Want to study in Texas? Read on to find out more about this distinctive (and massive) state, including the top universities in Texas and the state’s best cities for students.
Part of the Deep South region, Texas has a significant global reach, through its distinctive culture and heritage – from rodeos to Texan barbecues, and country music to cowboys. Due to its large scale (it’s the second-biggest US state, after Alaska), Texas differs significantly in climate and geography depending on where you are. The east is swampy and forested, while the southeastern Gulf Coast is tropical and often uncomfortably humid. There are mountainous deserts in the west and the snowy plains of Panhandle in the north.
Largely due to its petroleum reserves, discovered in the early 1900s, Texas has a thriving energy industry. This has underpinned the economic growth of the state, helping other industries and the state’s higher education system to develop in turn. Texas also has a strong standing in the technology, biomedical sciences and aerospace sectors.
Keep reading to find out more about the top universities in Texas, and the Texan cities where you could be spending your student years.
Top universities in Texas
Those interested in studying in Texas will find plenty of choice, including seven universities in Texas which feature in the QS World University Rankings® 2015/16. The highest ranking is the University of Texas at Austin, placed 77th in the world, which is the flagship institution of the state’s public university system. Boasting 17 libraries and seven museums, the university holds one of the country’s largest research budgets, as well as renowned sports teams.
Another of the state’s leading institutions is Rice University, ranked 106th in the world. A private research university, Rice University has an enrolment of just over 6,600 students. It’s best known for its applied science programs and is situated on a 295 acre campus near the Houston Museum District.
Top universities in Texas, based on the QS World University Rankings® 2015/16:
- University of Texas at Austin (ranked 77th in the world)
- Rice University (106th)
- Texas A&M University (159th)
- University of Texas at Dallas (401-410)
- University of Houston (501-550)
- Southern Methodist University (701+)
- Baylor University (701+)
Top student cities in Texas
Once a global symbol of the entire US, thanks to the hit TV series with the city’s name, Dallas is known as the city of cowboys and cheerleaders. It can’t be summed up just by its stereotypes, however; Dallas also boasts the largest arts district in the US and some brilliant museums, as well as tourist-attracting memorials for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Home to the University of Texas at Dallas, as well as the Southern Methodist University, Dallas truly is a student city.
Home to another two of the top universities in Texas (Rice University and the University of Houston), Houston is the state’s largest city and the fourth largest in the US. Simultaneously laid back and high-powered, Houston offers a cultured city scene combined with popular celebrations such as week-long rodeos and barbeque cook-offs. Among our top Texan cities for students, Houston is the closest to the coast, and the famous Bay Area Houston is just a half-hour drive outside of the center.
State capital Austin is renowned for its eclectic community, with tattooed creatives and suited millionaires living in close proximity. The locals revel in Austin’s so called ‘weirdness’ – you’ll even see bumper stickers, t-shirts and other merchandise bearing the slogan ‘Keep Austin Weird’. Local watering holes have a long-held performance culture, famous for launching the careers of the likes of Janis Joplin and Willie Nelson. Today, Austin’s lively music scene means that almost any night of the week you can go to a gig of almost any genre. The University of Texas at Austin, established just 44 years after the city itself was founded in 1839, continues to play a central role in the city’s life and development.
Facts about Texas
- Population of 27.4 million, only beaten by California as the most populous state.
- Almost a third of Texas’ population is Spanish-speaking.
- The state has no official language, due to the variety of different tongues found here.
- The name Texas derives from a Caddo Indian word meaning ‘allies’, which is why the state motto is ‘friendship’.
- The term "six flags over Texas" refers to several nations that have ruled over the region.
- Texas has the second greatest GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in the US, after California.
- The list of famous Texans is very impressive – a few examples are former president George W. Bush, singers from Janice Joplin to Beyoncé, actors Woody Harrelson and Renée Zellweger, and comedian Steve Martin.
- The state’s Waggoner Ranch is the largest ranch in the contiguous United States and, at 520,000 acres, is bigger than the entire country of Mauritius.
- There are nearly 250 cities in Texas with a population over 10,000, and 28 with populations over 100,000.
- Texan cattle, although in decline in the last few years, still number around 11 million.