Guide to Graduate Student Life at Rice

Glad you are surviving graduate school with the rest of us! As the GSA, we want to make your lives much easier. One of the simplest ways to implement this (well, at least in our opinion) is by putting all of the resources we tend to use in one place for easy access. We have compiled some frequently used resources by current graduate students at Rice University.

Feel free to reach out to the Website Director concerning other useful links and resources that you think should be added.

All graduate students are welcome to attend monthly council meetings in the Captain’s GSA Lounge in the RMC.

New Grad Students

Hi there and welcome! We have a specific page set aside just for you just so you won’t get too overwhelmed before you even get here.

Life at Rice

Outreach and Recreation

Are you looking to get involved with outreach? We have many community service and outreach programs available both within Rice and in the surrounding Houston area. Keep a look out for our upcoming outreach events.

Recreation-wise, we have several options like Valhalla, sports (club and intramural) and fitness (Rec Center), clubs, Beer Bike and many more things to do around Houston. An awesome program exists on campus called Passport to Houston. Use this to find cheap tickets to awesome events.

Do you need a place to host an event? Feel free to request to reserve the Captain’s GSA Lounge.

Do you find yourself wanting to grill, play loud music, make some popcorn or ride a bike and yet you can’t seem to find these things in your closet? Not to worry, we have these things in our closet! You can request to rent this equipment, just make sure you do it in a timely manner. If we don’t have it in our closet, ask the Graduate Student Loan Closet.

Professional Development

We have a wonderful professional development team with a goal to help graduate students build skills beyond those used in the classroom and laboratory; skills which better prepare them for the competitive job market. This team also strives to familiarize graduate students with career opportunities. Make sure to check out the professional development opportunities throughout the year.

Several grants, fellowships and scholarships exist for graduate students. This list is not all inclusive.

As always, there are tons of resources available to graduate students. One of the little known ones is the Library Resources that specifically cater to graduate students and postdocs. This has tons of information to help you with your journey through graduate school.


Food-wise, there are plenty of options. Rice has a dining service and the places to eat and their locations seen to change from year to year. Your best bet to finding locations and menus is to go to Alongside the more permanent establishments are the food trucks, these tend to come around dinner-time and the type of truck changes. Look for these trucks back by North Lot. Another place to eat is the glorious, grad student-run bar: Valhalla. Other than having cheap beer, lunch is pretty cheap too and quite possibly the best deal on campus. It’s first come, first serve, so be there early if you have a preference of what you eat.

Getting Around

One of the most important things about living in a new places is how to get around.

Houston, sadly, does not have the best public transportation. However, Rice does have subsidized QCards available for purchase and also provides a shuttle service. You can even track the shuttle using the Ride Systems app.

Biking and driving are also feasible options for getting around Houston. At Rice, we pay for parking. For more information about parking, visit the parking office website.

Because you are a graduate student, you are not required to become a resident of Texas or change your car registration, but it is an option. If you want to go about this, visit the website for the Texas Department of Public Safety. When you do go to get your license or ID, make sure you bring more documentation than you actually need because this particular office is notorious for turning you away even after you have waited for ages.


One of the best ways to search for apartments is talk to grad students who have lived in a particular apartment complex or locality. Make it a point to visit the place both, during day and at night. The rule of thumb is that if a place looks dangerous in the light of day, it only gets worse at night. Ask other grads if you are unsure about a location. You will have enough to worry about without wondering if your possessions or your person will be safe. Rice is located in a high-rent neighborhood with limited affordable rental property. It gets harder to find apartments every year. Be prepared for an extended search and schedule an in-person visit if at all possible!

Below is a map (direct link) that shows where current grad students live, access to public transit and biking, etc., all of which is based on grad student survey data.

We have this awesome program called the Loan Closet. This program loans small household items to the graduate and postgraduate students of Rice University, for the duration of their studies. So if you need a bookcase or cookware or something similar, you can look there first.

Places of Worship

If you need to find a place of worship, Houston has a very diverse population with people from many different countries who follow different religions. Hence, Houston has a large number of worship places for different religions. You can find a list of some of the places of worship here.


Health Insurance

As a graduate student, you are required to have a certain level of health insurance. If you fall under your parents’ insurance and it meets the Rice requirements, you can opt out. In most other cases, you will need to go through Rice’s system. Visit this page for more information.


At a loss for money for your organization? For yourself? We can help with that with our funding opportunities.

Rice Administration

So we did our best to compile everything we could think of, but there are so many resources out there. If we missed the one you are looking for, Rice has several administrative offices and we compiled a list of them for you.

Furthermore, there is an entire section of the Rice Website dedicated to resources for graduate students.

Also, if you are looking for anything in particular and you aren’t sure where to find it, the General Announcements is a great place to look.