Rice rises to No. 16 in 2021 U.S. News rankings

Survey also rates Rice among top 10 in undergrad teaching, biomedical engineering and best value

Rice University moved up to the No. 16 ranking among the best national universities in the 2021 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges” guidebook, which was published today.

Rice, which ranked No. 17 nationally last year, tied for the No. 16 position with Washington University in St. Louis. It remains the guidebook’s highest-ranking university in Texas. Princeton retains the No. 1 spot in the national rankings.

The U.S. News rankings are a closely watched barometer of excellence in the nation’s institutions of higher learning. For its national rankings, U.S. News assessed 389 institutions – 209 public, 176 private and four for-profit. It defines national universities as institutions that offer a full range of undergraduate majors as well as master’s and doctoral degrees; many of them – like Rice – heavily emphasize research and receive federal money to support their research work. Rice has consistently ranked in the top 20 since first appearing in the U.S. News rankings in 1988.

Rice ranked among the nation’s top 10 institutions in the categories lauding universities for outstanding teaching of undergraduates and offering students a good value for academic excellence. Rice ranked No. 6 on the Best Undergraduate Teaching list, which is based upon nominations from college presidents, provosts and admissions deans, and No. 8 on the list of Best Value Schools among national universities. The university also ranked No. 8 on the list of Best Undergraduate Biomedical Engineering Programs.

Rice University landed among the top 20 institutions on several other lists compiled by U.S. News:


*Rice rated No. 18 among the nation’s Most Innovative Schools, a ranking of institutions making the most innovative improvements in curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities. Rice tied in this category with the University of California – Berkley.

*Rice ranked No. 18 in the Learning Communities category.  Institutions on this list are noted for students typically taking two or more linked courses as a group and getting to know one another and their professors especially well, with the intent of keeping discussions going after classes end.

*Rice ranked No. 19 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs among schools whose highest engineering degree offered is a doctorate. Engineering programs were rated based upon the judgment of deans and faculty at peer institutions. Rice tied in this category with the University of California – Los Angeles.

*Among computer science programs, Rice ranked No. 12 in the Programming Languages category,.

U.S. News is one of a number of media outlets that have recently ranked Rice among the nation’s top 20 universities. The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings rated Rice No. 16, the only Texas university in the top 20. Money placed Rice at No. 18 on its list of the Best Colleges in America Ranked by Value.