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.

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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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. 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 Houston
    #4

    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

  5. University of Texas at Dallas
    #5

    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

  6. Baylor University
    #6

    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

  7. Texas A&M University
    #7

    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

  8. Texas Tech University
    #8

    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

  9. Texas Christian University
    #9

    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

  10. University of North Texas
    #10

    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

  11. Sam Houston State University
    #11

    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

  12. University of Texas at Arlington
    #12

    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

  13. Dallas Baptist University
    #13

    Dallas Baptist University

    #3319 institution's overall influence
    #1101 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1180/22

    Dallas, TX

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    What is Dallas Baptist University known for?

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

    • Communications
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • Religious Studies
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. University of the Incarnate Word
    #14

    University of the Incarnate Word

    #2961 institution's overall influence
    #507 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1045/19

    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:

    • Nursing
    • Religious Studies
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • Psychology
    • Communications
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Business
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. Texas State University
    #15

    Texas State University

    #1438 institution's overall influence
    #1318 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    46%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    33K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1095/23

    San Marcos, TX

    View profile

    What is Texas State University known for?

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

    • Anthropology
    • Nursing
    • Criminal Justice
    • Business
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

Find the Best Research Universities in Texas for your Major

Anthropology

Biology

Business

Chemistry

Communications

Computer Science

Criminal Justice

Earth Sciences

Economics

Education

Engineering

History

Law

Literature

Mathematics

Medical

Nursing

Philosophy

Physics

Political Science

Psychology

Religious Studies

Social Work

Sociology

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