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Best National Research Universities
Top 100 Consensus Ranked Schools 2020

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Best National Research Universities

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
91.9
College Consensus
98.5
Publisher Consensus
85.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

2

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA

166683
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
91.1
College Consensus
99.2
Publisher Consensus
83
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

3

Stanford University
Stanford, CA

intro about
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
91.1
College Consensus
98.9
Publisher Consensus
83.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

4

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ

20080421 CampLife 02 1 L
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
89.8
College Consensus
99
Publisher Consensus
80.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

5

Harvard University
Cambridge, MA

Harvard University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
88.6
College Consensus
99.1
Publisher Consensus
78.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

6

University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN

ND
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
87.6
College Consensus
92.2
Publisher Consensus
83
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

7

Duke University
Durham, NC

duke
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
87.5
College Consensus
97.1
Publisher Consensus
78
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

8

Brown University
Providence, RI

brown
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
87.5
College Consensus
92.3
Publisher Consensus
82.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

9

University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA

UPenn
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
87.1
College Consensus
96.9
Publisher Consensus
77.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

10

Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN

vanderbilt
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
86.6
College Consensus
93.3
Publisher Consensus
80
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

11

Rice University
Houston, TX

Rice
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
86.2
College Consensus
89.8
Publisher Consensus
82.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

12

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, MI

michigan ann arbor
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
86.2
College Consensus
93.1
Publisher Consensus
79.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

13

Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH

dartmouth
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
86
College Consensus
90.1
Publisher Consensus
81.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

14

University of California-Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA

UCLA
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
85.9
College Consensus
94
Publisher Consensus
77.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

15

University of California-Berkeley
Berkeley, CA

berkeleycampus
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
85.4
College Consensus
93.9
Publisher Consensus
76.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

16

Cornell University
Ithaca, NY

cornell
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
85.2
College Consensus
90.3
Publisher Consensus
80.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

17

Washington University in St Louis
Saint Louis, MO

WA SL
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
85
College Consensus
87.6
Publisher Consensus
82.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

18

University of Chicago
Chicago, IL

chicago
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
84.7
College Consensus
91.4
Publisher Consensus
78.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

19

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC

unc CH
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
84.5
College Consensus
89.9
Publisher Consensus
79.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

20

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

columbia
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
84.4
College Consensus
92.8
Publisher Consensus
75.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

21

Northwestern University
Evanston, IL

northwestern
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
84.3
College Consensus
92.7
Publisher Consensus
76
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

22

University of Virginia-Main Campus
Charlottesville, VA

U Virginia
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
84.3
College Consensus
89
Publisher Consensus
79.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

23

Georgetown University
Washington, DC

georgetown
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
84.1
College Consensus
91.2
Publisher Consensus
77
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

24

California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, CA

Caltech Entrance
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
83.9
College Consensus
93.8
Publisher Consensus
74
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

25

University of California-Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA

UCSB
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
82.2
College Consensus
83.7
Publisher Consensus
80.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

26

University of Florida
Gainesville, FL

UF
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
82
College Consensus
87.4
Publisher Consensus
76.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

27

The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX

UT Austin
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
81.5
College Consensus
82.5
Publisher Consensus
80.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

28

University of California-Davis
Davis, CA

UC Davis
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
81.3
College Consensus
86.7
Publisher Consensus
75.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

29

University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA

UofSouthernCalifornia
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
81.2
College Consensus
83.6
Publisher Consensus
78.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

30

University of California-Irvine
Irvine, CA

University California Irvine
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
80.9
College Consensus
86.5
Publisher Consensus
75.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

31

University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, WI

madison UW
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
80.8
College Consensus
81.8
Publisher Consensus
79.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

32

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Champaign, IL

Illinois Urbana
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
80.8
College Consensus
84.3
Publisher Consensus
77.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

33

Tufts University
Medford, MA

Tufts University Campus Aerial
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
80.7
College Consensus
84.3
Publisher Consensus
77
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

34

Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus
Atlanta, GA

Georgia Tech
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
80.3
College Consensus
86.5
Publisher Consensus
74.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

35

University of Washington-Seattle Campus
Seattle, WA

U Washington
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
80.3
College Consensus
84.9
Publisher Consensus
75.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

