2020 COSSA Rankings Show UNC, Michigan Leading U.S. Universities in Social Science Funding

  • January 29, 2020

For Media Inquires:
Elyse Bailey, Director of Public Affairs
ebailey@cossa.org, (202) 842-3525

Washington, D.C. — The Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) has released its 2020 College and University Rankings for Federal Social and Behavioral Science R&D, which highlight the top university recipients of research dollars in the social and behavioral sciences. As in previous years, the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor continue to lead the nation in total federal social science research funding. UNC Chapel Hill received $135.6 million in federal social science R&D, with the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor coming in at $106.7 million. The 2020 rankings include 530 colleges and universities, representing a total of $1.9 billion in federal research investment in the social and behavioral sciences. This year’s rankings also feature a dashboard on the COSSA website that allows users to engage with an interactive map of institutions receiving social and behavioral science R&D funding.

“Our 2020 Rankings show how important the social sciences are to higher education institutions across the United States,” said Wendy Naus, COSSA Executive Director. “The federal government’s $2 billion annual investment in research in the social sciences boosts local economies around the country in the short term and leads to tangible longer-term benefits in the form of science-backed findings that make our society safer, healthier, fairer, and more secure.”

Based on federally collected data, the COSSA rankings use an inclusive selection of disciplines representing the breadth of the social and behavioral sciences to calculate the total federal R&D funding received by universities in the social and behavioral sciences. The 2020 rankings reflect spending from fiscal year 2018, the most current available data. More information on how COSSA produces its rankings is available on its website.

Top Recipients of Federal Social Science R&D Funding

  1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill* (NC) – $132,574,000 (#1 in 2019)
  2. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor* (MI) – $108,666,000 (#2 in 2019)
  3. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities* (MN) – $47,121,000 (#3 in 2019)
  4. University of Maryland, College Park* (MD) – $45,712,000 (#4 in 2019)
  5. University of Southern California (CA) – $34,943,000 (#9 in 2019)
  6. University of Washington, Seattle (WA) – $33,484,000 (#6 in 2019)
  7. Arizona State University* (AZ) – $33,327,000 (#12 in 2019)
  8. Pennsylvania State University, University Park and Hershey Medical Center* (PA) – $33,313,000 (#5 in 2019)
  9. Boston University* (MA) – $31,900,000 (#25 in 2019)
  10. New York University (NY) – $30,155,000 (#8 in 2019)

* Denotes COSSA member



The Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) is a nonprofit advocacy organization working to promote sustainable federal funding for social and behavioral science research and federal policies that positively impact the conduct of research. COSSA serves as a united voice for a broad, diverse network of organizations, institutions, communities, and stakeholders who care about a successful and vibrant social science research enterprise. The COSSA membership includes professional and disciplinary associations, scientific societies, research centers and institutes, and U.S. colleges and universities.

  • Issue Area: