Student Resources

Below are a variety of resources to assist you during your time as a undergraduate or graduate student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University. If you have any questions, please contact us.

ECE Resources

ECE Forms & Documents

Rice Engineering Resources

Rice Resources & Helpful Links

Rice Resources for Graduate Students


ECE graduate students are welcome to ask for assistance when it is needed. ECE administrative staff are all available to answer questions.


ECE graduate student mailboxes can be found in Abercrombie Room A239. FedEx and UPS Packages are received in Abercrombie A204. Our mailing address is: 6100 Main Street, MS 366, Houston, TX 77005.

ESTHER (and Degree Works)

ESTHER is the online application for students, faculty, and staff. Students will use this application to register for classes and retrieve certain data such as grades and account information. Using ESTHER, students can: indicate confidentiality preference, update contact information; register, add and drop courses; access final grades; view holds on accounts, etc.

Review these ESTHER FAQs for information about how to use ESTHER. Degree Works is a degree-auditing tool that assists students in tracking their academic progress toward graduation. Degree Works can be accessed through ESTHER.

Student Health Services

Student Health Insurance: Rice University requires all degree-seeking students to have health insurance. Students electing to enroll in the Rice Student Health Plan may opt to be billed annually or semiannually. Contact the Student Health Insurance office for enrollment information and payment options. You must complete an insurance waiver form to forego the Rice health plan.

Health Data Form (HDF): All new graduate students are required to submit a properly completed HDF to Student Health. All students under the age of 22 years, regardless of classification, must provide documentation of vaccination against meningococcal disease.

International Student Health Information: All Rice-sponsored F-1 and J-1 international students must enroll in either 1) Aetna (Rice’s Student Health Insurance Plan) or 2) SAS (Rice’s Approved Alternate Health Insurance Plan for Internationals).

Technology Support

From creating websites, paper publication citations, to research collaboration, the department has a plethora of technology resources available, as well as policies users must adhere to.

International Student Information

International Student Newsletters are found at [International Student Newsletters] See the OISS site for details on international student internships with regard to Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT).

Graduate Studies Form Library

The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS) keeps a very useful library of commonly needed forms for everything from leave of absence to candidacy petition to thesis submission. Visit GPS for more information and a full list of available forms and documents.


All students must complete an I-9 form before starting work at Rice. MEE students working for more than 20 hours per week are not normally eligible for full-time status, and special permission is needed. See the ECE MEE Program Administrator, Norma Santamaria, for more details.

PhD students receiving a stipend may accept employment only with the approval of their home academic department. Students working for more than 20 hours per week are not normally eligible for full-time status. See the ECE Graduate Program Administrator, Belia Martinez for details.

International students must obtain the appropriate work authorization from OISS before starting to work. If you work even one day before or after your authorization, you must leave the U.S. or face deportation.

Organizations for Grad Students

Graduate Student Association

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is comprised of degree-seeking graduate students at Rice University. The GSA mission is to enrich the graduate student experience and to represent, support, and promote graduate student interests and values.


The ECE GSA exists to augment the organizational, educational, professional, and social aspects of the graduate student experience. It serves as a connection to Rice’s overall GSA to voice larger concerns and gain supplementary support. Email Alix Macklin for details.

Women ExCEL

Women ExCEL is a network of women in the ECE Department at Rice University that aims to provide community, mentoring, and cultural enrichment for students. They furnish a medium for networking and discussion of women-specific issues. This network also serves to promote career opportunities and cultivate female leadership. In addition, they hope to improve the visibility of women in engineering and to advocate the importance of diversity in ECE.

Grades and Academic Status

According to university guidelines, students must achieve at least a B- (2.67) grade point average (GPA) in courses counted toward the graduate degree. The ECE Department requires a B (3.0) GPA and adds the requirement that only courses in which a grade of C (2.0) or above for MEE students, or B- or above for PhD students, earned will count towards the graduate degree. Students whose cumulative GPA falls below a 2.67, or whose semester GPA falls below a 2.33, will be placed on academic probation by the university. Students whose GPA falls below a 3.0 will be placed on academic probation by the ECE Department

To compute GPA, the credits attempted in semester hours for each course and the points for the grade earned (from A+ = 4.33 to F = 0.00) are multiplied, then the products (one for each course) are added together, and the sum is divided by the total credits attempted.

