Since 1972 the National Science Foundation (NSF) has ranked universities and colleges based on research and development (R&D) expenditures in science and engineering. In 2011, Texas A&M University ranked 23 among all universities in the nation and 15 among public institutions. Beginning with the 2010 data collection, the NSF expanded their survey to include non-science and engineering as well as the traditional fields of science and engineering. Non-science and engineering expenditures include research performed in the areas of business and management, communication, journalism and library science, education, humanities, law, social work, visual and performing arts, and other areas of scholarly and creative work.
The NSF reports are based on expenditures rather than awards to more accurately reflect the level of current research activity within the fiscal year.