Graduate Catalog
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs

Karen P. DePauw, Vice President and Dean for Graduate Education

Kenneth Wong, Associate Dean of the Graduate School in the National Capital Region and Director of the Northern Virginia Center

Rosemary Blieszner, Associate Dean of the Graduate School

Muhammad Hajj, Associate Dean of the Graduate School

Amy Pruden, Associate Dean of the Graduate School

Dannette Gomez Beane, Director, Office of Graduate Recruiting & Diversity Initatives

Monika Gibson, Director, Graduate Student Services

Janice Austin, Director, Admissions & Academic Progress

Ennis McCrery, Office of the Graduate Student Ombudsperson

About the Graduate School

Virginia Tech has prioritized graduate education and scholarship as central to its academic mission and strategic goals. As such, the mission of the Virginia Tech Graduate School is to enhance the preparation of graduate students for advanced career achievement and better equip them with knowledge and skills for meaningful and relevant contributions as citizens in the 21st century society. The Graduate School is committed to providing a rich learning environment that attracts and retains outstanding graduate students to work closely with outstanding faculty. Working together, faculty and graduate students create new knowledge and scholarship to address the complex issues of today's society and tomorrow's future.

At A Glance

During the academic year of 2009-2010, the Virginia Tech Graduate School enrolled 6947 graduate students university wide in 145 master's and doctoral programs. Approximately 2000 are part-time and full-time students at VT extended campuses throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia (e.g., Abingdon, National Capital Region, Richmond, Roanoke) and at programs throughout the world (e.g., Egypt, Europe). Over 40% of the graduate student enrollment are doctoral students. International students representing over 100 countries comprised 26% of the enrollment. Students from diverse backgrounds represented 14% of the population; the male/female ratio is approximately 58/42%.

These students work with faculty in eight colleges, interdisciplinary programs, and the Graduate School. The colleges include College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Architecture and Urban Studies, Pamplin College of Business, College of Engineering, College of Liberal Arts & Human Sciences, College of Natural Resources and Environment, College of Science, and Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. In addition, VT has partnerships with Wake Forest University in North Carolina, Georgetown University in Washington DC, the VT Carillon (VTC) School of Medicine, and many international universities to offer collaborative graduate degree programs.

Graduate Education at VT

A 21st century university must not only provide strong training in the academic disciplines but must also encourage and embrace interdisciplinary education and scholarship, sustain master's programs and post baccalaureate professional development opportunities, and enhance the preparation of the next generations of doctoral educated scholars, scientists, teachers, artists, professionals, and faculty. This approach is coordinated through the innovative initiative entitled Transformative Graduate Education (TGE). TGE is a signature program that provides opportunities for doctoral and master's students to explore their roles and responsibilities as faculty members and career professionals, their pedagogical approaches and construction of teaching and learning, and their engagement with society as citizen-scholars. In addition, TGE integrates a critically engaged understanding and use of technology throughout the process. The Graduate School offers graduate courses and a graduate certificate in the Future Professoriate. For more information, see

Another unique feature of graduate education at Virginia Tech is the establishment of the Graduate Life Center at Donaldson Brown. The Graduate Life Center (GLC) provides an intellectually stimulating and rich learning environment that builds a strong graduate community, as well as the physical space and institutional place for 21st century graduate education. See The goal of the Graduate School is to provide quality graduate education in the context of a progressive and vibrant academic community for work in a diverse and inclusive global society.


Virginia Tech is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award doctorate, masters, baccalaureate, and associate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Virginia Tech.

Program accreditation within the various colleges of the university:

  • American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business
  • Accreditation Association of Marriage and Family Therapist
  • Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration
  • Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology
  • American Chemical Society
  • American Council for Construction Education
  • American Psychological Association (Clinical Psychology or Ph.D. program level only)
  • American Society of Landscape Architects (B.LArch. only)
  • American Society of Planners
  • American Veterinary Medical Associations Council on Education
  • Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education, American Dietetics Association
  • Foundation for Interior Design Education and Research
  • National Association of Schools of Theatre (B.A. and M.F.A. degree programs)
  • National Architectural Accrediting Board
  • National Council for Accreditation of Colleges of Teacher Education
  • National Institute of Food Technologists lists the Department of Food Science and Technology
  • Society of American Foresters
  • Society of Wood Science and Technology
  • Virginia State Department of Education

Extended Campus Locations

Virginia Tech offers courses and degree programs at several extended campus locations: Hampton Roads, National Capitol Region (several sites), Roanoke, Richmond, Danville, Southwest Virginia.

