2021 Best Colleges in Texas Badge

2021 Best Colleges in Texas by Salary Score

By the GradReports team | Updated 3/1/2021

These are the 25 best colleges in Texas based on our Salary Score. We calculated Salary Score by comparing median alumni earnings in the first year after graduation for each major at a college to alumni earnings for the same major across all colleges. These scores were then combined to create an overall bachelor's degree Salary Score for a school. A higher Salary Score (above 50) indicates that alumni from a college tend to have higher salaries when compared to alumni with the same majors at other schools. All of the top 25 colleges in Texas score better than the median for colleges in the United States, and the top five schools score in the top 25%. Southern Methodist University leads the list with a score of 89.62.

To be considered for our state rankings, schools must offer and provide data for at least 8 bachelor's programs. You can click on a school's name to view individual program scores. Read our methodology to learn more about how schools were ranked.

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Our Salary Score™ is based on data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Rank School Location Annual Tuition Salary Score
#1 #1 Southern Methodist University Dallas Dallas $61,980 89.62
#2 #2 Rice University Houston Houston $54,960 84.11
#3 #3 The University of Texas at Austin Austin Austin $11,698 83.25
#4 #4 Texas Christian University Fort Worth Fort Worth $53,980 81.33
#5 #5 The University of Texas Permian Basin Odessa Odessa $9,234 76.33
#6 #6 Texas Tech University Lubbock Lubbock $11,852 74.18
#7 #7 Texas A&M University - College Station College Station College Station $13,239 72.97
#8 #8 University of Houston - Clear Lake Houston Houston $7,698 71.77
#9 #9 Dallas Baptist University Dallas Dallas $35,310 70.44
#10 #10 University of Houston - Downtown Houston Houston $7,708 66.75
#11 #11 Baylor University Waco Waco $51,738 65.36
#12 #12 The University of Texas at Arlington Arlington Arlington $11,727 64.84
#13 #13 Concordia University - Texas Austin Austin $35,620 64.13
#14 #14 Lamar University Beaumont Beaumont $8,690 63.01
#15 #15 University of North Texas Denton Denton $11,140 62.78
#16 #16 University of Houston Houston Houston $9,699 61.87
#17 #17 Texas State University San Marcos San Marcos $11,135 57.69
#18 #18 Texas Woman's University Denton Denton $8,311 56.95
#19 #19 Texas A&M University-San Antonio One University Way One University Way $9,548 56.91
#20 #20 The University of Texas at Dallas Richardson Richardson $14,564 56.75
#21 #21 Texas Lutheran University Seguin Seguin $33,920 56.20
#22 #22 University of Houston - Victoria Victoria Victoria $7,149 55.84
#23 #23 Stephen F. Austin State University Nacogdoches Nacogdoches $10,600 55.33
#24 #24 Texas A&M University - Commerce Commerce Commerce $10,026 54.62
#25 #25 LeTourneau University Longview Longview $34,470 53.03

2021 Best Colleges in Texas Highlights

Salary Score 89.62
Annual Tuition $61,980
Graduation Rate 82%

Sixteen of Southern Methodist University's (SMU) undergraduate programs have a Salary Score of 90 or higher. Of these programs, two hold a score of 100: health and physical education/fitness; and fine and studio arts. SMU's arts and language programs are generally strong; the design and applied arts program has a Salary Score of 99, and East Asian languages, literatures, and linguistics; English language and literature; and romance languages, literatures, and linguistics all score a 94. Students who earn their degrees in operations research report the highest earnings with a median annual salary of $76,460, followed closely by computer science with median earnings reported at $75,990.

School Overview

Southern Methodist University is a private, medium-sized university with approximately 6,710 undergraduate students. The campus, located in Dallas, Texas, is home to the George W. Bush Presidential Center, which houses 43,000 artifacts in its presidential archive, 70 million pages of records, and 80 terabytes of digital information. The center also serves as a site for student internships. Internships are also available at the departmental level. Opportunities include the Jack C. and Annette K. Vaughn Foreign Service and International Affairs Internship for SMU sophomores and juniors interested in foreign affairs.

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Salary Score 84.11
Annual Tuition $54,960
Graduation Rate 93%

Rice University's highest scoring bachelor's programs are computer and information sciences; and statistics, which both have a Salary Score of 100. These programs are also the school's highest earning; computer and information science graduates make a median annual salary of $144,240, while students who graduate with a degree in statistics report a median salary of $119,060. Engineering programs, including biomedical/medical engineering; chemical engineering; civil engineering; and electrical, electronics and communications engineering, score between 80 and 89 and are among the highest earning, with median salaries between $66,650 and $79,450.

School Overview

Located in Houston, Texas, Rice University is a medium-sized, private college that offers more than 50 undergraduate programs. With a flexible distribution requirement model, students have increased flexibility when fulfilling graduation requirements and are able to select courses that interest them. Through financial aid programs like The Rice Investment, which increases support for low and middle-income families, 75% of Rice students graduate without debt. The Rice Investment offers full tuition, room, board, and fees to students whose families earn less than $65,000 and full tuition to families that earn between $65,000 and $130,000.

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Salary Score 83.25
Annual Tuition $11,698
Graduation Rate 88%

At the undergraduate level, four programs at the University of Texas at Austin hold a Salary Score of 100: music; drama/theatre arts and stagecraft; business/commerce; and business administration, management and operations. In total, eleven bachelor's programs have scores in the top 10%, with fields ranging from liberal arts and sciences to chemical engineering. With a score of 88, petroleum engineering is the highest-earning field. Graduates from the program report a median annual salary of $88,790.

School Overview

The University of Texas at Austin is a large, public university with approximately 40,160 undergraduate students. The 431-acre main campus includes the Texas Innovation Center, which provides extensive support and resources for students, including co-working space, commercialization support, and access to investors and capital. Students are also provided tools and guidance for undergraduate research, with financial support for research available through the university, as well as through individual schools.

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