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Villanova University Receives New Carnegie Classification Change, Signaling the University’s Forward Momentum & Academic Strength

VILLANOVA, Pa. – The Carnegie Foundation has elevated Villanova University’s Classification to the Doctoral Universities category from the Master’s Colleges and Universities category. This change is triggered by the number of PhDs that are awarded annually by Villanova, and indicates the University’s forward momentum as well as the strength of its academic programs and research in niche areas.

This is an exciting time in Villanova’s history,” said the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, Villanova University President. “Villanova has been on an upward trajectory for the past decade, and this elevation in our classification is an important acknowledgement of what the University has become. Achieving doctoral status is not merely a matter of classification. This new category ensures the interdependence of teaching, research and scholarship at Villanova, while also enhancing our national reputation.” 

The Carnegie Classification has been the leading framework for recognizing and categorizing the diverse institutions in U.S. higher education since 1970. It is based on the number and nature of doctoral degrees awarded each year, the amount of research grants and activity occurring, and other measures of scholarly productivity. The Carnegie Classification has been updated every five years since 2000. This year’s classification was based on the 2013-2014 performance numbers. 

“With our new classification, we have the opportunity to create a new model as a doctorate-granting institution that produces a select number of PhD degrees, has research in niche areas and offers a wide variety of master’s degrees, while still being focused on – and devoted to – the undergraduate experience,” Fr. Donohue continued. “Doctoral education and high levels of research are critical to Villanova’s future as a thriving academic institution and serves to enhance our mission.”

Villanova currently offers doctoral programs in Engineering, Nursing and Philosophy. A new doctorate in Theology program will begin in fall 2016 with the first cohort of students. In 2014, the University awarded 20 PhDs: seven in Engineering, seven in Nursing and six in Philosophy. Villanova faculty and students also are involved in innovative research that is funded by federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as major foundations.

“The new Carnegie Classification will allow Villanova to continue attracting the most talented students and faculty, and will increase the type of intellectual discussion that occurs among undergraduates, graduate students and faculty on our campus,” said Patrick Maggitti, PhD, Villanova University Provost. “Villanova remains committed to teaching. It is something we do exceptionally well across the board and for which we are particularly well-known at the undergraduate level. Villanova is an example in higher education of how greater levels of research support learning in the classroom.”

Within the Doctoral Universities category, institutions are further divided into three subcategories: Highest Research Activity, Higher Research Activity and Moderate Research Activity.  Placement in these subcategories is based primarily on the funding and staffing of research activities, and the distribution of doctoral degree conferrals across fields. Villanova is now a Doctoral University, Moderate Research Activity.

U.S. News & World Report, a national leader in undergraduate university rankings, uses the Carnegie Classification under different names for its annual “Best Colleges” ranking.  Villanova has been number one in the Regional Universities North category for the past 23 years, but this new classification means that Villanova will appear on the National Universities list for the first time in the fall 2016. 

About The Carnegie Foundation: The Carnegie Classification™ has been the leading framework for recognizing and describing institutional diversity in U.S. higher education for the past four decades. Starting in 1970, the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education developed a classification of colleges and universities to support its program of research and policy analysis. Derived from empirical data on colleges and universities, the Carnegie Classification was originally published in 1973, and subsequently updated in 1976, 1987, 1994, 2000, 2005, and 2010 to reflect changes among colleges and universities. This framework has been widely used in the study of higher education, both as a way to represent and control for institutional differences, and also in the design of research studies to ensure adequate representation of sampled institutions, students, or faculty. 

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.