2022 Best Colleges in Dallas

Explore the best colleges in Dallas for a variety of lucrative careers. Many of Dallas' best colleges offer in-person and online learning options.

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by Heather Mullinix

Updated May 16, 2022

Edited by Colin Weickmann
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Students considering colleges in Dallas can choose from more than 30 higher education institutions offering engineering, healthcare, and fine arts programs. According to the Dallas Regional Chamber, the schools awarded more than 54,000 degrees in 2020, including bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. Dallas schools also awarded associate degrees and certificates.

Graduates can find rewarding careers in energy, financial services, manufacturing, and healthcare, among other fields. The Dallas-Fort Worth region boasts multiple emerging research universities and renowned healthcare systems. More than 20 Fortune 500 companies have their headquarters in the city, including ExxonMobil and American Airlines.

www.bestcolleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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When considering colleges in Texas, consider focusing on institutions in Dallas. For more information about going to college in the Lone Star State, check out our Resources for Students in Texas page.

Why Study in Dallas?

Colleges in Dallas offer robust academic programs in a city that features multiple recreational and cultural opportunities. Schools often partner with companies to provide unique learning opportunities in various fields. This helps schools retain top talent, with 72% of college graduates remaining in the region to work.

Dallas and its neighboring cities — including Fort Worth and Arlington — make up the Dallas-Forth Worth metroplex. The 2020 Census found more than 7.6 million people live in this 11-county region, making it the fourth-largest metro area in the nation. This region and Dallas offer more than 70 accredited higher education institutions with opportunities to study in Texas.

Educational Opportunities

Several major universities call Dallas home, including Texas A&M University, Southern Methodist University, and the University of North Texas. Students can pursue associate degrees, bachelor's degrees, and graduate degrees at these institutions. Professional training programs include professional degrees in law, medicine, and pharmacy.

Colleges in Dallas have achieved numerous honors and recognitions. The metro area boasts more Carnegie R-1 research universities than any other Texas region. The University of Texas at Dallas is third in the nation for computer science degrees awarded.

Economy

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Dallas and the surrounding metro area reported a 3.6% unemployment rate in December 2021, with a 5.2% increase in employment over the past 12 months. The city's diverse economy features top employers like telecommunications company AT&T, manufacturing giant Texas Instruments, and financial company Bank of America.

More than 20 Fortune 500 and 45 Fortune 1000 companies chose Dallas for their headquarters. These businesses include energy companies drawn in by the state's raw materials and oil and gas industry, financial companies on the cutting-edge of technology, and construction companies serving the growing population.

Cost of Living

Dallas boasts a lower cost of living than many other major metropolitan areas in the U.S.. The Cost of Living Index places Dallas at 103.5 overall, slightly higher than the U.S. average, which is 100. In comparison, New York falls at 255 on the Cost of Living Index, and San Diego has a number of 147.2.

Dallas residents pay slightly more for housing and energy than the average U.S. resident, but they can find savings in transportation and food costs. The city reports housing costs far below the average found in other major cities. For example, someone moving from Boston to Dallas would find housing costs about 54% lower in their new city.

Cultural and Community Offerings

Students enjoy numerous entertainment and recreational opportunities. Sports fans can cheer for their favorite college team or root for professional teams in football, baseball, basketball, hockey, and soccer. The park system offers 62 miles of trails and more than 1,000 sports complexes. Students can find seven state parks within a short drive from the city center.

The AT&T Performing Arts Center hosts concerts, outdoor art installations, and festivals during the year. Museums across the city feature artworks in various mediums and styles, including the Dallas Museum of Art.

Climate

Dallas averages 234 sunny days each year — far above the U.S. average of 205 days. Those sunny days often bring with them warm summer temperatures or mild winter weather for this subtropical climate. Summer daytime temperatures often exceed 100 degrees.

The warm season extends about 249 days, from mid-March to late November. Annual rainfall ranges from 20 to 50 inches a year, with few periods of extreme cold and rare snowfalls. The area can experience severe weather such as windstorms or thunderstorms that can cause damage.

Top Degree Programs in Dallas

Featured Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Dallas Employment Outlook

According to the Dallas Regional Chamber, the city gained more than 196,900 new jobs between December 2020 and December 2021, with total employment at 102.9% of pre-pandemic levels. The region has benefitted from a diverse economy, emerging technology, and continued growth. The 2020 Census found the area has grown its population by 20% since 2010.

