Rice University Logo


6100 Main St., Houston, TX 77005-1892

(713) 348-0000


Rice University

Rice University

Rice is a leading research institution that fosters diversity and an intellectual environment that produces the next generation of leaders and advances tomorrow’s thinking.

An Undergraduate Experience Like No Other

We believe knowledge is limitless. There is no "what if" that cannot become "what is," because research, creativity, innovation and scholarship are all a part of what makes Rice University so unique.

Rice professors are among the most distinguished faculty in the world. Your relationship with faculty members is one of our highest priorities. With a median class size of 15 students, you'll find an engaging, interactive classroom environment. Excellent teaching is at the heart of a Rice education, and our professors are here to teach you to think globally - in and out of the classroom - and challenge conventional wisdom. At Rice, you'll know your instructors, and they'll know you.

In addition to receiving a first-class education at Rice University, your college experience will be intellectually and socially enhanced by a multitude of social activities, volunteer opportunities and internships in the nation's fourth-largest city.


As a leading research university with a distinctive commitment to undergraduate education, Rice University aspires to pathbreaking research, unsurpassed teaching, and contributions to the betterment of our world. It seeks to fulfill this mission by cultivating a diverse community of learning and discovery that produces leaders across the spectrum of human endeavor.


BEER BIKE: These days, there's something missing from this annual Rice tradition. While the race still involves chugging a cold one and then biking around a track to beat out competing teams - the frosty mug is now filled to the top with good 'ole H2O. Ten teams of students and alumni compete in one of three heats. Each team has designated chuggers, pushers (team members who give the riders a "push") and racers, who work together to accomplish one thing - get around the track the fastest. Winners no longer take home a keg, but they do win bragging rights to this beloved, albeit unsudsy, event. Unconventional fun is part of Rice's unconventional wisdom.

O-WEEK: Your Rice experience begins in August with a full week of orientation — O-Week for short. The purpose of O-Week is to get you registered for classes and introduce you to Rice’s academic requirements and opportunities. The second purpose of O-Week is to introduce you to Rice’s policies, resources, and values, as well as the tradition, culture, and community of your residential college.

WILLY WEEK: The Traditions Committee hosts Willy Week. What is Willy Week, you ask? How do I begin to describe Willy Week? Willy Week is amazing. I hear the budget is more than $10,000. I hear people know about it… in Japan. Willy Week is the birthday week of our lovely founder William Marsh Rice. As Rice Owls, we celebrate in true RPC style by giving out cupcakes (YES, free cupcakes) and hosting Beer Debates with professors… it’s pretty epic.

SCREW-YER-ROOMMATE: Screw-Yer-Roommate gives you the opportunity to set up your roommate on a blind date. In weeks leading up to the event, contact the roommate of the person with whom you want to set up your roommate. Between the two of you, coordinate matching or complementary costumes – think Nemo and Dory, cat and mouse, Sine and Cosine. On the day of the event, typically a Friday in early September, students gather in one of the outdoor quads and attempt to find their date via their costumes. After finding each other, students go out to dinner with their blind date in a group of friends, making Screw-Yer-Roommate a fun way to connect with students from all across campus!

ESPERANZA: Esperanza is Rice’s annual homecoming dance, held at the end of Homecoming Week in the Fall. Although most recently held on-campus, Esperanza is historically held at exciting venues off-campus, ranging from the Hobby Center to the Downtown Aquarium to NASA’s Johnson Space Center, allowing students to experience the dynamic and vibrant city of Houston. With great food, great music, and a variety of attractions depending on the venue, Esperanza provides Rice students the perfect opportunity to dress up and and enjoy a fancy night of music and dancing off-campus.

GINGERBREAD HOUSE BUILDING COMPETITION: Wanting to satisfy your sweet tooth before finals? In the sweetest event of the year, you will compete with your team to build the best themed gingerbread house within a time limit. Put on your Santa hats and ugly Christmas sweaters to dress up and get in the holiday spirit! For all of the graham crackers, frosting, and candy your heart desires, be sure to sign up for the Gingerbread House Building Competition!

