Texas Tech University was created by legislative action in 1923 and has the distinction of being the largest comprehensive higher education institution in the western two-thirds of the state of Texas. The university is the major institution of higher education in a region larger than 46 of the nation's 50 states and is the only campus in Texas that is home to a major university, law school and medical school.
Originally named Texas Technological College, the college opened in 1925 with six buildings and an enrollment of 914. Graduate instruction did not begin until 1927 within the school of Liberal Arts. A "Division of Graduate Studies" was established in 1935 and eventually became known as the Graduate School in 1954.
By action of the Texas State Legislature, Texas Technological College formally became Texas Tech University on September 1, 1969. At that time the schools of Agricultural Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Education, Engineering and Home Economics also became known as "colleges." Architecture became a college in 1986. Two colleges changed their names in 1993 to reflect the broadening fields each serves: the College of Agricultural Sciences became the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and the College of Home Economics became the College of Human Sciences. The Honors College was established in 1998, and the College of Visual and Performing Arts opened in 2002. Mass Communications became a college in 2004 and was renamed the College of Media and Communication in 2012.
The Texas State Legislature authorized funds in 1965 for establishing the Texas Tech University School of Law, and the Law School's first dean was appointed in 1966. The first class of 72 students enrolled in 1967. The Law School was approved by the American Bar Association in 1970 and is fully accredited by the Supreme Court of Texas (1968) and the Association of American Law Schools (1969).
As a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Texas Tech began competing in the Big 12 Conference in 1996 after a 35-year membership in the former Southwest Conference.