of their educational options.

How Did We Rank the Best National Research Universities?

College Consensus is an aggregated best schools ranking combining data from across the internet. For the Publisher Rating, we average every school’s scores in rankings from U.S. News & World Report, The Wall Street Journal, and WalletHub. Then, we compute the Student Review Rating for each college from sites like Unigo, My Plan, and Students Review. Taken together, these rankings make up the College Consensus.

The top research universities include some of the most prestigious and world-renowned names in higher education. We define national research universities as institutions that draw a student body from across the US and world, rather than a primarily regional population. These are universities that are classified by the Carnegie Foundation as research universities: R1 (Highest Research Activity), R2 (Higher Research Activity), or R3 (Moderate Research Activity). These designations include well over 300 universities nationwide. National research universities are dedicated not only to teaching, but on creating new knowledge through scientific, social scientific, and humanities research.

What’s Different About the College Consensus Ranking?

The difference between College Consensus and other ranking sites is the difference between Rotten Tomatoes and your favorite movie reviewer. College Consensus is comprehensive. It’s not just one voice stating an opinion – it’s many, many voices, computed objectively and equally. Students who are actually there day to day have as much say about their college as experts who have never visited. And all of those perspectives mean an even playing field for every college and university, from the richest and best-known university to the smallest and hardest-working regional college. Read more about our rankings methodology and sources at our about page.

This ranking focuses on the best nationally-recognized, major research universities. For students who are interested in the more traditional atmosphere of a small college, College Consensus has also ranked the Best National Liberal Arts Colleges. For the full, comprehensive ranking of all American colleges and universities, regardless of size or class, see the Best Colleges and Universities.

The Top Consensus Ranked National Research Universities are listed in descending order by their Consensus score. In the event of ties, schools are ranked in alphabetical order with the same rank number.

1

Yale University
New Haven, CT

800px Yale Peabody Museum 2
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
92.1
College Consensus
99
Publisher Consensus
85.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

2

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA

166683
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
91
College Consensus
99.4
Publisher Consensus
82.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

3

Stanford University
Stanford, CA

intro about
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
90.5
College Consensus
99
Publisher Consensus
82
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

4

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ

20080421 CampLife 02 1 L
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
90
College Consensus
99
Publisher Consensus
81.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

5

Harvard University
Cambridge, MA

Harvard University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
88.7
College Consensus
99
Publisher Consensus
78.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

6

Duke University
Durham, NC

duke
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
87.9
College Consensus
97.8
Publisher Consensus
78.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

7

Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN

vanderbilt
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
87.2
College Consensus
94
Publisher Consensus
80.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

8

Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH

dartmouth
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
86.7
College Consensus
90.8
Publisher Consensus
82.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

9

University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA

UPenn
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
86.5
College Consensus
95.7
Publisher Consensus
77.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

10

Brown University
Providence, RI

brown
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
86.4
College Consensus
89.9
Publisher Consensus
83
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

11

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, MI

michigan ann arbor
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
86
College Consensus
92.8
Publisher Consensus
79.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

12

University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN

ND
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
86
College Consensus
88.9
Publisher Consensus
83
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

13

Rice University
Houston, TX

Rice
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
85.9
College Consensus
89.9
Publisher Consensus
81.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

14

Cornell University
Ithaca, NY

cornell
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
85.6
College Consensus
91.1
Publisher Consensus
80
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

15

Columbia University in the City of New York
New York, NY

columbia
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
85.2
College Consensus
94.1
Publisher Consensus
76.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

16

University of Chicago
Chicago, IL

chicago
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
85.2
College Consensus
91.7
Publisher Consensus
78.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

17

University of Virginia-Main Campus
Charlottesville, VA

U Virginia
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
85.1
College Consensus
90.4
Publisher Consensus
79.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

18

University of California-Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA

UCLA
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
85
College Consensus
93.3
Publisher Consensus
76.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

19

University of California-Berkeley
Berkeley, CA

berkeleycampus
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
85
College Consensus
93.3
Publisher Consensus
76.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

20

Washington University in St Louis
Saint Louis, MO

WA SL
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
84.6
College Consensus
87.2
Publisher Consensus
82
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

21

California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, CA

Caltech Entrance
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
84.3
College Consensus
93.3
Publisher Consensus
75.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

22

Northwestern University
Evanston, IL

northwestern
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
84.2
College Consensus
92.8
Publisher Consensus
75.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

23

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC

unc CH
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
84.1
College Consensus
88.9
Publisher Consensus
79.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

