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Getting Settled in Houston

Visit the city of Houston website for more information on this vibrant and cosmopolitan city. The College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics graduate program webpages also contain helpful information for living in Houston. International students are also encouraged to visit the Office of International Students and Scholars Services (ISSS) website.

Overview of University of Houston

Student Organizations

The Department of Biology and Biochemistry is home to the BioScience Graduate Society student organization, which can help newcomers settling in the department. The University of Houston also hosts dozens of student organizations.

Arranging Housing

On-Campus Housing

University Lofts
University Lofts

Students may arrange on-campus housing by completing an application through the Student Housing & Residential Life website, or calling toll free 800-247-7184 or 713-743-6000. A social security number or student identification number must be provided when submitting a residential housing application. Student Identification numbers can be retrieved from the Graduate Coordinator.

Off-Campus Housing

There are many apartment locators in Houston and most offer a free service. Students can find a listing of apartment locators by searching the web using key words such as Apartment Locators-Houston-Texas. When making a housing selection, it is advisable to consider the following:

  • Most apartments require a full month’s rent in advance and a security deposit.
  • Location of the University of Houston (address: 4800 Calhoun, Houston, Texas 77204). Not to be confused with University of Houston-Clear Lake or University of Houston-Downtown.

Transportation

Houston is a large city and many times it is more convenient to use public transportation. Bus/Rail service rates and routes.

Financial Frequently Asked Questions

  • Fall incoming graduate students receive their first stipend check on the first business day in October. Spring incoming graduate students receive their first stipend check on the first business day in February.
  • Stipend checks are issued once a month. Typically, checks are issued on the first day of each month. If the first day falls on a weekend or holiday, the check will be issued on the following workday.

TAs and RAs receive a salary of $1,950/month (U.S. $23,400 per year) and a health insurance stipend of $150/month (U.S. $1,800 per year). NOTE: This amount does not reflect the deductions of taxes or any additional selections made for payroll deduction.

It is difficult to estimate how much money a student should bring. Much depends on each student’s arrangements. Listed below are expenses to consider:

  • Fee Bill

    Students must pay at least half of their fee bill the first week of class. The fee bill includes all costs for extra benefits selected by the student. If a student chooses to live on campus, opting for one of the housing packages and chooses a meal plan, these costs will be added to the fee bill. By adding the cost of all options selected, students can estimate the amount that must be paid.
    NOTE: The Graduate Tuition Fellowship (GTF) and out-of-state tuition waiver will pay for all of the tuition and mandatory fees per semester. Non-mandatory fees (for example, parking) are not covered by the GTF. Insurance is free for the student only, not dependents.
  • Cost of Housing
    
If a student chooses to live off campus, ask the apartment or housing manager the terms of the housing agreement. Some apartments require a full month’s rent in advance along with a security deposit. There are many apartment locators in Houston and most offer a free service.
  • Food, Transportation and Other Essential Items
  • International students should bring most of their money in U.S. travelers checks. Cashiers checks and regular bank checks often take weeks to cash. Moreover, if lost, travelers checks can be recovered, currency cannot.
  • Another recommendation is to open an account at a local bank. For convenience, many UH students use the banking system on campus, TDECU, located in the Student Center. After arriving at UH, students can arrange for electronic, direct deposit of their monthly stipend to a specific bank account.

Food in Houston is inexpensive. Much depends on individual preferences. Great culinary and price diversity exists in Houston. There are many grocery markets and restaurants available. Students can find a listing of restaurants in the free publication Houston Press. Additionally, there are many eateries located on campus in the Student Center or Student Center Satellite. Refer to the Campus Map.

Arriving in Houston

Houston has two airports, George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and William P. Hobby Airport (HOU). Intercontinental Airport is located 25 miles north of the city.

Ground Transportation

Both airports offer a variety of choices of ground transportation to incoming passengers, including shuttles and buses. For more information, visit the Ground Transportation websites for IAH and HOU.

Taxi Service

Students can travel by taxi from the airport directly to UH from Intercontinental for about $60. Ask the driver about the fare before leaving the airport. Taxi fare will be more expensive than the airport bus fare. There are three UH campuses in Houston, so be sure to tell the taxi driver that the address of the University of Houston is 4800 Calhoun Road.

If students arrive at Houston’s Hobby Airport, they are much closer to UH. Taxi service is located in the airport’s ground transportation area. Taxi fare from Hobby Airport is approximately $25.

Tipping: It is customary to tip the driver at least 15 percent of the total amount of the fare.

Students planning to be picked up at the airport by friends or a relative should state at which airport.

ISSS Airport Pick-Up

International students may also choose to use the special airport pickup provided by the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS). For more information and to fill out the Airport Pickup Form, please visit the ISSS website.

Airport Clearance

Arriving international travelers must first clear the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, where uniformed, multilingual Special Service Representatives are available to assist passengers. Passports, Visas (if required) and other necessary documents must be completed correctly and be available for the Immigration inspector. Find more information on traveling through U.S. Customs.