The city boasts a bustling healthcare industry, with 82 acute care hospitals. It also serves as a transportation and logistics hub, with companies shipping goods worldwide and across the country. It often ranks high on lists of cities with tech startups, and high-tech skills remain in high demand from the numerous corporate entities that call the region home.

According to the BLS, office and administrative support occupations make up the largest portion of careers in Dallas, with more than 556,000 people employed. These professionals earned an average salary of $42,220 per year in May 2020. The sales, transportation, and food preparation industries follow.

Below, learn about five career opportunities in Texas, with state employment projections and average salaries.

5 Dallas Jobs in Demand for 2022

Registered Nurse

  • Annual Average Salary in Dallas-Fort Worth (May 2020): $77,990
  • Job Outlook in Texas (2018-2028): 16.8%

Registered nurses work in hospitals, nursing facilities, doctor's offices, and schools. They may work full or part time, and hours may include nights, weekends, and holidays. Nurses provide direct patient care, administer medication, perform diagnostic tests, and explain treatment plans.

Registered nurses need a degree in nursing. Coursework often includes hands-on training. Nurses can continue their education with bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. Texas requires nurses to obtain a state license, which includes passing a national exam.

Computer Network Support Specialist

  • Annual Average Salary in Dallas-Fort Worth (May 2020): $89,610
  • Job Outlook in Texas (2018-2028): 16.7%

Computer network support specialists establish and maintain internal computer networks. They assist users who encounter technical issues, performing various diagnostics to determine the causes of errors. Specialists may also provide training on hardware or software and company information security policies.

Often, specialists work as part of an information technology team and may assist in data security, computer upgrade planning, and policy formation. Educational requirements vary, but many specialists have an associate degree or relevant work experience and training.

Loan Officer

  • Annual Average Salary in Dallas-Fort Worth (May 2020): $87,300
  • Job Outlook in Texas (2018-2028): 19.4%

Loan officers assist individuals or organizations secure loans for various uses. The loan officer explains the types of loans available; verifies information related to income, debts, and credit rating; and approves loans or refers applications to management for loan decisions.

Loan officers may specialize in mortgage lending, consumer loans, or commercial and business loans. Loan officers may hold a degree in business or finance with related work experience in banking, customer service, and sales.

Software Applications Developer

  • Annual Average Salary in Dallas-Fort Worth (May 2020): $111,180
  • Job Outlook in Texas (2018-2028): 31.4%

Software developers create software applications to meet specific user needs. They write code and test how well it functions, making improvements as they go. Many software developers have a bachelor's degree, but companies may hire individuals with an associate degree and experience coding in specific programming languages.

Coding bootcamps can also prepare individuals for a career in software development. Most programmers work in computer systems design, manufacturing, and software publishing.

Accounting Clerks

  • Annual Average Salary in Dallas-Fort Worth (May 2020): $44,370
  • Job Outlook in Texas (2018-2028): 5.9%

Accounting clerks and bookkeepers help organizations track financial data, ensuring the company pays its bills and receives the money it is due. They produce various reports, like balance sheets, income statements, or profit and loss statements.

All companies need financial experts to track financial information. Most employers require these professionals to possess some postsecondary training and education, such as courses in accounting and business.

Popular Career Paths in Dallas

2022 Best Accredited Colleges in Dallas

Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

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How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

#1

Texas Christian University

School Information
Location Fort Worth, Texas
Admission Rate 47%
Graduation Rate 83%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 3% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad | $1,790
Graduate | $1,870

TCU enrolls more than 11,000 students and offers more than 200 graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs. Students can learn on campus or enroll in a distance program through TCU's Koehler Center for Instruction, Innovation, and Engagement.

TCU emphasizes internship placements and job preparation through its Center for Career and Professional Development. Online learners enjoy access to tech support and qualify for the same financial aid as on-campus students. 

Undergraduate applicants must submit official transcripts, essays, and counselor and teacher recommendations. Students may opt to submit SAT or ACT scores. TCU accepts early action, early decision, and regular decision applications for the fall or spring semester.

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#2

Southern Methodist University

School Information
Location Dallas, Texas
Admission Rate 47%
Graduation Rate 81%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad | $2,067
Graduate | $725-$2,522

SMU enrolls more than 12,000 students from around the world. Students can choose from nearly 200 undergraduate majors and minors in subjects like business, engineering, and the arts. SMU also offers master's degrees, certificates, and short courses online.