24

University of Florida
Gainesville, FL

palm trees and a large brick campus building
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
82.7
College Consensus
90.3
Publisher Consensus
75.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

25

Georgetown University
Washington, DC

georgetown
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
82.4
College Consensus
88.2
Publisher Consensus
76.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

26

University of California-Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA

UCSB
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
82.1
College Consensus
84.2
Publisher Consensus
79.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

27

University of California-Davis
Davis, CA

UC Davis
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
81.8
College Consensus
88.8
Publisher Consensus
74.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

28

University of California-Irvine
Irvine, CA

University California Irvine
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
81.5
College Consensus
87.1
Publisher Consensus
75.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

29

University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, WI

madison UW
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
81.5
College Consensus
83.1
Publisher Consensus
79.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

30

The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX

UT Austin
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
80.8
College Consensus
82.6
Publisher Consensus
79
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

31

Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus
Atlanta, GA

Georgia Tech
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
80.4
College Consensus
86.7
Publisher Consensus
74
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

32

Tufts University
Medford, MA

Tufts University Campus Aerial
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
80.3
College Consensus
83.6
Publisher Consensus
76.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

33

Purdue University-Main Campus
West Lafayette, IN

purdue
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
80
College Consensus
81.8
Publisher Consensus
78.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

34

University of Washington-Seattle Campus
Seattle, WA

U Washington
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
80
College Consensus
84.4
Publisher Consensus
75.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

35

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Champaign, IL

Illinois Urbana
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
80
College Consensus
83.8
Publisher Consensus
76.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

36

Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD

Johns Hopkins
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
79.4
College Consensus
88
Publisher Consensus
70.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

37

William & Mary
Williamsburg, VA

william mary
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
79.4
College Consensus
83.6
Publisher Consensus
75.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

38

University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA

UofSouthernCalifornia
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
79.2
College Consensus
80.2
Publisher Consensus
78.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

39

Emory University
Atlanta, GA

emory
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
79.1
College Consensus
82.6
Publisher Consensus
75.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

40

University of California-San Diego
La Jolla, CA

University California San Diego
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
78.7
College Consensus
90.4
Publisher Consensus
67
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

41

Texas A & M University-College Station
College Station, TX

Texas AandM
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
78.4
College Consensus
80.4
Publisher Consensus
76.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

42

Boston College
Chestnut Hill, MA

Boston College
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
77.6
College Consensus
80.9
Publisher Consensus
74.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

43

Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA

CMU Pitt
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
77.5
College Consensus
82.3
Publisher Consensus
72.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

44

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Blacksburg)
Blacksburg, VA

VT
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
77
College Consensus
71.7
Publisher Consensus
82.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

45

Lehigh University
Bethlehem, PA

Lehigh University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
76.5
College Consensus
76
Publisher Consensus
77
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

46

Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem, NC

Wake Forest
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
76.3
College Consensus
73.8
Publisher Consensus
78.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

47

Brigham Young University-Provo
Provo, UT

provo byu
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
76.1
College Consensus
70
Publisher Consensus
82.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

48

University of Georgia
Athens, GA

UGA Arch
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
74.1
College Consensus
69.2
Publisher Consensus
79
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

49

North Carolina State University at Raleigh
Raleigh, NC

NCSU
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
74
College Consensus
73.1
Publisher Consensus
74.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

50

Ohio State University-Main Campus
Columbus, OH

Ohio State U
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
73.1
College Consensus
69.8
Publisher Consensus
76.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

51

Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI

Michigan state u
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
73.1
College Consensus
65.4
Publisher Consensus
80.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

52

University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT

UConn
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
73
College Consensus
73.9
Publisher Consensus
72.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

53

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Minneapolis, MN

University Minnesota Twin Cities
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
72.8
College Consensus
72.4
Publisher Consensus
73.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

54

Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL

fsu
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
72.7
College Consensus
67.5
Publisher Consensus
78
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

55

Northeastern University
Boston, MA

Northeastern University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
72.6
College Consensus
68.4
Publisher Consensus
76.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

56

George Washington University
Washington, DC

George Washington University 1
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
72.5
College Consensus
74.4
Publisher Consensus
70.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

57

Boston University
Boston, MA

Boston University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
72.5
College Consensus
72.5
Publisher Consensus
72.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

58

Brandeis University
Waltham, MA

Brandeis University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
71.9
College Consensus
71.1
Publisher Consensus
72.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

