Information for Doctoral Degree Candidates

Commencement Participation
Students are eligible to cross the stage only once, either in December or May. If you participate in the Tuesday, December 5, 2023 Commencement Ceremony, you are not eligible to participate in the May 3-4, 2024 Commencement Ceremonies.

An invitation to RSVP for the December Commencement Ceremony will be sent out to all eligible doctoral degree candidates at their Rice email in the coming weeks. Details regarding the faculty member you wish to place your hood during the ceremony will also be collected via that brief survey.

International Students
If your parents will need documentation from Rice University to secure a visa to attend Commencement ceremonies, the Office of International Students & Scholars (OISS) will be able to assist you with an Invitation Letter of Support. A family member or friend often needs a letter from this office for the US Consulate or Embassy in order to apply for a visitor’s visa. Your request can be submitted via the Invitation Letter Request Form. Separate letters will be issued only if specifically mentioned on the request form. OISS can be reached by phone at 713-348-6095 or by email at

Guests planning to attend from other countries must follow the U.S. State Department’s requirements for testing and quarantine, which may vary by country. Click here for additional information.

Academic Regalia
Academic regalia must be worn by all degree candidates choosing to participate in the Commencement weekend ceremonies. The deadline for delivery to directly to the degree candidate or the Rice Campus Store is October 22. Regalia will be shipped directly to your provided address within 2-3 weeks of order date.

A PDF guide to academic regalia is available here. Those seeking further guidance on which hood color to select can utilize the reference document linked below:


For more information, visit or call the Campus Store at 713-348-2039.

Class Rings
Rice University official class rings are available for purchase. Class rings can be ordered online at any time and will be shipped to students at the address provided at the time of order. For more information, visit or call the Campus Store at 713-348-2039.

Photo and Video
While receiving their diplomas, all graduates will be professionally photographed by Marc Nathan Photographers, Inc., who will be on the platform. Information on availability of those images will be sent to each graduate’s email address provided with his or her permanent address on file. You also may visit to view all the images from the ceremony on the Monday following the event. If you have any questions, please contact them at or 281-549-2367.

Each ceremony will also be professionally video-recorded. These recordings will be available the week following Commencement on Rice’s YouTube channel at

The processing and printing at the diploma company will take approximately four weeks. The diploma will list your name, degree, and any applicable university honors (Latin and/or Distinction in Research and Creative Work). Completed majors, minors, and certificates are not listed.

The name displayed on your diploma and the address to which it will be mailed can be viewed and edited by logging into ESTHER and navigating to: ESTHER > Student Services > Graduation > Verify Diploma Information > Diploma Name and Address.

Rice University diplomas are large in size and generally require framing by a professional framer. The dimensions are 17 inches wide by 23 inches tall. To purchase your official Rice University diploma frame, visit the Rice Campus Store or purchase online at For more information on diplomas, visit the Diplomas page maintained by the Office of the Registrar.

The Rice Portal
Through the Rice Portal, alumni can access a suite of online services that allows you to keep in touch with other Owls and engage with the university. You can sign up for your alumni email account, search for a classmate, register for an event, update your communication preferences, or share an update about your life or career — all through the Rice Portal.

To register for your personal account, visit and click on “New user registration.” Once you've signed up, don't forget to update your contact information so you don't miss out on the latest news and events taking place in your region.

Rice Email email accounts for all degree recipients will be terminated within a few months after graduation. Graduating students are encouraged to stay connected with Rice and each other by taking one of the following steps

  1. Update your preferred contact information through the Rice Portal. To sign up for your personal Rice Portal account, visit and click on “New user registration.”
  2. Sign up for a new Google supported email account at the Rice Portal. Please note that your email account will take 1-3 business days to create.

Contact the Office of Alumni Relations at for more information about Rice alumni email services.

Accounts in the ESTHER system remain active indefinitely after Commencement. As a graduating student, you retain the ability to login and access your account any time at your convenience. You are encouraged to login to ESTHER to update your permanent address and contact information as necessary.

Association of Rice Alumni
Welcome to the Association of Rice Alumni (ARA)! The ARA was founded in 1919 to continue the relationship between the university and its alumni. 100 years later, the ARA has over 53,000 members worldwide. There are no membership dues to join the association; as a graduate of Rice, you are immediately part of this global community.

Wherever you are in the world, you can keep in touch with the university and your fellow Rice Owls! To view a calendar of all upcoming Rice alumni events, and to learn more about Rice alumni regional and affinity groups, visit

If you haven’t yet joined Sallyportal, Rice’s alumni-to-alumni professional development site, register for your account at and begin making connections with fellow alumni in your field or who share your interests. Sign up today by using your LinkedIn account or your preferred email address.

Congratulations again, and welcome to the Association of Rice Alumni!