Frequently Asked Questions - Carnegie Classification

What is the Carnegie Classification?

The Carnegie Classification is the leading framework for recognizing, describing and comparing U.S. higher education institutions. It is derived from empirical data on colleges and universities, and was last updated in 2018 to reflect changes among colleges and universities. U.S News & World Report, for example, uses the Carnegie Classification as the basis for determining the categories in which institutions are ranked.

What is Gonzaga University’s classification?

For decades, Gonzaga was classified as a master’s institution. In late 2018, the Carnegie Classification was changed to include a new subcategory within the “Doctoral Universities” titled “Doctoral/Professional Universities.” Gonzaga is now part of this new subcategory of institutions — doctoral/professional universities. The criteria for inclusion in this new category includes universities that confer 30 or more “professional practice” doctoral degrees each year across two or more programs and confer fewer than 20 research-based doctoral degrees (Ph.D.).

What doctoral degrees does Gonzaga offer?

In addition to a numerous undergraduate degrees and master’s programs, Gonzaga offers five doctorates. Gonzaga’s doctoral degrees include a Ph.D. in leadership studies from the School of Leadership Studies, and four professional doctorates: a juris doctor from the School of Law; a doctor of educational leadership, School of Education; a doctor of nurse practice and a doctor of nurse anesthesia practice, both from the School of Health Sciences.

Where is Gonzaga currently ranked in U.S. News?

For decades, Gonzaga has been classified as a “regional university” in “Master’s Colleges and Universities.” U.S. News & World Report currently ranks Gonzaga the No. 4 best in the West, the 20th consecutive year GU has ranked among the top four West regional universities. Gonzaga also is ranked by U.S. News & World Report (2019) as No. 1 among West regional universities (in a vote by its peers) for its strong commitment to undergraduate teaching; No. 3 for best colleges for veterans; and No. 7 for most innovative schools. The GU School of Engineering and Applied Science is ranked the 18th best (tie) engineering program nationwide (at engineering schools whose highest degree is a bachelor’s or master’s).

How does the new classification impact U.S. News Rankings? 

U.S. News & World Report uses the Carnegie Classification as the basis for its ranking categories. Since Gonzaga is now part of the new subcategory of doctoral/professional universities that the Carnegie Classification created, U.S. News will consider Gonzaga among a more expansive pools of 418 public and private institutions across the country in its National Universities category for rankings. As a result, Gonzaga will no longer be ranked in the Western regional rankings. Gonzaga will learn about its new U.S. News & World Report rankings when the publication issues its next best colleges report on Sept. 9, 2019. More information on how the publication currently calculates its rankings is available here.

What is the U.S. News and World Report National Universities category?

U.S. News & World Report will consider 418 doctoral universities nationwide for rankings in its National Universities category. That list includes Gonzaga and 151 other Doctoral/Professional Universities; 131 Doctoral Universities: Very High Research Activity (“R1”) institutions; and 135 Doctoral Universities: High Research Activity (“R2”) universities.

Will this new classification have any impact on Gonzaga’s mission or educational focus?

The new classification will not change Gonzaga’s educational mission. With numerous of undergraduate degrees and master’s programs, and five doctoral degrees, Gonzaga remains focused on small class sizes, exceptional teaching, and developing every student’s intellectual skills, imaginative capacities and ability to innovate. Central to its Jesuit, Catholic and liberal arts identity, Gonzaga and its teacher-scholar faculty seek to develop leaders who shape and serve their professions and communities for the common good through its offerings from the College of Arts and Sciences and six schools: School of Business Administration, School of Education, School of Engineering and Applied Science, School of Law, School of Leadership Studies, and the School of Nursing and Human Physiology.

Media Contact

Peter Tormey,, (509) 313-6132.