Boston Now Has Biggest Concentration of Top-Tier Research Universities in U.S.

With Northeastern's promotion comes a unique distinction.

Photo by Alex Lau

Photo by Alex Lau

Northeastern University is one of just 15 schools nationwide to receive a promotion from the Carnegie Classification of Insti­tu­tions of Higher Education, earning inclusion in the top-tier, “highest research activity” category.

The Carnegie Classification released Tuesday an update to its last classification, published in 2010. Northeastern joins 114 other schools with the distinction, including Harvard University, MIT, Boston University, and Boston College. Boston now has the largest concentration of these top-tier research universities of all major metropolitan areas in the U.S.

The classification has been published eight times since 1973. The Carnegie Foundation passed responsibility for the classification off to Indiana Uni­ver­sity Bloomington’s Center for Post­sec­ondary Research in 2014, though it still bears the Carnegie name.

Although intended for research and policy pur­poses, the Carnegie Clas­si­fi­ca­tion of Insti­tu­tions of Higher Edu­ca­tion has become an inte­gral part of the fabric of higher edu­ca­tion, as it is used by a variety of orga­ni­za­tions for shaping account­ability and oppor­tu­nity,” Victor H.M. Borden, professor at the IU School of Edu­ca­tion and head of the team that produced the new classification, said in a state­ment.

Last month, Northeastern avoided a potential strike of its part-time faculty by reaching an agreement with the Service Employee International Union Local 509. The three-year deal granted qualifying members of Northeastern’s part-time faculty access to its health care plans, as well as other benefits, including “increased professional development opportunities,” discounted access to the Cabot pool, and on-campus parking.