Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about our Graduate Admissions process.

Additional information is available from the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. If you still have a questions about graduate programs in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rice University, please contact us.

What are the application deadlines?

The application deadlines are October 15 for the spring semester and January 15 for the fall semester. All materials must be submitted by the deadline.

Can I submit a late application?

An applicant seeking to apply after the deadline should seek approval from the admissions committee. Requests should be directed to Olga Trejo:

Where do I send official transcripts?

Please send all official transcripts to:

Rice University
CEE - MS 318
6100 Main Street
Houston, TX 77005

Electronic transcripts should be emailed to

When are admissions decisions made?

Admissions decisions are typically reached by November for the Spring semester and mid-March for the Fall semester.

What is the minimum TOEFL requirement?

Applicants who are foreign nationals or whose native language is not English must score at least 90 on the iBT TOEFL or at least 600 on the paper-based TOEFL.

Does Rice University accept IELTS in lieu of TOEFL?

Yes. For those students who choose to take the IELTS in lieu of TOEFL, the minimum score is 7.

I'm an International student but graduated from a school in the U.S. Is TOEFL or IELTS required?

The TOEFL and IELTS are not necessary for an international student who has received a degree from a university in which English is the official language of communication.

How long does it take to complete the degree?

Usually, two academic years and the intervening summer are sufficient to successfully complete the M.S. degree program. The PhD Program generally takes four to five years to complete. In both cases, the time to complete a degree is based on the pace of coursework and research completed by the individual student.

What are the course requirements for the master's degree?

A minimum of 30 credit hours of approved courses at the graduate-level is required for the Master's degree (30 credit hours of coursework at the graduate-level for the non-thesis option, and 24 credit hours, plus 6 thesis hours, if writing a master's thesis). For master's thesis students focusing on environmental engineering, coursework must include one course in each of the following areas and achieve a minimum grade of B-: environmental chemistry, water treatment, hydrology, and air quality. For master's thesis students focusing on civil, structural engineering, and mechanics, coursework must include one course in each of the following areas: structural engineering, mechanics, applied mathematics, structural dynamic systems, system reliability and earthquake engineering.

What are the course requirements for the PhD degree?

A minimum of 90 credit hours of approved courses at the graduate-level past B.S. (60 credit hours past M.S. degree) is required for the Ph.D. degree.

How do I apply for financial aid/assistantships?

There is not a separate application for graduate research assistantship consideration. Generally, financial support is awarded to applicants who exceed the rigorous admission criteria and who seek to pursue a PhD as their highest degree. Applicants seeking the MS or MCEE as their highest degree, if offered admission, are usually offered admission only.

What is the cost to attend?

You can find cost of attendance by visiting the Student Accounts & Cashier's office.