Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to the questions most frequently received by the graduate admissions committee can be found on the Computer Science Department's graduate studies pages. In particular, the prospective students page provides information about financial support, student life, and graduate housing options and the application process page covers questions related to the online application system; application deadlines; the application fee; test score, transcript, and recommendation letter requirements; and contact information. Answers to the following frequently asked questions appear on this page.
Am I eligible for admission to a computer science graduate degree program at Rice University?
Admittance to a graduate degree program in the Computer Science Department at Rice University requires a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent. Although most applicants for our graduate programs have backgrounds in computer science, the graduate admissions committee encourages highly motivated students with undergraduate degrees in related disciplines to apply for admission. Preference is given to qualified applicants who have taken computer science courses and/or gained practical computer science knowledge through research projects or industrial experience.
Applicants interested in pursuing a computer science Ph.D. should apply directly to the Ph.D. program if they have either a baccalaureate degree or a master's degree.
Can I reapply to a computer science graduate degree program?
Applicants may use the online application system to reapply to a computer science graduate degree program.
How will the graduate admissions committee evaluate my test scores if I have taken the tests more than once?
The graduate admissions committee will review all submitted test scores but typically focus on the highest reported score for each type of test.
Who should prepare my letters of recommendation?
Letters of recommendation should be written by individuals, preferably professors or research advisors, who are familiar with your work in computer science or other scientific fields.
Once I have submitted names of the individuals preparing my letters of recommendation, can I change those names?
Using the online application system, you will be able to change the names and e-mail addresses of the individuals writing your letters of recommendation as long as those letters have not already been received by the graduate admissions committee.
Can the individuals preparing my letters of recommendation mail letters directly to the Computer Science Department?
All letters of recommendation must be submitted through the online application system. As part of your online application, you will provide e-mail addresses for the individuals preparing your letters of recommendation. When you submit your completed application, the online application system will automatically send an e-mail message to your letter writers with a link to the recommendation portion of the application. Your letter writers will complete the recommendation form and, if they choose, upload a letter of recommendation. Recommendation letters sent via e-mail or mailed to the Computer Science Department will be discarded.
Will the Computer Science Department accept transfer credit once I am accepted to a program?
The decision to accept transfer credit is made on a case-by-case basis.
Does the Computer Science Department accept applications for spring admissions?
The Computer Science Department only accepts applications for the MCS program for spring admissions.
Should I call the Computer Science Department to check on the status of my application?
Using your username and password, you can access the online application system to check your application status. You can also use the online application system to determine whether or not your test scores and recommendation letters have been received. Please do not call the Computer Science Department to check on your application status.
How much should I expect to pay for tuition, fees, and housing?
Visit the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies cost of study page for information about current tuition, fees, and housing costs. Visit the Computer Science Department's prospective student page for information about financial support.
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
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.