Best universities in Houston 2024

Texas offers a compelling environment for academic pursuits, whether you’re drawn to its natural landscapes, the rich history and culture of the United States, or the delectable Tex-Mex cuisine.

Houston, specifically, stands out as a prime location for students with a myriad of interests. Boasting 22 Fortune 500 companies (ranking fourth after New York City, Chicago, and Dallas-Fort Worth), 5,000 energy-related firms, NASA’s Johnson Space Center, and the world’s largest medical center, Houston provides students with an abundance of employment opportunities and avenues for valuable work experience.

One notable advantage is Houston’s cost of living, which significantly undercuts major metropolitan areas like New York City or San Francisco. While rental costs can vary across neighborhoods in this expansive city, the overall affordability enhances the appeal for students seeking a budget-friendly yet enriching academic experience.

For those considering universities in Houston, the US College Rankings for 2024 highlight the following as the best institutions in the city, offering diverse academic programs and opportunities for personal and professional growth.

  1. Rice University:
    Established in 1912, Rice University stands as a distinguished private research institution dedicated to the advancement of letters, science, and art. With a modest student population and an impressive 6:1 students-to-faculty ratio, Rice prioritizes an intimate and engaging learning environment. The average undergraduate class size is limited to 14 students, fostering personalized interactions. Over 70% of undergraduates, including nearly all first-year students, reside on the picturesque 300-acre campus. The university adopts a unique structure with 11 co-ed colleges, providing a close-knit community for its students. Rice University encompasses eight schools, each specializing in disciplines such as architecture, continuing studies, engineering, humanities, business, music, natural sciences, and social sciences. Offering a diverse range of over 50 majors, from traditional fields like economics to more specialized areas such as biochemistry and cell biology, the university caters to varied academic interests. Notably, Rice University upholds a tradition of trust, eschewing the need for proctored exams since its inception. Research is a cornerstone of the institution, involving over half of the undergraduates. The university has played a pivotal role in groundbreaking areas like nanotechnology, artificial hearts, and the discovery of buckminsterfullerene (buckyballs). Boasting an impressive alumni roster, Rice has produced US congressmen, cabinet secretaries, astronauts, Major League baseball players, and Nobel Laureates. The university also maintains a playful tradition of elaborate practical jokes, exemplified by the famous 1988 prank involving the rotation of a 900kg statue of William Marsh Rice by 180 degrees.
  2. University of Houston:
    Established in 1927, the University of Houston (UH) stands as a prominent public research university, ranking as the third largest in Texas. Known for its robust doctoral research activity, UH houses over 40 research labs, centers, and institutes, emphasizing a commitment to advancing scholarly endeavors and contributing to cutting-edge research in various fields.

Originally established as a junior college, the University of Houston (UH) gained formal recognition as a university in 1934. Over a decade later, a law school was integrated, and the university’s growth is evident with the presence of 36 research centers sprawled across its expansive 858-acre campus. Adorned with green spaces, sculptures, and fountains, UH features architecturally significant buildings crafted by renowned architects like César Pelli, known for designing the Petronas Towers, and modernist Philip Johnson.

Drawing students from 137 nations, UH fosters a diverse and inclusive community. The campus, home to approximately 6,000 students, boasts 500 student organizations and 16 intercollegiate sports teams. About 6,000 students call the vibrant campus home, contributing to a lively and engaging student culture.

UH’s commitment to a thriving student experience is evident through its rich array of events, including theatrical performances, concerts, and lectures. The Houston Cougars, the university’s varsity athletic teams, compete in the NCAA Division I as proud members of the American Athletic Conference. Notably, the men’s golf team has clinched an impressive 16 national championships, holding the record for the most in NCAA history.

The university has produced a distinguished list of alumni, including Jack Valenti, the long-time president of the Motion Picture Association of America, Bonnie J. Dunbar, a former NASA astronaut, and the renowned pop star Lizzo, who pursued a degree in classical music with a specialization in the flute at the University of Houston.

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