The research resources available to doctoral students makes a big difference. Here’s what R1, R2, and R3 Carnegie Classifications mean.

You may have seen R1, R2, and R3 classifications come up in your search for doctoral programs. But what do they mean?

Every five years the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education releases classifications for more than 4,500 universities. Doctoral universities are assigned to one of three categories based on a measure of research activity: R1, R2, and R3.

Institutions that awarded at least 20 research and/or scholarship doctoral degrees during the updated year are included in the report. However, universities that awarded professional practice doctoral-level degrees, such as the JD, MD, PharmD, DPT, etc. are not included.

R1 doctoral universities are considered to have the “highest research activity.” R2 universities are considered to have “higher research activity.” Finally, R3 schools have “moderate research.”

Kevin Kinser, an associate professor of educational administration and policy studies at the State University of New York at Albany, also serves on the advisory board of the Carnegie initiative. He told The Washington Post that for many, R1 is considered “sort of the pinnacle of higher education — a shorthand for institutions to identify themselves.”

What Differentiates an R1 School

One of the nation’s top research universities, the University of Pennsylvania has an R1 classification. Penn’s wide breadth of resources facilitate scholarship and collaboration for students and faculty that cross interdisciplinary lines.

Wharton alone has more than 20 research centers and initiatives, and our professors are among the most published faculty of any business school. Many of our doctoral candidates say they came to Wharton for the resources to do groundbreaking research.

Here are just two examples of resources our students use the most:

Wharton Research Data Services (WRDS)

This award-winning research platform and business intelligence tool for over 49,000 corporate, academic, government and nonprofit users at over 400 institutions and more than 30 countries. WRDS is the global gold standard in data management and research.

Prof. Cathy Schrand, Vice Dean of Wharton Doctoral Programs, said, “The fact that the people who create the data are here is super important. I’ve had early access to data before it even becomes available to other subscribers. Universities all over the world have subscriptions to WRDS and to certain elements of it, but we have access to all of it and it’s here on site which does provide an advantage.” Read more about WRDS.

Wharton Behavioral Lab (WBL)

This lab provides a variety of services that support data collection for behavioral research on business-related topics. The primary goal is to enhance the research productivity of Wharton faculty by minimizing the operational costs, both time and money, of conducting research. With the WBL, doctoral students can gather original data through lab experiments and panels, instead of using secondary data created by others. Each year, the lab collects about 23,000 subject hours of data.

Research from WBL can consistently be found in relevant publications such as the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, and the Journal of Business Ethics. As of April 2016, there were 18 articles published in various publications from WBL. In 2015, there were 21 published reports. Read more about WBL.

Posted: August 4, 2017

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