Best universities in Houston 2022

Explore the top universities in Houston using data from the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education US College Rankings

December 13 2021
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Whether you’re interested in the great outdoors, the history and culture of the US or dining on the finest Tex-Mex cuisine, Texas is a great place to study.  

Houston is home to 22 Fortune 500 companies (fourth behind New York City, Chicago and Dallas-Fort Worth), 5,000 energy-related firms, Nasa’s Johnson Space Center and the largest medical centre in the world, meaning students have a wealth of employment opportunities and work experience options.  

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Another plus is Houston’s cost of living, which is far lower than other major metro areas such as New York City or San Francisco. However, in such a large city, rental costs will vary by neighbourhood.  

 These are the best universities in Houston according to the Times Higher Education/Wall Street Journal US College Rankings 2022

1. Rice University 

Rice University was established in 1912 as a private research university dedicated to the advancement of letters, science and art.  

There are only a few thousand students at the university with a 6:1 students-to-faculty ratio. The average undergraduate class size is 14.

Over 70 per cent of undergraduates and nearly all first-year students live on Rice University’s 300-acre campus and everyone is a member of one of 11 co-ed colleges. 

Rice has eight schools: architecture, continuing studies, engineering, humanities, business, music, natural sciences and social sciences. It offers more than 50 majors, ranging from the more traditional and popular such as economics, biochemistry and cell biology to bassoon performance.

Since Rice’s inception, exams have not been proctored as students are trusted not to cheat.

Research is not just for faculty members, as over half of the university’s undergraduates also take part, and Rice has been instrumental in the creation of nanotechnology, artificial hearts and buckminsterfullerene (buckyballs).

Rice alumni include US congressmen and cabinet secretaries, nine astronauts (the institution established the world’s first university department of space science in 1963), nine Major League baseball players and two Nobel Laureates.

The university has a tradition of elaborate practical jokes, the most famous being in 1988 when 11 pranksters, including three engineers, three scientists and an English major, rotated the university’s 900kg statue of William Marsh Rice by 180 degrees.


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=2. University of Houston 

The University of Houston (UH) is a public research university, established in 1927. It is the third largest university in Texas and is known for doctoral research activity. It has more than 40 research labs, centres and institutes.

When established, it was a junior college, but was formally recognised as a university in 1934. A law school was included more than a decade later, and now there are 36 research centres across its 858-acre campus. It has lots of green spaces, sculptures and fountains, with buildings designed by César Pelli (architect of the Petronas Towers) and modernist Philip Johnson.

Students at the university come from 137 nations. It has some 500 student organisations and 16 intercollegiate sports teams, with about 6,000 students living on campus. 

It has a thriving student culture, hosting theatrical performances, concerts, lectures and events. UH’s varsity athletic teams, known as the Houston Cougars, are members of the American Athletic Conference and compete in the NCAA Division I in all sports. The men’s golf team has won 16 national championships, which is the most in NCAA history. 

Notable alumni include Jack Valenti, long-time president of the Motion Picture Association of America, Bonnie J. Dunbar, a former Nasa astronaut, and pop star Lizzo also attended the University of Houston, studying for a degree in classical music, specialising in the flute. 

=2. University of St Thomas (Texas) 

The University of St Thomas (UST or St Thomas) is a private Catholic university in Greater Houston, Texas. It was established in 1947 by Basilian Fathers, who started several other secondary schools and institutions of higher learning in Texas in the early 20th century. Its commitment is to the religious, ethical and intellectual traditions of Catholic higher education.  

It has a main campus in Montrose, Houston, which is in Houston's Museum District and Innovation Corridor, a diverse and vibrant urban environment with professional opportunities. It is not far from Houston’s downtown area and the famed Texas Medical Center, where many students do internships. St Mary's Seminary is a separate campus that is home to the school of theology, and it has a micro campus, UST Max Center, in Conroe, too.  

Students can choose to study some 35 undergraduate majors, including STEM, nursing, business, education and pre-med, and 20 graduate degrees, including business, accounting, finance and teaching.   

Its student body reflects the diversity of the city itself, with 68 per cent of students from ethnically diverse backgrounds. Despite being a Catholic university, it welcomes undergraduate and graduate students of all faiths and of no faith. 

The UST athletic teams are known as the Celts and the university competes as a provisional member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III. For men, sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis, and track and field, while women’s sports are basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. Cheer is played as a co-ed sport.  

An annual tradition that’s over half a century old is Neewollah (Halloween spelt backwards), which sees students dressing up in costume and partying on campus, with local bands and DJs providing the music. The event draws about 600 people and is held on Crooker Patio, a large area in front of the university’s dining hall.


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Best universities in Houston 2022

Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2022 profile

US College Rank 2022 Houston Rank 2022 University
18 1 Rice University
=323 =2 University of Houston
=323 =2 University of St Thomas (Texas)
501-600 4 University of Houston -Downtown

 


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