Welcome: Graduate Students

See also: Getting Started with IT for Graduate Students

Welcome new graduate students on laptop screen with photo of Hindman owl statue

Your computer is going to be an important tool in your Rice experience used for everything from course work, research, and connecting with your project team. Rice’s Office of Information Technology provides computing services such as email, computer labs and printers, technical troubleshooting, and offering advice.

Note: The term, graduate students, covers a broad spectrum of programs and degrees across the university, so be sure to check with your advisor and department about additional resources and recommendations that apply to your situation. If you will be serving as an instructor or considered a university employee, also see Welcome: Faculty and Staff.

Account Setup Communications

Welcome Letter to new graduate students about setting up their Rice computing accounts and Rice email address

New graduate students receive this email with their specific details upon completion of the acceptance process.

Dear Name,
Rice ID Number: 0000000
Email Address: name@rice.edu
NetID: ABC123

Welcome to Rice from the Office of Information Technology (OIT)! This message contains information about setting up your Rice computing accounts including your Rice email address. OIT offers computing services and support to students and the OIT Help Desk can answer your questions. For more information, go to: https://oit.rice.edu/welcome-graduate-students.

Setting up Rice accounts

Your NetID is a combination of your initials and numbers and is located at the top of this letter. Follow the steps below to set up your NetID and gain access to Rice systems including:

- Google for email, Calendar, Drive and more (https://www.google.com)
- Canvas course management system (https://www.rice.edu/canvas)
- ESTHER system that students use for registration, billing, and other information (https://esther.rice.edu)
- Logging into lab computers

Set up your NetID

Visit https://mynetid.rice.edu, and select Activate Your NetID. You will then be asked to enter your Student ID number (0000000) and to create a NetID password.

Set up two-factor authentication

Finally, you must enroll in two-factor authentication using Duo, which provides additional security for access to university data, personal data and some accounts. Duo offers several options for authenticating users: a mobile push notification, one-button verification of identity to a smartphone, as well as voice and SMS verification. Duo will be required when logging in to Esther, using VPN to access university resources from off campus, and to access the Online Account Management System for your NetID. Go to: https://kb.rice.edu/82263.

Checking your Rice email

All official Rice communications will only be sent to your new Rice email address, so it is important to set it up and to check your email frequently. You may access your email by logging into Google with your basic Rice email address (your NetID followed by @rice.edu) and your NetID password. (Learn more about setting up an email alias at https://kb.rice.edu/58397.)

Need help?

Please keep this letter for your records since it contains your Student ID number, your NetID, and your Rice email address. If you ever forget your NetID password, you can reset it at https://mynetid.rice.edu. Learn more at: https://kb.rice.edu/64432.

Contact the Office of Information Technology's Help Desk (helpdesk@rice.edu, 713-348-4357, http://helpdesk.rice.edu) if you need assistance or see Getting Started with IT for Graduate Students.

Thank you,

Rice University
OIT Help Desk
Online Help: https://kb.rice.edu
Email: helpdesk@rice.edu
Phone: 713-348-4357

Welcome Letter to former Rice students returning as graduate students about setting up their Rice computing accounts and Rice email address

Former Rice students should receive this email upon completion of the acceptance process as new graduate students.

If you are not brand new to Rice, you probably already know your Rice ID number, your NetID, and your Rice email address. (But if not, see “Need help?” below).

This message reviews information about your Rice computing accounts including your Rice email address. The Office of Information Technology, or OIT, offers computing services and support to students and the OIT Help Desk can answer your questions. For more information, go to: https://oit.rice.edu/welcome-graduate-students.


Setting up Rice accounts

Your NetID is a combination of your initials and numbers. Follow the steps below to set up your NetID and gain access to Rice systems including:

- Google for email, Calendar, Drive and more (https://kb.rice.edu/103604)

- Canvas course management system (https://www.rice.edu/canvas)

- ESTHER system that students use for registration, billing, and other information (https://esther.rice.edu)

- Logging into lab computers


Set up your NetID

If you don’t remember your password, you can reset it at https://mynetid.rice.edu. Learn more at: https://kb.rice.edu/64432.


Set up two-factor authentication

You must enroll in two-factor authentication using Duo, which provides additional security for access to university data, personal data and some accounts. Duo offers several options for authenticating users: a mobile push notification, one-button verification of identity to a smartphone, as well as voice and SMS verification. Duo will be required when logging in to Esther, using VPN to access university resources from off campus, and to access the Online Account Management System for your NetID. Learn more at: https://kb.rice.edu/82263.


Checking your Rice email

All official Rice communications will only be sent to your Rice email address so it is important to check your email frequently. You may access your email by logging into Google with your basic Rice email address, netid@rice.edu, and your NetIdD password. (Learn more about setting up an email alias at: https://kb.rice.edu/58397.)


Need help?

Contact the OIT Help Desk (see details below) if you need assistance or have questions. Be sure to check out the OIT KnowledgeBase (https://kb.rice.edu) for news and announcements or to search for more information about services.

Thank you,

Rice University
OIT Help Desk
Online Help: https://oit.rice.edu/request-help
Email: helpdesk@rice.edu
Phone: 713-348-4357

Tech Prep

Bringing a Computer

Here's the advice we give undergraduates: "Rice doesn't require you to use a specific type of computer, so base your decision on how comfortable you are working with a computer and its operating system. Your computer doesn't have to be new, but ensure it can adequately handle course work by checking the recommended list of minimum requirements. Also, your operating system should be current with the latest updates and have anti-virus software installed."

