FAQs


Do you offer. . .

Clinical psychology?
Counseling psychology? 
Health psychology?
Social or personality psychology?
A master's degree program?
An M.S. or M.Sc.?
An online or distance-learning program?

Can I. . .

Start in the spring?
Start in the summer?
Start this fall?
Be a part-time student?
Continue to work while earning my degree?

Can I apply if. . .

I have a bachelor's degree in something other than psychology?
I have a master's degree in something other than psychology?
I have a three-year bachelor's degree?
I don't have research experience?
I'm an international student?
I miss the application deadline?

Before I apply, can I. . .

Meet with someone to discuss requirements / whether I'd be a good fit / whether I should apply?
Send you my profile/CV so you can tell me whether I should apply?
Find out what faculty have research interests similar to mine?
Attend an open house?
Schedule a campus visit?
Have some hard-copy materials sent to me?

I have a question about the application. . .

What's the application deadline?
Are all my application materials due by the same date?
What if I can't submit all the materials by the deadline?
What materials do you need in hard copy?
Do you accept electronic transcripts?
How many transcripts do you need?
Do you need transcripts from institutions where I have taken courses for transfer credits?
Can I mail the transcripts, or do you need my school to do so?
I've been out of school for a while. Do my recommendation letters have to come from my old professors?
Should my recommenders submit their letters online, on paper, or both ways?
I'm an international student. Should I submit a financial statement with my application?
What types of written materials do you require?
Can you provide any guidelines for my written materials?
Can I submit my application without the written materials, and send those later?

I have a question about application requirements. . .

What's the minimum GPA?
What's the minimum GRE score?
What's the minimum TOEFL score?
Can I take the IELTS instead of the TOEFL?
Can the TOEFL/IELTS be waived?
How long are my GRE/TOEFL/IELTS scores valid?
Do I need to take the revised GRE General Test?
Should I take the GRE subject test in psychology?
Can my record serve in lieu of the GRE?
Can my GMAT scores serve in lieu of the GRE?
Can you take my GMAT scores into account?
What if I retake a test and earn a better score after I've submitted my application?
What specific qualities are you looking for?
How much research experience do you recommend?

I have a question about the admissions process. . .

What percentage of applicants are admitted to your program?
How many students will be admitted this year?
Are phone or in-person interviews part of your decision process?
What's the average GRE score of admitted applicants?
What's the average GPA of admitted applicants?
Which professors are planning to admit new students?

I have a question about costs and finances. . .

What are the annual tuition and fees?
What kind of financial aid is provided?
Do I need to apply separately or submit additional information to be eligible for funding?
Do you require graduate students to serve as research assistants or teaching assistants in exchange for funding?
Does Rice offer graduate student housing?

I have a question about program requirements. . .

What if I already have a master's degree?
What areas of concentration do you offer? 
How long does it usually take to complete your program?
How many credits will I need to earn?
Can I transfer credits I've earned at another institution?
What are the course requirements?
Are there any other requirements?

Tell me about life as a Rice Psychology graduate student. . .

What is the workload like for a first-year grad student?
Would my workload change over the course of the program?
Will I have the opportunity to work with different faculty members, or just my advisor?
Will I have the opportunity to complete an internship?
What is the atmosphere like within the department?
Could you describe the social side of graduate life at Rice?
What is Houston like?

Answers

Do you offer. . .

Clinical psychology? 
No.

Health psychology?
The Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience RIG investigates the relationship between the human brain and higher forms of behavior, including sensation, perception, attention, memory, language, social cognition, emotion, emotion regulation, and health.

Social or personality psychology?
No. A Social/Personality RIG is in development; however, since it is still in the early stages, we do not yet know when we will begin admitting students for it.

A master's degree program?
An M.S. or M.Sc.?

No. Students who enter without a master's degree may earn an M.A. en route to the Ph.D. degree, but we do not offer a terminal master's degree.

An online or distance-learning program?
No.

Can I. . .

Start in the spring?
Start in the summer?

No. Our program is fall admission only.

Start this fall?
Our application deadline is January 15, and we accept late applications through March 15; if you miss the application period, you will need to wait until September, when we begin accepting applications for the following fall.

Be a part-time student?
Continue to work while earning my degree?

