Challenge Convention

Experience Rice University Before College

Rice is a community of curious thinkers, passionate dreamers and energetic doers who believe that improving the world demands more than bold thought and brave action. It takes unconventional wisdom. Our goal in creating Rice University's Precollege Program is to provide an experience for students ages 13+ that embodies these values. Our program is designed for high school students who wish to dive deeper into a subject that piques their interest, such as genome engineering or physiology. Each course features dynamic video lessons by renowned Rice faculty and access to mentors. Courses are available year-round, and the online format enables students to study anywhere, anytime, at their own pace. Upon successfully completing a capstone project, participants will earn a Certificate of Completion from Rice University.

Program Dates

Multi-length courses available throughout the year


For students ages 13 and up



Current Courses Available

White spiraling DNA on a blue background

Genome Engineering

Changing the Future of Medicine

What does your DNA tell you about your own genetic make-up? Delve into genome engineering and see how the human genome can be edited to treat diseases, like sickle cell and other hereditary disorders. Study the ethics of genome engineering and compare the design tools used in the medical field. If this is a potential college major or career, our course is the place to start.

A 3D image showing inside the human body with bones, organs, and other bodily systems


The Foundations of Medicine

Studying how the nervous, muscular, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems work together is an important first step in understanding how the human body functions. Physiology is the foundation you’ll need if you aspire to a career in medicine. Plus, human anatomy and physiology are the basis for numerous jobs in allied health, emergency services, and the medical field.

A digital world with various international financial symbols


From Ideas to Impact in Fintech

Currently, there are *31 million entrepreneurs in the U.S., and 582 million worldwide. Within the world of finance, entrepreneurs are the creative thinkers with big ideas that result in creating the fintech market and other disruptive digital technologies. If you’re a high school student with a passion for entrepreneurship and a desire to know how it applies to the world of finance, our course is a great place to start. You’ll learn what drives the development of new disruptive platforms, how they are improving financial inclusion, and review case studies of fintech technologies like Apple Pay, Venmo, Paypal and Square. 

*SOURCE: ThinkImpact

An astronaut floating in outer space


Space Exploration: The Road to Mars

Think about human space exploration coupled with today’s tech innovations. Imagine the logistics needed to launch people from Earth to the Moon and Mars. Hear what some of today’s aerospace leaders have to say about the future of this compelling science. This course will examine space exploration from the early Apollo voyages to the Artemis program. You’ll learn about the evolution—and future—of space exploration, and discover if aeronautics could be in your future.

Flags from different nations blowing in the wind

Global Affairs

Exploring Changing Political Systems

Did you know that only *42 percent of countries are considered democracies? A lot has changed over the past two decades, which is why global affairs remains an ever-evolving subject. In this compelling course, you’ll delve into the rise and fall of democracy. You’ll review democratic, semi-democratic, and authoritarian regimes through several case studies. Finally, you’ll identify the guardrails governments put up to protect political rights and civil liberties. 



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How You Will Benefit

  • Help narrow your focus on what interests you to better determine subjects you might choose to study in college.
  • Experience what it’s like to take a course designed by Rice University faculty while you’re still in high school.
  • Flexible learning: lectures by professors are delivered through dynamic videos, so you can tune in whenever your schedule allows
  • Work with mentors who can support you and answer questions as you deepen your learning experience.
  • Complete a capstone project to demonstrate what you’ve learned.
  • Earn a Certificate of Completion from Rice University for your college application.

Three Learning Advantages Designed for You

Capstone Project

All online courses culminate in a special capstone project that allows you to:

  • Demonstrate what you’ve learned in a presentation.
  • Get feedback from your mentors on your work.
  • Choose from a variety of topics covered in your course to show what you’ve learned. 
  • Use any media you prefer—text, video, photography, PowerPoint.


You’ll receive guidance from a mentor who can support you and answer questions as you deepen your learning experience. You can expect:

  • Encouragement and direction on all assignments. 
  • Inspiration, motivation and confidence to help you excel in your studies. 
  • Brainstorming to help you prepare for your capstone project.

Flexible Learning

  • 100% online learning that works with your schedule.
  • Flexible format: you’ll learn through video lectures. Tune in anytime that works for you.
  • 20 to 30 hours of total instruction and course work, including engaging multimedia, simulations, and curated assignments for which you will receive guidance and support from mentors.

How to Apply

It’s easy. No transcripts or letters of recommendation are needed. Our application requires basic contact information for you and your parent or guardian. Then, tell us why you wish to take this course. Include your personal story through writing, video, photos—or any medium you prefer.

Note: Please submit all application materials in English.

Begin the guided application process. It should take only a few minutes of your time to answer the questions.

Want to Know More?

Sign up for more information and we’ll be in touch.


Our application process is easy. You can expect a prompt decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will you be graded? What are assignments like? How much time do you have to turn around a project? When do you find out if you’re admitted? Find answers to your questions here.


We offer need-based scholarships in each cohort to students exhibiting high potential and an inability to pay full tuition. If you would like to be considered for a scholarship but you:

  • Haven’t applied to the program, complete your application now. The scholarship application is included.
  • Applied to the program and didn’t fill out a scholarship request, resume your application and click “Apply for Scholarship”.
  • Are unsure about whether or not you applied for a scholarship, reach out to us at for assistance.