Baylor University Earns Prestigious Research 1 Status from Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education

December 16, 2021

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-709-5959
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WACO, Texas (Dec. 16, 2021) – Baylor University has been named a Research 1 university by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, joining the nation’s top-tier research institutions as a doctoral university with very high research activity and elevating Baylor as a preeminent Christian research university.

Baylor joins fellow Carnegie R1 institutions in Texas in UT-Austin, UT-Dallas, UT-Arlington, UT-El Paso, UT-San Antonio, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University, University of Houston, University of North Texas and fellow private institution Rice University.

“Our R1 aspirations have represented an incredible opportunity – one given to us by God – to do what very few, if any, universities have achieved: maintaining our foundational Christian mission while reaching R1 status as a top-tier research university,” Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., said in her weekly Presidential Perspective email. “Through the dedicated work of our faculty and staff and our academic and research leadership, we have made remarkable progress since 2018 on our Illuminate strategic plan, which provided the framework to build on Baylor’s historic strengths and strategically invest in new areas of research and service.

“Through top-tier research, scholarship and external funding support, R1 universities – that now include Baylor University – bring their voice to bear in addressing our world’s most significant challenges. And as a Christian research university, Baylor infuses the quest for solutions, at the highest levels, with the University’s distinct Christian voice and mission,” President Livingstone said.

Carnegie reclassifies institutions every three years. R1 universities meet benchmarks across 10 indicators, including research expenditures, research doctorates awarded and number of research staff in science and engineering fields. The latest classification is under a six-week public review before becoming official by the end of January 2022.

In August 2019, Baylor University officially announced plans to pursue Research 1/Tier 1 (R1/T1) recognition by building on Illuminate, which launched in 2018 and accelerated the quest toward preeminence as a Christian research university. The University had anticipated reaching R1 status by 2024.

“This is a moment of exuberant joy for Baylor University. It has been a labor of love for so many people,” said Baylor Provost Nancy Brickhouse, Ph.D. “As we look ahead to the future, achieving R1 designation will make it easier for us to continue our growth in recruiting world class faculty, graduate and undergraduate students and to attract people who are serious about research and want to be at a place with a compelling Christian mission like Baylor. It’s to the glory of God that we do this, and we now get to double down further in pursuit of the impact we hope to have as a Christian research university.”

“This has truly been a collective effort to achieve R1 designation — many people over many years have played a role in seeing this through,” said Baylor Vice Provost for Research Kevin Chambliss, Ph.D. “Our administration, faculty, staff, deans and more have rallied around this vision and done the work to make it happen. It’s an incredible time to be here at Baylor University, and we’re poised even more definitively for growth in the years ahead because of all that has been implemented to make R1 recognition a reality.”

The Illuminate strategic plan is built upon the foundation of Four Pillars, where Baylor will be a community recognized for its:

  • Unambiguously Christian Educational Environment
  • Transformational Undergraduate Education
  • Research and Scholarship Marked by Quality, Impact, and Visibility
  • Nationally Recognized Programs in Human Performance through the Arts and Athletics

“As we have traversed this journey to R1, our commitment to excellence university-wide has grown even stronger,” President Livingstone said. “That commitment remains evident in our transformational undergraduate education, in providing impactful services to students that support them academically, spiritually, personally and in their future careers, and in achieving at the highest levels of human performance in the arts and athletics as we prepare students for worldwide leadership and service.”

In July, Drs. Brickhouse and Chambliss updated the Baylor Board of Regents on the significant progress on Illuminate and R1 goals, including:

  • Increased research doctorates from 110 in 2016-2017 to 167 in 2020-2021;
  • Growth in research expenditures from $29.4 million in 2017 to $47 million in 2021, with external research expenditures currently growing at 28%;
  • Increased awarded research dollars from around $11 million in 2017 to more than $27 million so far in 2021; and
  • Increased research staff (STEM, social sciences and health) from 47 in fall 2016 to 68 in fall 2020.

Additional R1-related progress over the past year included:

  • Procuring a $43.4 million research grant for the Global Flourishing Study, the largest single funded research project in Baylor history and  the largest initiative of its kind to investigate the factors that influence human flourishing (Baylor, Harvard, Gallup and Center for Open Science);
  • Four professors winning highly competitive National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER grants in 2020, the most ever in a single year at Baylor;
  • Welcoming two endowed faculty chairs in the School of Engineering and Computer Science to provide leadership to Illuminate's data sciences and material science initiatives: Henry Han, Ph.D., The McCollum Family Chair in Data Sciences, and Alan X. Wang, Ph.D., The Mearse Chair in Biological and Biomedical Engineering; and
  • Completing the transformational Baylor Academic Challenge, now known as the Foster Academic Challenge, a dollar-for-dollar matching program that generated significant support from alumni and donors to establish 14 new endowed faculty chairs and significantly advance the aspirations of Illuminate.

In November, the Baylor Board of Regents affirmed the framework for the next five years of Illuminate, including hiring 100 new faculty over this time, further accelerating the University’s academic enterprise.

“I want to personally thank our Board of Regents, who supported Baylor’s institutional aspirations with the approval of Illuminate four years ago and for their most recent reaffirmation of our R1 goals through Illuminate Forward for 2022-27. I am also deeply appreciative of the ongoing support of the Baylor Family through our Give Light campaign on behalf of our faculty, students and campus overall,” President Livingstone said.

For additional information about Baylor Research, visit


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


The Carnegie Classification® has been the leading framework for recognizing and describing institutional diversity in U.S. higher education for the past four and a half 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, 2010, 2015, 2018 and 2021 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.