University of Houston Guide

The Ivy Scholars guide to the University of Houston’s culture, admissions, and other essential information for prospective students and their families.

Location: Houston, Texas

Mascot: Shasta the Cougar

Type: Public Research Institution

Population: 46,000 (37,700 undergrads)

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About the University of Houston

The largest school in Houston, and the flagship of its own network of state schools, the University of Houston is a strong academic and research school. It is among the best public schools in Texas both academically and athletically. While most students commute rather than live on campus, the school nonetheless maintains a strong spirit and community.

Houston Statistics

Year Founded: 1927

4 Year Graduation Rate: 38%

Gender Distribution: 51% male, 49% female

Acceptance Rate: 62%

Residency: 91% in state, 1% out of state, 8% international

Location Type: Urban Schedule System: Semesters Student/Faculty Ratio: 22:1 Average Class Size: 30 Demographics: 34% Hispanic, 24% Caucasian, 22% Asian, 10% Other, 10% Black

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National Rankings

US News Rankings:

  • #27 Top Performers on Social Mobility
  • #83 Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs
  • #92 Top Public Schools
  • #133 Best Value Schools
  • #185 National Universities

Independent Rankings:

  • #74 Top Public Universities per Niche
  • #96 Best Value Colleges per Forbes
  • #104 Public Colleges per Forbes
  • #149 Research Universities per Forbes
  • #306 Top Colleges per Forbes
  • #364 National Universities per The Times of Higher Education

UH Admissions Information

Application Deadlines:

  • Priority: November 1st
  • Deadline: May 31st
  • Transfer Deadline: June 25th

Notification Dates:

  • P: Rolling
  • D: Rolling
  • Transfer: Rolling

Acceptance Rates:

  • P: 62%
  • D: 62% 
  • Transfer: 91%

Average Applicant Pool: 20,800

Average Number of Applicants Accepted: 12,700

Average Number Enrolled: 5,000

Application Systems: Common App, Apply Texas

Average GPA: 3.73 weighted

SAT Scores: 25th percentile – 1530, 75th percentile – 1570 ACT Scores: 25th percentile – 34, 75th percentile – 35 *Test mandatory. Writing sections optional (except for the college of engineering).

Subject Test Requirements: No Subject Tests are required, but they can be used for course credit.

Demonstrated Interest: UHouston does not consider demonstrated interest.

Recommendation Letter Policies: No letters are required for standard admissions.

UH Essay Prompts for 2021: No essays are required for general admissions.

Special Notes:

  • Students meeting the following criteria will be automatically admitted. The majority of students are admitted automatically. 
    • Top 10% of class
    • Top 25% + SAT (CR+M) of at least 1000 or ACT of at least 21 (if you apply before December 1)
    • Top 50% + SAT of at least 1100 and ACT of at least 24 (if you apply before December 1)

Other students will be subject to individual review. Students who are rejected can appeal this decision by submitting an essay (Personal statement or Apply Texas prompt A) and a letter of recommendation.

  • Students intending to major in architecture must be admitted to the university before being considered for admission to the architecture program. A portfolio submission is recommended, but not required.
  • Students applying for the College of Arts must be admitted to the university before being considered for program specific admission, at which point a portfolio or audition, and a statement of intent are required.
  • The College of Business has higher individual admissions requirements for guaranteed admissions. Students who do not meet these are subject to individual review.
    • Top 20% of class, SAT 1270+ or ACT 27+, OR Top 50% of class, SAT 1310+ or ACT 28+
  • The College of Engineering also has higher requirements for admissions. 
    • Top 25% of class, 1270 SAT (630 writing) or 26 ACT (24 writing); top 26-50% of class 1320 SAT (630 writing) or 28 ACT (24 writing); 51-75th percentile 1400 SAT (630 writing) or 30 ACT (24 writing); all else 1420 SAT (630 writing) or 31 ACT (24 writing).

The College of Nursing only accepts currently enrolled UHouston students who meet their prerequisites.

