Indiana’s Best Research Universities of 2021

Interested in attending a STEM school in Indiana? Our ranking of top research universities for bachelor’s degrees displays schools that will best prepare you for STEM careers.

Indiana’s Best Research Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Indiana

Among Indiana’s schools are some well-known colleges and universities, including the University of Notre Dame, Purdue University, and Butler University. While tuition and student population vary greatly among these schools, each boasts a high graduation rate. The state’s largest public university, Indiana University Bloomington, also notes a high graduation rate for its roughly 40,000 students and offers tuition just above the national average at $11,000.

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Additionally, students hoping to attend a school with a religious affiliation have nearly 30 options to choose from. Students at these schools can study areas like engineering, business, philosophy, religious studies, and law. Indiana offers loan forgiveness programs for health care workers who work in areas with labor shortages as well as for lawyers providing public legal aid. Additionally, graduates of Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law pursuing public interest law can apply for a special grant program that will help cover the cost of preparing and sitting for the bar exam.

With town names like Popcorn and Santa Claus, it is clear Indiana is no stranger to a good time. Along with these unique towns, Indiana also hosts the Indianapolis 500, a long-distance auto race; boasts a thriving art scene; and has been home to iconic celebrities, including Larry Bird, James Dean, and David Letterman. Students wanting to experience all Indiana has to offer while studying have the option of attending one of Indiana’s more than 50 higher education institutes.

Explore Indiana’s more than 50 colleges and universities to find a program and future career path that’s right for you.


What are Indiana’s Colleges & Universities?

Indiana’s Best Overall

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

A research university is a great option for students interested in obtaining STEM degrees. Research universities invest heavily in research, which consequently provides meaningful and extensive opportunities for its students and faculty to participate in research. There are 8 research universities in Indiana, 6 of which meet our criteria. The list below of the best research universities in the state satisfies the following four conditions:

  1. It must be a fully accredited university.
  2. It must offer doctoral degrees across the range of STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).
  3. It must report high levels of research activity based upon the number of research and/or practice doctorates awarded each year.
  4. It must have a graduation rate of greater than 50%.

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How do we determine Indiana's best colleges and universities?

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why, at the undergraduate level, we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call “Concentrated Influence”. Concentrated Influence takes the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers (including faculty and alums) and divides it by the school’s total number of undergraduates.

Using concentrated influence gives small and mid-sized schools an opportunity to shine by taking away the size advantage of larger universities. A small school with proportionately more influential faculty than a large school, whose influence in absolute terms may be bigger, will nonetheless score higher in a concentrated influence ranking. Our approach highlights undergraduate schools that truly rank for excellence, regardless of size.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

Find out more about our ranking methodology here.

Best Research Universities in Indiana for Undergraduates

  1. #1

    University of Notre Dame

    #87 institution's historical influence
    #23 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    19%

    Graduation

    97%

    Student body

    13K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1475/33

    Notre Dame, IN

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    What is University of Notre Dame known for?

    University of Notre Dame’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Mathematics
    • Business
    • Law
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Education
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

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  2. #2

    Purdue University

    #62 institution's historical influence
    #1204 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    83%

    Student body

    43K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1315/28

    West Lafayette, IN

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    What is Purdue University known for?

    Purdue University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    Indiana University Bloomington

    #56 institution's historical influence
    #875 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    80%

    Student body

    41K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1255/27

    Bloomington, IN

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    What is Indiana University Bloomington known for?

    Indiana University Bloomington’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Business
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Education
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    Valparaiso University

    #784 institution's historical influence
    #832 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1180/25

    Valparaiso, IN

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    What is Valparaiso University known for?

    Valparaiso University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Business
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • History
    • Psychology
    • Philosophy
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  5. #5

    Ball State University

    #698 institution's historical influence
    #1046 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    20K

    Muncie, IN

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    What is Ball State University known for?

    Ball State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Communications
    • Psychology
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #6

    University of Indianapolis

    #3363 institution's historical influence
    #473 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1085/22

    Indianapolis, IN

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    What is University of Indianapolis known for?

    University of Indianapolis’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Religious Studies
    • Biology
    REQUEST INFO

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Photo By: Michael Fernandes - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0