Top blue bar image Department of Computer Science

Welcome!

Thank you for your interest in computer science at Rice University. Our students graduate with the skills they’ll need, not just to keep up with the latest technologies in the field, but to be effective leaders, life-long learners and the creators of new technologies that change people’s lives.

CS students in classes and labs

Undergraduates in computer science at Rice have established two clubs that are central to life in the department, the Computer Science Club and the CSters, a club for women in computer science. These groups help organize special events like startup company recruiting events. CSters plays an important role in supporting women in the department, who make up more than 30 percent of the undergraduate student body in computer science. Students also participate in other CS-related organizations such as a programming team and a robotics club.

The Rice Center for Engineering Leadership is a great resource for engineering students who want to develop their leadership abilities. Through special events, internships, and a certificate program, RCEL strives to educate and develop “Rice engineers to become inspiring leaders, exceptional team members, effective communicators, and bold entrepreneurs.”

Code with a Purpose

Computer science is one of the most popular majors in the school of engineering at Rice and for good reason. Our community is close-knit and focused on advancing the field and making a difference. Undergraduates routinely do research with faculty and graduate students in the areas of their special interests. Recently redesigned curriculum focuses on the changing demands of the discipline and on the needs and interests of the students.
 
Unlike many computer science programs, ours is part of the School of Engineering. This means that our students have many opportunities to collaborate on projects with engineers from other disciplines. Working in the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen, computer science majors have collaborated on devices to help children with epilepsy improve their balance, to correctly dose phototherapy in incubators for the developing world and to inspect pipes in oil and gas drilling. Read about these and other projects or find out more about the resources in the OEDK.  

No Programming Experience?

Many high school students feel that significant programming experience is required for an undergraduate major in computer science. In fact, we welcome students with little or no programming experience because computer science is not programming; programming is one part of computer science but the discipline is really about using computers and computation as tools to solve problems and to build tools for others to use.

Computer science requires the ability to think clearly and analytically; we can teach you the rest and inspire you to go beyond. Bob Barton, the system architect behind some of the most innovative computer designs in the 1960s and 1970s, once characterized the ideal computer scientist as a “mathematician seeking adventure.” If you enjoy problem solving, design challenges, or mathematics, computer science may be right for you.

Degrees Offered

Rice offers two undergraduate degrees in computer science: the Bachelor of Science and the Bachelor of Arts. Which is right for you? That depends on whether you want breadth in your education (BA) or depth in one area of computer science (BS). That breadth could come in the form of a wider range of computer science courses, or in the form of a double major, or of completing the Rice Center for Engineering Leadership’s certificate program, or it could be a minor.

Want to know more about the degree plans? Review the current students and advising pages.

Internships

An integral part of preparing yourself for the job market after graduation, or figuring out what areas in computer science interest you most if you’re headed to graduate school, is the summer internship. Our students intern at a wide variety of places, from the prestigious Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers program that places students in top startups in Silicon Valley, to Google, Amazon, Facebook, and all the major energy companies. Rice's Center for Career Development works with the School of Engineering to place students in internships that will give them a good work experience (and pay!) and help them to further their skills.

Research

There are several ways for undergraduates to do research in computer science at Rice: through coursework for credit, as an extracurricular activity, or as a paid member of a research group. Faculty in computer science routinely bring undergraduates into their research groups. The best way to earn a position in one of these groups is to ask the professor whose work interests you if he or she has an opening for an undergraduate. Undergraduates often contribute to papers published in professional journals and sometimes present the papers at conferences. Here are the general areas in which our faculty do research: 

Read on to know more about computing at Rice, or about advising details, including AP and IB and transfer credit.