Visiting Students (non-degree)

Online-Distance Education for Visiting Students

Rice University provides online-distance education courses and programs to extend its academic reach and enhance classroom instruction. Such courses are available for credit to degree-seeking students. These courses provide the same high quality as face-to-face instruction, as governed by the regulations and principles of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Please see University Policy #846, Distance and Online Education, for further details. 

Rice Online for-credit Courses 

Each academic year Rice offers a number of for-credit courses online. These courses use the online method of instruction, indicating that the majority of the class time instruction is occurring when and where students and instructors are not in the same place. These online course offerings can be found in the official Rice Course Schedule by querying by method of instruction. 

Online-Distance Education for Visiting Students (non-degree)

Rice offers for-credit online-distance education opportunities to visiting students (non-degree-seeking) or as non-credit course offerings. A complete list of all of Rice University's online course offerings, both for-credit and non-credit offerings, can be found at the Online Learning website.

Visiting students seeking to register for a Rice Online for-credit course should follow the application procedures documented on the Visiting Student Programs website. Upon admission and registration of a Rice Online for-credit course, all students, including non-degree seeking visiting students, must abide by and support the Honor System at Rice University. Prior to the first day of classes, affirmation and acknowledgement of the Honor Code will be required of all visiting students enrolled (for credit or for audit) in any for-credit Rice course.

State Authorization and Professional Licensure Requirements

Information about State Authorization and Professional Licensure may be found here.

Summer Sessions for Visiting Students

Rice’s Summer Sessions offer for-credit courses to Rice students, visiting undergraduates, visiting auditors, and visiting post baccalaureates. Students can choose to take courses in more than one summer session. Continuing Rice students should follow the same registration policies and procedures that are in place for the fall and spring semesters.


Application Process for Visiting Students

To apply, visiting students should submit the following materials to the Rice University Office of the Registrar. Applicants will be notified as soon as possible of acceptance or non-acceptance:  

  • Visiting Student Application and Application Fee 
  • Official college transcript from all colleges or universities attended 
  • Official final high school transcript (waived if attended a college/university in the previous Spring semester) All transcripts must be mailed in and will not be accepted by fax or email.  
  • Official ACT/SAT scores (visiting high school students only)
  • Dean of Students Recommendation Form (visiting high school and visiting undergraduates from other institutions) 
  • Release and Hold Harmless Agreement (required if under the age of 18)
  • Proof of Meningococcal Vaccination Record or Waiver (required if under the age of 22) 
  • Visiting Student Financial Responsibility and Parental Consent Form


  • Tuition is due in full at registration before the beginning of classes.  
  • Enrollment in courses during the summer sessions carries no implications for regular admission to Rice.
  • Visiting students may not take courses on a pass/fail basis.

Applying visiting students should follow the deadlines listed on the Summer Sessions website and in the Academic Calendar. Students may apply after the deadline (but before the start of classes) but will be assessed a late fee. Please Note: Course offerings are at the discretion of Rice and may be canceled at any time for any reason.

Visiting Undergraduate Students

A student who wishes to spend a semester or a year at Rice taking courses for credit to be applied toward the student's undergraduate degree at another school may do so as a Visiting Student. Students must contact the Office of Admission for the visiting student application. The application should be accompanied by the $75 application fee, an official high school transcript, an official transcript of college work to date, an SAT or ACT score (optional), College Report and a recommendation from a faculty member who has taught the student for a full course. 

Visiting students are assigned membership to one of the residential colleges during their stay and are charged the same fees as other undergraduates. In classes where enrollment is limited because of space or other considerations, candidates for Rice degrees have priority over visiting students for registration.  

Visiting students may apply to transfer to Rice only after having left Rice for at least one semester. This includes all visiting undergraduate students, regardless of whether the student is taking courses for credit or audit.

Please Note: Rice does not offer financial assistance to Visiting Students. 

For more information, see the Visiting Undergraduates tab of the Visiting Student Programs website.

Visiting Post Baccalaureates

The Visiting Post Baccalaureate (VPB) program at Rice allows a visiting student who has an undergraduate or graduate degree from an accredited college or university to take courses at Rice for credit but not in a specific degree program. Students interested in taking courses, but not for credit, should audit the courses. (See Auditors.)

VPB applicants must have a 3.00 (B) or better grade average in the previous undergraduate or graduate program or be granted the explicit approval to be a Visiting Post Baccalaureate by the dean of graduate and postdoctoral studies as part of the application process. Registration requires the permission of the course instructor or department chair. Visiting Post Baccalaureates cannot take courses on a pass/fail basis, and must receive at least a B for every class taken, or they will not be allowed to remain in the VPB program.

A student may not use courses taken under this arrangement to fulfill requirements for a Rice degree unless and until the student has been formally accepted into a graduate degree program by an academic department. A former VPB student may request that their graduate program allow up to three courses taken as Visiting Post Baccalaureates to count toward the graduate degree. Once approved by the graduate program, the student must also obtain the approval of the dean of graduate and postdoctoral studies. To designate courses that will count toward the graduate degree, Rice students enrolled in a graduate program must submit a completed Request to Apply Visiting Post Baccalaureate Coursework to Graduate Program form to the Office of the Registrar.

Applications for Visiting Post Baccalaureate Program

Applications are available on the Visiting Student Programs website. Official transcripts from all colleges and universities the student has attended should be mailed or securely emailed directly by the institutions to the Office of the Registrar. A student who was previously a Visiting Post Baccalaureate must complete a new application (without transcripts) for each semester. All application materials are due by the workday nearest to August 1 for fall semester courses and December 1 for spring semester courses.

Individuals applying as Visiting Post Baccalaureates for the summer term should apply to enroll in Rice's Summer Sessions.

Tuition and Fees for Visiting Post Baccalaureate Program

Tuition and fee information can be found on the Cashier's Website. If a class fills with Rice degree-seeking students, instructors may drop Visiting Post Baccalaureates up to the end of the second week of class. In that case, the tuition (less the nonrefundable application fee) will be refunded. If a Visiting Post Baccalaureate withdraws, drops, or adds classes, the same rules regarding grades, refunds, and applicable fees apply as for degree-seeking graduate students. There is no refund for dropping a class after the second week as long as the student stays enrolled in at least one other class. Pro-rated refunds for complete withdrawals are according to the deadlines listed on the Academic Calendar. Please visit the Summer Sessions website for information pertaining to summer sessions for visiting students.

Please Note: Rice does not offer financial assistance to Visiting Post Baccalaureate students. 

For more information, see the Visiting Post Baccalaureates tab of the Visiting Student Programs website.

Visiting Researchers