Follow the instructions on the Rice University Undergraduate Admission website to apply.
New students are often surprised to discover that several of our Computer Science classes can be used to meet Distribution Group III requirements. You do not need to declare as a CS major to take our introductory courses. New students can ask any of the faculty members at the CS table during the O-Week academic fair for guidance on choosing their first COMP course.
Most students agree that changing majors is relatively easy at Rice.
If you discover you have more fun solving problems in our courses than in your other classes, you can choose from several paths to a CS degree - including one tailored for students who make the "sophomore switch" in their third or fourth semester.
And you don't have to be a CS major to participate in various club activities.
Not yet sure you want to try a CS course? You might be surprised that coding is not the goal of our classes. One of our professors, Scott Rixner, is often heard explaining that programming may be part of his introductory course, but the focus is on computational problem solving.
CS junior Michael Blankenship agrees. “COMP 140 isn’t just about Python programming, it’s about learning how to think, and to apply the little bit of programming you know to real world problems."
One of the things you'll notice in your Rice CS classes is a lack of cutthroat competition.
As CS senior May Zhong says, “The CS professors are all approachable and other students are also open to help, if you just ask. No one is NOT willing to help you, in order to do better than you in class. In fact, we’ll be talking to each other about what internships we’re applying for and how to help each other prepare for interviews.”
The collaborative environment begins in your introductory courses when you are grouped into teams, and you'll continue growing connections and relationships within our close-knit community with each semester.
When Rice's admission offer arrived, Kathleen Foster walked the long path down her Mississippi driveway with a very large, unopened envelope in her hand. “I was crying tears of joy,” she said. “I knew the big envelope meant I was in.” Her research with CS Prof. Scott Rixner led to a patent and Foster is now a sofware developer in the Autonomous Vehicle division of GM in Austin, Texas.
Originally from San Francisco, CS junior Ani Kunaparaju began working with startups in seventh grade. He was looking at East and West Coast schools until he came to Owl Days. “I sat in Luay’s class, and he called every student by name,” said Kunaparaju. He also noticed an abundance of opportunities. His freshman host was already leading a team to build a new iOS app. “I hadn’t seen that anywhere else. A small school wasn't in my criteria, but once I was here, I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else.”
CS Senior May Zhong chose Rice University over UC-Berkeley because the Houston school felt friendlier. She said, “I visited both campuses and Berkeley just didn’t suit me.” Zhong received a prestigious KCPB Fellowship and just returned from her internship at Stripe, a startup in the Bay Area. She is also one of the co-presidents for CSters, a club supporting women engineers in the CS department.
Michael Blankenship, a CS junior, is "from a small place, deep in the heart of the Appalachians in eastern Kentucky. There are not a lot of students thinking about STEM careers." He chose Rice because “I wanted a small school with accessible faculty; I knew I would need guidance along the way and I expected to walk over to most of my professors’ office hours."
CS alumnus Peter Washington planned to double major in Political Science and Economics until he signed up for an introductory course, COMP 140.“All the assignments were presented in the context of real world problems,” he said. “So my introduction to CS was ‘you can use CS to solve problems in a variety of domains,’ even political science and a bunch of other things I never would have imagined programming could be used for. That piqued my interest because I could major in CS and apply it to anything.” After Rice, Washington completed his Masters in Computer Science at Stanford and remained there to pursue a Ph.D. in Bioengineering.
Read more student and alumni stories in our CS Profiles.