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Getting Started with IT for Graduate Students

Welcome to Rice University! The following information will introduce you to Rice IT resources.


The Office of Information Technology (OIT) can set you up with the technology, accounts, and access necessary to study at the university. This document provides an overview of the basic services that are available to new graduate students. Please contact OIT if you have questions or need assistance.

Check out our advice to students on minimum computer requirements for coursework that includes links to vendor discounts and how to obtain free or discounted software. Learn more about phishing scams and campus digital security (viewing requires login with Rice NetID and password).

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 Getting Started with IT for Faculty and Staff.

To view a general overview of services or previous communications, see Welcome: Graduate Students.


Activate NetID: Setup your login credentials
Getting Connected: Connect to the Rice wireless network
Rice Google Email: Setup your Rice email
Duo: Authentication service
Esther: Self-service system
Canvas: Rice's Learning Management System
Zoom: Audio and videoconferencing platform
VPN (Virtual Private Network): Set up secure, off-campus access to the Rice network
Rice's Acceptable Use Policy, Digital Copyright Compliance, and Computer Security
Additional Resources for Students
Need technical support? Contact the OIT Help Desk

 Activate NetID

Each Rice student is given a Student ID (e.g. S01234567 or E01234567) and a NetID (e.g. abc123). Your Rice student ID is mainly used for student identification while your NetID is your unique login credential for most Rice computing resources. Having a NetID will allow you to gain access to the various computing systems at Rice. Your NetID can be used with Duo, a two-factor authentication service, as well as for systems that require additional security (Gmail, imagineOne, and VPN).

When can I activate my NetID?

  • For new graduate students, upon completion of the acceptance process, you will receive your graduate department acceptance notification with your NetID. You can then activate your NetID.
  • After being accepted and admitted, you will receive an email with your Rice ID and your Rice NetID within 24-48 hours.
  • Make note of your NetID during the activation process.

 Getting Connected

The Rice network is the most reliable way to connect to the internet while on campus. Follow the steps below to connect to Rice Owls, the secure wireless connection open to the Rice community. Note that computers and printers are accessible in campus labs, Mudd Lab, and Fondren Library. 

Step 1:  Connect your computer to the Rice network and set it up to use Rice printers.

Note: Setting up printers may vary by your department

Step 2: Connect your mobile devices to the Rice network.

Connect your smartphone and mobile devices.

Rice Gmail

You can access your Rice Gmail using any of the following methods.

  • Third-Party Mail Setup: Access your Rice email through a mail client such as Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail, etc.
  • Google Mail: Use your as the username and Rice Google password (set up on NetID) to access your Rice email through Google Workspace for Education.
Google Workspace for Education includes Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Sites, Groups, Contacts, Keep, Chat, and Meet.

 Other Services


Duo is an authentication service (sometimes called two-factor or multi-factor authentication (2FA or MFA)) that can be utilized for Rice systems that require an additional layer of security. Authentication strengthens access security by requiring multiple methods (also referred to as factors) to verify your identity.
These factors can include something you know - like a username and password, plus something you have - like a smartphone app to approve authentication requests. Duo helps protect against phishing, social engineering, and password brute-force attacks and secures your accounts from attackers exploiting weak or stolen credentials.
  • All About Duo - enrolling devices in Duo and using them for authentication


Esther is a self-service system that allows you to register for classes, view academic records, and more.


Canvas is Rice's Learning Management System (LMS) for all course-related curriculum needs. Canvas will be the main platform used for classes, but it can also be used for distributing important announcements. 

  • Rice CanvasCanvas login and student resources
  • Canvas FAQ: Commonly asked Canvas questions for students


Zoom is a cloud video and audio conferencing platform that will be used by instructors to hold virtual lectures or office hours. Rice graduate students are given Zoom license accounts that let you sign into Aoom using your NetID.


The Rice Virtual Private Networking (VPN) system allows secure transportation of data between the university network and a remote computer connected to the internet outside of Rice. You can access Rice's network resources while off-campus by using the VPN.

Rice's Acceptable Use Policy, Digital Copyright Compliance, and Computer Security

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

 Additional Resources:

IT Status: Stay informed on IT maintenance and events
OIT: Office of Information Technology service information
Software Available for Students: List of free and discounted software
Collaboration and Storage Options: Storage, file sharing, and collaboration resources for students
Get Started: Graduate Students  - OIT website with additional information for graduate students
Get Started: Faculty & Staff  - OIT website with additional information for faculty and staff members

Need technical support? Contact the OIT Help Desk.


OIT Help Desk


Monday - Thursday: 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Friday: 8:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

(excluding university holidays)

Contact Methods

Phone: 713-348-4357 or on-campus extension: xHELP or x4357

Online form: 


Remote support: BeyondTrust (Bomgar) 


Keywordsnew students employee NetID account activate graduate student email setup mail Google Getting Connected Google Workspace for Education Mail Calendar Apps account docs drive sheets slides Gmail   Doc ID102292
OwnerLiz B.GroupRice U
Created2020-05-21 11:00:53Updated2024-03-26 08:38:11
SitesRice University
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