36

Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD

Johns Hopkins
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
78.9
College Consensus
87.2
Publisher Consensus
70.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

37

University of California-San Diego
La Jolla, CA

University California San Diego
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
78.8
College Consensus
89.3
Publisher Consensus
68.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

38

Emory University
Atlanta, GA

emory
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
78.7
College Consensus
81.4
Publisher Consensus
76
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

39

Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem, NC

Wake Forest
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
78.4
College Consensus
78.1
Publisher Consensus
78.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

40

Purdue University-Main Campus
West Lafayette, IN

purdue
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
78.2
College Consensus
78.3
Publisher Consensus
78
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

41

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

Texas AandM
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
77.9
College Consensus
76.9
Publisher Consensus
78.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

42

Boston College
Chestnut Hill, MA

Boston College
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
77.8
College Consensus
81.2
Publisher Consensus
74.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

43

Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA

CMU Pitt
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
77.7
College Consensus
82.7
Publisher Consensus
72.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

44

College of William and Mary
Williamsburg, VA

william mary
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
77.6
College Consensus
80.3
Publisher Consensus
74.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

45

Lehigh University
Bethlehem, PA

Lehigh University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
77.1
College Consensus
77.4
Publisher Consensus
76.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

46

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

VT
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
76.8
College Consensus
71.3
Publisher Consensus
82.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

47

Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI

Michigan state u
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
76.8
College Consensus
72.7
Publisher Consensus
80.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

48

Tulane University of Louisiana
New Orleans, LA

Tulane University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
76.7
College Consensus
75.7
Publisher Consensus
77.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

49

University of Maryland-College Park
College Park, MD

umd CP
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
75.9
College Consensus
80.8
Publisher Consensus
71.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

50

Brigham Young University-Provo
Provo, UT

provo byu
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
75.9
College Consensus
69.8
Publisher Consensus
82.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

51

New York University
New York, NY

NYU
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
75
College Consensus
75.4
Publisher Consensus
74.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

52

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Minneapolis, MN

University Minnesota Twin Cities
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
73.8
College Consensus
74.3
Publisher Consensus
73.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

53

University of Georgia
Athens, GA

UGA Arch
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
73.8
College Consensus
68.5
Publisher Consensus
79
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

54

University of Rochester
Rochester, NY

U of R
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
73.3
College Consensus
75.2
Publisher Consensus
71.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

55

Rutgers University-New Brunswick
New Brunswick, NJ

Rutgers University New Brunswick
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
73.3
College Consensus
73.8
Publisher Consensus
72.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

56

North Carolina State University at Raleigh
Raleigh, NC

NCSU
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
73.3
College Consensus
71.8
Publisher Consensus
74.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

57

University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT

UConn
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
72.9
College Consensus
73.7
Publisher Consensus
72
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

58

Ohio State University-Main Campus
Columbus, OH

Ohio State U
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
72.7
College Consensus
67.5
Publisher Consensus
77.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

59

Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, OH

Case Western Reserve University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
72.5
College Consensus
75.2
Publisher Consensus
69.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

60

Indiana University-Bloomington
Bloomington, IN

Indiana University Bloomington
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
72.1
College Consensus
66.3
Publisher Consensus
78
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

61

Villanova University
Villanova, PA

Villanova
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
71.8
College Consensus
68.2
Publisher Consensus
75.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

62

Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL

fsu
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
71.7
College Consensus
65.3
Publisher Consensus
78.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

63

Northeastern University
Boston, MA

Northeastern University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
71.2
College Consensus
65.7
Publisher Consensus
76.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

64

Boston University
Boston, MA

Boston University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
71
College Consensus
69.5
Publisher Consensus
72.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

65

Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester, MA

Worcester Polytechnic Institute
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
70.5
College Consensus
64.9
Publisher Consensus
76
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

66

Santa Clara University
Santa Clara, CA

santa clara
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
70
College Consensus
68.4
Publisher Consensus
71.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

67

Southern Methodist University
Dallas, TX

SMU
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
69.7
College Consensus
63
Publisher Consensus
76.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

