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Getting Started with IT for Undergraduate 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 undergraduate students. Please contact OIT if you have questions or need assistance.

Check out our advice to undergraduates on the 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).

See Get Started: Undergraduate Students for a general overview of services andor previous communications.


Activate NetID

Getting Connected

Rice Gmail

VPN (Virtual Private Network)

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, and other systems that require additional security (Esther or VPN).

When can I activate my NetID?

  • New students entering the Fall semester: activate your NetID after completing the acceptance process in late April or early May. You will receive an email about how to activate your NetID after your initial deposit is received.
  • 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.
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 Gmail

The following are the different ways in which you can access your Rice Gmail.
  • Log in to Rice Gmail 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 - learn about 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-based 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) 

Keywordsnew 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 Gmail   Doc ID103785
OwnerLiz B.GroupRice U
Created2020-07-08 19:21:35Updated2024-03-26 09:02:51
SitesRice University
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