Getting Started with IT for Undergraduate Students

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


OIT can set you up with the technology, accounts, and access necessary to study at the university. This document introduces basic services for new undergraduates so feel free to reach out for help if you have questions or need assistance. Check out our advice to undergraduates 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).

To view a general overview of services or previous communications, see Get Started: Undergraduate Students.


Activate NetID

Getting Connected: Connect to the Rice wireless network

Rice Google Email: Setup your Rice email

Other Services

Duo: authentication service
Esther: register for classes, view academic records
Canvas: academic course system
Zoom: audio and videoconferencing platform
VPN (Virtual Private Network): secure off-campus access to the Rice network

Need technical support? Contact the OIT Help Desk

Activate NetID

Each Rice student is given a Student ID (e.g. S01234567) 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. A NetID could also be used in conjunction with Duo, a multi-factor authentication tool, as well for systems that require additional security (Esther or VPN).

When can I activate my NetID?

  • New students (entering the fall semester) upon completion of the acceptance process (late April or early May) and after your initial deposit is received, you'll get an email about how to 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. To connect to Rice Owls, which is a secure wireless connection open to the Rice community, you can follow the steps below.
Step 1: Connect your computer to the Rice network and set it up to use Rice printers.
Step 2: Connect your mobile devices to the Rice network.

Rice Google Email

The following are the different ways in which you can access your Rice Google Email.
  • Log in to Rice Google Mail to access your Rice Google Workspace: Use your and NetID or NetID password.
Google Workspace for Education provides access to email, in addition to other tools such as 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 passing on 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 during office hours. Rice undergraduates are given Zoom License accounts that let them sign into Zoom using their 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 using the VPN.

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

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

 Additional Resources for Students

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

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) 

All in-person services are by appointment only.

See Also:

Keywords:new student undergraduate new freshman transfer NetID account activate O-Week OWeek email setup mail GSuite Google Workspace for Education Getting Connected Calendar Apps Zoom Canvas account docs drive sheets slides   Doc ID:103785
Owner:Liz B.Group:Rice University
Created:2020-07-08 19:21 CDTUpdated:2022-11-30 07:52 CDT
Sites:Rice University
Feedback:  12   8