Undergraduate Students

The undergraduate experience at Rice is one of intense personal interactions. The close sense of community created by individual placement in residential colleges is extended to warm intellectual and personal relationships with members of the Rice faculty. “Inside the hedges,” the beautifully designed, spacious campus is small enough to encourage a sense of belonging even as students engage with the lively cultural currents of one of the country’s largest cities.

The academic philosophy at Rice is to offer students beginning their college studies both a grounding in the broad fields of general knowledge and the chance to concentrate on very specific academic and research interests. By completing the required distribution courses, all students gain an understanding of the literature, arts, and philosophy essential to any civilization, a broad historical introduction to thought about human society, and a basic familiarity with the scientific principles underlying physics, chemistry, and mathematics. Building on this firm foundation, students then concentrate on studies in their major areas of interest.

Rice University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC), the recognized regional accrediting body in the 11 U.S. Southern states.

Rice grants eleven undergraduate degrees. The majority of undergraduates earn the Bachelor of Arts (BA) or the Bachelor of Science (BS), in a range of majors. The BS degree is offered in a number of science fields and in various fields of engineering. The George R. Brown School of Engineering offers seven BS degrees, including BS degrees in Computer Science (BSCS) and in Materials Science and NanoEngineering (BSMSNE), with the five programs leading to the BS degrees in Bioengineering (BSBE), Civil Engineering (BSCE), Chemical Engineering (BSChE), Electrical Engineering (BSEE) and Mechanical Engineering (BSME) being accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org. The Shepherd School of Music also offers a Bachelor of Music (BMus), and the School of Architecture an undergraduate professional Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) degree.

Undergraduates may major in any of the numerous fields provided by the various schools of architecture, humanities, music, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering. To accommodate the full range of individual student interests, specific interdepartmental majors and minors also are available, as are various departmental minors and selectively approved area majors. In certain departments, students also have the option of overlapping the upper-level course work of their undergraduate degree with those basic requirements necessary to earn an advanced degree in the field, considerably reducing the time required to complete their graduate studies. The Shepherd School of Music offers a dual degree in music (BMus/MMus) that may be completed with a fifth year of study. The BA–BArch professional track is the primary course of study for undergraduate architectural study at Rice. All students who successfully apply to the university and the School of Architecture enter into this program. This program leads to a degree of Bachelor of Arts with a major in Architecture (BA) after four years, followed immediately by the professional Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) degree sequence, which consists of a one year internship program (Preceptorship) and one year of advanced coursework.

Through Rice’s Education Certification Program, students interested in teaching in secondary schools may complete a program of teacher training, leading to certification in the state of Texas, while pursuing their Rice degree. Students interested in satisfying the requirements for admission to medical, dental, or law school should consult with the Office of Academic Advising for completing these programs in conjunction with the various majors.