H2O07 ASSASSINS: H2007 is a campus-wide game of assassins. Each participant is armed with a small plastic water gun and the name of their target. Over the course of one week in the spring, participants must track down their target with little more than a name and “assassinate” their target with a shot from their water gun. At the same time, they must make sure to escape the notice of their own assassin. Once a target is shot, the name of their target is forfeited to their assassin. For a week filled with Sherlock Holmes-level detective work, James Bond-level stealth, and a tiny bit of paranoia, make sure to sign up! For the especially gifted assassins, prizes are awarded to the assassins with the highest number of “assassinations” at the end of the game.

CRUSH PARTY: Crush Party is our annual Valentine’s Day Party. The week before Valentine’s Day, students complete an online matchmaking survey, which is used to compile a list of their best and worst matches across their grade, college, etc. On the Thursday before Valentine’s Day, students gather at the RMC to pick up the sheet with all of their matches and then head down to Willy’s Pub to meet their matches and socialize while enjoying free pizza and soda. Whether or not you have a date for Valentine’s Day, Crush Party is a fun way to meet new people from all across campus and perhaps find a last-minute date for Valentine’s Day. 

Student Life: 

Every student, regardless of the choice to live on or off campus, is a member of one of our 11 residential colleges. The colleges are small communities where students live, dine and interact with peers, faculty, staff and alumni; develop strong relationships; and contribute to the betterment of each others' lives and intellectual achievement. Within our colleges, legacies are born, traditions are celebrated and student spirit thrives.

All students are welcome and encouraged to participate in more than 240 student organizations, including performance, media, athletic, academic, religious, cultural and political groups.

Passport to Houston is a program that was created in 2007 by President David Leebron. It is designed to engage the Rice community with the city of Houston in order to encourage students to be more community-oriented, socially-engaged, and culturally-aware. 

Rice's recreation and fitness options mean that students can exercise their bodies as well as their minds. More than 70 percent of Rice students are involved in some kind of athletic activity. Every level of competition is available: NCAA Division I/Conference USA, intercollegiate club sports, intramurals and college sports. 

The Shepherd School of Music presents numerous concerts each year, and the student-run Rice Players produce first-rate theatrical productions. The Rice Art Gallery, the nation's only university gallery dedicated to installation art, features free, eclectic exhibits year round. If attending a lecture is more your thing, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy and the Office of the President bring stimulating speakers in a wide range of topics to campus each year. Off campus, undergraduates can enjoy the city's outstanding art and theater facilities with Rice's Passport to Houston.



Sammy the Owl
When athletic activities began at the Rice Institute in 1912, the teams adopted as their mascot the owl from the Rice seal. Over the years, Rice's various mascots have included students dressed in owl costumes, live Great Horned Owls, and large owl statues of fiberglass and of canvas, the latter being particularly famous in Rice lore.

Rice University today:

Rice is a private, comprehensive research university, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees across seven schools.


Rice University has nearly 3,900 undergraduate and 2,750 graduate degree-seeking students.

Famous graduates:

Lance Berkman (born February 10, 1976): Former Houston Astros star, now first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals. Helped lead Rice baseball team into its first College World Series appearance in his senior year.

Peggy Whitson (born February 9, 1960): NASA's most experienced female astronaut who has logged more than a year aboard the International Space Station.

Interesting facts about Rice University:

Nearly half of all Rice students are from out of state.

Rice University is known for its pranking genius and loud gestures. In 1942, a student talked his friend at the Houston Zoo into letting him borrow a live elephant for a campaign. The sign read ‘this is no bull: vote for Baird’! (He won).

The most famous Rice prank of all, in 1988, several students rotated the statue of William Rice so that he faced the Fondren library for the first time in 58 years. They even managed to convince a couple Houston police that they were doing a school project and were given a police escort to transport their materials.