Graduate Catalog
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
Urban Computing
Torgersen Hall, Suite 3160
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Contact this Certificate
Email Contact(s):
Web Resource(s):
Phone Number(s):

Certificate Overview

The Graduate Certificate in Urban Computing trains students in the latest methods in analyzing massive datasets to study key issues concerning urban populations. Students learn to apply methods in data analytics, computational modeling, and visualization. The certificate is open to degree- and non-degree seeking students. Students complete 12 hours of coursework for the certificate from an interdisciplinary selection, spanning Civil and Environmental Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mathematics, Population Health Sciences, Sociology, Statistics, and Urban Affairs and Planning.

The Graduate Certificate in Urban Computing is available to all graduate students in the university. Graduate students can select courses from the list of approved courses. At least 2 of the courses must be from outside the student’s home department.  All courses are 3-hour credit unless otherwise noted in the Graduate Catalog. Transfer credits are not permitted. No hours can be below the 5000 level.

Details of course requirements and program checksheet are available at
How to Apply:
Fill out the online application for participation in the certificate program.
Upon processing of the application, you will be contacted
with information about the submission of additional
required materials. Thank you for your interest.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Graduate School and completing a Graduate Certificate Application are required for both degree- and non-degree seeking students.

 Degree-seeking applicants:

The Graduate School requires completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a GPA of 3.0 or better for admission to Certificate Status. Applicants with an undergraduate GPA < 3.0 may qualify for Commonwealth Campus admission. Students pursuing a degree and a certificate simultaneously are classified within their degree program. Certificate credits may be used to meet degree requirements if they are appropriate for inclusion on the degree Plan of Study.

 Non-degree seeking applicants:

A qualified person who wishes to enter Virginia Tech to obtain a graduate certificate, without being enrolled in a degree program, may apply for graduate admission to Graduate Certificate status. Such applicants submit an Application for Admission and a Graduate Certificate Application, and must meet the following criteria:

  • GPA of 3.0 for admission for the last half of the credits earned for the undergraduate (bachelors) degree*
  • Official transcripts must be submitted.
  • Academic background meets the requirements of the admitting academic unit.
  • International applicants must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). A minimum TOEFL score of 550 paper-based (PBT) or 80 internet-based test (iBT) is required for consideration of the application. On the iBT, subscores of at least 20 on each subtest (Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing) are required for admission. A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 is required for admission. Some departments have higher TOEFL or IELTS score requirements than those set by the Graduate School. 

Course Requirements

A. Required Core Courses: (6 credit hours minimum)                    

CS 5834  Introduction to Urban Computing                                                  

CS 5024 Ethics and Professionalism in Computer Science                       

B. Restricted Elective Courses: (6 credit hours minimum)              

“Horizontals” (Data Science/Research Methods) Courses (Choose 1)

CS 5234 Advanced Parallel Computation

CS/MATH 5485 Numerical Analysis and Software I

CS/MATH 5486 Numerical Analysis and Software II

CS/STAT 5525 Data Analytics I

CS/STAT 5526 Data Analytics II

CS 5824/ECE 5424G: Advanced Machine Learning

CS 5764 Information Visualization

STAT 5444 Bayesian Statistics

STAT 5544 Spatial Statistics

“Verticals” (Urban Informatics/Applications) Courses (Choose 1)

CEE 5604 Traffic Characteristics and Flows

CEE 5634 Analysis & Planning of Mass Transit Systems

PHS/VM 5314 Infectious Disease Epidemiology

PHS 5354 Modeling Infectious Diseases

ECE 6304 Advanced Topics in Power

ECE 6334 Computational Methods in Power Engineering

SOC 5504 Population Processes and Policies

SOC 6504 The Sociology of Culture

**UAP 5114 Computer Applications in Urban Planning and Management

UAP 5234 Urban Economics and Policy

UAP 5604 Housing Planning and Policy Topics

UAP 5644 Transportation Systems Planning

** = students in the UAP department pursuing the certificate are advised, based on their background, to take UAP 5114 Computer Applications in Urban Planning and Management as a pre-requisite for CS 5834 Introduction to Urban Computing.  Students should enroll in the section taught by either Wenwen Zhang or Theo Lim.