UTEP reaffirmed as a top research university


Annabella Mireles

UTEP has been declared an R1 research university for the second time by The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education after reaching this status in December of 2018. UTEP is the only university in the U.S. with this status and a 100% undergraduate admission rate.

Kristen Scheaffer, Staff Reporter

UTEP has been declared as a R1 “Very High Research” university by The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Out of nearly 4,000 degree-granting institutions. UTEP falls within the ranks of 141 R1 universities. This places it within the top 5% of research-oriented universities, according to a press release from UTEP’s University Communications.  

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching groups institutions a few different ways. One of the categories is research productivity, John Wiebe, UTEP’s provost and vice president of academic affairs, explained. The institutions that fall into the research category will be sorted into one of two categories: R1 or R2.  

UTEP first reached this status in December 2018. The Carnegie Foundation evaluates classifications every three years, based on criteria such as academic programs, research spending, enrollment profiles, size, and setting, according to University Communications. 

“Approximately 10 percent of the higher education institutions in the U.S. are typically categorized as research institutions and then they split that in half and take the highest performing half and call that R1 and the lower half is R2,” Wiebe said.   

Some of what makes UTEP stand out is that it is one of 19 institutions that serve the Latinx community and the only R1 university in the United States with an 100% undergraduate admission rate, according to University Communications.  

“We became R1 to give us the infrastructure to better serve our students and our community and, so it is that nexus of the R1 status and the access to students, and the focus on community-based research that makes UTEP unique. And I don’t use the word ‘unique’ lightly,” Wiebe said.  

UTEP’s research expenditures grew from $6 million about 30 years ago to $109 million in 2022, and there were 569 active grants between 2020 and 2021. and there were 569 active grants recorded between 2020 and 2021. 

The major research areas UTEP focuses on are health, biomedical sciences and engineering; global enterprise and border studies; national defense and border security; and education, according to University Communications.  

“Now that we’ve been reaffirmed, my hopes for the university are that we will continue the trajectory that we established and accelerate our progress through a focus on our research strengths and strategically investing to build the infrastructure associated with a world-class research university,” Wiebe said, “because it’s only through having that sort of infrastructure that we’re going to be able to provide the opportunities to our students that are going to make them competitive in a global economy.” 


Kristen Scheaffer is a staff reporter and can be reached at [email protected]