59

Rutgers University-New Brunswick
New Brunswick, NJ

Rutgers University New Brunswick
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
71.6
College Consensus
70
Publisher Consensus
73.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

60

University of Rochester
Rochester, NY

U of R
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
71.5
College Consensus
72.5
Publisher Consensus
70.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

61

Indiana University-Bloomington
Bloomington, IN

Indiana University Bloomington
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
71.2
College Consensus
64.1
Publisher Consensus
78.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

62

Tulane University of Louisiana
New Orleans, LA

Tulane University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
71
College Consensus
63.9
Publisher Consensus
78
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

63

University of Maryland-College Park
College Park, MD

umd CP
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
70.8
College Consensus
70.7
Publisher Consensus
70.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

64

University of Miami
Coral Gables, FL

University Miami
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
70.3
College Consensus
67
Publisher Consensus
73.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

65

University of Illinois at Chicago
Chicago, IL

University of Illinois at Chicago
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
70
College Consensus
73.5
Publisher Consensus
66.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

66

Southern Methodist University
Dallas, TX

SMU
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
69.9
College Consensus
64.5
Publisher Consensus
75.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

67

New York University
New York, NY

NYU
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
69.4
College Consensus
65
Publisher Consensus
73.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

68

University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA

University Iowa
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
69.3
College Consensus
62.1
Publisher Consensus
76.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

69

University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ

U Arizona
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
69.3
College Consensus
64.6
Publisher Consensus
73.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

70

Villanova University
Villanova, PA

Villanova
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
69.2
College Consensus
63.7
Publisher Consensus
74.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

71

University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Amherst, MA

University of Massachusetts Amherst
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
68.6
College Consensus
62.8
Publisher Consensus
74.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

72

Clemson University
Clemson, SC

Clemson University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
68.5
College Consensus
59.3
Publisher Consensus
77.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

73

University of Delaware
Newark, DE

UDel
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
68.3
College Consensus
62.3
Publisher Consensus
74.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

74

Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, OH

Case Western Reserve University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
67.6
College Consensus
65.4
Publisher Consensus
69.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

75

Binghamton University
Vestal, NY

Binghamton
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
67.6
College Consensus
67.6
Publisher Consensus
67.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

76

Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY

Stony Brook University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
67.2
College Consensus
69.4
Publisher Consensus
65.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

77

University of California-Riverside
Riverside, CA

University of California Riverside
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
67.1
College Consensus
66
Publisher Consensus
68.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

78

University of San Diego
San Diego, CA

University San Diego
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
66.8
College Consensus
57.3
Publisher Consensus
76.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

79

Illinois Institute of Technology
Chicago, IL

lllinois Institute Technology
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
66.3
College Consensus
65.6
Publisher Consensus
67.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

80

Iowa State University
Ames, IA

ISU
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
66.3
College Consensus
56.8
Publisher Consensus
75.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

81

Colorado School of Mines
Golden, CO

Colorado School of Mines
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
65.9
College Consensus
58.5
Publisher Consensus
73.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

82

American University
Washington, DC

American University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
65.8
College Consensus
58.3
Publisher Consensus
73.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

83

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, NY

rpi
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
65.7
College Consensus
60.8
Publisher Consensus
70.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

84

Arizona State University-Tempe
Tempe, AZ

ASU Campus
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
65.4
College Consensus
59
Publisher Consensus
71.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

85

Syracuse University
Syracuse, NY

Syracuse University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
65.3
College Consensus
57.4
Publisher Consensus
73.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

86

University of Tulsa
Tulsa, OK

tulsa
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
65.1
College Consensus
55.5
Publisher Consensus
74.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

87

Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester, MA

Worcester Polytechnic Institute
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
65.1
College Consensus
55.7
Publisher Consensus
74.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

88

Howard University
Washington, DC

howard u
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
64.9
College Consensus
59.5
Publisher Consensus
70.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

89

Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
University Park, PA

Penn
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
64.7
College Consensus
52.3
Publisher Consensus
77.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

90

University of Central Florida
Orlando, FL

University Central Florida
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
64.6
College Consensus
55.4
Publisher Consensus
73.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

91

Marquette University
Milwaukee, WI

marquette hall
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
64.5
College Consensus
56.4
Publisher Consensus
72.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

92

Michigan Technological University
Houghton, MI

Michigan Tech
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
64.2
College Consensus
53.2
Publisher Consensus
75.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

93

George Mason University
Fairfax, VA

George Mason University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
64.1
College Consensus
58.4
Publisher Consensus
69.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

