Graduate study is open to a limited number of extremely well-qualified students with a substantial background in their proposed field of study (this usually, though not always, means an undergraduate major in the field). Each department determines whether applicants have enough preparation to enter a given program, emphasizing the quality of their preparation rather than the particular academic program they completed or the credits they earned.

Admittance to a Rice University graduate-degree program, with the exception of those in the School of Music, requires a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or an international institution officially recognized by that country’s Ministry of Education or its equivalent as determined by the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. For the Shepherd School of Music, the equivalent to the baccalaureate degree will be determined by the school's graduate committee.

Applicants for admission to graduate study should either contact the appropriate department for application forms and relevant information about the program or visit the department’s website for online application information. The Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website also has links to the graduate departments’ websites.

Application Process

An application for graduate study should include the completed application form, the application fee, transcript(s), recommendations, and writing samples, if required. Some departments require scores on the aptitude portion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and an appropriate advanced test. The ETS school code for Rice is 6609; in addition, applicants should send their test scores directly to the admitting department. See individual departmental listings for specific requirement information.

To make sure scores are available when admission decisions normally are made, applicants should take the GRE by the December before the fall for which they are applying. Application deadlines vary by department and degree program. In general, these occur between December and February for fall semester admission, and departments may occasionally consider late applications. Some departments will also accept spring applications. See individual departmental websites for specific information regarding application deadlines.

Admission depends on students’ previous academic records, available test scores, and letters of reference from scholars under whom they have studied. Writing samples, portfolios, statements of purpose, and work experience may be evaluated as part of the admissions decision. In general, applicants should have at least a 3.00 (B) grade point average, or the equivalent, in undergraduate work. Applicants who are foreign nationals or whose native language is not English must take either the TOEFL or IELTS test and must score at least 90 on the iBT TOEFL or at least 600 on the paper-based TOEFL. For those students who choose to take the IELTS in lieu of TOEFL, the minimum score is 7. The TOEFL school code for Rice is 6609. The TOEFL and IELTS are not necessary for an international student who has received a degree from a university in which English is the official language of communication. Waiver of the TOEFL and IELTS test may be requested by the admitting department if the department deems that the student has sufficient English communication skills to be successful in their degree program. If a student does not meet the minimum English language requirement above, then a formal request must be submitted to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies by the graduate program. Letters of endorsement should be addressed to the dean of graduate and postdoctoral studies.

Graduate students seeking to transfer to another graduate department at Rice may do so after being admitted to the new degree program and being released from their current department. A student is not eligible to return to any Rice graduate program following a dismissal. Students previously on probation must petition the dean of graduate and postdoctoral studies for admission into any graduate program, regardless of their current enrollment status.