Rice University | Wiess School of Natural Sciences

Introduction

The Wiess School of Natural Sciences has always represented new frontiers for Rice University. Its roots date to 1912, the year of the birth of the Rice Institute. In fact, all of the Institute’s four founding departments — biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics — are still part of the Wiess School. The Wiess School’s namesake, Harry Carothers Wiess, was a Rice trustee, Houston philanthropist, and businessman who was acutely aware of the importance of science to both Rice and Houston’s success. Today, the Wiess School is still pioneering educational frontiers by incorporating research into more classes and undergraduate students into research laboratories. In the majority of Rice labs today, undergraduates can be found working side by side with faculty, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers to advance the boundaries of human understanding in astronomy, biochemistry, cell biology, chemistry, earth science, ecology, evolutionary biology, mathematics, and physics. pexels-photo-248152The Wiess School of Natural Sciences comprises six departments:

  • Biosciences
  • Chemistry
  • Earth Science
  • Kinesiology
  • Mathematics
  • Physics & Astronomy

Natural Sciences faculty participate in several Interdisciplinary institutes and centers including the Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering, Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, Rice Quantum Institute, the W.M. Keck Center for Interdisciplinary Bioscience Training, Gulf Coast Consortia, and Rice Space Institute. Research partnerships encompass local institutions including Baylor College of Medicine, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, NASA, The University of Texas Health Science Center, the University of Texas Medical Branch, and the University of Houston, plus foundations, museums, industries, and other universities and corporations worldwide. The research of Nobel Laureates Robert Curl and Richard Smalley heralded the new discipline of nanoscience and technology that brings together many fields of science and engineering. In addition to providing the foundation of nano-research, the School also recently recruited three renowned scientists, all members of the National Academy of Sciences. Their research labs in cancer, physics, and chemistry will work in partnership with cancer specialists in the Texas Medical Center to apply new concepts from physics to cancer research and treatment. Members of our faculty have received prestigious awards such as: Packard Fellowships, Beckman Foundation Fellowships, NSF CAREER Awards for junior faculty, Feynman Prizes, Norman Hackerman awards in Chemistry, the Athelstan Spilhaus Award for Enhancement of the Public Understanding of Earth and Space Science, and the Public Welfare Medal from the National Academy of Science. The School offers numerous research opportunities to its undergraduates, and many publish work in top journals. A small sampling of research being conducted illustrates the broad range of possibilities: exotic plant and animal invasions into Texas ecosystems, evolutionary dynamics of genes and genomes in populations and species, effects of salt chemistry on freezing of saturated Martian soil, neurogenesis in Alzheimer’s Disease, and building lasers for cooling atoms to a millionth of a degree above absolute zero, to name a few. The space that supports Natural Sciences is remarkably diverse in the state-of-the-art equipment provided to the undergraduate and graduate research programs. The School also supports a professional science master's program in several areas.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

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Programs

This school also offers:

MSc

Master in Environmental Analysis

Campus Full time Part time September 2019 USA Houston + 1 more

This degree is geared to teach students rigorous methods that are needed by business and governmental organizations to deal with environmental issues. As an interdisciplinary program, it aims to give students the ability to predict environmental problems, not just solve them. It emphasizes core quantitative topics such as statistics, remote sensing, data analysis, and modeling. In addition, it teaches laboratory and computer skills and allows students to focus their education by taking electives in relevant fields. [+]

"Environmental consulting companies seek to hire motivated individuals with a solid background in applying quantitative skills to solve and prevent environmental problems. In addition, as consultants, these individuals need to be able to communicate effectively and have a keen sense of management and business practices. Graduates from Rice University's Professional Master's Program in Environmental Analysis will possess these qualities and be a tremendous asset to us and others in our field."

– Chuck Newell, Vice President, Groundwater Services, Inc.

Environmental Analysis is geared to teach students rigorous methods that are needed by industrial and governmental organizations to deal with environmental issues. It is a cross-disciplinary effort incorporating courses from environmental science, earth science, statistics, chemistry, ecology and evolutionary biology, mechanical engineering, applied mathematics, chemical engineering, economics, computer science, and sociology. Graduates will be prepared with skills and knowledge valuable to environmental consulting firms, energy production companies, and government agencies. In addition to track courses, the students will take a management course, a policy and ethics course, and a seminar jointly with the students involved in the other Professional Master's Program tracks.... [-]


Master in Space Studies

Campus Full time Part time September 2019 USA Houston + 1 more

This degree is one of five tracks in the professional master’s program at Rice housed in the Wiess School of Natural Sciences and focuses on training students in Space Engineering and Science with the intent of creating new options for those students interested in working in the space technology industry or related government entities, e.g. NASA, as well as governmental relations positions in non-profit organizations, industry and academic institutions. These master’s degrees are designed for students seeking to gain further technical core expertise coupled with enhanced management, communication, and leadership skills instilling a level of scholastic proficiency that exceeds that of the bachelor’s level, and creating the cross-functional aptitudes needed in modern industry and government. [+]

“NASA has had a long and productive relationship with Rice University beginning at the establishment of Johnson Space Center. This collaboration continues today. As part of NASA's overall mission, we are dedicated to education at all levels with special emphasis on education programs that meet our workforce needs. Rice has historically educated our outstanding scientists and engineers.

The Professional Master's degree in Space Studies fits within our workforce needs as it provides training across technical areas, from science to practical engineering and management. These types of programs can enhance our workforce as we continue in the 21st-century transformation of human space flight. We look forward to continuing our strong relationship with Rice and your program."... [-]


Master in Subsurface Geoscience

Campus Full time Part time September 2019 USA Houston + 1 more

This degree is designed for students who wish to become proficient in applying geological knowledge and geophysical methods to finding and developing reserves of oil and natural gas. Students can specialize in two focus areas: geology and geophysics. The geology focus area prepares students to be explorationists, with strong skills in using seismic and other geophysical methods along with geological principles to find oil and natural gas. The geophysics focus area prepares students to become technical experts in aspects of exploration seismology. [+]

"Students in the Professional Master’s Program benefit from Rice’s highly recognized academic resources enhanced with professional components that together foster the development of essential science, communication, and management skills. The (Subsurface Geoscience) track creates a rare breed of well-prepared professionals possessing the wide range of abilities necessary to devise innovative and pragmatic approaches to tackle difficult industry problems."Students in the Professional Master’s Program benefit from Rice’s highly recognized academic resources enhanced with professional components that together foster the development of essential science, communication, and management skills. The (Subsurface Geoscience) track creates a rare breed of well-prepared professionals possessing the wide range of abilities necessary to devise innovative and pragmatic approaches to tackle difficult industry problems."... [-]


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Contact

Dean of Wiess School of Natural Sciences

Address Rice University Wiess School of Natural Sciences MS-102 P.O. Box 1892
77005 Houston, Texas, USA

Address 6100 Main St. E100 George R. Brown Hall
77005-1827 Houston, Texas, USA
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