For degree offerings at the extended campus locations please filter the academic program listing by the campus you're interested in. The National Capital Region website lists forms and other details relevant to that extended campus


Financial Information

The Office of the University Bursar is responsible for the billing of tuition, fees, housing, dining plans, and many other student and related charges. Billing statements are electronically generated monthly for new account activity and any previous balance.  The e-bill can be viewed on the student portal Hokie Spa and payment can be made by e-check or by credit card.  Payment can also be made by mail or in person at the Bursar Office in 150 Student Services Building. 

Students may authorize parents or others as payers on their e-bill account.  Unless revoked by the student, the authorized payer receives the e-bill notification monthly and can view the account and make payments electronically to the student’s account. 

Release of Financial Information to a third party such as parent(s) and/or guardian(s) requires student authorization under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  The FERPA disclosure can be done via the Hokie Spa.

Detailed information regarding tuition and fees, payment deadlines, customer service window hours, the Budget Tuition Plan, electronic billing and payment processes, and much more available on the Bursar’s website


Tuition and Fees

Information on Tuition and Fee costs as well as costs for room and board can be viewed on the Bursar's website



Students are assessed the same rate for tuition and fees for auditing courses as for courses taken for credit.


Cooperative Education Program Fee

Students are assessed a Cooperative Education Program Fee for each term a student is placed in industry employment while enrolled in the Cooperative Education Program.  Details available on the Bursar’s website


Late Payment Fee

The late fee charge is 10% of unpaid balance up to a maximum of $125 per term if payment is not received by the due date on the billing statement.


Reinstatement Fee

Classes are dropped for non-payment of charges after the tenth day of classes for fall and spring semesters.  A $75.00 reinstatement fee and late payment fee will be assessed to students desiring to register once class registrations are cancelled due to non-payment of fees.  Students will have five business days to report to the Office of the University Bursar, 150 Student Services Building, to pay charges in full and have the hold removed from their record before the academic dean can reinstate courses.  Students will be provided a memo showing payment has been made to present to the academic dean when requesting reinstatement of classes.  Failure to remit payment within five business days of cancelled registration may result in denial of reinstatement request.


Billing Statements (E-bill)

Student Accounts are billed electronically.  Current e-bills, e-bill history, and real-time current account activity are viewed in the e-billing system accessed through the student portal (Hokie Spa).  E-bills are posted at least monthly, on the 15th (if the 15th of the month occurs on a weekend, e-bills are posted on the Friday before the 15th). Payment is required by due date on the statement to avoid penalties such as a late fee, registration hold, and cancellation of registration.   

The initial e-bill for fall semester will be posted in mid-July and will be due in early August.  Charges for new activity after July 15 and payments made to date will be e-billed on August 15, and again on August 30.  All charges billed between July 15 and August 30 must be paid by midnight of the 10th class day or classes may be dropped for non-payment. 

The initial e-bill for spring semester will be processed in December.  A schedule similar to the fall e-bill schedule is followed.  All charges for the fall and spring semesters must be paid by the close of the 10th class day, one week following the last day to add classes each semester, or classes may be dropped for non-payment. 

E-bills for the summer and winter terms will be posted at least one month prior to the start of each term.

Past due charges will prevent access to drop-add and prevent pre-registration for the upcoming semester.  Finance charges are incurred for past due charges from a prior semester.


Payment Directions

The most efficient and direct methods of payment include the electronic payment accessible in the e-bill system and the Budget Tuition Plan. 

If paying by mail, please make the check payable to Treasurer of Virginia Tech.  Print the PDF version of the e-bill and enclose the remittance advice with your check to ensure proper payment application.  Mail to Office of the University Bursar (MC0143), Student Services Building, Suite 150, Virginia Tech, 800 Washington Street SW, Blacksburg, VA 24061.  When mailing payment, please do not send cash.  

