About Colleges

Everything About Rice University

Everything About Rice University

Total Undergraduate Enrollment: 3,992

Institutional Type: Private

Curricular Flexibility: Somewhat Flexible

Academic Rating: 5

Top Programs




Cognitive Science





Who Recruits

1. DMC, Inc.

2. INT Software

3. Quantlab

4. Oxy

5. Chevron

Notable Internships

1. The Blackstone Group

2. Jane Street

3. Houston Rockets

Top Industries

1. Business

2. Education

3. Engineering

4. Research

5. Operations

Top Employers

1. Google

2. Shell

3. ExxonMobil

4. Chevron

5. Microsoft

Where Alumni Work

1. Houston

2. San Francisco

3. Dallas

4. Austin

5. New York City

Median Earnings

College Scorecard (Early Career): $65,400

EOP (Early Career): $76,700

PayScale (Mid-Career): $129,500

Inside the Classroom

Just shy of 4,000 undergraduates, Rice is at once a powerhouse research institution and a place where world-class instruction is the norm. The university’s illustrious faculty includes multiple Nobel Prize and National Medal of Science winners as well as countless recipients of any prestigious fellowships or awards one can name. And the best news is that undergraduates have the chance to learn from that distinguished lot.

Rice offers more than fifty majors across six broad disciplines: engineering, architecture, music, social science, humanities, and natural science. Double majoring is more common at Rice than at your average university; roughly20 percent of students graduate with a double major. Speaking of majors, there is a greater diversity of majors than one might assume at a STEM-famous school. The most commonly conferred degrees are in engineering (19 percent),the social sciences (15 percent), parks and recreation (9 percent), computer science (7 percent), biology (7 percent),and mathematics (5 percent).

Boasting a student-to-faculty ratio of 5.6:1, Rice offers a spectacularly intimate learning experience. Class sizes are ideally small with 72 percent containing fewer than twenty students and a median class size of only fourteen. Undergraduate research opportunities are abundant with 62 percent of graduates participating in academic research during their four years. Those experiences are open to freshmen through the Century Scholars Program and to all underclassmen through the Rice Undergraduate Scholars Program. Study abroad options are available in seventy countries, including collaborative programs with some of the top schools in the world including The London School of Economics, Oxford, and Cambridge; approximately 30 percent of Rice students elect to spend a semester in another country.

Programs in biology, biochemistry, cognitive science, and music are incredibly strong, while the School of Architecture and the George R. Brown School of Engineering are among the highest ranking schools in their disciplines. It is also notable that Rice is doing its part to close the STEM gender gap; the school is among the national leaders in producing female engineers, and it also boasts a 32 percent clip of female computer science majors, almost twice the national average.

Outside the Classroom

Central to student life at Rice is the Oxford/Cambridge-style (or Yale-style) residential college system. Upon matriculation, students are assigned to one of eleven residential colleges that contain their own dorms, dining halls, common areas, and faculty sponsors. Each college has its own student-run government, unique traditions, and social events. Those seeking a strong Greek life will have to look elsewhere as Rice has always operated free of fraternities and sororities. Rice does not have a particularly fervent sports culture either despite seven men’s and seven women’s varsity teams competing in NCAA Division I competition. The most notable squad is the baseball team that is always competing for national titles. Opportunities for intramural and club team participation are vast and include sports like aikido, badminton, and water polo. Student-run clubs are plentiful as well with over 250 to select from. The Rice Thresher, the student newspaper, is widely read and regularly wins national awards. While campus life is abuzz with activity, many venture into the city of Houston to enjoy the nightlife and cultural events in such close proximity.

Career Services

The Rice Center for Career Development (CCD) is staffed by eleven full-time professional employees, which equals a student-to-advisor ratio of 363:1, better-than-average when compared with the other institutions included in this book. Additional peer career advisors, embedded in each residential college, offer services such as resume reviews or assistance with locating internship opportunities. Internships opportunities can also be discovered at the Career and Internship Expo, which is attended by more than one hundred employers, and through RICE link, which posts internships open exclusively to current Owls. The CCD also facilitates Owl Edge Externships, job-shadowing experiences that last from one day to a full week.

