Texas’s Best Colleges & Universities of 2021

Here are the best colleges and universities in Texas. Our list will help you find the right kind of school for you.

Texas’s Best Colleges & Universities of 2021

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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How do we determine Texas's best colleges and universities?

The best colleges pound for pound!

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why, at the undergraduate level, we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call Concentrated Influence. Concentrated Influence takes the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers (including faculty and alums) and divides it by the school’s total number of undergraduates.

Using concentrated influence gives small and mid-sized schools an opportunity to shine by taking away the size advantage of larger universities. A small school with proportionately more influential faculty than a large school, whose influence in absolute terms may be bigger, will nonetheless score higher in a concentrated influence ranking. Our approach highlights undergraduate schools that truly rank for excellence, regardless of size.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

Find out more about our ranking methodology here.

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We’ve identified a total of 74 colleges and universities in Texas; 46 meet our criteria; and the top 25 are shown below. This list focuses on schools that offer four-year undergraduate degrees, and includes both public and private colleges and universities. In order to be included in this list of best colleges in Texas, a school needs to satisfy the following two conditions:

  1. It must be fully accredited.
  2. 40% graduate rate requirement

25 Best Colleges and Universities in Texas

  1. Rice University
    #1

    Rice University

    #90 institution's overall influence
    #15 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $47K

    Acceptance

    11%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1505/34

    Houston, TX

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    What is Rice University known for?

    Rice University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Physics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Biology
    • Economics
    • Religious Studies
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. University of Texas at Austin
    #2

    University of Texas at Austin

    #43 institution's overall influence
    #43 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    39%

    Graduation

    81%

    Student body

    45K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1355/30

    Austin, TX

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    What is University of Texas at Austin known for?

    University of Texas at Austin's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Physics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Communications
    • Chemistry
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Psychology
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. Southern Methodist University
    #3

    Southern Methodist University

    #303 institution's overall influence
    #1324 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    51%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1370/31

    Dallas, TX

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    What is Southern Methodist University known for?

    Southern Methodist University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Religious Studies
    • Anthropology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Business
    • Engineering
    • Communications
    • History
    • Education
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. University of Dallas
    #4

    University of Dallas

    #1301 institution's overall influence
    #1419 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $41K

    Acceptance

    39%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1230/26

    Irving, TX

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    What is University of Dallas known for?

    University of Dallas's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Physics
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. Houston Baptist University
    #5

    Houston Baptist University

    #1383 institution's overall influence
    #270 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1115/22

    Houston, TX

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    What is Houston Baptist University known for?

    Houston Baptist University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Philosophy
    • Physics
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Chemistry
    • History
    • Medical
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. St. Mary's University, Texas
    #6

    St. Mary's University, Texas

    #1468 institution's overall influence
    #282 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1150/24

    San Antonio, TX

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    What is St. Mary's University, Texas known for?

    St. Mary's University, Texas's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Economics
    • Law
    • Communications
    • Criminal Justice
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Sociology
    • Education
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. Trinity University
    #7

    Trinity University

    #1110 institution's overall influence
    #236 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    34%

    Graduation

    77%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1345/29

    San Antonio, TX

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    What is Trinity University known for?

    Trinity University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Economics
    • Chemistry
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • Religious Studies
    • Communications
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. University of Houston
    #8

    University of Houston

    #253 institution's overall influence
    #1064 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    62%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    37K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1220/25

    Houston, TX

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    What is University of Houston known for?

    University of Houston's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Social Work
    • Engineering
    • Literature
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Nursing
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. University of Texas at Dallas
    #9

    University of Texas at Dallas

    #520 institution's overall influence
    #222 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    24K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1330/28

    Richardson, TX

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    What is University of Texas at Dallas known for?

    University of Texas at Dallas's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Earth Sciences
    • Chemistry
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Economics
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. Baylor University
    #10

    Baylor University

    #397 institution's overall influence
    #96 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $46K

    Acceptance

    39%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    17K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1280/28

    Waco, TX

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    What is Baylor University known for?

