The first year of graduate study consists of formal course work. All incoming students are supported by Rice graduate fellowships for one year. After the first year, research, under the guidance of a faculty advisor, occupies the majority of the student's time and is conducted full time during the summer. At this time, all students working on theses are supported by research grants. All students assist in the undergraduate laboratory and course offerings of the department for five or six hours per week during the first five semesters.