Changes to the Carnegie Classification

The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education was first published in 1970 and is currently produced by the American Council on Education (ACE) and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Institutions are generally divided into categories based on the highest qualification awarded. Currently, the categories are:

  • Doctorate-granting universities
  • Master’s colleges and universities
  • Baccalaureate Colleges
  • Associates Colleges
  • Special Focus Institutions
  • Tribal Colleges.

The ACE and the Foundation have announced that from 2025, the Classification will be based on multi-dimensional groupings, including size, location, and types of programs. The exact groupings will be decided in response to feedback from stakeholders.

The new classification will have a clear threshold for R1, the highest level of Doctoral universities, that is an annual $50 million in research spending and 70 research doctorates. The R2 category will continue to require $5 million in research spending and 20 research doctorates.

There will be a new category, “Research Colleges and Universities,” that do not offer a large number of doctorate programs, if any. This will include institutions that spend $2.5 million on research.



American Council on Education

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