    Baylor University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Sociology
    • History
    • Education
    • Law
    • Communications
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. Texas A&M University
    #11

    Texas A&M University

    #183 institution's overall influence
    #91 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    80%

    Student body

    58K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1275/28

    College Station, TX

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    What is Texas A&M University known for?

    Texas A&M University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Criminal Justice
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. University of St. Thomas
    #12

    University of St. Thomas

    #2153 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1155/23

    Houston, TX

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    What is University of St. Thomas known for?

    University of St. Thomas's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Medical
    • Religious Studies
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry
    • Education
    • Business
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. Southwestern University
    #13

    Southwestern University

    #1306 institution's overall influence
    #1188 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $42K

    Acceptance

    45%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1230/26

    Georgetown, TX

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    What is Southwestern University known for?

    Southwestern University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Economics
    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy
    • Computer Science
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Physics
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. Hardin–Simmons University
    #14

    Hardin–Simmons University

    #1216 institution's overall influence
    #1182 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1085/21

    Abilene, TX

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    What is Hardin–Simmons University known for?

    Hardin–Simmons University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • History
    • Earth Sciences
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. LeTourneau University
    #15

    LeTourneau University

    #2759 institution's overall influence
    #202 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    46%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1205/24

    Longview, TX

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    What is LeTourneau University known for?

    LeTourneau University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Social Work
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Communications
    • History
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. Howard Payne University
    #16

    Howard Payne University

    #1317 institution's overall influence
    #939 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $28K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    41%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1025/20

    Brownwood, TX

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    What is Howard Payne University known for?

    Howard Payne University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Anthropology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology
    • Religious Studies
    • Chemistry
    • Business
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. Texas Tech University
    #17

    Texas Tech University

    #385 institution's overall influence
    #1458 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    34K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1155/24

    Lubbock, TX

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    What is Texas Tech University known for?

    Texas Tech University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Criminal Justice
    • Communications
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Economics
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. Abilene Christian University
    #18

    Abilene Christian University

    #1463 institution's overall influence
    #771 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    57%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1135/24

    Abilene, TX

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    What is Abilene Christian University known for?

    Abilene Christian University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Chemistry
    • Criminal Justice
    • History
    • Social Work
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

  19. Texas Christian University
    #19

    Texas Christian University

    #764 institution's overall influence
    #208 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $47K

    Acceptance

    41%

    Graduation

    77%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1246/28

    Fort Worth, TX

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    What is Texas Christian University known for?

    Texas Christian University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Chemistry
    • Psychology
    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Business
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  20. St. Edward's University
    #20

    St. Edward's University

    #1852 institution's overall influence
    #364 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $45K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1175/24

    Austin, TX

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    What is St. Edward's University known for?

    St. Edward's University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science
    • Philosophy
    • Communications
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Criminal Justice
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  21. Austin College
    #21

    Austin College

    #2305 institution's overall influence
    #1129 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    55%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1230/24

    Sherman, TX

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    What is Austin College known for?

    Austin College's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • Economics
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  22. University of North Texas
    #22

    University of North Texas

    #455 institution's overall influence
    #1391 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    33K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1160/23

    Denton, TX

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    What is University of North Texas known for?

    University of North Texas's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Social Work
    • Chemistry
    • Communications
    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  23. Sam Houston State University
    #23

    Sam Houston State University

    #782 institution's overall influence
    #1048 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    18K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1070/21

    Huntsville, TX

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    What is Sam Houston State University known for?

    Sam Houston State University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Communications
    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  24. University of Texas at Arlington
    #24

    University of Texas at Arlington

    #607 institution's overall influence
    #1113 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    39K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1160/23

    Arlington, TX

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    What is University of Texas at Arlington known for?

    University of Texas at Arlington's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Communications
    • Biology
    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • Economics
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  25. Texas A&M International University
    #25

    Texas A&M International University

    #2160 institution's overall influence
    #896 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    52%

    Graduation

    41%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1015/18

    Laredo, TX

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    What is Texas A&M International University known for?

    Texas A&M International University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Sociology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Engineering
    • Political Science
    • Nursing
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

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