Best Research Universities in Pennsylvania 2024

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

10 Best Research Universities in Pennsylvania 2024

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  1. University of Pennsylvania
  2. Carnegie Mellon University
  3. University of Pittsburgh
  4. Temple University
  5. Lehigh University
  6. Drexel University
  7. Villanova University
  8. Duquesne University
  9. Thomas Jefferson University
  10. Gannon University
  1. University of Pennsylvania
  2. Carnegie Mellon University
  3. University of Pittsburgh
  4. Temple University
  5. Lehigh University
  6. Drexel University
  7. Villanova University
  8. Thomas Jefferson University
  9. Duquesne University
  10. Widener University
  1. Wilkes University 95%
  2. Indiana University of Pennsylvania 94%
  3. Robert Morris University 94%
  4. Widener University 85%
  5. Duquesne University 84%
  6. Gannon University 84%
  7. Drexel University 83%
  8. Immaculata University 80%
  9. Thomas Jefferson University 78%
  10. Temple University 72%
  1. Indiana University of Pennsylvania 18 to 1
  2. University of Pittsburgh 14 to 1
  3. Robert Morris University 14 to 1
  4. Gannon University 13 to 1
  5. Wilkes University 13 to 1
  6. Temple University 13 to 1
  7. Duquesne University 13 to 1
  8. Thomas Jefferson University 13 to 1
  9. Widener University 13 to 1
  10. Drexel University 11 to 1
  1. University of Pennsylvania $61,710
  2. Villanova University $59,020
  3. Carnegie Mellon University $58,924
  4. Lehigh University $57,470
  5. Drexel University $57,136
  6. Widener University $49,706
  7. Duquesne University $43,526
  8. Thomas Jefferson University $43,116
  9. Wilkes University $39,914
  10. Gannon University $34,526
  1. Carnegie Mellon University $46,441
  2. University of Pennsylvania $38,732
  3. Drexel University $36,234
  4. Lehigh University $27,000
  5. Widener University $25,100
  6. Duquesne University $24,534
  7. University of Pittsburgh $24,118
  8. Wilkes University $24,000
  9. Thomas Jefferson University $22,068
  10. Villanova University $21,099
  1. Immaculata University
  2. Wilkes University
  3. Robert Morris University
  4. Widener University
  5. Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  6. Gannon University
  7. Thomas Jefferson University
  8. Duquesne University
  9. Villanova University
  10. Drexel University
  1. Immaculata University
  2. Gannon University
  3. Wilkes University
  4. Robert Morris University
  5. Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  6. Widener University
  7. Duquesne University
  8. Thomas Jefferson University
  9. Villanova University
  10. Drexel University
  1. University of Pennsylvania 6%
  2. Carnegie Mellon University 14%
  3. Villanova University 25%
  4. Lehigh University 46%
  5. University of Pittsburgh 67%
  6. Temple University 72%
  7. Thomas Jefferson University 78%
  8. Immaculata University 80%
  9. Drexel University 83%
  10. Gannon University 84%
  1. Carnegie Mellon University 5 to 1
  2. University of Pennsylvania 6 to 1
  3. Lehigh University 9 to 1
  4. Immaculata University 10 to 1
  5. Drexel University 11 to 1
  6. Villanova University 11 to 1
  7. Gannon University 13 to 1
  8. Wilkes University 13 to 1
  9. Temple University 13 to 1
  10. Duquesne University 13 to 1
  1. Indiana University of Pennsylvania $9,570
  2. Temple University $16,488
  3. University of Pittsburgh $19,092
  4. Immaculata University $27,750
  5. Robert Morris University $32,770
  6. Gannon University $34,526
  7. Wilkes University $39,914
  8. Thomas Jefferson University $43,116
  9. Duquesne University $43,526
  10. Widener University $49,706
  1. Indiana University of Pennsylvania $9,288
  2. Immaculata University $12,780
  3. Temple University $17,388
  4. Gannon University $19,980
  5. Villanova University $21,099
  6. Thomas Jefferson University $22,068
  7. Wilkes University $24,000
  8. University of Pittsburgh $24,118
  9. Duquesne University $24,534
  10. Widener University $25,100

Colleges and Universities in Pennsylvania

Prospective students hoping to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree have over 100 higher learning institutions to choose from. The largest public university is Pennsylvania State University, or Penn State, with a tuition of $18,000, and a student population of over 95,000 across its campuses. As a private institution, the University of Pennsylvania, or simply Penn, is known for its medical, nursing, social work, and business fields. Tuition is $56,000, and the school boasts a 95% graduation rate.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

Students can also attend one of the more than 60 religiously affiliated schools, such as Villanova University or Lafayette College, each with a tuition of about $53,000. Some of the most affordable colleges in the state include the Curtis Institute of Music and the Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia, with tuitions set at $3,000 and $9,000, respectively. Though the average tuition for college in Pennsylvania comes in above the national average, those who practice medicine in underserved areas may qualify for up to $100,000 in loan forgiveness through the Pennsylvania Primary Care Loan Repayment Program.

