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May 2019

SCU Entrance from El Camino Real

SCU Entrance from El Camino Real

Santa Clara University Elevated to New Category In National Rankings

In a recognition of SCU's strong professional programs and successful alumni, the University has been elevated by the Carnegie Classification.


SANTA CLARA, Calif., May 8, 2019 —Santa Clara University has been elevated to a new category in national rankings that now will recognize its doctoral and professional programs, according to the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

The Carnegie Classification, which categorizes universities across the U.S., was developed by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education in 1970. It is a widely used tool and considered the gold standard for comparing American colleges and universities for educational and research purposes.

For many years, SCU was included in the category “Master’s Colleges and Universities" by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education. For rankings, U.S. News & World Report grouped these institutions into a category called "Regional Universities." Santa Clara is currently ranked No. 1 by U.S. News among regional universities in the Western states.

In December 2018, Carnegie created a new subcategory within the "Doctoral Universities" category called “Doctoral/Professional Universities.” The definition includes universities that confer 30 or more “professional practice” doctoral degrees each year across two or more programs, while conferring fewer than 20 research/scholarship doctorates. With its engineering Ph.D.s, J.D. degrees, and doctorate of sacred theology degrees, Santa Clara will now be ranked by U.S. News in the "National Universities" category, along with all universities classified as "Doctoral Universities" by Carnegie. 

“Our new Carnegie Classification is a point of pride for the entire Santa Clara community and recognizes the many accomplishments of our faculty, staff, and students,” said Michael Engh, S.J., president of Santa Clara University.

The new classification makes SCU one of 152 such Doctoral/Professional Universities in the country, along with schools of greater reputation.

“Carnegie Classifications are utilized by many college searches and guides, in particular, the U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings,” said Lisa Kloppenberg, interim provost elect and dean of the Santa Clara University School of Law. “The new designation will change how Santa Clara is ranked in the annual U.S. News rankings that will be released later this year. This will help prospective students discover and better understand the value of a Santa Clara education.”

“We are proud of Santa Clara’s ascendance into the category of research and doctoral-level institutions,” said Kloppenberg. “The reclassification of Santa Clara is an acknowledgment of our strong professional programs and the success of our alumni. But it will not change our focus on educating with a mission, small class sizes, and holistic learning. Our faculty are teacher-scholars who devote endless time and energy to working with students.” More information is available in the FAQ below and video.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Carnegie Classification? 
The Carnegie Classification has served as the leading framework for recognizing, describing, and comparing different types of institutions in U.S. higher education. U.S News & World Report, for example, uses the Carnegie Classification as the basis for determining whether an institution is part of its national or regional rankings.

What is Santa Clara University’s classification?
Historically, Santa Clara University was categorized as a master’s institution rather than a doctoral university. In 2018, the Carnegie Classification methodology was revised to include a new subcategory of institutions – doctoral/professional universities. The criteria for the new category includes institutions that award between one and 20 research-based doctoral degrees (Ph.D.) and more than 30 professional practice doctoral degrees (J.D.) a year. Since Santa Clara awards J.D. degrees in law, doctorate of sacred theology degrees, and Ph.D. degrees in engineering, we will now be classified as a doctoral/professional university.

Are we still No. 1 in U.S. News Rankings for the West?
U.S. News relies on the Carnegie Classification as the basis for its rankings. After the Carnegie Classification created its new subcategory of doctoral/professional universities, U.S. News decided to move Santa Clara and 152 other doctoral/professional institutions from the regional rankings to the national rankings. Given this shift, Santa Clara will no longer be ranked in the Western regional rankings. We will learn about our new ranking when U.S. News publishes its next report in September 2019. More information on how the publication calculates its rankings is available here.

Will the new classification change Santa Clara drastically?
The new classification will not change Santa Clara University’s educational mission. With undergraduate programs in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, and graduate programs in six disciplines, we remain focused on small class sizes, educating with a mission and holistic learning. Our faculty are teacher scholars who devote endless time and energy to working with students.

 About Santa Clara University
Founded in 1851, Santa Clara University sits in the heart of Silicon Valley—the world’s most innovative and entrepreneurial region. The University’s stunningly landscaped 106-acre campus is home to the historic Mission Santa Clara de Asís. Ranked the No. 1 regional university in the West by U.S. News & World Report, SCU has among the best four-year graduation rates in the nation and is rated by PayScale in the top 1 percent of universities with the highest-paid graduates. SCU has produced elite levels of Fulbright Scholars as well as four Rhodes Scholars. With undergraduate programs in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, and graduate programs in six disciplines, the curriculum blends high-tech innovation with social consciousness grounded in the tradition of Jesuit, Catholic education. For more information see

Media Contact
Deepa Arora | SCU Media and Internal Communications | | 408-554-5125


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