Scholarship checks, payments made via a banking service, correspondence, and certified or express mail must be sent to the Office of the University Bursar (MC0143), Student Services Building, Suite 150, Virginia Tech, 800 Washington Street SW, Blacksburg, VA 24061.  Please include a Virginia Tech student identification number on all correspondence and a Scholarship Reporting Form ( with all scholarship checks.


Budget Tuition Plan (BTP)

Virginia Tech's Budget Tuition Plan (BTP) offers a convenient method for planning and budgeting payment of tuition, fees, room, and board. The BTP can cover all or part of the semester institutional charges. This plan provides the opportunity for the student to remit payment in four scheduled bank debits per semester from a checking account. The only cost for this service is a non-refundable application fee that is due with the application each semester. Students can join the BTP online through Hokie Spa or download the BTP Brochure & application from our website. Visit for additional information and online tutorials.



A student can receive refunds from the university quickly and in the most efficient manner by having the refund deposited directly to a bank account.  Living expense refunds from excess financial aid will be deposited directly to the bank account provided by the student.  The student can enroll in direct deposit online through the Hokie Spa under the University Account information menu. If the student has not provided bank account information, refund checks will be mailed to the student’s permanent address listed on Hokie Spa at the time the refund is processed.  Refund checks will NOT be distributed at the Bursar’s Office Customer Service windows.  Requests for replacement refund checks must be in writing and will not be accepted by the Bursar’s Office until 14 calendar days after the date the original check was issued and mailed. 


Tuition and Fee Refund Policy

The refund schedules below list the student refund for withdrawals, resignations, and reduced course load. Students considering reducing their course load or resigning should always review examples of the calculation of any refund on the Bursar’s website at before actually dropping the course or resigning. Students receiving financial aid should contact the University Scholarships & Financial Aid Office prior to dropping courses to determine the impact on their financial aid.  Fees are defined as the comprehensive fees (full- or part-time) and any laboratory or resource fee associated with a particular course.  When dropping a course, please note the non-refundable nature of fees after the first week of classes.  Tuition and fee refunds for resignations are based on the effective date of resignation as determined by the student’s associate dean.  For questions related to the effective date of resignation, students should contact the Graduate School.


Fall and Spring Semesters

Tuition Refund Schedule for Reduced Course Loads

Semester Class Day Student Refund
One through five 100% of Tuition and Fees
Six through eight 90% of Tuition ONLY
Nine through nineteen 50% of Tuition ONLY
Twenty through thirty-seven 25% of Tuition ONLY
After day thirty-seven 0%


Tuition Refund Schedule for Withdrawals & Resignations

Semester Class Day Student Refund
One 100% of Tuition and Fees
Two through eight 90% of Tuition ONLY
Nine through nineteen 50% of Tuition ONLY
Twenty through thirty-seven 25% of Tuition ONLY
After day thirty-seven 0%

·         All refunds will be calculated from the official date of resignation, which may not necessarily be the last day of class attendance.

·         The technology, capital, comprehensive, laboratory and resource fees are non-refundable and no reduction will be made after the first day of classes for resignations and after the first 5 days of classes for reduced course loads. 


Summer Terms

Tuition Refund Schedule for Reduced Course Loads

Semester Class Day Student Refund
One through three 100% of Tuition and Fees
Four through eight 50% of Tuition ONLY
Nine through fifteen 25% of Tuition ONLY
After day fifteen 0%


Tuition Refund Schedule for Withdrawals & Resignations

Semester Class Day Student Refund
One 100% of Tuition and Fees
Two through three 90% of Tuition ONLY
Four through eight 50% of Tuition ONLY
Nine through fifteen 25% of Tuition ONLY
After day fifteen 0%

·    All refunds will be calculated from the official date of resignation, which may not necessarily be the last day of class attendance.

·    No refund will be granted for a resignation that occurred in a previous fiscal year.

·    The technology, library, capital, comprehensive, laboratory and resource fees are non-refundable and no reduction will be made after the first day of classes for resignations and after the first 3 days of classes for reduced course loads. 


