Undergraduate Student Life

Residential Colleges

Each undergraduate student at Rice, whether living on campus or not, is a member of one of 11 residential colleges. All colleges are sex and gender neutral.

Each college has faculty magisters who live in a house associated with the college. Reporting to the dean of undergraduates, the magisters have responsibility for all aspects of student life in the college. They encourage broad intellectual, cultural, and social interests and promote self-discipline and effective self-government within the college. In close collaboration, the magisters and student leaders invite other members of the Rice faculty, staff, and community to become resident and nonresident associates of the college. These associates act as mentors and advisors to the students and participate in the various activities of the college.  

Each college exists as a self-governing community. The elected student leaders and representatives are responsible to the magisters and to the college membership for:

  •  Directing the college’s academic, cultural, and social activities
  •  Expenditure of college funds
  •  Maintaining order in the college

While uniformity among the colleges has never been sought and each college's character and particular interests evolve, all seek to foster fellowship among their members and a mature sense of honor, responsibility, and sound judgment.

College Assignment

Each undergraduate, upon acceptance by the university, is designated a member of one of the colleges. Two students entering Rice for the first time may request assignment to the same college, but they may not designate which college. New students also may request membership in the same college as an immediate family member (parent or sibling). Except for these cases, students have no individual choice of college.


College buildings include a dining hall and public rooms, which are available to both resident and nonresident members, and living quarters for resident students from all classes and all academic disciplines.

The university guarantees housing for all incoming students. Information about the residential colleges and room application forms accompany the notice of admission sent to each new undergraduate. Room reservations cannot be made before notification of admission. Registered sex offenders may not live in campus housing.

About 70 percent of Rice undergraduates live in the on-campus residential colleges. On-campus housing is not guaranteed beyond the first year at Rice. Although most of the students who want to live in the colleges can be accommodated, demand usually exceeds the available number of rooms. The determination of housing for sophomores, juniors, and seniors is made by their residential college government. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors, or transfer students after their first year draw for rooms according to the priority system of their residential college. Some students, while remaining full members of the college, choose voluntarily to live off campus for one or more years. No student is required to live on campus; however, those members of the colleges who live off campus are encouraged to eat in their colleges and to participate in college activities. Further information on housing in the residential colleges is available from the Office of the Dean of Undergraduates, and information on off-campus housing is available from the Student Center Administration Office.

For more information on room and board, see Tuition, Fees and Expenses.

Meal Plans

College Dining provides 375 meals per semester with the purchase of the meal plan option A. All students living on campus must purchase meal plan A. It is recommended that students living off campus also purchase a meal plan. Its other services include:

  •  Assistance with food allergies confirmed and clearly diagnosed by a physician
  •  Sack lunches for students who must miss a meal due to a job conflict
  •  Sick trays for students when requested by the Student Health Service
  •  Alternate menu entrées, whenever possible, to accommodate students’ religious practices

Meals are served cafeteria style. The colleges provide four meals per day Monday through Friday and three meals per day on weekends. Meals are not served during the winter break.

Rice Student Center

The Student Center provides services and developmental opportunities to build community and enrich the Rice experience through facilities, events, student run businesses, and student activities. It houses a variety of retail and dining operations including the campus store, Sammy's, Little Bird, and Ambassador Cafe. The Graduate Student Lounge, Student Resource Center and the Clubs offices are all located in the basement with other student life offices throughout the building, including meeting rooms for departments, clubs, and organizations. Visitors can also make use of an ATM located outside the store and ask questions of the Information Desk staff located near the circle drive. Students and visitors alike can enjoy a beverage of their choice and fellowship with their peers at the Rice Coffeehouse, purchase a late night snack from the Hoot, or visit the new Rice Bikes location in the Multicultural Center Garage located on the inner loop to rent a bicycle or get repairs.

For more information on the Rice University Student Center, go to https://studentcenter.rice.edu.