Getting Started with IT for Undergraduate Students

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


OIT can get you set up with the technology, accounts, and access necessary to study at the university. This document introduces basic services so feel free to reach out for help as you have questions or need assistance. Check out our advice on technical requirements for your personal computer and how to obtain free or discounted software. Learn more about campus digital security (viewing requires login with Rice NetID and password).


Activate NetID

Getting Connected: Connect to the Rice wireless network

Rice Google Email: Setup your Rice email

Other Services

 Esther: Self-Service System
 Canvas: Rice's Learning Management System
 Zoom: Audio and Videoconferencing Platform
 Duo Authentication & VPN: Two-Factor Authentication and Virtual Private Network 

Rice 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) 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?

  • For New Students (Fall Semester), upon completion of the acceptance process (late April or early May) and after your initial deposit is received, you can then activate your NetID. 
  • Your Rice NetID is established within 24-48 hours in which you will receive an email that includes your Rice ID upon your acceptance and admission status. 
  • Make note of your NetID during the activation process

Getting Connected

The Rice network is the most reliable way to connect to internet while on campus. To connect to Rice Owls, which is 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 which you can access your Rice Google Email.
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


Esther is the self-service system for Rice students. Using Esther, you can register for classes, view academic records, and much 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 office hours. Each Rice undergraduate are given Zoom License accounts that lets them sign into Zoom using their NetID.

What is VPN?

Setting Up VPN

Installing AnyConnect VPN Software

Duo Authentication

Need help?

What is VPN?

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and its purpose is to provide additional digital security. Rice's VPN system allows secure transportation of data between the university network and a remote computer connected to the Internet outside of Rice. For security reasons, many Rice resources can only be accessed from the Rice network– either from an on campus location or using VPN. 

Setting Up VPN

You need to download the necessary software, AnyConnect VPN, for your computer (also called client). See the next section for links to download the software, which will require you to use the Duo authentication service. If you have not set up Duo previously, see the section below, Duo Authentication.

Before you download the software, you must agree to certain conditions to using Rice's VPN software, including:

  • you acknowledge that the software and your account are for your personal use only and may not be used by any other person or entity anywhere in the world for any purpose
  • you will not give anyone access to the VPN software or your account in order to access the Rice University network.
  • that taking your computer with installed VPN software outside of the United States is viewed by the U.S. government as an export of the VPN software and may require prior government authorization for several specific countries (for example Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria). Email at the Office of Sponsored Projects and Research Compliance for more information.

Installing AnyConnect VPN Software

Use the links (campus login required) below to access information about how to install and use the VPN software for specific devices:

VPN: AnyConnect VPN for Windows using Duo Authentication

VPN: AnyConnect VPN for Mac OS X using Duo Authentication

VPN: AnyConnect VPN for iPhone and iPad using Duo Authentication

VPN: AnyConnect VPN for Android using Duo Authentication

VPN: AnyConnect VPN for Red Hat Linux using Duo Authentication

VPN: AnyConnect VPN for Ubuntu Linux using Duo Authentication

Duo Authentication

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 such as Esther, VPN, and the online account management system,
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.

To get started with Duo, read All about Duo. This document will explain how to use Duo for managing and enrolling devices as well using the authentication service while traveling.

Need help?

If you need assistance setting up VPN or Duo, contact the OIT Help Desk.

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
Get Started: Students - OIT web site

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: