Texas’s Best Research Universities of 2021

Interested in attending a STEM school in Texas? Our ranking of top research universities for bachelor’s degrees displays schools that will best prepare you for STEM careers.

Texas’s Best Research Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Texas

Texas offers more than 30 colleges and universities that serve communities of 10,000 students or more. The largest school in the bunch (and in the nation), Texas A&M University in College Station serves more than 65,000 students. The University of Texas at Austin is the next largest, serving about 45,000 students — but it too has a big claim to fame, as the wealthiest public university in the United States. Texas’s private colleges and universities, including Baylor University and Southern Methodist University, are also impressive in size and scope. The majority of these schools have religious affiliations and offer degrees in a variety fields, such as nursing, religious studies, criminal justice, business, and education.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

For students who prefer a more intimate educational environment, Texas offers a long list of smaller public and private colleges and universities, such as Abilene Christian University and University of Texas of the Permian Basin. Additionally, Texas has generous loan forgiveness programs for qualifying nurses, physicians, teachers, legal aid attorneys, and lawyers who work in the Texas Attorney General’s office.

Texas is known for doing things big. Big cities, big open spaces and, of course, big fun. Whether you’re hitting up the live music scene in Austin, catching a Cowboys game in Dallas, or strolling down the River Walk in San Antonio, you’re sure to have a good time. And, with more than 150 higher education institutes, it’s safe to say The Lone Star State is big on education too.

If you’re looking to earn your degree in the state of Texas, you’ll have plenty of higher learning institutes to choose from.

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What are Texas’s Colleges & Universities?

Texas’s Best Overall

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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Texas’s Best Research Universities for Undergraduates

A research university is a great option for students interested in obtaining STEM degrees. Research universities invest heavily in research, which consequently provides meaningful and extensive opportunities for its students and faculty to participate in research. There are 28 research universities in Texas. The list below of the 15 best research universities in the state satisfies the following four conditions:

  1. It must be a fully accredited university.
  2. It must offer doctoral degrees across the range of STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).
  3. It must report high levels of research activity based upon the number of research and/or practice doctorates awarded each year.
  4. It must have a graduation rate of greater than 40%.

15 Best Research 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

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  4. #4

    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

  5. #5

    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

  6. #6

    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

  7. #7

    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

  8. #8

    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

  9. #9

    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
  10. #10

    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

  11. #11

    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

  12. #12

    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

  13. #13

    Dallas Baptist University

    #3054 institution's historical influence
    #1101 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    99%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1140/23

    Dallas, TX

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    What is Dallas Baptist University known for?

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

    • Education
    • Business
    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Medical
    • Philosophy
    • Communications
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  14. #14

    University of the Incarnate Word

    #2799 institution's historical influence
    #507 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1055/20

    San Antonio, TX

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    What is University of the Incarnate Word known for?

    University of the Incarnate Word’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Education
    • Business
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Nursing
    • Biology
    • Communications
    • Engineering
    • Religious Studies
    REQUEST INFO
  15. #15

    Texas State University

    #960 institution's historical influence
    #1318 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    33K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1095/22

    San Marcos, TX

    View profile

    What is Texas State University known for?

    Texas State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

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

    Most Influential Alumni

Find the Best Research Universities in Texas for your Major

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