Best universities in Texas

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

October 11 2019
University of Texas at Austin

Texas is the second largest state in the USA. Known as the "Lone Star State", Texas covers a huge area in the deep south of the United States.

The state has a wide range of landscapes and environments, from the seaside towns on the gulf coast to the plains of the panhandle in the North, including swamps, rolling prairies, forests. The western mountains and the deserts form the backdrop to the cowboy films that give Texas its "Wild West" image.

The state struck oil in the early 1900s and never looked back. The huge reserves found beneath Texas have fuelled the state’s economy ever since and lead to growth in many other sectors. Texas has the second highest GDP in the USA after California.

Houston is the city with the highest population and home to many of the most prestigious universities in Texas. 


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Texas has its own unique culture, food and music with a long history of cultural exchange across the border with Mexico.

Austin is the state capital and cultural heartland, famous for its music and arts scene.

The state’s higher education sector is booming, helped in no small part by the discovery of oil on land owned by the Permanent University Fund. There are about 34 separate public higher education institutions in Texas, several of which rank highly as research institutions.

If you want to study in Texas you need to find out which university is right for you. Here are the best universities in Texas based on the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education US College Rankings 2020

Rice University

Rice University is a private research university in Houston, Texas.

It has a reputation for pioneering academics and a small student body – with a focus on quality over quantity.

The university was named after businessman and founder William Marsh Rice. The university was originally called the William Marsh Rice Institute for the Advancement of Literature and the first classes were taught in 1912 with only 77 students.

The university has a strong focus on undergraduates and, unusually, couples this with a strong research focus. More than half of Rice undergraduates are involved in research projects.

Rice’s prestige comes from the quality of its applied science research into fields such as space science, artificial heart research and nanotechnology. The university consistently ranks extremely highly in the global rankings for its material science research.

Rice’s admissions process is notoriously selective, part of the reason for its small student body. But the community is diverse; 12 per cent of the undergraduate population are international students.

University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin (known as UT Austin) is the flagship institution of the University of Texas System. This public research university was opened in 1883 in the state capital.

UT Austin ranks highly among American public universities and has a global reputation for the quality of its teaching and research.

The academic and alumni community includes Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners and recipients of the Turing Award.

The student population is almost 50,000, putting it in the top 10 largest single campus enrolments in the US.

Students study a huge range of subjects at both an undergraduate and a postgraduate level, and the university is home to many prestigious research institutes.

UT Austin is one of the top recipients of research grants in the country, research that has gone on to produce hundreds of patents and dozens of start-up companies. 


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The best universities in Texas 2020

Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2020 profile

Texas Rank 202 US College rank 2020 University city
1 16 Rice University Houston
2 =61 University of Texas at Austin Austin
3 78 Texas A&M University-College Station College Station
4 =84 Southern Methodist University Dallas
5 =111 Trinity University San Antonio
6 =165 Texas Christian University Fort Worth
7 =167 Baylor University Waco
8 218 Southwestern University Georgetown
9 282 Austin College Sherman
10 =305 University of St Thomas (Texas) Houston
11 =311 University of Texas at Dallas Richardson
12 =364 University of Houston Houston
=13 401-500 University of Dallas Irving
=13 401-500 University of North Texas Denton
=13 401-500 St Edward's University Austin
=13 401-500 University of Texas at El Paso El Paso
=13 401-500 Texas Tech University Lubbock
=18 501-600 Abilene Christian University Abilene
=18 501-600 Hardin-Simmons University Abilene
=18 501-600 University of Houston-Downtown Houston
=18 501-600 University of the Incarnate Word San Antonio
=18 501-600 Sam Houston State University Huntsville
=18 501-600 Schreiner University Kerrville
=18 501-600 Texas A&M International University Laredo
=18 501-600 University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Edinburg
=18 501-600 Texas State University San Marcos
=18 501-600 University of Texas at Tyler Tyler
=18 501-600 Texas Woman's University Denton
=29 > 600 University of Mary Hardin-Baylor Belton
=29 > 600 Our Lady of the Lake University San Antonio
=29 > 600 Stephen F. Austin State University Nacogdoches
=29 > 600 Texas A&M University-Commerce Commerce
=29 > 600 Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Corpus Christi
=29 > 600 University of Texas at San Antonio San Antonio

Read more: Best universities in the world

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