The new status reflects a growing population of doctoral students
and an increased focus on research and scholarship
Wilkes University has been categorized as a doctoral university in the revised 2018 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, the highest classification for institutions in the country. Of approximately 80 private institutions in Pennsylvania, Wilkes is now one of just 14 with this designation.
This puts Wilkes in the company of institutions like Carnegie Mellon University, Drexel University, Duquesne University, Villanova University and the University of Pennsylvania. The doctoral/professional university category includes institutions that award at least 20 research doctoral degrees or 30 or more professional-practice doctoral degrees.
In 2016-17, Wilkes awarded 122 doctoral degrees across three programs: the doctor of pharmacy (69), the doctor of nursing practice (30) and the doctor of education (23). In the 2017-18 academic year, the total grew to 165. This represents nearly three times the doctoral degrees of any other institution in northeast Pennsylvania, making Wilkes the doctoral university in the region.
Wilkes will award the university’s first doctor of philosophy degrees in 2020. The Ph.D. in nursing welcomed its first class in Sept. 2017. There are currently 33 nurses enrolled in the program.
“The change in classification places Wilkes University in the rightful company of some of the finest universities in the nation, completing our evolution from a two-year junior college in 1933 to a national doctoral university in 2019,” said University President Patrick F. Leahy. “Our unique mix of academic programs and robust degree conferrals across bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels set us apart from other private institutions, both regionally and nationally. We are proud of the students we serve and look forward to continued growth.”
The Carnegie Classification has been the leading framework for recognizing and describing diversity among U.S. higher education institutions since 1970, when the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education developed the method of classifying colleges and universities to support its program of research and policy analysis. The classifications, derived from empirical data on colleges and universities, reflect changes among institutions and are used in the study of higher education.