Best Research Universities in North Carolina 2022

Best Research Universities in North Carolina 2022

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

Colleges and Universities in North Carolina

Among these schools are over 60 public colleges and universities, including the state’s largest school, North Carolina State University, which serves almost 30,000 students. Tuition costs average about $9,000, just below the national average, and students also have the option to enroll in over 1,000 online courses. Another notable public school is the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which is one of the country’s oldest universities.

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The 25,000 students who attend UNC will walk the same halls as Francis Collins, Thomas Wolfe, and former president James K. Polk. North Carolina’s private schools have also made a name for themselves, including the well-known Duke University located in Durham. Here, students can earn degrees in some of the top programs, like nursing, political science, and business. Additionally, students can attend one of the many small schools which serve less than 5,000 students, like Campbell University in Buies Creek, or a religiously affiliated school, like Mid-Atlantic Christian University in Elizabeth City.

From its coastal beaches to its lush forests, it’s no wonder the Wright Brothers dreamed of taking flight over North Carolina. This state is rich with history, scenic views, and famous people who once called it home, like John Coltrane and Nicholas Sparks. Students hoping to earn their associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree also have the option of choosing from over 100 schools in the Tar Heel State.

Whether you prefer ocean views or wooded forests, North Carolina has something for everyone. Discover more about the state’s higher learning options.


What are North Carolina’s Colleges & Universities?

North Carolina’s Best Overall

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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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. We’ve identified 13 research universities in North Carolina. To be included in our ranking, schools must be a fully accredited universities and must must offer doctoral degrees across the range of STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).

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Best Research Universities in North Carolina 2022

  1. #1

    Duke University

    Durham , NC
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    8%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1525/34

  2. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    25%

    Graduation

    91%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1405/30

    What is University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill known for?

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    46%

    Graduation

    84%

    Student body

    31K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1335/29

    North Carolina State University’s Online Degrees

    BA in Leadership in the Public Sector
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  4. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    28K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1205/24

    University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Online Degrees

    BA in Elementary Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Engineering Technology
    Degree Concentrations
    • Electrical
    • Fire Safety
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing (Rn To Bsn)
    • Required Credits: 121
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Political Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Professional Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Respiratory Therapy
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  5. #6

    East Carolina University

    Greenville , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    24K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1115/22

    East Carolina University’s Online Degrees

    BSN in Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    Degree Concentrations
    • Rn To Bsn
    • Required Credits: 125-133
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Elementary Education (K-6)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSBA in Marketing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Communication
    Degree Concentrations
    • Interpersonal/Organizational
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Health Information Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSBA in Supply Chain Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Industrial Technology
    Degree Concentrations
    • Health Information Technologies
    • Bioprocess Manufacturing
    • Information and Computer Technology
    • Industrial Management
    • Distribution And Logistics
    • Industrial Engineering Technology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Birth-Kindergarten (B-K) Teacher Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Middle Grades Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Special Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Family And Consumer Sciences Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Hospitality Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Industrial Distribution And Logistics
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSBA in Management
    Degree Concentrations
    • Human Resource Management
    • Management and General Business
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSBA in Management Information Systems
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in University Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Health Services Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSBA in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accounting
    • General Business
    • Human Resource Management
    • Management
    • Management Information Systems
    • Marketing
    • Supply Chain Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Communication
    Degree Concentrations
    • Interpersonal/Organizational
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Education
    Degree Concentrations
    • Birth – Kindergarten Education
    • Family and Consumer Sciences Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Elementary Education
    Degree Concentrations
    • Program type: Degree completion for North Carolina Community College students
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Health Information Management
    Degree Concentrations
    • Program type: Degree completion for North Carolina Community College students
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Health Services Management
    Degree Concentrations
    • Program type: Degree completion for North Carolina Community College students
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Hospitality Management
    Degree Concentrations
    • Program type: Degree completion for North Carolina Community College students
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Industrial Distribution and Logistics
    Degree Concentrations
    • Program type: Degree completion for North Carolina Community College students
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Industrial Technology
    Degree Concentrations
    • Bioprocess Manufacturing
    • Distribution and Logistics
    • Health Information Technologies
    • Industrial Management
    • Industrial Engineering Technology
    • Information and Computer Technology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Middle Grades Education
    Degree Concentrations
    • Program type: Degree completion for North Carolina Community College students
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing: RN to BSN
    • Required Credits: 125-133
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Special Education
    Degree Concentrations
    • Adapted Curriculum
    • General Curriculum
    • Program type: Degree completion for North Carolina Community College students
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  6. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    18K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1095/22

    University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s Online Degrees

    BLS in Liberal Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Business Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Public Health
    Degree Concentrations
    • Health Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Information Systems And Supply Chain Management
    • Required Credits: 125
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Birth-Kindergarten Teacher Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Entrepreneurship
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Integrated Professional Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Peace And Conflict Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Philosophy
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Entrepreneurship
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Finance
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Hospitality and Tourism Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Development and Family Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Early Care and Education
    • Birth through Kindergarten Teacher Licensure
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Information Systems & Supply Chain Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Integrated Professional Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Liberal & Interdisciplinary Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Humanities
    • Social Sciences
    • Professional Studies
    • Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Philosophy
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Peace and Conflict Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Public Health Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  7. #8

    Campbell University

    Buies Creek , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $38K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/22

    Campbell University’s Online Degrees

    BAS/BBA in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BAS/BBA in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Management
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Christian Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Ministry
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Communication Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Generalist
    • Public Relations
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BAS in Criminal Justice
    Degree Concentrations
    • Pre-Law
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Cybersecurity
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Elementary Education (K-6)
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Healthcare Management
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS/BAS in Homeland Security
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS/BAS in Information Technology
    Degree Concentrations
    • Management
    • Security
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Liberal Arts
    Degree Concentrations
    • Humanities
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing: RN to BSN
    Degree Concentrations
    • Program type: Degree completion
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  8. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    57%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    12K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1060/19

    North Carolina A&T State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Agricultural and Environmental Systems
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Information Technology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Computer Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Economics
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Electrical Engineering
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Electronics Technology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Elementary Education and Special Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Environmental Health and Safety
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Family and Consumer Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Geomatics
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Industrial and Systems Engineering
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Information Technology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Liberal Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • African American Studies
    • Applied Cultural Thought
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  9. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    16K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1245/24

    University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Online Degrees

    BS in Clinical Research
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Criminology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Elementary Education
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in International Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Middle Grades Education
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing (Rn To Bsn)
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  10. #12

    Wingate University

    Wingate , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1030/20

  11. #13

    Gardner–Webb University

    Boiling Springs , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1075/21

    Gardner–Webb University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 60-63
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Birth-Kindergarten Education
    • Required Credits: 73
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Christian Ministry
    • Required Credits: 38
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Computer Information Systems
    • Required Credits: 60-63
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Elementary Education
    • Required Credits: 61
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Healthcare Management
    • Required Credits: 60-63
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Services
    Degree Concentrations
    • Nonprofit Leadership
    • Family Dynamics
    • Pre-Counseling
    • Substance Use and Abuse
    • Generalist (where students can choose any three elective options)
    • Required Credits: 39
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Management
    • Required Credits: 60-63
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
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Find the Best Research Universities in North Carolina for Your Area of Interest

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utiulized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. Duke University
  2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  3. Wake Forest University
  4. North Carolina State University
  5. University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  6. Elon University
  7. East Carolina University
  8. University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  9. Campbell University
  10. University of North Carolina Wilmington
  11. Wingate University