Graduate Catalog
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
Graduate School Policies
Admission Categories and Graduate Student Classifications
Students are admitted or classified in one of the following categories:
Regular Admission

Regular Admission to a graduate degree is open to an applicant whose grade point average (GPA) meets or exceeds the 3.00 required by the Graduate School for the last half of the credits earned for the undergraduate (bachelors) degree, and whose academic background meets the requirements of the admitting academic unit. A graduate degree, or at least 12 credits of graduate coursework taken post-baccalaureate, while in graduate status, will supersede the undergraduate record in evaluating credentials for admission.

Provisional Admission (Master's only)

Provisional Admission to a graduate degree is open to an applicant whose GPA is below the 3.00 required by the Graduate School, but generally not lower than 2.75, who has other experience or qualifications that demonstrate potential to undertake graduate study, and whose admission is requested by the admitting academic unit. Provisionally admitted students are regular degree-seeking students with the condition that they must earn at least a 3.00 GPA for the first 12 graduate credits they attempt. If a 3.00 GPA is not earned in the first 12 credit hours attempted, the Graduate School will consult with the academic unit to determine whether the student should be allowed to continue for one additional semester on probationary status (see Academic Progress, Probation). Appropriate coursework taken while on Provisional status may be included on the Plan of Study for the student's graduate degree at the discretion of the student's Advisory Committee.

Conditional Admission

An applicant whose academic background is deficient in some aspect, but who otherwise meets minimum  GPA qualifications for admission (Regular or Provisional) may be granted “conditional” admission. The admitting academic unit specifies and informs the conditions of admission to the applicant and the Graduate School by letter prior to applicant matriculation. The academic unit notifies the Graduate School when the conditions have been met.

Non-degree Status

Non-degree status is open to an applicant who qualifies for admission to the Graduate School in Regular status (i.e., who has a 3.00 GPA or better for the last 60 credit hours of undergraduate study) but who does not wish to, or cannot be, listed as a degree candidate for one of the following reasons: (a) does not currently desire to work toward a graduate degree; (b) desires to transfer the credits for use toward a graduate degree at another institution; or (c) there currently is no higher degree available at the university other than the one the applicant currently holds in the department or field of study. Official transcripts of the undergraduate degree are required for admission to this status.

The university places no limits on the total number of credits that may be taken while in Non-degree status. Credits earned by students in Non-degree status may be used in meeting degree requirements, if they are appropriate for inclusion, in the Plan of Study if the student is later admitted to a graduate degree. Graduate students in Non-degree status are not eligible for graduate assistantships. International Exchange Students in J1 status only may hold Non-degree status for up to two semesters (note that TOEFL score requirements do apply).

Commonwealth Campus Status

Commonwealth Campus status is open to an applicant who holds an earned bachelors or higher degree from a regionally accredited U.S. university. Examples of students who seek admission into the Commonwealth Campus program include those who (a) may qualify for regular admission but do not currently wish to work for a graduate degree; (b) do not qualify for admission because of a poor undergraduate record and wish to improve their credentials; (c) need to update their academic credentials after several years of professional experience or (d) require graduate courses for professional certification. International students in F1 or J1 visa status are not eligible for Commonwealth Campus status. However, some other types of visa status may allow non-degree enrollment (note that TOEFL or IELTS score requirements do apply). Students applying for Commonwealth Campus status must complete the Application for Admission and submit a transcript (unofficial is sufficient) or a copy of their diploma for the highest degree attained. Students in Commonwealth Campus status are not eligible for graduate assistantships.

Commonwealth Campus students are limited to 12 credits of course work while in this status. Students may not earn a graduate degree while enrolled in Commonwealth Campus status. If a Commonwealth Campus student wishes to enter a degree program, the Application for Admission to that degree needs to be filed early in the semester prior to the desired semester for degree entry.

If the student is accepted to a degree, a determination of the applicability of any courses taken while in Commonwealth Campus status, to a graduate degree, will be made at the time of submission of the Plan of Study for the degree.

Graduate Certificate Status

A qualified student 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 should submit concurrently an Application for Admission and a Graduate Certificate Application 1. The Graduate School requires a GPA of 3.0 for admission to Certificate Status and official transcripts must be submitted. Note that students pursuing a degree and a certificate simultaneously are classified in their degree program. All credits applied to the earning of a graduate certificate may be used in meeting degree requirements if they are appropriate for inclusion on the Plan of Study for the degree. No credits can be triple-counted.

