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At the University of Texas at El Paso, the sky is not the limit.

UTEP alumnus and NASA astronaut John "Danny" Olivas is testament to that.

The 1989 mechanical engineering grad made his first flight into space in June 2007, as part of the shuttle mission STS-117 crew, to work on the International Space Station.

In many ways, Olivas embodies UTEP's mission of providing access and excellence in higher education to the region's students.

A major research university at the heart of the U.S.-Mexico border, UTEP is a leader among Hispanic-serving institutions. We're the only doctoral research university in the nation with a student body that is a majority Mexican-American.

We're the No. 1 graduate engineering school for Hispanics in the nation, according to Hispanic Business magazine. And we rank among the top four universities in the nation in awarding undergraduate degrees to Hispanics -- and No. 1 in awarding bachelor's in engineering to Hispanics -- as reported by Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education magazine.

Our border location in the heart of the Chihuahuan desert allows us to offer vast and unique academic and research opportunities critical to our nation's future. UTEP's growing research portfolio boasts nearly $46 million in research spending in a variety of areas, including border security, emerging technologies, Hispanic health, environmental and Earth science, borderland arts and humanities, and the education of U.S. Hispanics.

Under the leadership of our top-notch faculty researchers, our students are working on new methods for refining oil using nanotechnology; and creating sustainable water supplies and new desalination technologies. We're laying the foundation to become the leading center of research in immigration and international border studies, and are positioned to be a leader in homeland security and defense research.

We're working with rapid-prototyping technology to create surgical models. We're excavating prehistoric villages for clues about ancient indigenous cultures. We're studying a person's memory of a crime to improve eyewitness identification techniques, and we're using biomechanical engineering to improve footwear design.

And if like Olivas our students dream of traveling the universe, they can start at our aerospace systems center where they're developing methods to help spacecraft fly safer.

UTEP enrolls nearly 20,000 students in 81 bachelor's, more than 70 master's and 14 doctoral degree programs.

With many more programs and degrees in development, we're opening a universe of opportunities for students.

UTEP Facts

  • A Hispanic-serving institution, UTEP is a major urban research university located in the heart of the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • The Carnegie Foundation designates UTEP as a Doctoral/Research University-Intensive, placing us among the top-seven percent of all colleges and universities in the nation.
  • UTEP's student population of nearly 20,000 students is 72 percent Hispanic. Approximately 82 percent of our students are from the El Paso region and nine percent are from Mexico.
  • UTEP offers 81 bachelor's degrees, more than 70 master's-level degrees and programs, and 14 doctorates - with more on the way. UTEP also offers cooperative Ph.D. programs in nursing and pharmacy with UT Austin and the UT Health Sciences Center at Houston.
  • UTEP ranks among the top-three universities in the nation in educating Hispanics; among the top four in awarding bachelor's to Hispanics; and as having the No. 1 graduate engineering program in the nation for Hispanics two years in a row.
  • The National Science Foundation has designated UTEP a Model Institution for Excellence - one of only six in the country.
  • UTEP is also one of only 20 schools in the U.S. recognized by the National Survey of Student Engagement for creating "a campus culture that fosters success."
  • With total research expenditures of about $45.7 million in fiscal year 2006, UTEP ranks among the top institutions in the state in research spending.
  • When it comes to annual federal research, UTEP ranks second among UT System academic institutions and fourth among public universities statewide, with about $26.5 million in expenditures.

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