University of Houston Academics


  • All students are required to complete the 42 hour Texas core curriculum consisting of: Communication (6 hours), Mathematics (3 hours), Life & Physical Sciences (6 hours), Language, Philosophy, & Culture (3 hours), Creative Arts (3 hours), American History (6 hours), Government/Political Science (6 hours), Social & behavioral Sciences (3 hours), Mathematics/Reasoning (3 Hours), Writing in the Disciplines (3 hours)
  • Complete Core Requirments


  • Majors Offered
  • Option to double major
  • Popular majors include Psychology, Business Administration & Management, Accounting, Health & Physical Education, Finance

AP Credit Policies:

Special Programs

Honors Programs:

  • The Honors College offers high-achieving students additional classes, special housing, and increased faculty mentorship. The program requires a separate application, which consists of a 3-5 page literary analysis. All honors programs applications are reviewed holistically.
  • Bauer Honors combines a liberal arts program from the honors college with a business degree.
  • Departmental Honors (contact individual departments for more information)
  • Graduation Honors (based on cumulative GPA)
  • Academic Honors Societies

Research Availability:

Study Abroad: 

Business Options: 

  • The College of Business offers 7 different majors, and several certificate programs.
  • Business minors are open to majors and non-majors alike.

Pre-Med Options:

Pre-Law Options:

Additional Specialty Programs: 

Student Life at the University of Houston

School Motto:  In time

Mission and Values:

  • Mission: The mission of the University of Houston is to offer nationally competitive and internationally recognized opportunities for learning, discovery and engagement to a diverse population of students in a real-world setting.  The University of Houston offers a full range of degree programs at the baccalaureate, master’s, doctoral and professional levels and pursues a broad agenda of research and creative activities.   As a knowledge resource to the public, the university builds partnerships with other educational institutions, community organizations, government agencies, and the private sector to serve the region and impact the world.
  • Additional Information

Student Testimonials (Niche, Unigo, Grad Reports)

Housing System:

The school has several dormitories on campus, including dedicated housing for freshmen, sophomores, and upperclassmen. Most students, however, live off-campus (either at home in Houston or nearby apartments). The Honors College has its own dedicated housing.

Housing Statistics:

  • 44% of freshmen live on campus
  • 15% of undergraduates live on campus at any given time

Campus & Surrounding Area:  

Safety Information: (UHouston, College Factual)



  • Cougar Red FridayStudents are encouraged to wear red on Fridays to show their school spirit.
  • Frontier FiestaUH’s oldest tradition is a yearly festival in the Spring with performances, food, and other celebrations on campus.
  • Cougar First ImpressionsThe first two days of the Fall term feature events, booths, and activities set up around campus to welcome new and returning students.
  • The Cougar PawA hand signal used by students and alumni to greet each other and cheer on the football team.

Student-Run Organizations: 


Greek Life:

5% of the student body is involved in UH’s Greek Life, which includes social, service, and academic organizations.


  • While there are events and parties on campus, most evening activities happen off-campus because of how few students live on campus.
  • Houston has a vibrant nightlife, with many bars and clubs, and niche neighborhood experiences.
  • UH is not considered a major party school.

Financial Information

Yearly Cost of Attendance:

  • Total: $22,679/$37,949
  • Tuition and Fees: $11,569/$26,839
  • Room & Board: $9,750
  • Personal Expenses: $1,360
  • Costs may vary by college and year.

Financial Aid:


Scholarships are merit based, and are awarded by the university, individual departments, and the honors program. Funds are limited, and students should submit their applications before the priority deadline for the greatest possible consideration.

Fun Facts

  • UH’s mascot is a live cougar named Shasta VI who lives at the Houston Zoo. Their first live cougar mascot was adopted in 1947, when fraternity members purchased a one in Mexico and brought her back to campus. From 1989 to 2012, there was no live mascot.
  • UH’s first classes were held at San Jacinto High School.
  • The first educational television station in the nation, KUHT, was established on campus in 1953.
  • Notable alumni include Elizabeth Warren and actor Jim Parsons. Lil Wayne attended the school briefly, but dropped out.
  • 33 UH students have competed in the Olympics.
Wendy Y.
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