SMU boasts an 11-to-1 student-teacher ratio, which is below the national average. Students enjoy comprehensive support tools through the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center, including academic advising, career development, and internship placement services.

Undergraduate applicants must submit official high school transcripts and meet minimum English, math, science, and foreign language requirements. Essays are also required. SMU adopted a temporary test-optional policy for ACT and SAT scores for students applying through spring 2023.

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#3

University of Dallas

School Information
Location Irving, Texas
Admission Rate 45%
Graduation Rate 71%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 24% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad | $1,444
Graduate | $435-$1,625

All UD programs follow the Catholic tradition and include a signature core curriculum rooted in the liberal arts. Students can choose from nearly 30 majors involving the liberal arts or business. UD also offers an MBA and master's in cybersecurity 100% online.

Students enjoy comprehensive library access and disability support services. Additionally, UD offers support through its business resource center and the Office of Personal Career Development. 

Learners must submit an application and an essay through the Common App. They also need to submit counselor and teacher recommendations, official high school transcripts, and SAT or ACT reports.

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#4

The University of Texas at Dallas

School Information
Location Richardson, Texas
Admission Rate 79%
Graduation Rate 70%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 19% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad, in state | $535
Undergrad, out of state | $1,376
Graduate, in state | $888
Graduate, out of state | $1,675

UT Dallas enrolls nearly 30,000 students and boasts a network of more than 132,000 alums. Students can choose from more than 140 graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs across eight academic schools.

UT Dallas also offers online programs through the Jindal School of Management and a variety of distance courses through its eCampus. Online learners enjoy support resources including tutoring, tech support, cloud storage, and library services.

Applicants should report their high school rank and GPA and submit transcripts, a resume, and SAT and/or ACT scores with their undergraduate application. An admissions essay and letters of recommendation are optional. Aspiring first-year students who graduated in the top 10% of their high school class are automatically admitted.

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#5

University of North Texas Health Science Center

School Information
Location Fort Worth, Texas
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 6% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
Graduate, in state | $102-$362
Graduate, out of state | $504-$770

UNT Health Science Center offers several health-related degrees for graduate students. Programs explore topics like healthcare practice and research and public health administration. UNT Health Science Center encompasses five schools focused on osteopathic medicine, biomedical sciences, public health, pharmacy, and health professions.

Enrollees enjoy various student services, including mentoring and tutoring opportunities, career readiness, and disability accommodations.

Learners can apply online for admission. Though individual admission requirements vary, all programs require students to submit official transcripts. Some pathways include prerequisite courses, a certain number of transferable credits, and/or a minimum 3.0 GPA.

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#6

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

School Information
Location Dallas, Texas
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Avg. Cost per Credit
Graduate, in state | $323-$420
Graduate, out of state | $738-$842

UT Southwestern awards medical degrees and post-baccalaureate certificates in healthcare and biomedical sciences. The university enrolls nearly 3,700 students in Dallas and through locations across Texas. The programs emphasize research skills, advanced patient care, and clinical expertise.

UT Southwestern also offers comprehensive interprofessional and continuing education options. Student support includes access to library services, academic tutoring, and intensive preparation for the Step 1 United States Medical Licensing Examination.

While admission requirements vary by program, master's tracks generally require at least a bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants must also submit letters of recommendation. Additional requirements may include prerequisite coursework, licensure, and/or GRE test scores.

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#7

University of North Texas at Dallas

School Information
Location Dallas, Texas
Admission Rate 47%
Graduation Rate 17%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad, in state | $261
Undergrad, out of state | $311
Graduate, in state | $669
Graduate, out of state | $719

UNT Dallas offers dozens of bachelor's and master's degrees in business, education, law, liberal arts and sciences, and behavioral health and human services. Students can also pursue programs leading to professional licensure in the state of Texas.

The university is Dallas' only public, accredited, four-year institution. Students can access comprehensive student support like counseling and wellness services, career preparation, and a veterans success center. 

Applicants who graduated in the top 30% of their high school class receive automatic admission to UNT Dallas. Students with a GPA of at least 3.0 need not submit SAT or ACT scores.

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#8

Brite Divinity School

School Information
Location Fort Worth, Texas
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Avg. Cost per Credit
Graduate | $985-$1,000

Brite Divinity School offers master's and doctoral degrees in theology, ministry, and biblical interpretation. Students can also pursue a collaborative master of social work or MBA. Brite Divinity School awards certificates in various specializations, including theological studies.

