Here is some initial information to help you get started at Rice.

University Requirements

Before You Arrive…The Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office (GPS) provides student information throughout your career at Rice. You can find many resources on their site, including a checklist of what to do before you arrive at Rice, forms you will need during your graduate career, important Rice policies, and resources regarding your thesis. Here are a few other key dates and processes that you should know:

    1. In most cases, by May you should receive an Esther login letter from the GPS 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. Esther is the main portal for your individual Rice online account; here you can post your personal and emergency information, get access to your Rice transcripts, register for classes, receive other important personal details regarding your status with various Rice offices, pay your bills, check your payroll, and apply for graduation.
    2. The link in this initial letter from the GPS 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 password to anyone. No one from Rice will ever ask you this information once you have established your password. Beware of phishing.
      • IMPORTANT: 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 regularly.
      • 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.
    3. 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 for safety reasons.
    4. 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.
    5. Log on to and register for or waive Rice Health Insurance. (All students must have health insurance.)
    6. 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:
      • Meagan McKellar
        Graduate and Academic Administrator
        Rice University
        Department of Earth Science – MS 126
        6100 Main Street
        Houston, TX 77005-1892
    7. Complete and submit the Orientation Questionnaire in early August. Go to your Esther account to find the link to the questionnaire.
    8. Esther will 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.
    9. Be sure to complete the two required online trainings for all graduate students (a) Sexual Harassment Prevention and (b) Responsible Conduct of Research by the deadline. There will be more information regarding these trainings to come. If you do not complete these trainings in time, there will be a hold placed on your account preventing you from registering for the next semester.
    10. Information about graduate housing can be found here.


When You Arrive…

  1. International students should report to the Office of International Students & Scholars (OISS) 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 Week.
  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, a hold will be placed on your account preventing you from registering the next semester.
  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. 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.
  6. Domestic students should complete their I9 form with the Payroll office; at the latest, this should be done by the end of the second semester. More information regarding payroll can be found here.


Department Requirements

  1. Be sure the Academic Program Coordinator has a good email address for you and check your email 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 Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences (EEPS) New Graduate Student Orientation that is usually scheduled on Friday of Orientation Week. More information about the department orientation will be e-mailed to you 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.

If you have any questions, you can contact Meagan McKellar, the Graduate and Academic Program Administrator, directly by e-mail at or telephone at +1.713.348.6068