As a graduate student, your situation may be different. Please check with your advisor or department.

Hardware Discounts

Dell and Apple offer educational discounts.

Dell Premier Discounts for Rice

Apple Higher Education Pricing

Free or Discounted Software

Certain software products are available for free or at a discounted rate to current students. Check out the list of Software Available to Students. Free products that can be installed on a personal computer include Office 365, Matlab, Mathematica and more. Discounted prices are available for Adobe Creative Cloud, Maple and others. Your instructors or advisor will let you know what software you need.

Remote Learning and Productivity Tools

Rice offers a variety of tools to facilitate remote communication and collaboration. Even when classes are in-person, remote learning and productivity tools are useful. Study groups or teams collaborating on projects might find that virtual meetings and sharing online resources are an effective way to interact.

Zoom (video conference tool for courses sessions, meetings or study sessions)
Google Meet (tool for virtual meetings)
Microsoft Teams (collaboration platform including video conferences)
Google Workspace for Education (email, calendar, drive, sheets and more)
Microsoft OneDrive (cloud file storage and collaboration)
Box (cloud file storage and collaboration)
Remote Learning (considerations for remote learning and interactions)

Campus Resources

Computer Labs and Printers

Campus labs are scattered across campus; in fact, some of your classes may be taught in computer classrooms. Computers in labs have standard programs (word processor, spreadsheet, and web browsers) installed. (See Mac Lab Software List and PC Lab Software List for details.) You can print in campus labs for a small fee. If a course requires a special software program, you can find it installed on lab computers or you might be able to purchase it at a discount. Your instructors will let you know what software you need.

Rice Email

Student email is managed externally through Rice Google mail. Once you receive your Rice student ID number, you can set up your Rice email account. Official communication from the university will only be sent to your Rice email account so be sure to monitor it.

Beware of Email Scams

Scam email alert: No one at Rice will ever ask you to verify your NetID account or ask for your password, student number, credit card information or other personal details by email. Hackers can make these phishing scams look like they are really from Rice so be careful. Also beware of fake employment messages–verify the job by contacting the person by phone or direct email (not a reply to the original message). If you are unsure a message is legitimate, before you respond, contact the OIT Help Desk for advice. Read more tips in the Security Awareness: Campus Guide (viewing requires login with Rice NetID and password) or on the Information Security Office's web page on Phishing.

Guarding your password is an important way to protect your information and university resources. Never share your passwords. Select unique passwords for Rice systems (or use a password manager).

Network Connections

Wireless connections are widely available on Rice's campus. Wired connections are available in campus offices. You can find more instructions about connecting to the campus network online and can complete these steps before you arrive at Rice.

Campus Systems

While at Rice, you will access a variety of systems. To learn more about a resource, search in our KnowledgeBase at kb.rice.edu.

Email - managed by Google
Storage - use Google Drive, OneDrive or Rice Box
Canvas - academic course system
Esther - register for classes, view academic records
iO - system for employee self-service functions, human resources, financial services and reporting
Labs - computers, software, and printers

Research Computing

The Center for Research Computing (CRC) provides shared facilities and services for computing, visualization, data-storage, and networking designed to support the research mission of Rice University. CRC acts as the default contact for all research related service inquiries and represents researcher interests to OIT.

Protect Your Information and University Resources

Guarding your password is an important way to protect your information and university resources. Never share your passwords. Select unique passwords for Rice systems (or use a password manager). Be wary of messages that appear to be from the university and require you to verify your account. These phishing messages are scams to gain access to Rice resources. Read more about how to recognize scams or you can contact the OIT Help Desk if you are unsure if a message is legitimate.

Multi-factor authentication with Duo, is required for accessing the online account management system (mynetid.rice.edu), Esther (course registration system) VPN (virtual private network), and Rice Google Workspace (including email) and other campus systems. Duo adds an extra layer of security by requiring your password and an additional verification method. Learn more about Duo.

In order to use computers on the Rice Network, you must:

Protect your computer, data, and university resources by following the digital security principles in the Security Awareness: Campus Guide (viewing requires login with Rice NetID and password). Adhere and comply with:

Learn More about Tools and Resources

Check out our web site for more information about OIT services or search the OIT KnowledgeBase for detailed how-to instructions using tools and services.

See also: Getting Started with IT for Graduate Students

Technical Support

Have questions or need advice? Contact the OIT Help Desk.

The OIT Help Desk is the centralized contact for information technology support services including: account management, connectivity to Rice network, password reset, general troubleshooting, mobile device support, VPN configuration, and email setup. Contact the OIT Help Desk if you need computer assistance or advice.

Online Help and Tips

Check out our web site for more information about OIT services or the detailed how-to instructions in the OIT KnowledgeBase, such as Getting Started with IT for Graduate Students.

Status Updates and News & Announcements

Use these news sources to find information about technology, changes, issues or outages:

Status Updates

The IT Status web page has notices about unexpected issues and scheduled maintenance. You can also subscribe to receive updates in specific areas.

News & Announcements

Service updates and notices are posted on the main page of the OIT Knowledgebase. This repository of information also allows you to search for information on how to use tools and services.

Phishing Scams

Check out the Phish Bowl – on this web page maintained by the Office of Information Security, you can see some recent email scams and learn tips for spotting fake email messages.