Universities in Houston - QS Best Student Cities Ranking | Top Universities

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Study in Houston

By Sabrina Collier

Updated July 28, 2021 Updated July 28, 2021

Houston for students

The largest city in Texas, Houston is also the fourth-largest US city.

The city is home to a wide range of prestigious universities as well, including Rice University, which is considered one of the most selective in Texas and is situated near the Houston Museum District, an association of museums, art galleries and cultural centres.

Houston earned its highest score in the desirability indicator this year, with students praising the diversity and variety of activities on offer.

Do you currently study in Houston? Share your experience!

Best universities in Houston - QS Best Student Cities ranking: 100th

World ranking Institution
94th Rice University
701-750 University of Houston

More about Houston

This year, two of Houston's universities feature in the QS World University Rankings: Rice University and University of Houston. The city has a population of over two million, of which 19 percent are students. Houston earns its highest score in the desirability indicator this year.

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

Rice University (94th)



Average international fees (at ranked unis)


Desirability rank


Employer Activity rank


Affordability rank


Student View rank


To find out how each of the above categories is calculated, view the methodology.

Why study in Houston?

Good job prospects 

Home to 24 Fortune 500 Companies, Houston is an international city with plenty of job prospects for graduates. 

Plenty of culture

With the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, the H-Town Blues Festival, many theatres, restaurants and bars, there's plenty of culture to explore in Houston.

More affordable than other US cities

Although Houston's university tuition fees are high, it has a lower cost of living than other US cities, such as New York. 

A diverse city

Simultaneously laid-back yet energetic, Houston is home to the most diverse community in Texas, with some of the US’s largest Latino, African American and Asian American populations.

Cost of studying in Houston

Although not cheap, Houston’s living costs are typically much lower than those found in larger US cities. This year, Houston ranks 102nd in the affordability indicator. 

According to Numbeo, a single person living in Houston will need approximately £600 per month for general living expenses, plus an additional £1,015.

Life & culture in Houston 

As the home of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston received the nickname ‘Space City’ in 1967. It’s also home to the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical complex in the world, which is at the forefront of advances in health sciences.

Other nicknames for Houston include ‘Bayou City’ and ‘H-Town’, with the latter widely popular and used for entertainment events such as the annual H-Town Blues Festival.

The city’s Chinatown and Mahatma Gandhi District ‘Little India’  showcase Houston’s diversity, and offer a number of eateries and shopping boutiques.

In terms of entertainment, the Houston Theatre District attracts over two million visitors a year and features the Bayou Place entertainment complex, with multiple theatres, bars and restaurants.

While its skyscraper-heavy skyline may make it look like just another concrete jungle, Houston actually has the largest total area of green space among the top 10 most populous US cities, with over 300 parks.

Careers in Houston

Houston ranks 101st for employer activity this year. The city is home to 24 Fortune 500 Companies and has no state income tax. The energy sector is Houston's leading industry, employing many graduates each year, with nearly one third of the nation's oil and gas extraction jobs based in the city.

Houston also has a large manufacturing industry, employing more than 230,000 people. Of course, Houston's space station is also a major employer: the second largest in the area.

This article was originally published in February 2017 . It was last updated in July 2021

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Written by

The former Assistant Editor of TopUniversities.com, Sabrina wrote and edited articles to guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

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