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UTEP Attains National Research Top Tier Ranking

The University of Texas at El Paso has attained the R1 designation (top tier doctoral university with very high research activity) in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

UTEP is a Top Tier Research University

The University of Texas at El Paso was awarded an R1 designation (top tier doctoral university with very high research activity) by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education in December 2018. UTEP is one of only 131 (4.5%) universities among the 2,883 four-year higher education institutions across the U.S. to earn this distinction.

Heather Wilson, Ph.D., assumed the campus’ highest office Aug. 15, 2019, on the heels of a period of unprecedented growth in enrollment, academic programs and physical structures throughout the campus that culminated with the University achieving R1 status. The feat was the realization of a significant goal outlined for the campus by President Emerita Diana Natalicio, who stepped down in August 2019 after 31 years in the campus’ highest position.

The exceptional momentum is something President Wilson is not only looking to sustain, but to enhance. UTEP’s research strength is critical to the economic development of the region, both from a technological standpoint and in preparation for the steadily evolving workforce needs of the 21st century.


UTEP Celebrates Carnegie R1 Top Tier Designation

Students, faculty and staff gathered at two venues Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019 to celebrate UTEP reaching the top tier R1 designation from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

Celebration Gallery


UTEP Research at a Glance


74 Bachelor’s, 74 Master’s and 22 Doctoral. The degrees are offered by nine colleges and schools, including both traditional and online programs.  

$94.6 Million

Annual research expenditures

$307 Million

Total grant portfolio

Ranked No. 3

In Texas for federal research expenditures per tenured/tenure-track faculty member at public universities, after UT Austin and Texas A&M

42% of graduating seniors

Reported they had participated in an on-campus research or scholarly project with UTEP faculty


In the last 30 years, the number of doctoral programs offered at UTEP grew from 1 to 22, representing each of the eight colleges and schools. The number of doctoral students enrolled increased from 16 to 921.

Growth in Annual Research Expenditures


UTEP Research Areas

Health, Biomedical Sciences and Engineering

Health, Biomedical Sciences and Engineering

The U.S.-Mexico border region constitutes a unique physical, social, cultural and economic environment that is made more distinct by its proximity to transnational flows of resources and population groups. These unique factors have contributed to health problems and regional population disparities in health-related services and outcomes. Researchers at UTEP are leading the way for innovative solutions to key border health issues and to address Hispanic health disparities.

Energy and Environment

Energy and Environment

With millions of dollars awarded to fund research projects in the fields of energy and the environment, UTEP is at the forefront of technologies that will power the future and have an immediate and lasting economic impact in the Paso del Norte region. UTEP’s world-class research teams will give students the chance to gain real-world experience through exciting and innovative partnerships and research grants, and to work toward solutions that could sustain and improve the quality of life.

Global Enterprise and Border Studies

Global Enterprise and Border Studies

UTEP’s border location makes it an ideal venue to study the causes and consequences of globalization. UTEP’s Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness assesses the impact of border economics on commerce and energy. Other research conducted at UTEP provides essential data to area commerce leaders and the region’s public utilities and government branches. Data provided by UTEP’s Border Region Modeling Project provides decision-makers with a forecast of the economic conditions they will experience in the region.

National Defense and Border Security

National Defense and Border Security

National defense and border security are not only critical on a regional level, but are of utmost importance on a global level. The University’s unique position along the U.S.-Mexico border and next to one of the largest military installations in the world – Fort Bliss – make it an ideal location to advance knowledge in defense and security. This research helps meet the needs of agencies responsible for the protection, safety and creation of future economic integration opportunities throughout the Paso del Norte region.

Education for the 21st Century Demographic

Education for the 21st Century Demographic

UTEP is dedicated to providing opportunities to all students, regardless of income or background. The University also educates roughly two-thirds of all of the teachers in the region, so in addition to research and programs to provide the best chance for our students’ success, being at the forefront of educational research is vital. UTEP’s focus on education for the 21st century demographic extends to a broader mission to help the nation recognize the extraordinary talent within the Hispanic populations.