The university does a phenomenal job of facilitating on-campus interviews with roughly 150 employers conducting over1,600 interviews each year. It also hosts one hundred+ events that connect students to potential employers from formal career fairs to casual events like the Chili Cook-Off. The CCD does a superb job with outreach as it attracts more than 3,500 non-grad student visits per year, close to one visit per undergraduate. It’s no surprise that 55 percent of graduates found their first job directly through the CCD office. In short, it is hard to imagine a career services office accomplishing more for its undergraduates than the CCD does for its students at Rice.

Professional Outcomes

Six months after graduation, only 6 percent of Rice grads are still seeking employment. The overwhelming majority have found careers or a graduate school home. Companies that are known to pluck more than their fair share of employees each year from Rice’s senior class include Deloitte, Capital One, JP Morgan Chase, Google, and Microsoft. Over one hundred alumni are also current employees of companies such as Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Amazon, Accenture, and Facebook. Median starting salaries for Rice grads far exceed national averages. Across all majors, the average starting salary is $69k. That encompasses engineering majors at the high end ($79k) and humanities majors at the low end ($52k). Texas is among the most common destinations for recent grads, but many also flock to California, New York, Wisconsin, and Washington State.

Over one-third of graduates move directly into graduate or professional school. That group fares well in gaining admission to elite graduate institutions; Harvard, Yale, Stanford, MIT, Columbia, and Berkeley are among the schools that absorb the highest number of Rice applicants. Rice is also known for producing a strong number of successful medical school applicants each year. A robust 38 percent of graduate school attendees are enrolled in medical school. Baylor College of Medicine and the med schools in the UT system are popular destinations for future doctors. Other recent grads are presently attending Harvard Medical School, Duke University School of Medicine, and Stanford Medical School.

Students' Voice: Pros and Cons of Location

Pros of Houston, TX

• “The Texas Medical Center is right across the street from Rice and there are a lot of professional opportunities in the city. You can do basically anything you want professionally in Houston both after college, and during the summer, and there are opportunities throughout the year.”

• “We’re next to the museum district, almost in downtown Houston. It’s a busy area but doesn’t get too loud.”

• “Rice is right in the middle of the city, but inside of Rice is a very different environment. You can interact with the city or not interact with it. It’s nice to be in the city because you have the opportunities of being in a big city, like volunteering and interning.”

• “The culture of art and music.”

• “The food.”

Cons of Houston, TX

• “Houston’s public transportation isn’t the best so it can be difficult to get around. There is no problem getting from Rice to downtown, but if you want to go anywhere else, it’s kind of a hassle.”

• “If you’re trying to get into banking or consulting, there are fewer relationships with the big firms. Rice still does a good job of building those relationships, but there is a narrower selection of firms that recruit at Rice if you compare it to a similar caliber school in California or the Northeast.”

• “It is segregated in the residential areas. Rice is in a really nice residential area so when you go outside you have nice shops and nice places to go, but you only get one view of Houston. You have to be intentional about what you’re doing if you want to see more of it.”

Students' Voice: Reasons to attend and not to attend

To Attend

• “Rice is really diverse in terms of political opinion, racial identity, and all of that. Even if that’s what I want, it can be difficult to navigate sometimes. I have been challenged by that and have grown from it, so there are positives.”

• “It’s small and not super competitive in terms of resources.”

• “The residential college system, the culture of care, and the community here. I didn’t feel that to this degree at any other college I visited.”

• “The individual attention. There are lots of ways to make the experience your own.”

To Not Attend

• “If you’re a Distribution 1 major and in the humanities and not interested in anything STEM, it might be hard for you to find your people. Even though those people are here, you should be aware of that. I also think that it doesn’t mean that Rice is any less of an environment for you to be in because of that.”

• “The residential college system can be isolating in that if you don’t make a conscious effort to make friends outside of your residential college you can get stuck only hanging out with and knowing people in your college.”

• “There’s no Greek life, so if you want that you won’t find it.”‍

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