No. Because the graduate program requires a full-time commitment, we accept full-time students only.

Can I apply if. . .

I have a bachelor's degree in something other than psychology?
I have a master's degree in something other than psychology?

Yes. We admit students from a wide variety of backgrounds.

I have a three-year bachelor's degree?
Yes. Rice does require the completion of a bachelor's degree before beginning the graduate program, but the duration of the undergraduate program does not matter. As long as it is a bachelor's degree, it counts.

I don't have research experience?
Yes. While we do take research experience into account when evaluating applications, it is only one of several factors involved in our selection decisions.

I'm an international student?
Yes. We welcome applications from international students.

I miss the application deadline?
Yes, although missing the January 15 deadline does place you in a less competitive position, as our faculty will already have begun to review applications.

Before I apply, can I. . .

Meet with someone to discuss requirements / whether I'd be a good fit / whether I should apply?
If you have any questions not answered in this FAQ, please feel free to contact us. However, we cannot judge your chances of being accepted based on incomplete information; you will need to go through the application process and submit the appropriate materials for our graduate committee to review.

Send you my profile/CV so you can tell me whether I should apply?
No. Again, we cannot judge your suitability for our program without a full application.

Find out what faculty have research interests similar to mine?
Absolutely! Faculty-applicant fit is a significant factor in our admissions process, as each student is admitted to work with a primary faculty advisor. Each Research Interest Group's page lists the associated faculty; click on a faculty member's name to view his or her profile, or visit our faculty directory for a complete listing. If, after reviewing faculty research interests, you would like to find out more, please feel free to email the faculty member in whose work you are interested.

Attend an open house?
Schedule a campus visit?

Out of fairness to other applicants and due to limited faculty time, we cannot accommodate individual requests to visit or tour the department. If you are in the area, you are welcome to come walk around the campus; most of our colloquia and events are also open to the public.

Have some hard-copy materials sent to me?
In an effort to be more environmentally friendly, we no longer print hard-copy materials. All of the current information about our program is available online.

I have a question about the application. . .

Are all my application materials due by the same date?
Yes. All materials must be received by January 15.

What if I can't submit all the materials by the deadline?
We accept late materials through March 15; however, faculty begin reviewing applicant files promptly after the January 15 deadline, and an incomplete file can put you in a less competitive position compared to someone whose records have all arrived and are ready for review.

What materials do you need in hard copy?
Official transcripts. All other materials (except for official GRE/TOEFL scores, which must be sent to us by ETS) can be submitted with the online application.

Do you accept electronic transcripts?
We do. However, e-transcripts must be sent directly to the department (psyc@rice.edu); if your institution sends them to a different Rice email address, we cannot guarantee that they will reach us.

How many transcripts do you need?
One from each college or university you have attended.

Do you need transcripts from institutions where I have taken courses for transfer credits?
Even if those courses are listed on your home institution's transcript, we may need the original institution's transcript. Transferred courses often appear on transcripts as "transfer credits" without grades attached; if your home institution's transcript does not include the grades you received for your transferred courses, we do need the original institution's transcript.

Can I mail the transcripts, or do you need my school to do so?
As long as the transcripts are official (provided by your college or university and in an official, sealed envelope), you can mail them.

I've been out of school for a while. Do my recommendation letters have to come from my old professors?
No. Your recommenders should be people who are able to provide information about your skills and assess your ability to succeed in our program. While psychology professors and others in academia may be better able to assess your ability to succeed in our academic environment, a work supervisor who knows you well can provide the information we need.

Should my recommenders submit their letters online, on paper, or both ways?
The online application allows your recommenders to submit online recommendations, and we prefer that method. If a recommender is unable to submit an online recommendation, paper recommendation forms are available.

I'm an international student. Should I submit a financial statement with my application?
You do not need to submit a financial statement with your application. If you are admitted and choose to enroll at Rice, the Office of International Students and Scholars will coordinate with you to obtain the necessary information.

What types of written materials do you require?
Can you provide any guidelines for my written materials?

We do not require any written materials. However, there are spaces on the online application for you to list any articles you have published, describe your intended plan of study, and write about any additional factors you would like to bring to our attention. If you would prefer, you may upload any or all of those instead, as well as a writing or publication sample, a CV, or any other relevant documents. We have no guidelines for any of these materials.

