Carnegie Classification of Institutions Elevates UT Dallas to Highest Research Category

Dr. Nikki Delk (right), assistant professor of biological sciences, directs student Sana Merchant in her lab. Delk's research focuses on cancers that are incurable once they have metastasized.

The 2015 edition of The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, which was released on Feb. 1, included UT Dallas, UT Arlington, Texas Tech, and the University of North Texas in its list of the 115 American universities classified as “Doctoral Universities – Highest Research Activity.”                                

These four Texas universities thus join UT Austin, Texas A&M, Rice, and the University of Houston in this classification. The Carnegie Classifications for doctoral institutions are issued every five years, and use the terminology Moderate, Higher, and Highest research activity to classify doctoral universities. The classifications are based predominantly on aggregate research expenditures.

Dr. Hobson Wildenthal, UT Dallas president ad interim, in responding to the Carnegie announcement, noted, “Our inclusion in this highest classification of research activity is an expected result of the increased size of the UT Dallas faculty and the commensurate increase in our research funding and expenditures. It is also to be credited to the initiatives launched in 2009 by the Texas Legislature, designed to increase the number of national research universities in Texas. 

“Since the Carnegie Classifications are based largely on the aggregate quantity of an institution’s research, it is noteworthy that UT Dallas is much the smallest of the Texas public universities in this Highest class. This testifies to the high research productivity of our distinguished faculty on an individual basis. This change in classification for UT Dallas is merely a milepost in our ongoing strategic plan to build UT Dallas into a research university of the highest quality, one that has true national and international impact. 

“The next such milepost that UT Dallas will pass is fulfillment of the last of the criteria set by the Texas Legislature for participation in the National Research University Fund (NRUF). This should occur during the coming biennium. We continue to keep our attention focused on growing a high-quality major national research university. This new classification and the impending NRUF qualification provide only early markers of progress along the way to our much more ambitious longer-term goals. The fundamental values and achievements of UT Dallas continue to be the recruitment of outstanding students and faculty and the creation of the optimum environment for learning, growth, and achievement in which these talented individuals can flourish. All other good things will follow from this focus.”

Explanation of Terms:Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education

Carnegie Classifications for doctoral institutions are issued every five years and are based on research activity data. UT Dallas is now listed among 115 schools designated in its Highest research activity category, a rise from 2010 when it was in the Higher classification.

National ResearchUniversity Fund

In 2009, an amendment to the Texas Constitution created the National Research University Fund (NRUF). This endowment provides additional funding for designated Texas institutions that reach a number of criteria considered characteristic of national research universities.

Tier One

Nationally competitive research universities are often referred to as “Tier One.” The term is inexact and typically describes schools that award large numbers of doctoral degrees, attract millions of research dollars, hire nationally prominent faculty and admit high quality students. UT Dallas’ Strategic Plan lays out a number of goals related to making progress in these areas, some of which have been attained in recent years. Texas currently has three universities that by common consent would be termed as “Tier One”: The University of Texas at Austin, Rice University and Texas A&M University.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].