As the nation’s second state, Pennsylvania’s history runs deep. It’s here where Betsy Ross made the first American flag and where the Declaration of Independence was signed. The Keystone State is also home to some culinary delights, including whoopie pies, soft pretzels, and the famous Philly cheesesteak. Students looking to earn their degree in Pennsylvania will undoubtedly enjoy what the state has to offer.

Check out the state’s top programs and learn more about earning your degree in Pennsylvania.


What are Pennsylvania’s Colleges & Universities?

Pennsylvania’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 15 research universities in Pennsylvania. 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 Pennsylvania 2023

  1. #1

    University of Pennsylvania

    Philadelphia , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    6%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    31K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1515/34

    Career Outlook for degree at University of Pennsylvania

    Cost of Degree: $63,452
    Expenses: $22,286
    Starting Salary: $131,600
    Cost Recoup Time: 12 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  2. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    14%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1510/34

    Career Outlook for degree at Carnegie Mellon University

    Cost of Degree: $60,854
    Expenses: $18,886
    Starting Salary: $103,000
    Cost Recoup Time: 14 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  3. #5

    Lehigh University

    Bethlehem , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $57K

    Acceptance

    46%

    Graduation

    87%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1346/31

    Career Outlook for degree at Lehigh University

    Cost of Degree: $59,930
    Expenses: $17,955
    Starting Salary: $94,100
    Cost Recoup Time: 14 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  4. #6

    Drexel University

    Philadelphia , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $57K

    Acceptance

    83%

    Graduation

    78%

    Student body

    27K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1280/28

    Career Outlook for degree at Drexel University

    Cost of Degree: $58,965
    Expenses: $20,180
    Starting Salary: $78,000
    Cost Recoup Time: 16 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  5. #8

    Duquesne University

    Pittsburgh , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $44K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    78%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1195/25

    Career Outlook for degree at Duquesne University

    Cost of Degree: $45,376
    Expenses: $18,344
    Starting Salary: $68,200
    Cost Recoup Time: 15 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    Duquesne University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Computer Systems Technology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Organizational Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  6. #9

    Thomas Jefferson University

    Philadelphia , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    71%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1180/23

    Career Outlook for degree at Thomas Jefferson University

    Cost of Degree: $44,200
    Expenses: $21,469
    Starting Salary: $99,300
    Cost Recoup Time: 12 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    Thomas Jefferson University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 180
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    Degree Concentrations
    • Computer Forensics
    • Crime and Criminal Behavior
    • Criminal Justice Administration
    • Homeland Security and Emergency Management
    • Probation and Parole
    • Required Credits: 180
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accounting
    • Acquisition and Contract Management
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Finance
    • Health Services Administration
    • Human Resource Management
    • Hospitality and Tourism Management
    • Joe Gibbs Performance Management
    • Management
    • Marketing
    • Project Management
    • Retail Management
    • Social Media Marketing
    • Required Credits: 180
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BAS in Management
    • Required Credits: 180
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  7. #10

    Gannon University

    Erie , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1100/23

    Career Outlook for degree at Gannon University

    Cost of Degree: $36,706
    Expenses: $19,398
    Starting Salary: $55,100
    Cost Recoup Time: 16 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Gannon University known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #12

    Widener University

    Chester , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $50K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1122/23

    Career Outlook for degree at Widener University

    Cost of Degree: $51,639
    Expenses: $18,314
    Starting Salary: $59,100
    Cost Recoup Time: 18 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  9. #13

    Robert Morris University

    Moon Township , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1135/26

    Career Outlook for degree at Robert Morris University

    Cost of Degree: $33,767
    Expenses: $19,024
    Starting Salary: $53,100
    Cost Recoup Time: 16 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Robert Morris University known for?

    Robert Morris University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #14

    Wilkes University

    Wilkes-Barre , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    95%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1135/23

    Career Outlook for degree at Wilkes University

    Cost of Degree: $41,112
    Expenses: $20,643
    Starting Salary: $58,600
    Cost Recoup Time: 17 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  11. #15

    Immaculata University

    Immaculata , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $28K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1080/20

    Career Outlook for degree at Immaculata University

    Cost of Degree: $27,750
    Expenses: $18,720
    Starting Salary: $54,700
    Cost Recoup Time: 15 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Immaculata University known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    Immaculata University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Allied Health for Clinical Professionals
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Health Care Management
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Cybersecurity
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Organizational Behavior
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Resources Management
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Emergency Planning and Management
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Leadership
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Management
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
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Find the Best Research Universities in Pennsylvania 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 utilized 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. Carnegie Mellon University
  2. University of Pennsylvania
  3. University of Pittsburgh
  4. Chatham University
  5. Lehigh University
  6. Wilkes University
  7. Drexel University
  8. Pennsylvania State University
  9. Villanova University
  10. Thomas Jefferson University
  11. Temple University
  12. Widener University
  13. Duquesne University
  14. Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  15. Gannon University

Check out our directory of research universities throughout the U.S. for a look at the top research institutions in every state.

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