The Joe Crowley Student Union as it stands in Aug. 2017. The University of Nevada, Reno, was given an R-1 classification for high levels or research activity.

The Carnegie Classification of Institutions gave the University of Nevada, Reno the coveted R-1 classification for high research activity on Friday, Dec. 21, 2018.

The R-1 classification is given to universities across the nation with “very high levels of research activity,” according to the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The R-1 classification makes the university a Tier 1 research institution.

The university’s R-1 classification came days after the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, received the distinction on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. The list granted 120 universities the title on Wednesday, but grew to 130 by Friday. UNLV was granted the distinction nearly seven years ahead of schedule, as they designed a strategic plan to achieve the Tier 1 status by 2025. Harvard University, Duke University, Dartmouth College, Yale University and Vanderbilt University also made the list alongside UNR and UNLV.

Receiving the title was a goal of the university and became integrated in the university’s everyday practice.

“We have worked towards this,” said Vice President of Research and Innovation Dr. Mridul Gautam. “We have worked towards what it takes to be R-1. Above all, we want to keep our campus safe — and our laboratories — and make sure our lab animals are taken care of and provide a welcoming place for all. It’s a whole package. These things don’t happen in isolation. It’s the faculty and staff and students who got together and made an effort.”

In an interview with President Marc Johnson on Monday, Dec. 17, 2018, on the Nevada Independent podcast IndyMatters, President Johnson said the school needed to invest in order to receive the distinction.

“A top research university produces knowledge,” President Johnson said in the podcast. “It attracts really serious scientists.”

Dr. Gautam also stressed the necessity for high research activity.

“We have to be among the best universities in the nation,” Gautam said. “That attracts the best faculty and that attracts the best students. We can give them the quality of education they expect out of this place and we can give them the opportunities they expect out of this university.”

The Carnegie classification requirements have been reshaped in time for the 2018 list of R-1 doctoral universities.

“The Doctoral Universities categories have been reshaped to better accommodate ‘Doctor’s degree – professional practice’ within our methodology,” Carnegie said in their 2018 Classification Update. “These degrees, formerly referred to as ‘first professional degrees’ and including such degrees as the MD, JD, Pharm.D., D.Div, etc., have previously not been considered as part of the Basic Classification methodology.”

Major changes include expanded criteria for doctoral categories. Universities conferring more than 30 “professional practice” across two or more programs also were included on the Tier 1 list.

Olivia Ali can be reached at or on Twitter @OliviaNAli.