50 Best Research Universities for Undergrads 2022

50 Best Research Universities for Undergrads 2022

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

A research university is a great option for students interested in obtaining STEM degrees. Such students benefit from engaging in experimental inquiry, exploring cutting-edge technologies, and pursuing innovation in a rich and dynamic campus atmosphere. The top research universities give students a chance to work closely with influential professors and choose from a wide range of well-funded degree programs and research opportunities.

What is a research university?

A research university is any university that invests heavily in research, and which consequently provides meaningful and extensive opportunities for its students and faculty to participate in research. The best research universities are classified into different tiers based on their quantifiable commitment to research activities. This tiered ranking is called the Carnegie Classification. This is where terms like R1 university and tier one university come from.

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

Best Research Universities for Undergrads 2022
Download Badge

If you would like to see this ranking without school size considered, visit our best universities in the US ranking.

The following list of research universities is composed of both private and public schools. We’ve identified 394 research universities in the US. Of those, there are 185 private research universities in the US. In order to be included in this list of best research universities, a school must be a fully accredited university, offer doctoral degrees across the range of STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), and it must report high levels of research activity based upon the number of research and/or practice doctorates awarded each year.

Back to Top

The Best Research Universities for Undergrads in the US

  1. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1545/35

  2. #2

    Harvard University

    Cambridge , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    5%

    Graduation

    98%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1515/34

  3. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1540/35

  4. #4

    Stanford University

    Stanford , CA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    5%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1505/33

  5. #5

    Princeton University

    Princeton , NJ
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    6%

    Graduation

    98%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1515/34

  6. #6

    University of Chicago

    Chicago , IL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    13K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1535/34

  7. #7

    Yale University

    New Haven , CT
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    16K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1515/34

  8. #8

    Columbia University

    New York , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $64K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    28K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1505/34

  9. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    17%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    17K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1510/34

  10. #10

    Johns Hopkins University

    Baltimore , MD
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    11%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    26K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1510/34

  11. #11

    Georgetown University

    Washington , DC
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    17%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1465/33

  12. #12

    University of Pennsylvania

    Philadelphia , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    28K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1505/34

  13. #13

    Duke University

    Durham , NC
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    8%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1525/34

  14. #14

    Northwestern University

    Evanston , IL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    19K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1495/34

  15. #15

    Cornell University

    Ithaca , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    11%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    26K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1480/33

  16. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    17%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    43K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1430/33

  17. #17

    Brown University

    Providence , RI
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    8%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1505/34

  18. #19

    Dartmouth College

    Hanover , NH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1500/33

  19. #22

    University of Michigan

    Ann Arbor , MI
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Acceptance

    26%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    45K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1435/32

  20. #23

    New York University

    New York , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $57K

    Acceptance

    21%

    Graduation

    88%

    Student body

    49K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1440/32

  21. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    16%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    40K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/32

  22. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    14%

    Graduation

    91%

    Student body

    45K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1415/32

    What is University of California, Los Angeles known for?

    University of California, Los Angeles’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  23. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    82%

    Student body

    44K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1345/30

    University of Washington’s Online Degrees

    BA Integrated Social Sciences
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA Early Care & Education
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  24. 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

  25. Tuition + fees

    $21K

    Student body

    1K

    What is California Institute of Integral Studies known for?

    California Institute of Integral Studies’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  26. #49

    The New School

    New York , NY

    Tuition + fees

    $52K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1265/27

    The New School’s Online Degrees

    BA/BS in Food Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA/BS in Liberal Arts
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
Back to Top

Find the Best Research University Near You

The best research universities in your state
Back to Top

Find the Best Research Universities in Your Area of Interest

The best research universities by discipline
2021 Ranking Archive
  1. California Institute of Technology
  2. Harvard University
  3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  4. Stanford University
  5. University of Chicago
  6. Princeton University
  7. Columbia University
  8. Yale University
  9. Johns Hopkins University
  10. Duke University
  11. Northwestern University
  12. Rice University
  13. Carnegie Mellon University
  14. Cornell University
  15. University of Pennsylvania
  16. Brown University
  17. Brandeis University
  18. University of California, Berkeley
  19. Dartmouth College
  20. Georgetown University
  21. Tufts University
  22. Yeshiva University
  23. New York University
  24. Washington University in St. Louis
  25. Vanderbilt University
  26. George Washington University
  27. University of Michigan
  28. The New School
  29. Emory University
  30. The Catholic University of America
  31. University of Rochester
  32. Case Western Reserve University
  33. University of Southern California
  34. Illinois Institute of Technology
  35. University of Virginia
  36. University of California, Los Angeles
  37. Boston University
  38. Howard University
  39. University of Notre Dame
  40. Clark University
  41. American University
  42. University of California, San Diego
  43. Pepperdine University
  44. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  45. University of Wisconsin–Madison
  46. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  47. William & Mary
  48. University of Washington
  49. Syracuse University
  50. City College of New York

Photo Credit: California Institute of Technology, Beckman Institute. By Canon.vs.nikon, via CC BY-SA 3.0.