Top blue bar image Department of Computer Science

Prospective Graduate Students

The Department of Computer Science offers rigorous doctoral and professional master's degree programs that balance theory and practice, draw recent research results into the classroom, and prepare students for career-long learning and improvement. Graduate students in our programs come from the best universities in the world, and they engage in hands-on research with some of the top scientists in the field today. Among the computer science faculty are directors of university centers, members of the National Academy of Engineering and of the Institute of Medicine, National Science Foundation CAREER award recipients, and fellows of the Association for Computing Machinery, the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and variety of other organizations. Faculty and students in the department have a broad range of research interests in the areas of algorithms and artificial intelligence, computer engineering and systems, and programming languages and software engineering.

Admissions

Computer science graduate student admissions are handled by the Computer Science Department. If you are interested in graduate studies in computer science at Rice, you are welcome to apply online. Although most applicants for computer science graduate programs have backgrounds in computer science or math, the graduate admissions committee encourages highly motivated students with undergraduate degrees in related disciplines to apply for admission.

If you have questions about either graduate studies at Rice or the application process, peruse the responses to frequently asked questions or contact the graduate admissions committee.

Financial Support

Graduate students enrolled in the Ph.D. program are fully supported by graduate fellowships or research assistantships funded from a variety of sources, including departmental funds, research grants, and external fellowships. This support typically includes a monthly stipend and graduate tuition. First-year doctoral students are supported by the department. In subsequent years, doctoral students are supported from research funds or external fellowships. Typically, the research funds are provided by the student’s advisor.

Doctoral students are encouraged to apply for external fellowships; students who gain external support receive an additional internal supplement. A few external fellowships to consider include the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program, the Google Anita Borg Scholarship, the DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship, and the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship. See the Rice Internship Initiative for their list of graduate school fellowships; Rice's Fondren Library also provides information about graduate fellowships.

Graduate students enrolled in the MCS program are not eligible for financial support from either departmental funds or research grants. Visit the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies cost of study page for information about current tuition, fees, and housing costs.

Student Life

Rice University occupies a heavily-wooded 295-acre campus in Houston, Texas, a major city known for its dynamic international business climate, its diverse blend of ethnic groups and cultures, and its affordability. Houston boasts a vibrant arts scene, which includes opera, ballet, and symphony; myriad theaters and comedy clubs; and both major museums and minor galleries. Houston possesses a superb restaurant culture that includes outstanding restaurants across a broad variety of styles and price ranges. Houston has major league, minor league, and college sports, including, of course, Rice's own competitive teams.

Rice is well positioned geographically. It is adjacent to the Houston Museum District and lies within walking distance of Hermann Park, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the  Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and the Houston Zoo. The Rice Village, which offers a collection of shops, restaurants, and pubs, is situated approximately a half-mile west of the center of the Rice campus. The Texas Medical Center, the world's largest medical complex, is adjacent to the Rice campus. Public transportation runs to the edge of campus; Houston's light rail system has two stops within 100 yards of Rice. Visit Rice's Houston website and the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies' Houston website for additional information about Houston's numerous amenities.

Rice provides an abundance of on-campus cultural, social, intellectual, and athletic opportunities, ranging from concerts at the Shepherd School of Music through intramural sports. Visit the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Life at Rice web page for more details. International students are urged to take advantage of the myriad services provided and activities hosted by the Office of International Students and Scholars.

Computer science graduate students are encouraged to join both the Rice Computer Science Graduate Student Association (CSGSA) and the Rice Graduate Student Association (GSA). The CSGSA is dedicated to promoting research, collaboration, and communication among computer science graduate students. The CSGSA provides mentors and assists with orientation for new computer science graduate students. The CSGSA also regularly hosts social events for graduate students, faculty, and administrative staff. The GSA is dedicated to enriching the graduate student experience for all students seeking Rice graduate degrees and to representing, supporting, and promoting graduate student interests and values. The GSA provides programs and services targeted at recruitment and retention of graduate students and represents graduate student interests to the Rice administration. The GSA also builds a strong sense of community by hosting social and cultural events and by fielding teams for campus-wide intramural athletic competitions. For information about other Rice clubs and student organizations, visit the Rice Student Activities master list of clubs page.

Housing

Rice Graduate ApartmentsRice University offers housing in three apartment buildings located near campus: the Rice Village Apartments, the Rice Graduate Apartments, and the Morningside Square Apartments. Rice offers shuttle service from these apartment complexes to campus and to local shopping. For more information about campus housing options, visit the Housing Services Graduate Housing website.

Because Houston has a reasonable cost of living for a major city, a variety of options for affordable off-campus housing are available. The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies provides a  list of resources that you can use to locate off-campus housing.

If you need items ranging from bookcases through toasters to get settled in your new home, consider joining the Graduate Student Loan Closet. Registration gives you the privilege of selecting available goods at any time during the year. Items borrowed must be returned to the closet when you no longer need them or when you leave Rice.