Study Abroad in Engineering

It is possible to study abroad as an engineer. Just keep in mind that due to the rigorous prerequisite structure of engineering majors, it will require some advanced planning.

We want to help you prepare and will direct you to available resources. Because the General Announcements are the Rice University’s official catalog, this site should only be used as a guide.

You are also required to fulfill the requirements established by the Study Abroad Office and meet with your departmental transfer advisor to get the courses officially approved before you go abroad.

Engineering Students do Study Abroad

The number of engineers that study abroad varies by the size of each department and other factors, but every engineering student can go abroad if they plan properly. On average, approximately 20 engineers go abroad each semester. Together, we can help more students take advantage of this opportunity.

The best time to go abroad varies based on your department. Please keep in mind that going abroad is much more difficult if your goal is to study abroad two (2) semesters.

If you are following the suggested schedule (found in the engineering advising booklet), this table will help you identify courses you could take abroad. Note that this list does NOT replace or override your transfer advisor’s recommendations.

Engineering Courses Abroad by Major

Looking for your options to study abroad engineering major? Check out this list of courses by major where you can browse by Rice-equivalent course, by the university or by course you'll take abroad. First, be sure to read below when the best time is for you to study abroad based on your major.

Browse courses by engineering major.

When to Study Abroad by Major

*NOTE: Recommendations in the above table are based on a typical degree plan.

There is always an option to study abroad over the summer or take advantage of other international opportunities. These programs are often attractive to engineering majors because they do not interfere with Rice’s suggested 4-year plan. More information about summer programs can be found on the Study Abroad website.

FAQs about Studying Abroad

Why should I study abroad?

Every single major can benefit from a more worldly perspective of its discipline. While the concepts of science and engineering are universal, different cultures may have a different way of approaching them. You may learn to approach an engineering problem from a perspective you had never considered. Additionally, each country has its own strengths in different areas of research, so studying abroad may give you greater access to that country’s “specialty.”

Can I study abroad if I don’t speak another language?

Yes. Engineering schools are more likely to offer classes in English than a social sciences or humanities school. Plus, the engineering schools that offer opportunities to study abroad students are likely to be some of the best schools in that country. You’ll get the opportunity to see what a top tier university looks like outside of the US.

Keep in mind that there are a number of English-speaking countries (e.g. UK, Ireland, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, etc.), but that there are also some universities that teach engineering courses in English- even when that is not their official language. Make sure you explore lots of possibilities when deciding where to go.

Where do I start?

The first thing to do is to familiarize yourself with your major requirements. Here are the links to some documents that can help:

Meet with your Major Advisor to discuss your four-year plan, keeping in mind:

  • Some courses are offered only once per year
  • Prerequisite structure

Remember that if you push back a class for a year without checking the prerequisites, you might end up having to stay a 5th year to graduate.

Additional tips:

  • Plan early
  • Meet with the Study Abroad Office and your major and transfer advisors
  • Look for technical/specialization elective courses in addition to required courses
Where should I go?

If you are not fluent in other languages, we would strongly encourage you to look for a school where classes are taught in English. Keep in mind that even if you are fluent in a language, you might not be familiar with the engineering or technical terms and this can add difficulty to your study abroad experience. However, this decision might depend on many factors. If you want to develop your Spanish, you should look for schools in Spain or South America. If you want to perform service work, you may want to look at less established countries. It is important to realize that there is no best place to go—any location will provide you with a unique and eye-opening cultural experience.

A good place to start exploring your options is through the Study Abroad website. The Study Abroad Office put together a list of recommended schools for engineering and technology.

You can also search through programs and filter your searches based on term, language, housing options, and other specifications.

What is the process for getting your transfer credit approved?

There are multiple ways to go about this, but each of these steps must be completed in order to receive approval:

  1. Look at the application process in the Study Abroad Office website.
  2. Pick up or print out a transfer credit form.
  3. Fill out appropriate transfer course and equivalent Rice course information.
  4. Have a syllabus for the course you intend to take ready to provide to your academic advisors. This should be available on the host university’s website. If you cannot access it, talk with your Study Abroad advisor about the best way of obtaining the syllabus. If students have received transfer credit from a specific course in the past.
  5. Email your advisor the course information so that they can review it before you meet with them
  6. Meet with your major advisor to go over your 4-year plan.
  7. Set up an appointment with your transfer credit advisor — make sure to bring the syllabus for the courses you are planning to take abroad.
  8. Turn in your transfer credit form before the Study Abroad application deadline.

The transfer credit process is not complete after turning in the transfer credit form. Check Degree Works after returning to Rice to ensure that your credit transferred correctly.

What other things should I consider?

Cost — Some engineering schools will have a supplemental tuition. Look out for this when you are planning your budget and talk to the Study Abroad office about your needs.

Get connected — Most will say that the most helpful thing they did was talk to someone that went through a similar program and/or had the same major. Find this person and ask them questions, because it will save you a lot of time. If no one has done what you plan to do, then make sure you do a lot of research on your own.

Credits can be deceiving — Check the number of credits your courses will transfer for. Even if the credit advisor signs them as 3 credits in your transfer form, this just means that they are equivalent to a Rice 3 credit course (but they can still transfer as less, especially from quarter system and European system schools). The amount of credits they will transfer in depends on the school you attend and is ultimately assigned by the Registrar’s office, so make sure you check to avoid problems when you come back. If you cannot find out this information, ask your study abroad advisor.