Campus Spotlight: Rice University

Located in Houston, Texas, Rice University provides an intimate campus atmosphere in the midst of one of the country's biggest cities. Rice features small class sizes, world-class research programs and some of the most comfortable campus living around.

rice university houston texas

Rice University

Teaching and Research: The Best of Both Worlds

Although Rice is a small university with only about 3,300 undergraduates, it has a reputation for world-class academics and research. Here are just a few of the university's points of pride:

  • U.S. News & World Report has ranked Rice among the top 20 national universities every year since the rankings began.
  • It is consistently ranked among the top 50 universities in the world.
  • In 2010, Kiplinger's Personal Finance declared Rice the #4 best value in the country among private universities.
  • According to the Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index, Rice is among the top 10 most productive research universities in the U.S.
  • The university boasts two Nobel Prize winners among its alumni.

And the rankings go on and on, including top honors for number of National Science Foundation (NSF) research fellows, materials science research and graduate programs in biomedical engineering and computer programming.

But Rice is more than just good rankings. Students seeking the teaching-focused atmosphere of a small college combined with the resources of a research university will love it here. The university has a 5:1 student-to-faculty ratio, with an average class size of just 15 students and almost all courses taught by faculty, not graduate assistants.

The university has also been ranked #1 for quality of student life by The Princeton Review for two years running. This is due in part to its Oxford-inspired residential system, which features nine spacious living complexes designed to meet the varying needs of the diverse student body.

rice campus life

A Next-Century Vision

Rice taught its first classes in 1912, and this fall the school will be celebrating its centennial. In honor of the occasion, the university has developed a 10-point plan to guide it through its second century.

Highlights include an increase in Rice's commitment to research and the strengthening of its graduate and postdoctoral programs. The university also hopes to provide a more 'holistic' undergraduate experience that focuses on civic values as well as academics, and invest in numerous new interdisciplinary endeavors. And although Rice is proud of its intimate size, it hopes to increase enrollment and plans to engage more fully with the surrounding city of Houston.

Part of the enrollment increase will include a focus on more international students. The Rice student body is already relatively diverse, including students from 88 different countries. But the university wants to increase its focus on Asia and Latin America, hoping to both attract more students from these growing regions and develop more scholarly and institutional exchange relationships.

Interested in other outstanding research universities? Check out Indiana University, Bloomington.

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