Welcome Letter from the Graduate Program Coordinator!

Dear New Earth Science Student,

Congratulations and welcome to the Earth Science Department! Our goal is to ensure that you will have a successful career at Rice, and we hope that you will enjoy your time here with us. If you have any questions or if there is anything I or any other member of the staff can do to assist you, please let us know. We will be happy to help.

Here is some initial information to help you get started at Rice and in our program.

University Requirements

  1. Before You Arrive…The Graduate Office provides student information throughout your career at Rice. Their main URL is: http://graduate.rice.edu/ Here you can get various forms you will need. As a new student they also have a checklist of items that is useful at: http://graduate.rice.edu/newstudents.Here are a few other key dates and processes that you should know:
    1. In most cases, by May you will receive an Esther login letter from the Graduate Office that will be sent to the e-mail address given on your application. Be sure to check your mail so that the letter is not filtered to your email’s spam file. The letter will give you your Rice student ID number and a unique link to set up your Esther account (http://esther.rice.edu). “Esther” is your individual Rice online account through which you will post your personal and emergency information, get access to your Rice transcripts, receive other important personal details regarding your status with various Rice offices, and pay your bills.
    2. The link in this initial letter from the Graduate Office may only be used once, so be certain to remember your Esther pin after you reset it. If you have not received your Esther log in letter, please contact me for assistance. Establish your Rice NetID, e-mail and password as soon as possible. Never give your Rice e-mail address and password to anyone. No one from Rice will ever ask you this information once you have established your password. Beware of phishing. Instructions for opening your e-mail are found at: http://apply.rice.edu.
    3. Note: once your Rice ID is issued, announcements concerning your arrival as a new graduate student will be sent to that address, so please check your Rice email account.
    4. Once you are in your Esther account, also note that there is a special tab for New Graduate Students. Use this tab to check important deadlines and requirements.
    5. Be sure to enter emergency information in your Esther account. Once you have permanent housing, be sure to enter that information also. This is the official record for the University of where you live and who to contact should there be an emergency. Please try to include a local contact. This is very important particularly since fall is hurricane season, and we need a way to contact you about your safety.
    6. Get all of your immunizations before you come to Rice. You are required to get a meningococcal vaccination at least 10 days before you arrive on campus. Complete and return the required Health Data Form to Student Health Services. The link to the form is:
      • Health Data Form
      • This form must be delivered by mail to Student Health no later than July 1.
        Mail the form to:
        Rice University Student Health Service
        6100 Main St. MS-760
        Houston, TX 77005 USA
      • You will not be able to register until Health Services receives it.
    7. Log on to http://studenthealthinsurance.rice.edu/ and register for or waive Rice Health Insurance. (All students must have health insurance.)
    8. If you are currently in school, you must submit your final official transcript to Rice when you graduate. Otherwise, you will not be able to register for the spring semester. Please send the transcript to:
      • Mary Ann Lebar
        Graduate Student Coordinator
        Rice University
        Department of Earth Science – MS 126
        6100 Main Street
        Houston, TX 77005-1892
    9. Complete and submit the Orientation Questionnaire in early August. Go to your Esther account to find the link to the questionnaire.
    10. Esther will also provide you account balance which may appear as zero until mid-July when billing is completed. Please check back again at that time to review your balance and pay your bill. Payment is due mid-August.
    11. If you can, complete the two required online trainings for all graduate students (a) Sexual Harassment Prevention and (b) Responsible Conduct of Research. There will be more information regarding these trainings to come.
    12. To obtain information about graduate housing, go to: http://campushousing.rice.edu/graduate/ If you want to rent an individual apartment, contact me, and I will give you a referral to a free apartment finder service you can use once you arrive.
  2. When You Arrive…
    1. International students should report to the Office of International Students & Scholars (OISS) (http://oiss.rice.edu/) located in Lovett Hall, Entrance A 2nd floor immediately upon your arrival on campus. You are required to attend the Graduate Orientation specifically for all international students that begins on Monday of Orientation. Questions about passport and immigration documents can be found at: http://oiss.rice.edu/content.aspx?id=102.
    2. All new graduate students must attend the Rice Graduate Orientation starting Wednesday during Orientation. The schedule for Orientation generally is available from the Graduate Office in June. You are expected to attend all mandatory orientation and classroom training sessions including the Lab Safety Training. Otherwise, you will be docked stipend pay for non-attendance.
    3. Read and sign the Honor Code that can be found in your Esther account.
    4. Get your Rice identification card and office key at the Rice Campus Police Department. Go to the lobby of the Campus Police located just inside Entrance #8 (2000 block of University Boulevard at Stockton). Hours are 7:00 AM-5:00 PM Monday—Friday.
    5. International students will receive information about completing necessary financial forms including the Deposit Form, I9 and W4 during Orientation.
    6. All students should open a local banking account to receive automatic stipend deposits. Your first check will be a physical check, but if you have Direct Deposit, your stipend checks will be deposited directly to the account. Your stipend begins August 16th. Your first paycheck will be issued on August 31st.
    7. Domestic students should see me as soon as possible to complete their I9 form. Please bring me either your passport of two types of identification so that I can sign your it. See types of acceptable identification.

    You are responsible for taking this form as well as the W4 form, and a void banking check to complete the Direct Deposit form to the Rice Payroll Office.

    Rice Payroll Office
    Corner of Main and Cambridge Streets
    Memorial Hermann Medical Plaza, Suite 2650
    Email: payroll@rice.edu
    Tel: +1.713.348.3410
    Fax: 713.348.5181

    Department Requirements

    1. If you currently use an e-mail address from your current academic institution, please send me an alternate e-mail address for me to contact you—one that you will check regularly. We will send important e-mails to you after your graduation date and we need an e-mail address that you regularly use. If you are depending on your new Rice e-mail account, please check it regularly.
    2. You must attend the Earth Science Department New Graduate Student Orientation that is usually scheduled on Friday of Orientation. More information about our orientation will be e-mailed to you as we get closer to the fall term. During this orientation you will receive important documents that must be completed. You will also meet individually with the Graduate Committee who will guide you in selecting the specific courses you should take for the first term. After you meet with Graduate Committee you will be permitted to register if you have met all requirements for Rice Student Health.
    3. After the Earth Science orientation, you will be asked to complete a driver’s safety class if you drive. Students need to pass this course in order to drive on departmental field trips.

    If you have any questions, you can contact me directly by e-mail at ml15@rice.edu or telephone at +1.713.348.6068

    Welcome again to Rice Earth Science. We are all looking forward to meeting you and working with you.