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#119 Overall Influence #15 Desirability Rank

Rice University

University in Houston, Texas, USA
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 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.Opened in 1912 after the murder of its namesake William Marsh Rice, Rice is a research university with an undergraduate focus. Its emphasis on education is demonstrated by a small student body and 6:1 student-faculty ratio. The university has a very high level of research activity, with $156 million in sponsored research funding in 2019. Rice is noted for its applied science programs in the fields of artificial heart research, structural chemical analysis, signal processing, space science, and nanotechnology. In 2010, it was ranked first in the world in materials science research by Times Higher Education . Rice has been a member of the Association of American Universities since 1985 and is classified among "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity".

Source: Wikipedia


What does this school look for?

Annual Applications




Graduation Rate


Median SAT Score


Median ACT Score



How much does it cost to attend?

Tuition (in-state)


Fees (in-state)


IncomeAverage Net Cost
0 - 30K$3,437
30K - 48K$7,534
48K - 75K$7,318
75K - 110K$24,321

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

Student Body






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
#52 World Rank
#59 World Rank
Computer Science
#72 World Rank
#62 World Rank
#151 World Rank
#131 World Rank
#152 World Rank
#219 World Rank
#139 World Rank
#132 World Rank
#129 World Rank
#165 World Rank
Political Science
#186 World Rank
#154 World Rank
Religious Studies
#167 World Rank
#228 World Rank
Earth Sciences
#273 World Rank

Other areas of influence

#142 World Rank
#197 World Rank
Criminal Justice
#227 World Rank
#237 World Rank
#337 World Rank
Social Work
#585 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 Engineering, Computer Science, and Chemistry

Steven E. Woodworth

American historian

James H. Newman

James H. Newman

American astronaut

M.J. Khan

Robert Bruce Findler

Computer scientist

Linda Coffee

Roe v. Wade attorney

Mohit Aron

Indian businessman

Warren Robinett

Warren Robinett

Video game designer

Randy Woelfel

Former chief executive officer

Diana McSherry

American computer scientist and biophysicist

Dave Hyatt

American computer programmer

Morgan Sparks

American scientist

Lihong V. Wang