MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Based on its research initiatives, West Virginia University is climbing in national rankings as an elite higher education institution.

“Of all the doctorate grants institutions in the U.S., there are 335 of those, we’re in the top 115,” Dr. Fred King, WVU Vice President of Research, told Hoppy Kercheval on Metronews “Talkline”. “It’s a great honor for us.

The Classification of Institutions of Higher Education ranks schools R1, R2 or R3 based on the amount of ongoing research by faculty and students.

For 2015, WVU joined Boston College, Clemson University, Kansas State and Texas Tech, in jumping to an R1, highest level of research activity, ranking.

“The faculty, staff and students have been working very hard to raise the profile of the university in research and scholarship. You’ve seen changes on the campus in terms of investments in infrastructure. What you haven’t seen is investment in support staff and new faculty so we can be more competitive in this area,” noted King.

In 2014, WVU reportedly granted 183 doctoral research degrees. To earn an elite status, institutions must have granted more than 20 doctoral degrees excluding those in law or medicine.

According to King, schools like Yale and Duke are in the top-tier ranking. He said it is important to clarify the ranking is based on more than just the amount of money spent on research.

“Part of this is how we do in terms of educating doctoral students, the number of doctorate students who graduate from the university, the number of research staff we employ at the university – those are all factors that go into the assessment of the institution.”

The rankings are reassessed every five years.

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