Rice University
#115 Overall Influence#15 Desirability Rank

Rice University

University in Houston, Texas, USA

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By James Barham, PhD

Rice University was founded in 1912 as the William M. Rice Institute for the Advancement of Literature, Science, and Art. Long known simply as the Rice Institute, the school acquired its present name in 1960.

The institute’s founding took place under unusual and scandalous circumstances. Its founder, the Massachusetts–born William Marsh Rice, was a businessman who had made a large fortune in real estate, railroad development, and cotton trading, much of it in the state of Texas.

Towards the end of his life, Rice decided that his estate should be directed after his death to the establishment in Houston of a tuition-free institution of higher learning of highest academic caliber.

In 1900, at age 84, Rice was found dead in his bed by his valet. It was then discovered that his will had been changed to leave everything to his New York–based attorney. It subsequently came out that the lawyer had changed the will on his own and conspired with the valet, who murdered Rice by administering chloroform to him in his sleep.

Eventually, the valet turned state’s evidence, the lawyer was tried and found guilty of murder, and Rice’s original wishes for the disposal of his estate were finally put into effect. The Rice Institute opened its doors in 1912, on the twelfth anniversary of his murder.

During the 1960s, Rice established a close relationship with NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center (now the Johnson Space Center), which remains strong to this day.

Rice remains a small and highly selective institution, with a little over 7000 students. The school operates on the honor code system (without proctored examinations).

There are three Rice-connected Nobel laureates, namely the astrophysicist Robert W. Wilson, and the chemists Richard Smalley and Robert Curl.

Other prominent Rice-associated individuals include the following:

  • Novelists, Joyce Carol Oates and Larry McMurtry
  • Journalist and columnist, Candace Bushnell
  • Screenwriter, William Broyles, Jr.
  • Aviator, Film director, Business magnate, and Philanthropist, Howard Hughes
  • Mathematicians, George Mackey, Béatrice Rivière, George Piranian, Dennis Sullivan, Jack Morava, & Shelly Harvey
  • Astronomer, James Gunn
  • Physicist, John G. Cramer
  • Chemist, Fred C. Koch
  • Chemical engineer, Jay Bailey
  • Nanotechnology pioneer, James Tour
  • Neuroscientist, David Eagleman
  • Biomedical engineer, Antonios Mikos
  • Computer scientists, Krishna Palem & Lydia Kavraki
  • Biochemist and astronaut, Peggy Whitson
  • CBS News President, David Rhodes
  • Former US Attorney General, Alberto Gonzalez

From Wikipedia

William Marsh Rice University, commonly known as Rice University, is a private research university in Houston, Texas. It is situated on a 300-acre campus near the Houston Museum District and is adjacent to the Texas Medical Center.

Source: Wikipedia


What does this school look for?

Annual Applications




Graduation Rate


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How much does it cost to attend?

Tuition (in-state)


Fees (in-state)


IncomeAverage Net Cost

After Graduation

Averages for 10 years after enrolling

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Campus Life

What's it like to attend this school?

The People

Full time on-campus stats

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The Campus

Where will you be attending?


6100 S Main St, Houston TX 77005-1827

On Campus Crime Rates

Property Crime

28 per 100k

Violent Crime

1 per 100k

What is Rice University known for?

Our answer to this is to show you the disciplines in which a school's faculty and alumni have had the highest historical influence. A school may be influential in a discipline even if they do not offer degrees in that area. We've organized two lists to show where they are influential and offer corresponding degrees, and where they are influential through scholarship although they don't offer degrees in the disciplines.

Top areas of influence with degrees offered

#76 World Rank
#53 World Rank
#58 World Rank
Computer Science
#68 World Rank
#55 World Rank
#148 World Rank
#149 World Rank
#202 World Rank
#144 World Rank
#132 World Rank
#162 World Rank
Political Science
#122 World Rank
#196 World Rank
#152 World Rank
Religious Studies
#152 World Rank
#214 World Rank
Earth Sciences
#272 World Rank

Influential People

Who are Rice University's Most influential alumni?

Rice University's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Mathematics, Engineering, and Computer Science. Rice University’s most academically influential people include Margaret Hutchinson Rousseau, Gerald J. Fishman, and James H. Newman.

Margaret Hutchinson Rousseau

American chemical engineer

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Gerald J. Fishman
Gerald J. Fishman

American astronomer

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James H. Newman
James H. Newman

American astronaut

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Linda Coffee

Roe v. Wade attorney

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Robert Bruce Findler

Computer scientist

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Munther A. Dahleh
Munther A. Dahleh

Scientist, control theorist

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Morgan Sparks

American scientist

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Eric Kuhne
Eric Kuhne

American-born architect

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Joy Browne

American psychologist

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Warren Robinett
Warren Robinett

Video game designer

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Tamara E. Jernigan
Tamara E. Jernigan


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James Aubrey Parker

United States federal judge

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