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 subjects that piques their interest, such as genome engineering, physiology, aerospace, law, and more. 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. This flexibility allows students to take multiple courses and explore a variety of subjects. Upon successfully completing a course's 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

Individual Course Fees


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. 


Puzzle pieces fitting into the outline of a head


In Our Everyday Lives

Why do our brains interpret things so differently? Why is our health affected by our emotions? Psychology is the science that explains many “whys.” In this course, you’ll focus on how psychology is used to identify and address societal problems. You’ll learn how research and statistics provide answers to long-standing questions, such as why societies develop group-think, and how to use critical thinking and effective communication to grow in your personal life.

Money behind an inflation graph


The Business of Economics

What are the factors that influence economic shifts in business? What is the role of the Federal Reserve, and what happens to the money supply? This course answers these questions and more. Get an introduction to the field, how market supply and demand drive prices, and how business competes when the economy faces inflation, supply chain disruptions, and international conflict. Want to understand the relationship between economics and business? This course is for you. 

Statue of lady justice holding scales next to a gavel


Shaping a Just and Equitable World

How does the U.S. legal system impact our society? What aspects of the law support equal opportunity? In this course, you will explore the core principles of our legal framework and the complexities of ownership rights. You'll learn about workers’ rights, access to education, and the intersection of civil rights and the law. Finally, you’ll identify solutions to legal challenges around property ownership, employment rights, and education.

Engineer holding a prosthetic hand in a lab


Solving Real-World Problems

Whether mechanical, aerospace, or biomedical, engineering is at the very epicenter of innovation—the driving force behind change. In this course, you will explore some of the biggest challenges engineers are currently trying to solve, such as climate change, the need for clean energy, and more advanced tools to fight disease. You’ll explore the different engineering disciplines and the many exciting career paths engineering offers.

Several doctors all working together on a patient


Diagnostics, Treatment, and Patient Care

For doctors and other medical professionals, each new patient presents unique challenges. In this course, you’ll explore the procedures that take patients and caregivers from initial diagnosis to treatment as well as the larger social impact of common diseases. Understand human physiology, emphasizing the heart, lungs, brain, and endocrine system. Identify the basic science of each pathophysiology and the clinical approach that enables medical professionals to work together effectively.

Hear From Our Students

"It was very well organized which made every lesson easy to follow along with. There were interactive and visuals as well as assignments that helped you visualize and apply the knowledge that you learned. It was very helpful and simple to learn with this structure. Having a mentor to ask questions to at the same time was very helpful too." - Chandani, Rice University Precollege student from TX.

"I really enjoyed how I was able to learn the material of the course from my own house, and how  I was able to do it at the time that was convenient for me. Also the course material was extremely interesting and I learned a lot, so since I enjoyed the course so much I would recommend it to my others." - Amir, Rice University Precollege student from FL.

"There are no in person classes or online meetings, so I was able to take this course while going on vacation for the whole summer. For someone who easily gets anxiety over zoom meetings and meeting strangers, I was able to learn about what I was interested in without any stress." - Elena, Rice University Precollege student from CA.

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.
  • For each course, earn a Certificate of Completion from Rice University for your college application.

Teenage boy working on a computer

Three Learning Advantages Designed for You

Capstone Project

All 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:

  • Expertise in your course’s particular field.
  • 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.
  • Multiple courses can be taken to maximize your learning experience.
  • 20 to 30 hours of total instruction and activities per course, including engaging multimedia, simulations, and curated assignments for which you will receive guidance and support from mentors.

Teenage girl working on a computer

How to Apply

It’s easy. No transcripts or letters of recommendation are required. Just provide some basic information and tell us why you wish to take this program.

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.