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. #1

    Rice University

    #115 institution's historical influence
    #15 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $49K

    Acceptance

    11%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1520/34

    Houston, TX

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    What is Rice University known for?

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

    • Mathematics
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Education
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    University of Texas at Austin

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

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    32%

    Graduation

    88%

    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:

    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Law
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Physics
    • Philosophy
    • Communications
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #3

    Southern Methodist University

    #270 institution's historical influence
    #1324 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $57K

    Acceptance

    53%

    Graduation

    81%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1390/31

    Dallas, TX

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    What is Southern Methodist University known for?

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

    • Business
    • Law
    • Religious Studies
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  4. #4

    University of Dallas

    #1277 institution's historical influence
    #1419 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    54%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1245/27

    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
    • Education
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • History
    • Psychology
    • Economics
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  5. #5

    Houston Baptist University

    #1763 institution's historical influence
    #270 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    72%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1100/21

    Houston, TX

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    What is Houston Baptist University known for?

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

    • Philosophy
    • Religious Studies
    • Education
    • Business
    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Law
    • History
    • Communications
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  6. #6

    St. Mary's University, Texas

    #1321 institution's historical influence
    #282 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/23

    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:

    • Law
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Medical
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #7

    Trinity University

    #993 institution's historical influence
    #236 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $45K

    Acceptance

    34%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1370/30

    San Antonio, TX

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    What is Trinity University known for?

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

    • Business
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Economics
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Biology
    • History
    • Psychology
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #8

    University of Houston

    #188 institution's historical influence
    #1064 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    63%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    37K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1225/24

    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
    • Engineering
    • Literature
    • Law
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #9

    University of Texas at Dallas

    #601 institution's historical influence
    #222 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1350/29

    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:

    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Chemistry
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #10

    Baylor University

    #260 institution's historical influence
    #96 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $47K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    17K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1290/29

    Waco, TX

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    What is Baylor University known for?

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

    • Medical
    • Business
    • Law
    • Religious Studies
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Literature
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. #11

    Texas A&M University

    #134 institution's historical influence
    #91 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    63%

    Graduation

    83%

    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
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Physics
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #12

    University of St. Thomas

    #2943 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1150/23

    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:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Religious Studies
    • Psychology
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Medical
    • Philosophy
    • Communications
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  13. #13

    Southwestern University

    #1487 institution's historical influence
    #1188 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $44K

    Acceptance

    49%

    Graduation

    73%

    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:

    • Education
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  14. #14

    Hardin–Simmons University

    #2177 institution's historical influence
    #1182 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1056/20

    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
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Education
    • History
    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • Communications
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. #15

    LeTourneau University

    #3563 institution's historical influence
    #202 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1200/25

    Longview, TX

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    What is LeTourneau University known for?

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

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • Religious Studies
    • Nursing
  16. #16

    Howard Payne University

    #1472 institution's historical influence
    #939 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    49%

    Graduation

    40%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1025/21

    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
    • Education
    • History
    • Business
    • Religious Studies
    • Medical
    • Law
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  17. #17

    Texas Tech University

    #357 institution's historical influence
    #1458 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    63%

    Student body

    34K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1165/24

    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
    • Business
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Law
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. #18

    Abilene Christian University

    #1204 institution's historical influence
    #771 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    63%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1122/24

    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
    • Education
    • History
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Chemistry
    • Medical
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  19. #19

    Texas Christian University

    #555 institution's historical influence
    #208 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $49K

    Acceptance

    48%

    Graduation

    82%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1250/28

    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:

    • Business
    • History
    • Biology
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • Religious Studies
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  20. #20

    St. Edward's University

    #2276 institution's historical influence
    #364 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $47K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1152/25

    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:

    • Philosophy
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Chemistry
    • History
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Computer Science
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  21. #21

    Austin College

    #1911 institution's historical influence
    #1129 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $41K

    Acceptance

    49%

    Graduation

    71%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1210/26

    Sherman, TX

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    What is Austin College known for?

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

    • Education
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy
    • Religious Studies
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  22. #22

    University of North Texas

    #423 institution's historical influence
    #1391 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    33K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1155/24

    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
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  23. #23

    Sam Houston State University

    #826 institution's historical influence
    #1048 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    18K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1065/21

    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:

    • Communications
    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Business
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  24. #24

    University of Texas at Arlington

    #706 institution's historical influence
    #1113 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    38K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1145/23

    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:

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • History
    • Medical
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  25. #25

    Texas A&M International University

    #3328 institution's historical influence
    #896 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    59%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1005/18

    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:

    • Business
    • Engineering
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • History
    • Psychology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Sociology
    • Communications
    • Medical

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