Admissions | Incoming Student FAQ

FAQ - Incoming Students

A list of frequently asked questions for fall incoming students can be found below. For all other questions, including questions on stipends, travel to Houston, or questions about your specific case, you are encouraged to reach out to your graduate program administrator.

A checklist of action items for incoming students can be found here.

Rice Systems Access

When will I be able to access my student account?

Once your offer is accepted, Rice begins the process of setting up your student record, including your ESTHER login, netID and Rice email. This process is typically complete by early June, or within 2-3 weeks of offer acceptance. If you have not received a ‘Welcome to Rice’ email from after this time has passed, please check your spam mail first, then contact your graduate administrator for assistance. Please refer to this email to set up all of your Rice accounts.

Orientation & Training

Will there be an online option for orientation?

Orientation will be both online and in-person. Available details can be found here.

Information on International Student Orientation can be found here.

Fall courses

When will we choose our classes? How do we sign up for classes?

Course registration for incoming fall students will open the Thursday before the first day of class at 5 p.m. Course selections can be found here, and students can register for courses via ESTHER.

When should I contact my advisor to talk about classes I need to take?

Students are advised to consult with their graduate program advisor(s) prior to registering for courses. Your graduate program administrator should be your first point of contact to determine how advising will work within your graduate program. You will find your program handbook helpful in determining your course selection. Your administrator can help you locate this handbook. Handbooks, as they are updated, will also be listed in your program’s General Announcements Page. (Example.)


What should I do if my visa appointment is later than expected?

If you are able to request an expedited appointment once your original appointment is set, we encourage you to do so. Please stay in close communication with the Office of International Students and Scholars on your specific situation. We look forward to welcoming you to campus whenever you are able to arrive.

When will I receive my I-20?

The Office of International Students and Scholars will begin working on your immigration documents as soon as your student record has been created. At that point you will be able to upload all the necessary documents through your secure OISS Portal account, where you can also track the progress of your I-20 processing. Between the months of April and June the OISS office is handling a very high volume of admissions paperwork and our goal is to get I-20s out as quickly as possible. For more information, please see the OISS Portal Info Page


In the event that I am not able to travel for to begin my studies at Rice, is it possible to defer?

For all questions regarding deferrals, including deadlines, process to request, and opportunities, please contact your graduate program administrator to discuss the options available to you. Deferrals are not automatically granted.


I may not be able to get to Houston before the semester begins. Are there resources to help me search for housing?

Graduate housing applications close in late April. Students who have already accepted their housing offer and made a deposit may contact Housing and Dining before mid-July and choose the option to be waitlisted if they do not anticipate a September arrival. Graduate housing then will be offered on a first-arrived first-placed basis until the property is filled. An off-campus housing directory is also available.

Once your student record has been created, you will begin receiving the GSA weekly announcements. Sublets, roommate requests and apartment shares are frequently listed here and in several Rice Facebook groups such as the GSA Facebook Group,Rice University Housing, Sublets & Roommates, and Rice Students Selling Things (you’ll need a Rice email to join this one). The Graduate Student Association has a searchable tool of off-campus housing available here.

Health Data Forms, Health Insurance

I am worried I cannot make the July 1 deadline for the Health Data Form.

Please submit the form as soon as you are able. Students who do not submit the form by July 1 will have a hold placed on their record, preventing them from registering for classes until it is turned in. During peak times, clearing this hold could take up to 3 days, so we encourage you not to wait until the last moment. Please note that you must complete the health history, TB screening questionnaire and vaccine record. A physical exam is also required for students matriculating. More.

Will any immunizations be required?

Information from Student Health Services can be found here.

Is a physical exam required?

If you have not had a physical exam within one year prior to the start of classes, make sure to visit your doctor to get one, as a physical exam is required. Additionally, review any immunization requirements from Student Health Services.

Where can I find information on health insurance?

Register or waive Student Health Insurance by the deadline. More information can be found here.

Updated November 2023