Housing and Dining Plan Refunds

Students who purchase a declining balance dining plan will be charged a forfeiture fee of $100 during the first week for a major dining plan and $35 during the first week for a Minor Flex or dining plan.  Beginning in week two and throughout the remainder of the semester, students will forfeit the base cost and will be refunded any unused dollars in the declining balance account.  Commuter Cash dining plan holders will receive a refund of the remaining dollars on the plan fees less a $35 forfeiture fee.  Refunds are calculated from the date the resignation is processed by the university or the last day of dining plan use, whichever is later.  No refund will be granted for a resignation backdated for a previous semester.

Students with a balance in a Dining Dollars, Flex Additions, or Hokie Passport account will receive a refund of the balance less a $15 processing fee per account.  Questions concerning adjustments to room charges should be directed to the Office of Housing & Residential Life at (540) 231-6481.  Questions concerning adjustments to dining plan charges should be directed to Hokie Passport Services at (540) 231-5121.


Collection of Past Due Receivables for Students

Any amount owed to the university including, but not limited to, tuition, fees, room, board, loans, notes receivable, and amounts due for goods and services provided is considered a receivable to the university. A receivable becomes past due if payment is not received by the payment due date. At ninety days past due, the receivable becomes delinquent.

For currently enrolled students, the primary collection tool is the placement of a "HOLD" by the Office of the University Bursar on a student's record. This "HOLD" restricts certain student activities such as the ability to add or drop classes, receive grade transcripts, register for future academic terms, and may also result in a hold on the diploma of candidates for graduation. Once established, the "HOLD" remains in place until the debt is paid in full. When a student is no longer enrolled, the collection procedures utilized for other "non-student" receivables are implemented.

Individuals are responsible to pay all fees and charges owed to Virginia Tech.  If the individual defaults on payment, has a returned check or debit of said fees and charges, or has any delinquent amount owed, the individual must pay a penalty fee, interest at the highest rate allowed by law or as agreed to with Virginia Tech, and all reasonable administrative costs, collections fees, and attorney’s fees incurred in the collection of amounts due the university.  Students will be notified by an email sent to their Virginia Tech email address to alert them that a statement has been generated.  Virginia Tech and their respective agents or contractors may contact individuals regarding any amounts owed, at the current or any future number provided for the cellular phone or other wireless device using automated telephone dialing equipment or artificial or pre-recorded voice or text messages.

Addresses must be kept current and can be changed by students as needed on HokieSpa (MyVT).  Non-receipt of e-bill notification is not a valid defense for non-payment; it is the responsibility of the individual who has incurred the debt to see that the debt is discharged.

For non-students, a dunning message is included on each month's statement alerting the customer to the next collection steps that will be taken.  If payment is not forthcoming within the stated period, the account and all pertinent information are forwarded to an outside collection agency for further collection efforts.  In addition, the account is reported to national credit bureaus, thus affecting the debtor's credit rating.

In addition to the above measures, the university also lists the account with the Virginia Department of Taxation for set-off debt collection procedures.  This means that any state income tax refund or payment processed through the State Treasurer’s Office to the debtor will be reduced by the amount of the receivable owed by the debtor.

Office of the University Bursar (0143)
Student Services Building, Suite 150, Virginia Tech
800 Washington Street SW
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Fax: 540/231-3238

Full-Time Enrollment Status

Financial Aid

Virginia Tech awards financial aid to qualified students in the form of grants, loans, and employment. Sources of aid come from federal agencies, university academic departments, and private foundations and corporations. Interested applicants should inquire about fellowships and teaching and research assistantships through the university academic department in which they will be enrolled. Additionally, all students should submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to the federal processor by March 11 to be considered for priority awarding. FAFSA forms and information are available after January 1 on the Web at

Applicants for financial aid must list Virginia Tech's institutional code number, 003754, and/or the official name of the university (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, or VPI&SU) on the FAFSA in order to have the analysis of their FAFSA sent to the university's Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid. Students must complete and submit a new FAFSA to the federal processor each year to be considered for aid at Virginia Tech.

All offers of financial aid are contingent upon receipt of anticipated federal and state funds by the university. Awards may be reduced or canceled if anticipated funds are not received. Offers of financial aid are subject to full-time enrollment (9 hours) and maintenance of satisfactory academic progress.

