Policies & Administration

Academic policies

Rice Academic Policies
Students studying abroad are expected to follow all Rice academic policies as they normally would while at Rice.

Enrollment Abroad
Students must be enrolled in and receive credit equivalent to at least 12 U.S. credit hours per semester abroad. Students abroad in the summer term who are receiving study abroad scholarships or financial assistance in the form of student loans must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 U.S. credit hours. Additionally, students are required to be enrolled full time by the standards of the host university or program provider during the period of study abroad. This requirement may sometimes be higher than Rice's stipulated minimum.

Final Examinations
Students are expected to remain until the end of their program and complete all coursework, examinations included, while present at the program's location. Students are not permitted to leave their program early and take their final examinations remotely. Rice Study Abroad does not offer services to proctor or administer final examinations.

Credit Transfer and Grades
Courses are to be completed at a Rice-approved study abroad program. Only those courses that have been passed according to the host institution/program's grading policy (numbers, letter grades, etc.) will be considered for transferability. Pass/fail grades will not be accepted. Students must receive the equivalent of a C- or better for courses abroad. Letter grades for transfer coursework do not appear on the Rice transcript and have no effect on a student's Rice grade point average. Note that Rice faculty-led programs may allow for course grades to be included in the Rice transcript and cumulative GPA. Consult the faculty leader for more information.

Summer Credit Limit
While Rice stipulates a limit of 15 credit hours over the summer for coursework completed outside of Rice during the summer, credit earned from a Rice-approved summer study abroad program does not contribute to this limit.

Graduating Students
Consult the Office of Academic Advising for questions regarding meeting graduation requirements. Should you choose to complete degree requirements while abroad in the spring, your degree will not be conferred until the following August or December, depending on program end date. Likewise, if you choose to complete degree requirements while abroad in the fall, your degree will not be conferred until the following May. A student who chooses to go abroad during their final semester will not have their degree conferred immediately. Students are discouraged from participating in study abroad if doing so would cause them to fail to meet their degree and/or major requirements by their anticipated date of graduation and/or degree conferral. Accordingly, students are discouraged from studying abroad during their last semester before graduation if they have outstanding university and/or major requirements.

Limit on Total Transfer Credit Earned
Students with a substantial amount of transfer credit (particularly transfer students) should be aware of the general graduation requirements. Students must complete at least 60 semester hours at Rice, complete more than half of their upper-level degree work and more than half of their upper-level major work at Rice. Students are also required to complete four full-time semesters in residence at Rice and abide by the maximum credits allowed per semester at Rice. Lastly, students should also check for any department-specific limits on total transfer credit.

School of Record Transcripts
Students studying abroad through a third-party program provider are required to obtain and submit an official School of Record transcript if the program offers one.

Program-Run Housing & Housing Upon Return
Students participating on a program that offers accommodation options are required to use those accommodations.

Keep in mind that our office is not involved in the housing process upon your return from a semester abroad. We are not involved in processes regarding housing at Rice. We highly recommend that semester study abroad students reach out to the college coordinators prior to their departure as each college handles housing on campus differently. We cannot share student information. Students going abroad for a future term will be added on the Canvas pre-departure course once they have been approved (in March/April for AY/Fall and October for Spring). Through the course on Canvas, you are able to connect with other students going abroad the following terms, though only once students have been approved.

Withdrawal Policy
The last day to withdraw from a program is April 20th for summer, fall, and academic year programs, and November 15th for spring programs.

Students must notify Rice Study Abroad of their intention to withdraw from a program in writing by the appropriate deadline. Students must also notify in writing the host institution/program of their intention to withdraw. A copy of this official notification to the program must also be submitted to Rice Study Abroad.

A withdrawal fee is not assessed if withdrawing prior to the withdrawal deadlines. Withdrawing from a study abroad program after the relevant deadline, or failure to report withdrawing from a program to Rice Study Abroad, will result in a fee of $300. The withdrawal fee will be billed to the student's Rice account by the Cashier’s Office.

Students who withdraw from a program/university are also subject to the withdrawal policy of the organization sponsoring their program.

Conduct abroad

Rice Code of Conduct
The Rice Code of Conduct states, “The life and work of a Rice University student should be based on integrity, responsibility, and consideration for others. In all activities each student is expected to be respectful of the rights and interests of the community and of others in the community and to be personally honest.” This philosophy is generally applied to the non-academic conduct of students.

Students going abroad are expected to attend all classes and to participate in all program activities, including on-site orientations, excursions, and other group activities. Students are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that reflects positively on themselves, Rice University, and their home country.

Conduct for Pre-Health Students Abroad
Students participating in clinical experiences abroad should carefully follow the guidelines for conduct set out by the Association of American Medical Colleges. While it is expected that programs facilitating these experiences will be in compliance with these guidelines, it is the student's responsibility to ensure that they are following the guidelines themselves.

Compliance with Local Laws
Individuals studying in a foreign country are are subject to the laws of that country. Refusing to obey local laws, especially those pertaining to alcohol and illicit drugs, may result in dismissal from your program, deportation, or arrest/imprisonment. Legal protections common in the U.S. may not be present overseas. The U.S embassy or consulate can only provide basic assistance in the event of arrest or incarceration.

Avoid involvement with drugs and other illegal substances. Purchasing or possessing even small amounts of drugs can result in arrest. Drug laws vary by country but are often more severe than in the U.S., regardless of whether drugs are obtained for personal use, for sale to others, or even if one receives them unknowingly.

Bail provisions like in the U.S. are not common in many other countries, and pre-trial detention without bail is not uncommon. The principle of “innocent until proven guilty” is not necessarily a tenet of legal systems abroad. Bail is often not granted for drug-trafficking cases. Pre-trial detention, sometimes in solitary confinement, can last for months. Many countries do not provide a juried trial, and in some cases you may be tried in absentia. Law enforcement and prison officials may not necessarily speak English.

Please visit the website of the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs for more information about how and when to contact your local consulate.

GDPR Consent
By using Rice Study Abroad's online application website, all users understand that they are authorizing the site to collect personal information about them for the express purpose of interacting with the site. Furthermore, they understand that the type and amount of information that is collected about them by the site is governed by the choices of the institution that is offering this service to its students, faculty, and clients.

In the case that a user wishes to withdraw their consent for their personal information to be retained in the site, they understand that they will need to contact the site administrator.