68

Brandeis University
Waltham, MA

Brandeis University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
69.6
College Consensus
66.6
Publisher Consensus
72.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

69

Binghamton University
Vestal, NY

Binghamton
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
69.2
College Consensus
69.6
Publisher Consensus
68.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

70

University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA

University Iowa
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
68.9
College Consensus
61.3
Publisher Consensus
76.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

71

Syracuse University
Syracuse, NY

Syracuse University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
68.9
College Consensus
63.6
Publisher Consensus
74.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

72

Montclair State University
Montclair, NJ

Montclair State University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
68.9
College Consensus
69.3
Publisher Consensus
68.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

73

University of Miami
Coral Gables, FL

University Miami
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
68.8
College Consensus
61.9
Publisher Consensus
75.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

74

Clemson University
Clemson, SC

Clemson University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
68.6
College Consensus
59.8
Publisher Consensus
77.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

75

University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Amherst, MA

University of Massachusetts Amherst
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
68.3
College Consensus
62.4
Publisher Consensus
74.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

76

George Washington University
Washington, DC

George Washington University 1
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
68.3
College Consensus
65.7
Publisher Consensus
70.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

77

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, NY

rpi
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
67.6
College Consensus
64.2
Publisher Consensus
70.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

78

Colorado School of Mines
Golden, CO

Colorado School of Mines
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
67.6
College Consensus
62
Publisher Consensus
73.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

79

Texas Christian University
Fort Worth, TX

Texas Christian University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
67.5
College Consensus
56.3
Publisher Consensus
78.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

80

University of California-Riverside
Riverside, CA

University of California Riverside
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
67.2
College Consensus
64.6
Publisher Consensus
69.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

81

University of Delaware
Newark, DE

UDel
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
67.1
College Consensus
59.8
Publisher Consensus
74.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

82

Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY

Stony Brook University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
66.7
College Consensus
67.8
Publisher Consensus
65.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

83

University of California-Merced
Merced, CA

University California Merced
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
66.5
College Consensus
57.4
Publisher Consensus
75.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

84

University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO

Snow Boulder
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
65.9
College Consensus
54.6
Publisher Consensus
77.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

85

Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
University Park, PA

Penn
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
65.8
College Consensus
53.2
Publisher Consensus
78.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

86

Baylor University
Waco, TX

Baylor University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
65.4
College Consensus
55.8
Publisher Consensus
75
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

87

Towson University
Towson, MD

towson university
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
64.8
College Consensus
60.8
Publisher Consensus
68.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

88

University of California-Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, CA

redwood trees UC santa cruz
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
64.7
College Consensus
56.3
Publisher Consensus
73.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

89

University of Illinois at Chicago
Chicago, IL

University of Illinois at Chicago
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
64.5
College Consensus
61.3
Publisher Consensus
67.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

90

Howard University
Washington, DC

howard u
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
64.4
College Consensus
58.9
Publisher Consensus
70
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

91

George Mason University
Fairfax, VA

George Mason University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
64.3
College Consensus
59.1
Publisher Consensus
69.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

92

University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT

University of utah
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
64.2
College Consensus
56.4
Publisher Consensus
72
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

93

University at Buffalo
Buffalo, NY

University at Buffalo
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
64.1
College Consensus
58.8
Publisher Consensus
69.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

94

University of San Diego
San Diego, CA

University San Diego
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
63.8
College Consensus
51
Publisher Consensus
76.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

95

Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester, NY

Rochester Institute of Technology
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
63.1
College Consensus
53.4
Publisher Consensus
72.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

96

University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ

U Arizona
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
63
College Consensus
52.3
Publisher Consensus
73.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

97

University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus
Pittsburgh, PA

University of Pittsburgh Campus
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
62.9
College Consensus
48.4
Publisher Consensus
77.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

98

University of Tulsa
Tulsa, OK

tulsa
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
62.9
College Consensus
51.4
Publisher Consensus
74.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

99

Elon University
Elon, NC

Elon University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
62.9
College Consensus
47.8
Publisher Consensus
78
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

100

American University
Washington, DC

American University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
62.7
College Consensus
52.2
Publisher Consensus
73.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2020

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.