The majority of universities in the United States are considered to be focused on either teaching or research and there is a perpetual debate as to which type students should attend. Research universities are defined by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as having a full range of baccalaureate programs available, a commitment to graduate education through doctorates, a high priority to research, award 50 or more doctorates per year in 15 discipline, and receive $40 million or more annually in federal support. The top research universities in the country include: Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, Duke, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, Yale, University of California - Berkeley, and University of California – Los Angeles.
There are many reasons to attend universities like these including the impressive faculty, access to the latest research, internship opportunities and more specialized majors. Research universities often have reputations for maintaining faculty that is only interested in conducting research and not educating students. While there can be professors with this attitude, it is more often the case that researching professors have a great deal of insight, and passion for their research and the subjects they teach. Also, as they are on the front lines of cutting edge research, they have more advanced knowledge to bring into the classroom. This also means students can learn about and become engaged with the latest breakthroughs in certain disciplines. Students that attend research universities can also benefit from a wider selection of more specialized majors. With the ability to support a larger faculty, these universities can offer students more disciplines to choose from. For example, at the University of California – Berkeley, students can pick from more than 300 majors and programs. Research universities can also provide students with more internship and graduate assistantship opportunities. Because of the larger faculty and the amount of research these universities conduct, many require student assistance. These positions are excellent educational and career opportunities for students to gain experience firsthand. They also look great on resumes for future employers.
When deciding which type of university to attend, consider the benefits of enrolling in a research university. With world class faculty, cutting edge research and a greater selection of majors to choose from, these universities have much more to offer students than large, sprawling campuses and name recognition.