APRIL 2008


  • VT Blacksburg Graduation, Cassell Coliseum; May 9, 2008 at 3:00pm
  • VT NCR Graduation, GMU Center for the Arts, May 11, 2008 at 1:30pm
  • Application for Degree submission deadline : March 1, 2008
    Please note: The system will still accept submissions after this deadline.
    However, an AFD must be submitted by the deadline for the student’s name to appear in the Commencement Bulletin.
  • Last day to defend without next semester enrollment; Wednesday, April 30, 2008
  • International student admission deadline for Fall 2008 is May 15, 2008.

Access to Turnitin.com

The Graduate School is providing access to Turnitin.com services free to our graduate students and faculty through May 2008.  Our intent is to allow graduate students to be proactive and to check their theses/dissertations (or papers) through access to the plagiarism prevention software.  We also invite faculty and GTAs to utilize the software for use in their classes.  More >>

Application/decision deadlines
The following application and decision deadlines are approaching for Summer I:

Summer I – Starts May 19, 2008
Application deadline:  April 15, 2008; Dept decision deadline:  May 1, 2008
Readmission application deadline: May 1, 2008; Dept decision deadline:  May 16, 2008

Please note that International students must have a decision on them no later than May 15, 2008 for fall enrollment.  Any decisions made after this timeframe need to be approved in advance by the Graduate Schools International Student Services area, please contact them at igss@vt.edu . For those in the National Capital Region, please contact Marija Telbis-Forster.

International Student Admission Deadline for Fall 2008
The deadline to accept international students residing outside the United States for Fall 2008 is May 15. Since the visa application process may take 3 to 4 months, we must allow sufficient time for students to make all their arrangements. International students are expected to arrive in Blacksburg no later than August 18 and participate in the mandatory international student orientation on August 22. Any exceptions for specific international students must be discussed with an immigration advisor (Zelma Harris or Ruth Athanson) in the Graduate School . You may send an email to igss@vt.edu or call 231-8486 with details about the student’s situation. Decisions will be made on a case by case basis after evaluating the applicant’s chances of receiving the immigration paperwork and applying for a visa in time to arrive by August 18.

Expedited Application
Students wishing to be apply for admission after the application deadline may submit the Expedited application for consideration as a Commonwealth Campus, non-degree seeking student.  The last day to submit the Expedited Application for Summer I 2008 is Friday, May 16, 2008.  The Expedited application process allows a student to be enrolled for one semester, taking up to a maximum of 6 credit hours.  Student’s seeking admission under this option must reapply using a new application – either Commonwealth Campus, Non-degree, or Degree seeking – for any future terms.

Online Application Review
Submission of your review, confirmation, and changes is due no later than April 15, 2008.  For questions, please contact Jacqueline L. Nottingham, Director, Admissions & Academic Progress at 540/231-3092.

Commencement Participation/Attendance
Please go to HokieSPA and confirm your intent to particpiate.  It is especially important for PHD Candidates to confirm their intent, so that we may contact and verify the faculty who will be acting as your hooder(s) during the ceremony.  PHD Candidates wishing to walk in the Graduation ceremonies must have all degree requirements met – which includes submission and approval of Electronic Thesis/Dissertation (ETD) – by Friday, May 2, 2008.  Master’s candidates are all eligible to participate in the ceremonies.

Defending between terms
If someone must defend between semesters because of unusual circumstances such as a conflict with faculty schedules permission must be requested from the Dean’s office, by the student’s committee chair, to do so.  Please be aware, a later defense date will still result in the student being signed up for Defending Student Status (DSS) for Summer I.  It is unlikely that a student will be able to complete all the necessary degree requirements by the established deadlines to receive their degree award for Spring.

Graduate Education Week Photos Now Available On-Line
Photos from various Graduate Education Week events, including the awards banquet on March 27, are available for viewing or downloading at


Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies

Admissions category descriptions have been clarified.  The following language replaces the first three categories of admission in the Graduate Catalog.
          Admissions Categories:

Regular Admission

An applicant whose grade point average (GPA) meets or exceeds the 3.0 required by the Graduate School for the last half of the credits earned for their undergraduate degree, and whose academic background meets the requirements of the admitting academic unit, is eligible for “regular admission.”   A graduate degree, or at least 12 credits of graduate coursework taken post-baccalaureate, will supersede the undergraduate record in evaluating credentials for admission. 


Provisional Admission  (Master’s only).

An applicant whose GPA is below the 3.0 required by the Graduate School, but generally not lower than 2.75, and who has other experience or qualifications that demonstrate their potential to undertake graduate study, may be granted “provisional admission” at the request of the admitting academic unit.  After attempting 12 graduate credits and earning at least a 3.0 GPA, a student is changed to Regular status by the Graduate School.  If a 3.0 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.

Per U. S. Department of State regulations, an international student with F1 or J1 visa status is not eligible for provisional admission.


Conditional Admission

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

New Degree Proposals

A resolution for the establishment of Master’s of Information Security Assurance Degree in the Virginia Tech College of Engineering was presented to University Council on April 7 for a first reading.

The Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Technologies was approved by the commission and will be presented to the University Council for a first reading.

Transfer Courses on Plans of Study
The Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies has recently reaffirmed the policy about transfer courses from other universities being used on graduate Plans of Study. Only full graduate courses (typically numbered 5000 or higher), from an accredited university, taken while the student was in graduate status, in which the student enrolled for A/F grading and obtained a grade of B or higher can be transferred onto a Plan of Study for a VT graduate degree. Please note limitations on the number of transfer credits allowed (see 2007-08 Graduate Policies and Procedures in the Graduate Catalog on the GS website).

Scheduling the Preliminary Examination
Graduate students wishing to schedule the prelim exam must have an approved Plan of Study on file in the Graduate School. Lack of an approved POS or the need for changes in the POS or in the student’s Advisory Committee are very common causes of delays in prelim scheduling.  If a student has a probationary GPA at the time when exam scheduling is desired, the Advisory Committee should examine carefully whether the student will be in jeopardized by holding the exam. If the decision is made to move forward with exam scheduling the Advisory Committee Chair should consult with the Dean’s office in the Graduate School prior to requesting exam scheduling.

Graduate Advisory Committee Members who Retire
When a faculty member moves from active service to retirement and a department wishes to have the retired person continue to serve on graduate committees, departments should submit a Non-VT Program Faculty Committee Member Registration Form.  This will allow the GS to keep the retired faculty member "registered with the GS" despite other record changes that occur at retirement.  The following general guidelines have been used for several years when retired faculty are requested to continue to serve on committees or are requested for service on new committees. The purpose of these guidelines is to ensure the availability  and service of retired faculty so that student committees are adequately and appropriately staffed.

  • If the Committee Chair retires and the student has completed prelims and is well established in the research project, the retiree may continue as Chair.  If the Chair moves away from the degree site, it is recommended that a Co-Chair from the faculty be appointed so that the student has an advocate on site.
  • If the Committee Chair retires but the student has not taken prelims, generally a new Chair is needed but the original Chair may continue to serve on the committee.
  • Generally, retired faculty should not begin new committee service as Chair. If retired faculty are requested to serve on committees there should be assurance that they intend/will be able to serve throughout the time typically required for the student’s degree completion.