Can I submit my application without the written materials, and send those later?
Certainly. Your recommenders are not contacted with requests and instructions until you have submitted your application, so if you want to let them get started, you are welcome to submit the application before your written materials. Once you have submitted the online application, you will not be able to make any changes or additions, but you can email additional materials (preferably as PDFs, but Word documents are also acceptable) to psyc@rice.edu and we will add them to your file. You may send us hard copies of the additional materials if you would prefer, but email will reach us more quickly!

I have a question about application requirements. . .

What's the minimum GPA?
What's the minimum GRE score?

There is no minimum entrance requirement in terms of GPA or GRE scores.

Can I take the IELTS instead of the TOEFL?
Yes.  

Can the TOEFL/IELTS be waived?
Yes. If you have a degree from an English-language institution, then you are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement.

How long are my GRE/TOEFL/IELTS scores valid?
GRE scores are valid for 5 years after the testing year (July 1-June 30) in which you took the exam; for example, if you are applying for the 2016-2017 school year, you may submit GRE scores earned on or after July 1, 2010. TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for 2 years after the test date.

Do I need to take the revised GRE General Test?
No. We will continue to accept scores from the old GRE General Test, as well as scores from the revised GRE General Test released in August 2011.

Should I take the GRE subject test in psychology?
The subject test is not required, but we do encourage it.

Can my record serve in lieu of the GRE?
Can my GMAT scores serve in lieu of the GRE?

No. We require GRE scores from all applicants.

Can you take my GMAT scores into account?
Certainly. Please feel free to submit them if you feel that they would be helpful to us in evaluating your application.

What if I retake a test and earn a better score after I've submitted my application?
Just request that the testing service report your scores to us, and they will be added to your application file as soon as we receive them.

What specific qualities are you looking for?
Since each student is admitted to work with a primary faculty advisor, your research interests are an important factor--if you are admitted, we want to be sure that we have a faculty member who is capable of advising you in your areas of interest! We are aware that your research interests may change over time, so provided there is at least a rough match between applicant and faculty interests, there is no single "make-or-break" quality that we seek; we evaluate each application as a whole.

How much research experience do you recommend?
Research experience helps to provide applicants with a realistic sense of what research involves, as well as the basic skills needed, but it is only one of several factors involved in our selection decisions. While we do take it into account, we admit students with a wide range of experience.

I have a question about the admissions process. . .

What percentage of applicants are admitted to your program?
How many students will be admitted this year?

Typically, we admit about 10 new students each year, out of approximately 130 applicants.

Are phone or in-person interviews part of your decision process?
While we frequently arrange for admitted applicants to visit the campus as part of their decision process, we do not schedule in-person interviews prior to making offers. Faculty may choose to interview some applicants by phone before making an offer, but this is entirely up to the individual faculty members.

What's the average GRE score of admitted applicants?
What's the average GPA of admitted applicants?

In recent years, admitted applicants have had an average Verbal GRE of 599, an average Quantitative GRE of 710, and an average GPA of 3.67. Please bear in mind that these are averages, so if your scores are lower, you may still fit the profile of an admitted applicant.

Which professors are planning to admit new students?
This is a difficult question to answer, as there are many factors that influence the number of students the department as a whole is able to admit. You are welcome to email the faculty member(s) in whose work you are interested, but often they will not be able to provide a definite answer until well into the application review process.    

I have a question about costs and finances. . .

What are the annual tuition and fees?
The university posts current tuition and fees online. In fall 2016, most matriculating students will receive full tuition waivers for their first five years in the program. Tuition wavers are usually based on stipend support, so advanced graduate students may be eligible for waivers beyond the fifth year if funding is available.

What kind of financial aid is provided?
In fall 2016, most matriculating students will receive full tuition waivers for their first five years in the program, in addition to a $21,500 stipend over 11 months (also for their first five years). For more information, please see our Financial Matters page.

Do I need to apply separately or submit additional information to be eligible for funding?
No. While we encourage students to apply for external fellowships, all students admitted to our program are eligible for the tuition waiver and stipend support described above.

