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UPDATED FAQ as of November 30 2015:


Rice-UT Public Health Scholars Program FAQs


  • Applying to the Rice-UT Program

Q: I am in my sophomore year at Rice, but with AP credits I am technically a junior. Can I apply to the Rice-UT program even though I plan on staying at Rice for two more years?


A:  No. The program is designed to accommodate students who are within one year of graduating from Rice, as they will spend part of their final year at Rice taking classes at UTSPH, with the second year of the MPH program completed after they graduate from Rice.


Q: I'm currently in my second year at Rice, but I have enough credits to graduate in three years, so next academic year will be my last year at Rice. Am I therefore eligible to apply for this program?


A:  Yes.  See above answer.


Q:  I'm an international student. Am I eligible to apply?


A:  Yes.


Q: Is the purpose of the recommendation letter only to ensure that I am able to complete my degree in time while taking courses at UTSPH, or is it also to let the committee know more about me as a person?


A:  The letter should both confirm your eligibility and serve as a recommendation. You can use the personal statement to provide more information about yourself.


Q: Do I only need one letter for this program, or can I submit more than one?


A:  Please only submit one letter.


Q: Does admission to the Rice-UT Public Health Scholars Program guarantee that I will receive an MPH?


A:  No. In order to complete the MPH, you must complete your undergraduate degree at Rice, be formally accepted into the MPH program at UTSPH, and complete all UTSPH requirements.


  • Applying to Year Two of the Program/Transition from Certificate Program to MPH Program


Q: Can I start this program at Rice and then wait to finish the MPH at a later date (or at a different school of public health), so I can go straight to medical school after I graduate?


A:  No. The intent of this program, and the reason Rice has agreed to provide scholarships, is to enable a select group of Rice students to complete two degrees in five years, with the MPH degree being completed at UTSPH. Our partnership with UTSPH hinges on the continuation of our students there, rather than at another school of public health. Starting with the cohort admitted for 2016, we require students to sign an agreement to comply with the intent of this program as a condition of accepting the scholarship.


Q: Can I complete my final year (the MPH year) of the program at whichever UTSPH campus I choose, or do I have to stay in Houston?


A:  The committee prefers that students stay in Houston, but if necessary you may move to another UTSPH campus in Texas.


Q: Will UTSPH accept the MCAT as a substitute for the GRE?


A:  Generally, no, the MCAT cannot be substituted for the GRE, and you should plan to have your GRE scores available for the MPH application deadline, which will occur in early December of your senior year. The only exception is for MD/MPH applicants. If you plan to pursue an MD/MPH through UT, please be sure to mention that you are making this substitution in your application.


  • How the Program Works

Q: Can I take UTSPH classes online?


A:  No. This program is designed for in-person class attendance. Only in exceptional circumstances and with the advance, written permission of one of the Rice-UT program directors, will students be permitted to take classes online.


Q: Does this program cost extra, or is it included in my tuition?


A:  The first year of the program is taken while you are still a Rice student. You register at Rice for these courses, pay your usual tuition at Rice, and the UTSPH tuition for the first year of the program is covered by your Rice tuition. You will be responsible for certain mandatory fees required by UTSPH.  The second year of the program is taken after you graduate from Rice, and the tuition for the second year would be your obligation.


Q: Do the courses taken at UTSPH count towards graduation at Rice?


A:  Yes. In the first year of the program, you will register for Rice specially designed placeholder courses, which carry full Rice credit and count towards your degree requirements as other Rice courses do. Typically, they will be free elective, upper division credits. You will receive a grade for each course, which will appear on your transcript at Rice, just as with any other Rice course.


Q: Will the classes we take at UTSPH be counted as upper-level credit courses at Rice?


A:  Yes, the classes will all be counted as 300 or 400 level courses at Rice.


Q: How do I register for courses at UTSPH?


A:  You will receive information from UTSPH admissions on how to register. See the web page for newly admitted students for information: https://sph.uth.edu/current-students/newly-admitted-students/


Q: How do I get Rice credit for UTSPH courses?


A:  In addition to registering for any other courses you may take at Rice, you will also register for “placeholder” courses at Rice that will enable the Registrar to enter your UTSPH course grades on your Rice transcript. Registration for these courses is only open to students in the Rice-UT program and requires a Special Registration form.


Q: Do you know the UTSPH course schedule yet? How can I find out when the courses will meet?


A:  Please check this UTSPH website for the most up-to-date schedule: https://sph.uth.edu/academics/course-information/