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Frequently Asked Questions

Who can study abroad?

UG Request for Transfer Credit FormRice undergraduate students with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 in good academic and judicial standing who have completed their freshman year are eligible to study abroad.

Where can students study abroad?

Rice students have the opportunity to pursue high quality, rigorous study at a number of select international universities throughout the world.  Students may also engage in scholastically focused field research, internships and service learning in a variety of approved academic programs and locations. These opportunities encompass every Rice academic major and field of study through programs in nearly 60 countries. Students select a program by careful coordination with their individual academic goals and curricular plan.

How long is a study abroad program?

The Rice Study Abroad Office encourages students to consider studying abroad for a semester or a full academic year. Summer and other short-term programs are also available. The length of time you spend abroad depends on your particular needs and goals, your financial resources, and your academic program at Rice.

How much does it cost to study abroad?

Costs vary widely from program to program. Many Rice programs are based on exchange agreements with universities abroad, so Rice students can study at an international university for essentially the same cost as remaining at Rice. Tuition and fees are paid to Rice, while housing costs are paid in the host country. For study abroad opportunities through Direct Enrollment to a foreign university or through an affiliate/program provider, the program tuition is paid directly to the host university/provider as well as housing costs, and no Rice tuition is charged. Additional expenses include international travel, passports, visas, local and regional transportation, and incidentals. Some programs in countries with a low cost of living can be less expensive than a comparable period at Rice. Programs in high-cost cities can be substantially more expensive.

Can I apply my financial aid and scholarships to study abroad?

Yes. Most federal, state and campus-based aid can be applied to the costs of Rice-approved semester and academic year study abroad programs. Students are encouraged to meet with the Office of Financial Aid early in the process to determine individual financial aid requirements/circumstances for study abroad.

The Rice Study Abroad Office also offers scholarships each year; awards typically range from $500 to $1,500. In addition, scholarship opportunities are available through other offices and departments at Rice, through Rice-approved affiliated program providers, and through national and external organizations. Please review scholarship information and consult your specific program or study abroad advisor to discuss scholarship opportunities in detail.

Can I get academic credit for study abroad?

Yes. Courses successfully completed at the host institution/program abroad for academic credit can be transferred into your degree at Rice upon evaluation and approval by Rice academic departments and the Office of the Registrar. Academic departments determine whether courses are appropriate for transfer to Rice through the Undergraduate Request for Transfer Credit form.

Students must be enrolled in and receive credit for at least 12 credit hours per semester abroad. Credit is normally given for courses that meet the following conditions:

  • Completed at a Rice-approved study abroad program.
  • Completed with a grade of C- or better.
  • Taken for a grade. Pass/fail grades will not be accepted.

Will the grades from courses taken while abroad be applied to my cumulative GPA?

No. When students take courses offered by a foreign university or a Rice-approved affiliated program, their grades from abroad will not appear on their Rice transcript. Assuming the student earned a passing grade, the appropriate credits for the courses taken abroad will be applied toward their Rice degree requirements. However, grades earned at a foreign university or through a Rice-approved affiliated program will not be factored into their cumulative GPAs.

*Please note: For Rice faculty-led department-administered programs the appropriate credit as well as grades will be included in the transcript and factored into cumulative GPAs. Please see individual Rice faculty-led departmental program information for full details.

Will I have to delay graduation if I study abroad?

No. With careful planning, students can remain on schedule to graduate in four years even while studying abroad for up to a year. Start planning early, and work closely with your academic advisor to design the best course of study based on academic circumstances and needs.

Do I need to speak a foreign language to study abroad?

No. Many programs do not require foreign language skills to study abroad. Some emphasize language study, including languages not commonly available for study on U.S. university campuses. In addition, many English-language programs are available in non-English-speaking countries. Rice Study Abroad encourages students to explore and learn another language prior to and during the study abroad experience, but there are also many English-speaking opportunities available abroad.

Where will I live if I study abroad?

Living arrangements vary by program and can be summarized as follows:

Residence hall: In locations where residence halls exist, a university residence or dormitory experience allows students to live and interact with students from the host country and often from students all over the world. It is the best way to see what life is really like for college students in the country you have chosen to visit. Usually, you have more independence and freedom to come and go as you please. Often, you will have a kitchenette for preparing your meals, or meals are provided by university dining services. Roommates may be either local host country students or other international students.

Host family: A homestay allows students to most fully experience the host culture, facilitating true immersion. If the host family does not speak English, the living situation demands total immersion in the language, which greatly improves the speed of language acquisition. Daily interactions with the host family (and their friends and relatives) let students learn countless cultural nuances. Many students develop very close relationships with their homestay families that last for many years following the study abroad experience. Students in a homestay will be expected to conform to the host family rules as a guest in the home, perhaps maintaining curfews or completing household chores, and may not have as much privacy as other options. But the homestay experience will allow for the greatest cultural immersion into the host country.

Program Housing: Dedicated housing for program participants, either in international dormitories or field-based accommodations, ensures that you will always have a support structure from your program provider, but you will likely be surrounded by other international students/Americans on your program. With this housing option you may not have as much immersion in your host country as you would prefer as you will not be living with locals.

Apartment/House: Student-arranged apartments and houses are less common for study abroad programs as usually housing accommodations are factored into the planning and experience; however, if you are very independent and privacy is important this may be an option. Living in an apartment or house may also be more isolating and there may not be as many opportunities for integrating into the host culture with college age peers, unless significant effort is made to engage in the culture.

OK, I'm convinced. Where do I start?

You may start by reviewing all the important information in the “Getting Started” section of this website and viewing the 8 minute online “Step One” video. Rice Study Abroad Ambassadors who have recently returned from a study abroad experience can also help you by sharing their experiences and guiding you through initial research. Rice Study Abroad staff are happy to provide comprehensive information about Rice-approved study abroad programs as well as the application and admission process, and assist in making your goals for study abroad a reality.