94

Montclair State University
Montclair, NJ

Montclair State University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
64
College Consensus
59.4
Publisher Consensus
68.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

95

University of New Hampshire-Main Campus
Durham, NH

UNH
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
63.8
College Consensus
55.1
Publisher Consensus
72.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

96

University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus
Pittsburgh, PA

University of Pittsburgh Campus
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
63.5
College Consensus
50.8
Publisher Consensus
76.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

97

Rutgers University-Newark
Newark, NJ

rutgers newark
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
63.5
College Consensus
55.7
Publisher Consensus
71.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

98

University of California-Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, CA

redwood trees UC santa cruz
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
63.5
College Consensus
54.9
Publisher Consensus
72
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

99

University at Buffalo
Buffalo, NY

University at Buffalo
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
63.4
College Consensus
58.9
Publisher Consensus
67.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

100

University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT

University of utah
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
63.1
College Consensus
54.1
Publisher Consensus
72
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021

Why choose a research university? The best research universities offer opportunities for students to engage with faculty who are expanding their fields. Because professors are making new breakthroughs all the time, the learning environment is charged with excitement and students are able to learn about the latest studies before the results make it into their textbooks.

In addition, attending a research university often affords students opportunities they would not have at other schools. For example, they may have access to internships and have opportunities to do research with experts in their fields. They may even be invited to networking events with well-known professors, which could introduce them to valuable contacts and mentors.

What Makes a University a Research University?

So what is the difference between a research university vs. a teaching university? A focus on research is what makes a university a research university. The definition of a research university is a university that is committed to furthering our collective body of knowledge through research. 

Unlike teaching universities, which put teaching above everything else, research universities place a higher importance on research. This does not mean that the teaching at a research university is sub-par, however. At the best research universities, professors who are excited about their research often carry their enthusiasm into the classroom. They ignite passion in their students by sharing the results of their research with their classes.

If you’re looking for the best research universities, look through our research university rankings. We have carefully considered each school’s strengths and weaknesses and compiled a list of the top research universities in the country. Our research university rankings will help you choose the right university for you.

What is the Relationship Between Government Funding and Research Universities?

Government funding to universities is currently around 60% of the total R&D budget. This is down from a high of 73% in the late 1960s. However, in inflation-adjusted dollars, the amount has actually increased from around $8 billion per year to over $30 billion in spite of the lower percentage. This indicates that, adjusted for inflation, R&D budgets at research universities have grown over the past few decades.

Still, federal research grants to universities account for over half of the R&D funding for these schools. However, since federal funding covers less of the costs than it has in the past, schools have had to cover a larger share of their R&D budgets themselves. The percentage paid by the schools was less than 10% in the late 60s, but has risen to more than 20% today.

Since government funding to universities now covers a smaller percentage of research costs, many universities have responded by charging higher tuition and fees to make up the difference. However, public outcry against the burgeoning student debt crisis is forcing research universities to come up with an alternative way to make up for the reduced federal research grants to universities.

Many research universities have come up with new ways to gain additional funding or reduce expenses. These include partnerships with corporations and cooperative agreements with other schools that allow for expanded research efforts at all of the partner schools. Some schools are also engaging in their own development projects in order to raise additional funding.

Top Research Universities by Funding

Looking at the top research universities by funding, Johns Hopkins University receives more than twice as much federal funding as the #2 school. Around $2 billion of Johns Hopkins’s $2.3 billion R&D budget comes from the federal government. The school is followed by the University of Washington in 2nd place ($960.6 million), the University of Michigan in 3rd ($756.1 million), Stanford University in 4th ($679.6 million), and the University of California, San Diego in 5th ($643.0 million).

Are Research Universities Only for STEM Majors?

Although the best undergraduate research universities include the best science colleges in the world, research universities are not just for STEM majors. In fact, a recent study by Drexel University found that non-STEM students are just as likely to benefit from undergrad research experiences as STEM students.

The results were based on a survey of students who participated in the STAR (Students Tackling Advanced Research) program at Drexel University, one of the best science colleges in the world. Students indicated that they felt that the research benefited them in all areas of study, not just in STEM subject areas.

Some of the benefits students reported included improvements in their ability to work independently, feeling more comfortable discussing concepts or explaining projects to people outside of their fields, and gaining hands-on experience that they feel will help enhance their resumes.

At the best research universities, students have plenty of opportunities to participate in research. Regardless of major, being involved in a research project increases the chances that the student will remain in the program and eventually graduate. This effect is stronger when the research is conducted earlier in the program.