#32 Overall Influence #43 Desirability Rank

University of Texas at Austin

Public research university in Austin, Texas, United States
By James Barham, PhD

By rights, the University of Texas (known within Texas itself as “UT,” for short) ought to be 40 years older than it is. In 1839, the Republic of Texas officially set aside 40 acres of prime real estate in the center of the new country’s capital city, Austin, as the site for the campus of a national university. The Texas Congress also granted 288,000 acres of land, mainly in the western regions of the Republic, as a financial endowment for the future university.

Much later, oil was discovered beneath a lot of that land. As a result, UT’s endowment is now worth a little more than $30 billion, making the school by far the wealthiest public university in the country. Indeed, among all American universities, UT is second only to Harvard (see above) in the size of its endowment.

However, the actual building of the university was long delayed, first by the accession of the Republic of Texas to the United States in 1845, and then by the coming of the Civil War. As a defeated Confederate state, Texas was dealt with harshly by the Federal government during the period of Reconstruction. Eventually, however, the state recovered enough independence in running its own affairs to carry through the long-delayed project of building a state university.

Today, UT is the flagship campus of the far-flung University of Texas System, and is now officially known as the “University of Texas at Austin” to distinguish it from the 13 other campuses, which include eight full-fledged universities and five separate medical school/hospital complexes. The overall system comprises more than 300,000 students, faculty, and staff, while UT’s share in that number stands at around 75,000.

Although it is only fair to say that Texas itself has never exactly been known as a cultural mecca, nevertheless with the cash at its disposal UT has been able to attract a faculty—and to provide them with facilities—that easily rival those of the best Ivy League schools. For example, in 1982, in an academic coup that reverberated around the entire country, UT managed to lure the world-famous Nobel Prize–winning physicist, Steven Weinberg, away from Harvard.

In all, UT is associated with 12 Nobel Prize–recipients, including (in addition to Weinberg):

  • Russian-born pioneer of the field of nonequilibrium thermodynamics, Ilya Prigogine—chemistry
  • American geneticist Hermann Muller and immunologist James Alison—physiology or medicine
  • Swedish economist, sociologist, and philosopher, Gunnar Myrdal—economics
  • South African–born novelist, J.M. Coetzee—for literature

Among other notable alumni and faculty, we may mention:

  • Celebrated Argentinian author of sui generis metaphysical fictions, Jorge Luis Borges
  • Singer, Janis Joplin
  • Film directors, Wes Anderson, Richard Linklater, & Richard Rodriguez
  • Actors, Eli Wallach, Jayne Mansfield, Matthew McConaughey, Renée Zellweger, & Marcia Gay Harden
  • Entrepreneur and entertainment industry executive, David Geffen
  • Television journalist, Walter Cronkite
  • Astronomer and television personality, Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • Entrepreneur and founder of Dell Technologies, Michael S. Dell
  • Bestselling non-fiction author and 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination candidate, Marianne Williamson
  • Former and sitting Texas governors, Ann Richards & Greg Abbott

From Wikipedia

The University of Texas at Austin, shortened to UT Austin, UT, or Texas, is a public research university in Austin, Texas, founded in 1883. The University of Texas was included in the Association of American Universities in 1929. The institution is composed of over 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students and over 24,000 faculty and staff.

Source: Wikipedia


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What's it like to attend this school?

The People

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The Campus

Where will you be attending?


110 Inner Campus Drive, Austin TX 78705

What is University of Texas at Austin 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

#21 World Rank
#18 World Rank
#29 World Rank
Computer Science
#29 World Rank
#57 World Rank
#49 World Rank
#30 World Rank
#51 World Rank
#78 World Rank
#16 World Rank
#24 World Rank
#33 World Rank
#41 World Rank
#44 World Rank
#71 World Rank
#39 World Rank
Political Science
#73 World Rank
#48 World Rank
#41 World Rank
Earth Sciences
#63 World Rank
#19 World Rank
Criminal Justice
#177 World Rank
Religious Studies
#24 World Rank
Social Work
#46 World Rank

Influential People

Who are University of Texas at Austin's Most influential alumni?

University of Texas at Austin 's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Communications, Law, and Criminal Justice

Julia Driver

American philosopher

Nancy Folbre

Nancy Folbre

Feminist economist

Nancy Folbre

Nancy Folbre

Feminist economist

William H. McRaven

William H. McRaven

United States admiral

James W. Pennebaker

James W. Pennebaker

U.S. psychology professor and language analyst

Hector Ruiz

Hector Ruiz

Mexican businessman

Karti Chidambaram

Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha

Robert Lado

American linguist

Harold Simmons

American businessman and financier, developer of the leveraged buyout

Stephanie Wilson

Stephanie Wilson

American engineer and NASA astronaut

Donald Evans

American cabinet official

Dean Ornish

Dean Ornish

American physician