Virginia Tech administers a comprehensive financial aid program that totals $179 million for all students. Approximately 70 percent of Virginia Tech students receive some form of aid.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to receive aid from federal need-based programs, an applicant must satisfy the following eligibility requirements: meet university application requirements; be enrolled as a degree-seeking student; be a citizen or an eligible non-citizen; submit a completed FAFSA; and be making satisfactory academic progress as defined by the university policy for Title IV recipients (refer to website Full-time enrollment is required for Federal Work-Study, Perkins Loans, and some other awards. Fellowship and assistantship recipients must also enroll for at least 12 hours a term.

Federal Title IV Programs

Federal Work-Study Program

This federal program provides employment opportunities to students with demonstrated financial need. All federal work-study positions pay at least minimum wage. Departments post positions on the jobs database at

William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program

Federal Stafford Loans are long-term, low-interest loans authorized by the federal government for the educational expenses of eligible students enrolled at least half-time. Students apply for subsidized Federal Stafford Loans (which are interest free) and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans (which accrue interest) by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Repayment normally begins six months after the student leaves Virginia Tech or drops below half-time status.

Federal Perkins Loans

This program provides long-term, low-interest loans from Virginia Tech to students with financial need. The interest rate to first-time borrowers is five (5) percent. Repayment of both principal and interest begins after the student leaves Virginia Tech or drops below half-time status. Repayment is made to Virginia Tech, and once funds are repaid, they are used to make loans to other Virginia Tech students.

Additional Information

Additional information on financial aid may be obtained by writing, calling, or visiting:

Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid
200 Student Services Building (0222)
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Phone: 540/231-5179
Fax: 540/231-9139

All information is correct at the time of publication. Current information is available from our website.

Veterans Affairs Educational Benefits

Applicants who wish to receive VA Educational Benefits should apply through the Office of the University Registrar or visit their website at


Most departments at the university offer assistantships. Students should contact the academic departments to inquire about the availability of assistantships.

University Mission

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University is a public land-grant university serving the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the world community. The discovery and dissemination of new knowledge are central to its mission. Through its focus on teaching and learning, research, and outreach, the university creates, conveys, and applies knowledge to expand personal growth and opportunity, advance social and community development, foster economic competitiveness, and improve the quality of life.

Graduate School Mission

The mission of the Virginia Tech Graduate School is to advance graduate education as a critical component in the transmission of new knowledge, new research, new ideas, and new scholarship in the university. The Graduate School is committed to providing a rich learning environment that attracts and retains outstanding graduate students. They work closely with outstanding faculty to advance knowledge and understanding that enables us to address the complex issues of today's society and tomorrow's future. Our viability as a top research university depends upon our ability to prioritize graduate education and research as central to the academic mission of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Graduate School Responsibilities

The Graduate School is responsible for the development, administration, and evaluation of graduate education throughout the university. Graduate School personnel work in partnership with the faculty, program chairs and department heads, the deans, graduate students (particularly through the Graduate Student Assembly), and the Commission on Graduate Studies & Policies (CGS&P) to further graduate education at Virginia Tech. The Graduate School is responsible for:

  • Implement academic policies and procedures;
  • Assisting with the preparation of new graduate degree options and programs;
  • Implementing enrollment management strategies at the graduate level;
  • Overseeing admission of graduate students;
  • Monitoring graduate students' progress toward degrees, accepting and approving theses and dissertations, and certifying the successful completion of graduation requirements;
  • Certifying eligibility of graduate students to hold assistantships (GTAs, GRAs, GAs);
  • Managing tuition remissions and scholarship and fellowship programs;
  • Implementing the health insurance subsidy program;
  • Coordinating university-wide graduate recruitment efforts;
  • Advocating and promoting a nurturing climate for graduate education, including the sound mentoring of graduate students;
  • Coordinating the university-wide graduate student orientation and GTA training;
  • Processing documentation for international students (e.g., visas) and assuring federally mandated compliance;
  • Administering the Graduate Honor System;
  • Preparing the future professional;
  • Facilitating interdisciplinary programs.