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5 College Freshman

Academics: Professors are helpful, kind, and knowledgable. The curriculum is very well put together. You need a certain amount of credit from humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, but not too much – this gives a great time for exploration outside of your major. The workload isn't bad – I actually find it the most manageable load since middle school.

5 College Sophomore

Academics: The academic demands are tough but they really make you a stronger student.

5 College Freshman

Academics: Highly ranked school, known for academics

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Academics: Although some departments are considered Rice's strong suit, every professor at Rice is among the best in their field. Classes can be extremely challenging, and many kids here are brilliant so it can be easy to compare yourself and feel like you aren't cut out for this school, but as long as you push through and work hard, you can definitely do well here.

5 College Freshman

Academics: I consider academics at Rice to be too difficult and constantly feel stupid compared to my peers. The community is very nurturing and competitive and students rarely if ever discuss grades, but I find classes incredibly challenging. Though Rice is known more for its innovations in science and math, humanities classes are equally respected in my experience and just as challenging. Students often continue academically-minded work outside of the classroom setting in clubs, research activities or just dinnertime discussion. There is an intellectual air around campus distinct from other equally prestigious but less nerdy schools. Some potential students may find it off-putting, but Rice students love to geek out.

I'm on the staff for Catalyst, Rice's undergraduate research journal, and help with the ICSJ, a similar journal drawing from Rice and 10 other peer colleges in the US and UK. I'm also in Owlchemy, Rice's chemical society, which has provided some amazing travel/research opportunities and introduced me to some great friends on campus. Whatever academic interests you have, Rice probably has at least two clubs for each and you will be accepted by all.

Rice's size allows for two other nearly unique instances to happen:

1. the registration process is a BREEZE and students can pretty much get whatever classes they want, but Rice is big enough to offer a huge variety of classes

2. professors hang out with students all the time outside of classes, giving this rich research university a liberal-arts feel

Distribution requirements are very lax as well. Rice is probably second only to Brown among top colleges for flexible curriculum requirements. There are 3 distribution areas student must take 4 classes in, at least one of which will be covered by your major. They are humanities (study of things made by humans), social sciences (study of humans) and science/math (study of nature). AP credit can count towards many of these and classes can be taken pass/fail.

26 people found this useful Report

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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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According to most Rice students, the academic experience is incredibly positive. Students rave about the close personal relationships that they form with many of their professors. They are approachable, eager to connect with students, very knowledgeable in their fields, and make every effort to be accessible to their students. They not only meet with students before and after class or during their office hours, but many also frequently eat lunch at local restaurants and attend University functions (athletic events, plays, and even off-campus social functions) or live in colleges as RAs.

In order to earn a Rice diploma, you must complete a certain number of classes in different areas of study (social sciences, humanities, science and engineering). This allows students the opportunity to explore academic areas outside of their chosen major. For many students, elective courses are an exciting change from their major courses. Because these distribution requirements can also be very challenging, Rice allows students to take four classes (not required for their degree) pass/fail. This encourages students to take courses in subjects they are not familiar with, as well as allow them to put more effort into their major classes than their distribution classes. However, when you do have a choice about your courses or professors, there are many resources to help you avoid unwise decisions.

