Grad Guide Special Section

Top 10 graduate, professional programs UH has to offer

Many students grow up in Houston before staying in town for a bachelor’s degree at UH and they’re ready to get out of town when graduate school comes calling.

UH is home to many top-ranked and well-respected graduate and professional programs. If you’re thinking of applying to any, it might be worth sticking around campus for a few more years.

As for those hoping to remain a Cougar in medical school: UH is planning to open its ownwith a focus on training general practitioners for community health, by 2019.

Social Work

According to the U.S. News & World Report, the Masters in Social Work program is one of UH’s highest-ranked graduate or professional programs. The program, founded in 1967 by the Texas State Legislature, is ranked No. 38 in the country.

Notable faculty includes Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams, who teaches a course on global justice. Social justice is a major theme of the college, which this fall is hosting a community forum series titled “Social Justice Solutions.”

Creative Writing

Dozens of not only published but award-winning novelists, poets and nonfiction writers have emerged from the Master’s of Fine Arts and doctorate programs in Creative Writing, which are housed within the department of English. Atlantic Magazine and Poets & Writers Magazine have both ranked UH’s doctorate in creative writing within the top five in the country in recent years.

Some UH faculty have even graduated from the program. Kimberly Meyer, who teaches in the Honors College and her al0ma mater department, obtained her Ph.D. in creative writing from UH.


Only 23 accredited optometry schools exist in the U.S., but UH still ranks among the best. The four-year Doctor of Optometry program, established in 1952, houses an on-site surgical center unique among optometry programs.

Before graduating from the professional program, each student encounters and helps treat the eyes of 1,500 patients who pass through the University Eye Institute.


All of UH’s programs with links to medical industry offer unique residencies and connections, but students in the College of Pharmacy’s Doctorate of Pharmacy program have direct access to resources at the Texas Medical Center.

According to the college’s website, students are “actively involved in the creation, evaluation and delivery of complex pharmaceuticals,” not just sorting pills, during the four-year program. The U.S. News & World Report ranked the program at No. 44 in the nation.

Speech-Language Pathology

According to the U.S. News rankings, UH’s Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology is ranked No. 69 in the nation. During this two to three-year graduate program, students obtain skills to identify, work with and treat communication disorders.

One-hundred percent of speech-language pathology graduates since 2013 have passed the Praxis teaching exam. Students also work hands-on with patients at the University Speech, Language and Hearing Clinic, where they treat people of all ages with speech and hearing problems.


The Bauer College of Business is great for undergraduate business majors, but the Master’s of Business Administration also ranks in the top 100 on the U.S. News & World Report rankings. The college offers a unique Global Energy Executive MBA that prepares students for the fast-paced world of Houston’s energy industry.

Although he may not teach MBA students, one star of the college is C.T. Bauer Professor of Marketing Michael Ahearne. He heads the Sales Excellence Institute, and his marketing textbook is the No. 1 best-selling professional marketing book in the world.


Unlike other professional programs, in which UH hosts the only program in the city or even the state, law schools abound in the U.S. UH’s Law Center ranks No. 50 out of the hundreds of accredited schools in the country, according to the U.S. News & World Report.

It’s also one of the cheapest law programs for its value, at under half of the cost of other top-ranked private colleges. For students with specific career goals in law, the Law Center offers a number of joint degrees. Combining a juris doctor with social work, business, art history, medical doctorate or public health is a specialty of the Law Center.

Political Science

The U.S. News college rankings place UH’s Master of Arts in Political Science at No. 68 in the country.

One new feature makes UH a destination for scholars interested in American political science. The department started a new forum in 2015, the Tocqueville Forum on American Ideas and Institutions, which encourages discussion and research on “the challenges facing democratic constitutionalism today,” according the its website.


The Cullen College of Engineering ranks No. 73 overall for its graduate programs, according to the U.S. News & World Report college rankings. It’s one of UH’s earliest colleges, as the first engineering courses opened in 1941.

Today, the college offers 14 different concentrations for graduate degrees. One of two notable programs are unique to UH: The Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture, which was the first of its kind when it opened in 1987 and works directly with the Johnson Space Center to “advance peaceful and beneficial uses of space and space technology on Earth and beyond,” according to the center’s website.

Earth Sciences

UH’s department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences also made the U.S. News & World Report rankings. The Masters of Science in Geology, Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences collectively ranked No. 64 in the rankings.

Graduate students in the programs do field work all over the world, engaging in geologic research in areas like Greenland, Nepal, Turkey and Antarctica. Like many other top graduate programs at UH, earth science students can study energy at the Center for Petroleum Geochemistry, for example.

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