Do you require graduate students to serve as research assistants or teaching assistants in exchange for funding?
Students must remain in good academic standing to be eligible for financial support, but there are no additional requirements for Rice-funded students. Students funded by an advisor's research grant are required to serve as research assistants on that project. Every student is required to perform a modest amount of service to the department as part of the degree program; this may include being an assistant to a professor in teaching or research activities, but this is part of the graduate student experience and is not "in exchange" for funding.

Does Rice offer graduate student housing?
Rice graduate students live off campus, either in nearby rental properties or at one of the University-owned graduate housing properties.

I have a question about program requirements. . .

What if I already have a master's degree?
This is handled on a case-by-case basis. Once you matriculate at Rice, the department's graduate committee will determine whether your degree is "relevant" to your program of study at Rice (often, but not always, this refers to a master's degree in psychology or a related field). If so, you will not be required to complete a master's degree at Rice.

How long does it usually take to complete your program?
Students typically take 5 years to complete the Ph.D., although some students finish in 4 years.

How many credits will I need to earn?
We do not have a set number of "credits" required; each Research Interest Group sets its own course requirements, which can be found on the individual Research Interest Group's profile page.

Can I transfer credits I've earned at another institution?
Typically students earn more than enough credits through their regular courses and their research courses to make the transfer of credit moot. More relevant is whether it is possible to "place out" of required courses. This is handled on a case-by-case basis and depends on whether the same content was covered in an equally rigorous manner.

What are the course requirements?
Each Research Interest Group sets its own course requirements, which can be found on the individual Research Interest Group's profile page.

Are there any other requirements?
In addition to the requirements specific to each Research Interest Group, all students must complete a First-Year Project, a Second-Year Project, and a doctoral dissertation. Students who enter without a relevant master's degree must also complete a master's thesis in order to earn the M.A. en route to the doctoral degree.

Tell me about life as a Rice Psychology graduate student. . .

What is the workload like for a first-year grad student?
Would my workload change over the course of the program?

First-year students usually take 3 classes per semester, along with their area's research seminar. In addition, they are required to complete a research project and are required to perform a modest amount of service to the department, often in the form of serving as an assistant to a professor in his or her teaching or research activities. The amount of coursework tends to lessen over time as students engage in more research and work on degree requirements (thesis and dissertation). Most students complete their course requirements by the end of the third year.

Will I have the opportunity to work with different faculty members, or just my advisor?
Our faculty members often collaborate on research, and we encourage the same from our graduate students; there are several opportunities to work with different faculty members on a variety of projects.

Will I have the opportunity to complete an internship?
Many students in the Industrial/Organizational and Human Factors/Human-Computer Interaction areas choose to complete internships either during a semester or over the summer. Some Cognitive/Cognitive Neuroscience students also benefit from internship experiences. Students on internships work in an applied setting and are paid by the sponsoring organization. Previous companies students have interned at include NASA or Lockheed at the Johnson Space Center, IBM, Texas Instruments, Honeywell, Canon Information Systems, Normal Modes (a user experience and usability testing company), the Center for Technology in Teaching and Learning, eBay, ACT, ETS, Education Pioneers, the Harris County Department of Education, the Air Force Personnel Center, The University of Texas Medical School and Baylor College of Medicine.

What is the atmosphere like within the department?
The spirit of the department is collegial and collaborative, not competitive. Graduate students and faculty members often work together on research ideas and offer feedback and suggestions on projects.

Could you describe the social side of graduate life at Rice?
Rice and Houston are vibrant communities with many opportunities for sports, fine arts, dining, and a variety of other activities. Students often gather in neighboring Rice Village for dinner or drinks; Rice's Graduate Student Association sponsors social events, organizes cultural festivals, and coordinates volunteer activities. The department holds picnics, start-of-the-school-year parties, and other get-togethers throughout the year. 

What is Houston like?
Houston – Kiplinger's Best City in the Nation for 2008 and Forbes' Best City for Young Professionals in 2010 – is home to a blend of ethnic groups and cultures matched only by New York City and Los Angeles. Houston is a center for the visual and performing arts, an international business hub and home to the second-busiest port in the United States. Visit "Houston: It’s Cooler Than You Think" to explore the wide array of opportunities available to visitors and locals.