Facts & Statistics

Student-Faculty Ratio
Full-Time Instructional Faculty
Part-Time Instructional Faculty
Total FT Faculty
Faculty with Terminal Degree
Average Faculty Salary
Full-Time Retention Rate
Part-Time Retention Rate
Graduation Rate
Programs/Majors Offered
Academic/Career Counseling?
Remedial Services?
Class Sizes
  • Fewer than 20 students: 60%
  • 20 to 49 students: 32%
  • 50 or more students: 8%
Instructional Programs
Occupational: No
Academic: Yes
Continuing Professional: Yes
Recreational/Avocational: No
Adult Basic Remedial: No
Secondary (High School): No
Special Credit Opportunities
Advanced Placement (AP) Credits: Yes
Dual Credit: Yes
Life Experience Credits: No
Undergraduate Schools/Divisions
  • George R. Brown School of Engineering
  • School of Architecture
  • School of Humanities
  • School of Social Sciences
  • The Shepard School of Music
  • Wiess School of Natural Sciences
Degrees Awarded
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Doctorate - Research/scholarship
  • Master's degree
Most Popular Majors
  • Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering: 3%
  • Business Administration and Management: 7%
  • Music History and Literature: 3%
  • Psychology: 2%
Graduation Requirements
  • Arts/fine arts
  • English (including composition)
  • History
  • Humanities
  • Social science
Special Study Options
  • Study abroad
  • Teacher certification (below the postsecondary level)
  • Weekend/evening college
Other Academic Offerings
  • Double major
  • Honors program
  • Independent study
  • Internships
  • Student-designed major
Best Places to Study
  • Brochstein Pavilion
  • College libraries
  • Fondren Library
  • Outdoor quads
  • Rice Student Center
Tips to Succeed
  • College goes by so fast. Live it up, and make the most of every opportunity!
  • Don't be afraid. Rice can be an intimidating place at first. You won't be the "smart kid" that you always were in high school because everyone here is exceptionally intelligent and hardworking. The cool thing is that once you are accepted, you can have full confidence that you belong here. For whatever reason, the Admissions decided that Rice needed a person like you, and they believed that you could handle the workload. So you should believe the same! Classes can be strenuous, but the work is manageable. You won't find the cutthroat competition at Rice that you find at other prestigious schools. So if you find that you need help, your fellow students are a great resource.
  • Professors, RAs, and masters are all on your side. Use them as connections; get to know them as friends. Make an effort to introduce yourself to your profs. Rice professors love that! And it will pay off later if you need an extension, hope for extra credit work, or want a letter of recommendation. Plus, it's amazing just to pick their brains. These people are brilliant in their areas of study, and they are excited to talk to you about your interests.
Did You Know?
For their first semester, freshmen are allowed to drop classes up until the very last day of the semester. All students have the option to take four classes pass/fail during their college careers (no more than one in a given semester). This allows students to complete those nasty distribution requirements while putting forth minimum effort and concentrating more on classes in their majors.

Student Polls

Who are the most notable alumni from this school?    Based on 14 responses

  • 29% Annise Parker - mayor of Houston
  • 11% Howard Hughes - American business magnate
  • 11% Peggy Whitson - astronaut
  • 11% Robert Woodrow Wilson - Physicist (Nobel Laureate)
  • 9% MLB Players
  • 6% Larry McMurtry - author, screenwriter
  • 6% Alberto Gonzales - US Attorney General
  • 6% David Eagleman - Neuroscientist
  • 6% Robert Curl - Chemist (Nobel Laureate)
  • 3% Lynn Elsenhans - CEO of Sunoco
  • 3% Joyce Carol Oates - writer
  • 0% Candace Bushnell - author

How strongly do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?    Based on 54 responses

Strongly disagree
Strongly agree
  • My Gen-Ed requirements are worthwhile and meaningful.
  • It is easy to get the classes you want.
  • The academic advisers are helpful.
  • Grading is generally consistent and fair.
  • There are a variety of interesting courses to take.
  • Students are encouraged to explore a wide range of courses and topics.
  • The workload is easy to manage.
  • There are plenty of good online course options.
  • Teaching assistants (TAs) are used effectively.
  • The course scheduling/registration process is efficient and student-friendly.
  • Classrooms/labs are up-to-date and incorporate new technologies effectively.

How strongly do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements regarding the professors at this school?    Based on 55 responses

Strongly disagree
Strongly agree
  • Professors are approachable and helpful when needed
  • Professors are engaging and easy to understand.
  • Professors are experts in their field.
  • Professors are passionate about the topics they teach.
  • Professors care about their students' success.
  • Professors put a lot of effort into teaching their classes.
  • Professors use teaching assistants (TAs) effectively.

How often do you:    Based on 29 responses

  • Attend class (lectures and recitation)
  • Do all of your homework
  • Do all of your assigned reading
  • Adequately study
  • Take advantage of office hours/study sessions
  • Take notes

Where did this school rank in your list of potential schools when applying?    Based on 31 responses

  • 42% This was my dream school.
  • 52% This was one of my top choices.
  • 6% This was a school I settled for (safety school).



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