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Masters Degree Programs in Texas

Overview of Master's Education in Texas

The state of Texas is home to many institutions of higher learning, including public schools and private ones such as Rice University. In addition to numerous separate and unique public universities, some schools are ranked Tier One by the Texas Higher Education Coordination Board and some are deemed to have "very high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. As of 2011, such institutions included The University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University and the University of Houston. In order to qualify as Tier One, a school must meet requirements for annual research expenditures (utsystem.edu, 2009). These schools may be high on the top of any Texan's potential list of graduate schools.

Earning a master's degree in Texas requires previously earning a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution or enrolling in a masters-bachelor's combined program. Some schools may require the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) or the GMAT in addition to a minimum GPA for undergraduate coursework. High school students graduating at the top of their class can apply for automatic admission to publicly funded colleges and universities, which may potentially help those seeking admission to bachelor's-master's combined degree programs. According to the Lumina Foundation, 8.3 percent of the Texas population aged 25-64 held a graduate or professional degree, including master's degrees, as of 2008 (luminafoundation.org, 2008).

Petroleum Engineering Master's Degree in Texas

Texas is home to the largest employment level of petroleum engineers in the nation by nearly a factor of seven. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas employed more than 21,500 petroleum engineers as of May 2012. Additionally, while many employers may hire engineers with a bachelor's degree, some employers prefer to hire applicants with a master's. Some universities even provide 5-to 6-year hybrid bachelor's-master's degree programs combining both academic education as well as practical work (bls.gov/ooh, 2012). But while Texas is famous for its vastness and its oil -- and doesn't disappoint in either -- it's also becoming known for high-tech industry and computer chips.

Computer Science Master's Degree in Texas

Texas is home to tech leaders such as Michael Dell, the founder of Dell Computer, and the state has attracted IT pros from areas like Silicon Valley. The Economist reported that as of 1997, up to 6,000 Californians migrated to Austin, Texas, each year (economist.com, 1997). Nearly 300,000 professionals worked in computer and mathematical occupations in Texas as of May 2012, the second highest employment level in the nation behind California (bls.gov/oes, 2013). Related roles include computer programmers, computer system analysts, software developers, and computer and information research scientists. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that a bachelor's is the usual entry level degree for computer and IT careers, but some companies may prefer to hire employees with a master's degree in a computer related field such as management information systems, or an MBA with a concentration in information technology.

Popular Schools in Texas for Earning a Master's Degree

More than half a million students attended Texas public universities in the fall of 2012, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and enrollments reach 35,000 or more at Texas A&M University, University of Texas at Austin, University of Houston and University of North Texas (thecb.state.tx.us, 2013).

Also, Texas graduate schools such as the following have been ranked by U.S. News & World Report (usnews.com, 2013):

  • Rice University: Named 9th best grad school for biomedical engineering, 9th for atomic/molecular/optical physics, 10th for best value, 17th for best part-time MBA program
  • Trinity University: Named top regional university in the West, the best value school for 2013, and the 14th best graduate school for healthcare management
  • University of Texas - Austin: Ranked 6th for environmental engineering graduate programs and 5th for computer engineering grad schools

Texas schools host three of the country's 13 presidential libraries, CNN reports. The University of Texas at Austin honors Lyndon Baines Johnson, while Texas A&M is home to the presidential library of George H. W. Bush, and Southern Methodist University hosts the presidential library of George W. Bush.

Employment Outlook In Texas

As of April 2013, Texas had an unemployment rate of 6.4 percent, and the non-farming economy grew by approximately 3 percent between December 2012 and May 2013 (bls.gov/eag, 2013). Potential career opportunities for graduates of master's programs in Texas include different types of engineering positions. As of May 2012, petroleum engineers in Texas earned a mean annual wage of $154,160, compared to $93,030 for software application developers (bls.gov/oes, 2013).

From 2010 to 2020, national employment of petroleum engineers and software developers is expected to grow by up to 17 and 30 percent, respectively (bls.gov/ooh, 2012). The projected growth for the IT industry could result from greater consumer use of mobile apps for cloud computing. Petroleum engineering could see growth due to an increase in oil prices, making new drilling and extraction techniques viable.


Sources:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Economy at Glance - Texas, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.tx.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics - May 2012, Texas, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_tx.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics - May 2012, Petroleum Engineers, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes172171.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics - May 2012, Computer and Mathematical Occupations, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes150000.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Petroleum Engineers, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/petroleum-engineers.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Computer and Information Technology Occupations, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/
Chron, UH takes big step up to Tier One status, Jeannie Kever, Jan. 2011, http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/UH-takes-big-step-up-to-Tier-One-status-1685940.php
The Economist, Deep in the heart of Texas, March 1997, http://www.economist.com/node/366803
Lumina Foundation, Texas Educational Attainment Rate, http://www.luminafoundation.org/1_no_parent_nav_bar_fix/state_work/texas/
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, http://www.thecb.state.tx.us, 2013
The Texas Tribune, Tier-One Prize Money Tentatively Passes House, Reeve Hamilton, 2011, http://www.texastribune.org/texas-education/higher-education/tier-one-prize-money-tentatively-passes-house-/
The University of Texas System, What is Tier One? An Overview of HB 51, 2006, http://www.utsystem.edu/tierone/tierone.htm
U.S. News & World Report, Best Graduate Schools, 2013, http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools
U.S. News & World Report, Rankings and Reviews, Colleges, Rice University, 2013, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/rice-university-227757/overall-rankings
U.S. News & World Report, Rankings and Reviews, Colleges, 2013, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/trinity-university-229267/overall-rankings

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