Other types of class grading designations:

  • Pass/Fail — elective courses taken outside the ECE department that do not count toward the student’s major or minor coursework may be taken Pass/Fail. Students must file a course as Pass/Fail no later than the end of the 10th week of classes; however, they may later convert a Pass/Fail to a graded course by filing the appropriate paperwork with the Office of the Registrar. Students should be aware that while a grade of “P” does not affect their GPA, a grade of “F” does.
  • Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory — In the ECE Department, the faculty may assign a grade of “S” or “U”. ELEC 698, Research and Thesis, is such a course. Students should be aware that while a grade of S or U does not affect their GPA, no credit is awarded if a grade of U is received. Courses with a grade of S will count towards total credits earned.
  • Incomplete (INC) — For an INC received in the fall semester, students must complete the work by the end of the first week of the spring semester or an earlier date as defined by the instructor, and instructors must submit a revised grade by the end of the second week. For an INC received in the spring or summer semester, students must complete the work before the start of the fall semester or an earlier date as defined by the instructor, and instructors must submit a revised grade by the end of the first week. If a grade is not submitted by the appropriate deadline, the INC will be automatically converted to a failing grade.
  • Audit (AUD) — The grade designation of “AUD” is used for people auditing a course, and specifically when the auditing student has met the audit requirements of the course. A grade designation of “NC” (no credit) is given to students who do not meet the audit requirements. Requests to audit a class or to change from audit to credit or vice versa must be done by the end of the second week of the semester.
Help Available

When you, or a friend, are in need of help, there are many resources available to you on the Rice campus:

Professional Master’s Committee Chair & Administrator for MECE

Co-Chairs Dr. Michael Orchard and Dr. Caleb Kemere, and Nyetta Meaux, MECE Program Administrator, are available to help students with academic and personal needs.

Graduate Program Chair & Administrator for MS/PhD

Dr. Ashok Veeraraghavan, the Graduate Program Chair and Nyetta Meaux, the Graduate Program Administrator are available to help students with academic and personal needs.

Student Wellbeing Office

The Student Wellbeing Office supports student development and success and is also a good first point of contact for students who want to talk to someone about solutions to their wellbeing concerns. They can provide advice and practical support to help you resolve personal challenges; such as conflicts with friends, difficulty making decisions, struggles with your identity, as well as academic concerns or other problems that are also serious in nature.

Rice Counseling Center

The Rice Counseling Center is designed to complement the university’s academic mission by assisting students’ personal and educational development through a variety of psychological and psychiatric services. The goal of these efforts is to help students develop effective problem-solving and decision-making capabilities in order to make satisfying life choices, and maximize their capacity for continued emotional growth.

Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

For questions concerning the graduate program as a whole, contact Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS).

Language and Communications

The Center for Academic and Professional Communication is located in the Fondren Library. They offer coaching for oral presentation delivery, assistance with preparing professional talks and materials, communication workshops, and feedback on presentation materials. They also offer UNIV 601/602, which are courses designed to improve professional communications and writing.

Fondren Library Resources

The Fondren Library offers subject area specialists to assist students and act as liaisons to departments. Jun Qian is the engineering librarian, and they can answer reference questions, teach you how to use various electronic media, advise students on how to identify materials relevant to teaching and research, and prepare a printed or electronic library guide.

Title IX

Rice encourages any student who has experienced an incident of sexual, relationship, or other interpersonal violence, harassment or gender discrimination to seek support. There are many options available both on and off campus for all graduate students, regardless of whether the perpetrator was a fellow student, a staff or faculty member, or someone not affiliated with the university.

Students should be aware when seeking support on campus that most employees are required by Title IX to disclose all incidents of non-consensual interpersonal behaviors to Title IX professionals on campus who can act to support that student and meet their needs.

The therapists at the Rice Counseling Center and the doctors at Student Health Services are “confidential,” meaning that Rice will not be informed about the incident if a student discloses to one of these Rice staff members. Rice prioritizes student privacy and safety, and only shares disclosed information on a need-to-know basis.

If you are in need of assistance or simply would like to talk to someone, please call Rice Wellbeing and Counseling Center, which includes Title IX Support, at extension 3311 on the Rice campus or (713) 348-3311. Policies, including Sexual Misconduct Policy and Student Code of Conduct, and more information regarding Title IX can be found at safe.rice.edu.