Visiting Graduate Student Status

A graduate student in good standing at another university may be permitted to take graduate courses by submitting a Visiting Graduate Student Application form, available at  Enrollment as a visiting graduate student is limited to one calendar year or 18 credit hours.

Eligibility of Faculty/Staff for Graduate Degrees

Teaching and research faculty of the rank of assistant professor or above shall not become candidates for degree or be awarded graduate degrees from this university. The Provost's Office may be requested to waive this policy for an individual following successful appeal to the Commission on Faculty Affairs.

Staff and administrative/professional faculty may become candidates for graduate degrees with approval from the academic program, the university employer, and the graduate school. To receive approval, candidates must address conflicts of interest, time, and commitment. Supervisors of these candidates should abstain from chairing and/or serving on the candidates' graduate committees to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

The Conflict of Interest Agreement form and guidelines for staff and administrative/professional faculty seeking a graduate degree may be downloaded at

Questions may be directed to Associate Dean Bill Huckle (

Once completed, the form may be uploaded to:

Undergraduates Taking Graduate Courses


Students in their senior year, with a 3.0 or better GPA, may enroll in 5000-level courses satisfying undergraduate degree requirements within their department with the permission of the course instructor and the Department Head. Should the student become a graduate student, these courses may not be used on the Plan of Study for a graduate degree.


Dual Student Status

Seniors in a bachelor's degree, who have a GPA of 3.0 or better may be eligible for Dual Status during the final semester of their undergraduate degree. To obtain this status, students must file an application for the master's degree and the Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Degree and Course Designation Request (for obtaining Dual Status) ( ). The department reviews the student for master's acceptance and, if this is recommended, indicates on the Admission Analysis form that the student will be accepted for Dual Status for the final semester of the undergraduate degree. This acceptance must  occur prior to the final semester of the undergraduate degree. Graduate coursework taken during the semester of dual registration may only be designated for use in the graduate degree when it is not used to meet bachelor's degree requirements (i.e., each course taken during the final semester is specified as being for either the bachelor's or the master's degree). A grade of B or higher must be earned in each Dual course to be placed on the graduate transcript.

 Combined Student Status (Architecture Only)

This status is reserved for qualified students in the bachelor of architecture program who: (a) are within 24 semester hours of graduation; (b) are proceeding toward the two-year master's program in architecture; and (c) have at least a 3.0 GPA for the last two years (60 credit hours) of undergraduate studies. Combined students are permitted to take graduate courses.

Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Degree Programs

In accordance with the policy of the Commission on Graduate and Professional Studies and Policies for accelerated undergraduate/graduate degree programs, "each graduate degree program wishing to offer one or more accelerated undergraduate/graduate degree programs must submit a written description of their program to the Graduate School for review and approval before students may be admitted hereto."

Consistent with Graduate School policy, the standards for each program must meet the minimum requirements but can exceed these (e.g., GPA, fewer courses to be double counted).  These regulations include the following:

  • Students must be accepted into the program prior to the beginning of the semester in which they would enroll in courses to be used on the accelerated program. 
  • Students qualifying for the program must be in the last 12 months of their undergraduate degree.
  • A minimum GPA of 3.3 is required at the time of acceptance to the program
  • Once completion of the undergraduate degree has been verified, students accepted into this accelerated program will be classified as regular graduate students.
  • A maximum of 12 credits of graded coursework may be used in the program.
  • No more than 6 of the double-counted credits may be at the 4000 level; all others must be offered for graduate credit.
  • A grade of B or higher must be earned in each course to be double counted.
  • Courses must not be taken pass-fail if a graded option is available.

Programs that intend to accept students into an accelerated graduate program must submit a proposal to the Graduate School that includes the following:

  • Accelerated program(s) to be offered.  These can include programs designed for VT students as well as non-VT students from U.S. institutions or in partnership with international institutions.
  • Graduate degrees included - master's or doctoral degrees, or both.
  • Admission criteria and application materials required, including but not necessarily limited to student status, minimum GPA requirement, statement of motivation and career objectives, student's experience and qualifications as reflected in a resume, a portfolio, and/or letters of reference.
  • The number of credits to be double counted towards undergraduate and graduate degrees.
  • Process for identifying potential students and faculty advisors, and for mentoring during program.
  • Tentative listing of courses that the department expects to be used for graduate plans of study for students in the program.
  • Other conditions or aspects of the proposed program as appropriate.