COVID-19 questions

What is Rice’s current policy regarding undergraduate study abroad during the pandemic?

Due the ongoing health and safety concerns related to COVID-19, the Dean of Undergraduates, in consultation with the Provost, Rice's Crisis Management Advisory Committee, and our office, has made the difficult decision to extend the suspension of study abroad through the Summer 2021 term.

What considerations have led to Rice’s decision to temporarily suspend undergraduate study abroad?

The decision, in line with current DOS and CDC travel advisories, is based on several factors, with health and safety being the top priorities. Due to the unpredictable trajectory of the pandemic and the resulting impact on host countries, various country-specific entry restrictions, including quarantine requirements and the difficulty of securing visas, as well as the challenges and slow rate of vaccination roll-out globally, non-essential travel is not advised. Under these the circumstances, a study abroad experience in Summer 2021 would be quite different from ideal, with social distancing, restricted mobility, and decreased opportunity for personal exploration and engagement with the local community. In addition, with the recent implementation of the COVID-19 testing requirement for entry into the U.S., students could potentially face a delayed return at the end of their program, which can be logistically difficult and financially costly.

Can I appeal this decision?

Since individual circumstances might be different for each student and for each program or location, students who see Summer 2021 as their only option to study abroad may appeal this decision if they feel that the specific circumstances of their study abroad plan may merit an exception. Please note that submission of a petition does not guarantee that an exception will be granted. For information on the petition process, please contact your study abroad advisor.

When will Rice permit the resumption of undergraduate study abroad?

Unfortunately, we are unable to predict when it will become possible to resume study abroad in a safe manner. However, we are closely monitoring both the pandemic situation globally as well as the safeguards and programmatic changes our partners implement, so that we can provide specialized guidance during these uncertain times.

When should I start thinking about planning for a study abroad semester?

Now! Start planning early; the more you familiarize yourself with your potential options, the better the chances that you end up on a program that best fits your needs, at a time that best fits the path of your Rice career.

How do I find available programs?

You can review available programs here. Rice students have the opportunity to pursue high quality, rigorous study at a number of select international universities throughout the world. These opportunities encompass every Rice academic major and field of study through programs all over the world. Students select a program by careful coordination with their individual academic goals and curricular plan.

How do I apply for a study abroad program?

The application process is a two-step process. Students must submit application materials to Rice Study Abroad as well as directly to the foreign university or program provider for admission. Please review our application process and application materials pages for more information.

What if my study abroad plans change?

Students have up to one month after the Rice Study Abroad application deadline to declare their intention to withdraw without incurring a fee. Students are also subject to the foreign university/program provider's policies and may need to refund certain costs depending on when the decision to withdraw is made. Please read the "Withdrawal Policy" on our policies page for details.

Am I eligible to study abroad?

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. Students considering study abroad during senior year, especially during the last term, should speak with an advisor as soon as possible. More information can be found here.

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.

Can I get academic credit for study abroad?

Yes! Your coursework abroad can return to Rice as transfer credit. Read more on our credit and transcripts page.

Do my study abroad grades appear on my Rice transcript?

Letter grades for coursework completed and successfully transferred to Rice will not appear on your transcript, nor will they affect your cumulative GPA at Rice. However, be aware that any future applications that request all official transcripts from

Where do I send my transcripts from abroad?

Transcripts must be sent directly to Rice Study Abroad, not to the registrar. Rice Study Abroad sends the transcript on to the registrar after performing initial processing.

What is a "School of Record" transcript and do I need one?

A "School of Record" is a U.S. university that a program provider has a partnership with. Among other services, this university allows the program provider to create official academic transcripts under their name. The registrar stipulates that students must submit a School of Record transcript if their program offers one in order to successfully receive transfer credit at Rice for their coursework abroad. A grade report or unofficial transcript will not be accepted.

Can I take a course on a pass/fail basis?

Students will not receive transfer credit for courses taken on a pass/fail basis. Students must earn a letter grade of C- or better in a course to successfully receive transfer credit.