Brite Divinity School is affiliated with Texas Christian University and the United Methodist Church. The school participates in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement to offer virtual workshops and online courses.

Applicants must arrange for official college transcripts to be sent to the admissions office at Brite Divinity School. Additionally, each program includes individual requirements for character references. Students applying to a master's program must schedule an admissions interview after submitting their application and transcripts.

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#9

Parker University

School Information
Location Dallas, Texas
Graduation Rate 71%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 23% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad | $660
Graduate | $740

Parker emphasizes career-centered business and healthcare programs. Students can choose from dozens of graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs in fields like healthcare management technology, health sciences, and chiropractic. Programs are available on campus or online.

Learners can attend chiropractic seminars and join the Parker Success Academy, which offers networking and business development opportunities. Parker also maintains professional relationships with 35 private-practice partners, and students can fulfill clinical practicum requirements through veterans hospitals across Texas. 

Though requirements vary, most undergraduate applicants must be at least 18 years of age and submit a high school or GED diploma and academic transcripts. Some programs require additional prerequisites or a minimum number of completed college credits.

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#10

Amberton University

School Information
Location Garland, Texas
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 81% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad | $285
Graduate | $285

Amberton enrolls nearly 1,800 students and offers more than 30 graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs — all guided by Christian principles. Learners can choose to study online or on campus in Garland or Frisco, Texas.

Amberton offers comprehensive student support through resources like research tutorials, library access, and technical support services. The university also offers advising for students and veterans, new-student orientation, and career placement assistance.

Amberton does not charge an application fee or require an entrance exam to qualify for admission.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Colleges in Dallas

How many colleges are in Dallas?

About 30 postsecondary colleges and universities call Dallas home. Another 40 accredited institutions can be found in the 11-county Dallas-Fort Worth region. These colleges and universities include two-year community colleges and four-year colleges and universities offering diverse degree opportunities.

According to the Dallas Regional Chamber, more than 54,000 students graduate with a degree from colleges in Dallas each year. The universities and colleges in Dallas include publicly funded institutions, like the University of North Texas at Denton, with 42,000 students, and the private Southern Methodist University. The Chamber reports that 23% of all Texas college students attend a school in the Dallas region.

Does Dallas have good colleges?

Students will find high-quality colleges in Dallas. Three schools — the University of North Texas at Denton, the University of Texas at Dallas, and the University of Texas at Arlington — hold the distinction of "emerging research universities." That's more research universities than any other Texas metro area. Several schools have attained recognition for specific programs, such as the University of Texas at Dallas' computer science program and Texas Woman's University's doctoral program in physical therapy.

Employers recognize the value of a degree from colleges in Dallas and seek out graduates for employment. More than 70% of graduates from Dallas-area schools remain in the region after graduation.

How much does it cost to go to college in Dallas?

Several factors impact the cost of going to college in Dallas. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), students attending in-state, four-year colleges in Texas in 2019-2020 paid an average of $8,598 in tuition and fees. Out-of-state students at the same institutions paid an average of $24,889 in tuition and fees. Students attending private colleges and universities in Texas paid an average of $36,014 in tuition.

However, tuition and fees may not represent your out-of-pocket costs. Consider financial aid like grants and scholarships to lower your program costs. Online programs may also offer savings and convenience over in-person learning.

What is the cheapest college in Dallas?

According to the U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard, two-year Dallas College costs students an average of $4,000 per year to attend, making it among the cheapest colleges in Dallas. Students seeking a four-year degree can consider the University of North Texas at Dallas, where students pay an average of $8,000 per year.

Students who live outside Texas can still find low-cost colleges in Dallas and Texas. Online students may save on out-of-state fees and room and board costs. Programs such as the Academic Common Market allow students in certain states to save on out-of-state tuition for qualifying academic programs.

Is Dallas a good place to live and study?

Dallas is a vibrant community with recreation, cultural opportunities, and a bustling economy. The region hosts more than 20 Fortune 500 company headquarters in a diverse range of industries. Over the past year, the area reported 196,900 new jobs, with a population that grew by about 20% between 2010 to 2020.

The area also offers numerous entertainment and recreational opportunities. Enjoy concerts from famous entertainers, visit an art exhibit, or cheer for your favorite professional sports team. You will also find numerous parks and a growing network of pedestrian and biking trails. The city also offers a cost of living near the national average.

Feature Image: Jeremy Woodhouse / DigitalVision / Getty Images

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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