November/December Monthly Memo

Important Dates & Deadlines

  • The Spring gathering of the Graduate Program Directors will be held from 3:00-5:00 on January 27, 2009.  Please hold this date.
  • December 1 – Last date for accepting regular and online applications for spring admission; students applying after this date must use the expedited application
  • December 15 – Departments should submit all recommendations for admission to the Graduate School by this date
  • The Graduate School in the National Capital Region will hold its next monthly  information session Thursday, December 11, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. in room 318. Prospective students can attend the 30 minute session to learn about the requirements for graduate school as well as what programs are offered in the National Capital Region. Last month we featured the Marriage and Family Therapy program, please let us know if you would like  to be featured and give a short presentation . For more information please send an email to or call 703-538-8327
  • Orientation for all new Graduate Students in the National Capital Region will be January 17, 2009 at 9:00 in the Northern Virginia Center. It is mandatory for all F1 and J1 student visa holders to attend. For more information see call 703-538-8327 or send an email to

Commencement & Graduation Deadlines

Commencement is a very special time for our graduates and their families and I hope you will join your colleagues in recognizing our graduates and celebrating their accomplishments.  I invite you to attend Graduate Commencement on Friday, December 19, 2008.  Mark Edwards will be the commencement speaker this year.  The Graduate School ceremony is Friday, December 19 at 3pm in Cassell Coliseum.

Master’s candidates who are eligible to participate in Commencement should report to the practice gym (Room 213) located on the ground floor at the back of Cassell Coliseum. Enter on the Spring Road side of the building.

Doctoral candidates who have met all requirements for graduation by December 12, 2008, are eligible to participate in Commencement. Doctoral candidates should report to the practice gym (Room 220) on the ground level of Cassell Coliseum. Enter on the Spring Road side of the building.

Faculty who will be participating in the hooding ceremony should arrive at the practice gym (Room 220) at Cassell Coliseum between 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Check in upon arrival so that your name may be read during the ceremony.  Check-in will begin at 1:30 p.m. and end at 2:30 p.m.  Academic regalia is required.

Doctoral candidates who have indicated their intention to participate in the Fall Commencement ceremonies must meet all requirements by December 12, 2008.  If a student has indicated that they wish to walk, but now is unable to participate, please have them contact Janice Austin at

All students should be reminded that in order to be considered a Fall 2008 graduate, they must defend their Master’s thesis or Doctoral Dissertation by December 10, 2008.  In addition, all degree completion requirements must be met by January 23, 2009.  Any student defending between December 11th and February 6th will be considered a spring 2009 graduate and automatically be enrolled for Defending Student Status of 1 credit.

Graduate Catalog Online

The online Graduate Catalog is going live on December 1, 2008.  This is the first version of the catalog and we will be adding more sections (e.g., schools, graduate certificates) in the near future.  Please review the catalog and your individual listings. Not all programs were able to complete the entry process so those programs are listed as "under construction".  There will be an opportunity for changes immediately as well as regular updates throughout the year.  check out the Graduate School website – we welcome your comments.  Thanks.

Application and Decision Deadlines
Applications for spring 2009 (including CGEP) will be available online until Monday, December 1, 2008.  We will no longer be accepting regular applications for spring admittance after this date. Students who wish to enroll for spring after this time will need to submit the Expedited Admissions application. The Expedited Admissions application will be accepted from December 2nd through Friday, January 16, 2009.

All decisions for spring 2009 applications must be submitted to the Graduate School by Monday, December 15, 2008.  If a department would like to have an application considered for a future term because they are unable to make a final decision now, the department should confirm with the student of their intention and obtain their interest in future consideration.  Once confirmation is received from the student, the department should notify the Graduate School and the student’s application term will be changed.  This communication should be done via email PRIOR to the start of the Spring term and not as a comment on the Online Admissions Analysis form. 

If you have a student who has not been enrolled for more than one year and plans to return for Spring 2009, their re-admission application must be received by Monday, December 1, 2008 for consideration.  They should also review their Plan of Study and determine if a Course Justification request is needed.

Special Studies Requests to the Graduate School for the Spring 2009 Semester:

As the spring semester approaches, select Departments still may be considering offering a Special Study class that is not on the current VT Timetable.  Please remember that this process is well defined by Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University No. 6365 Rev.: 0; Policy and Procedures: Date: October 31, 2001: Subject: Approvals for Special Courses and Independent Studies:  

 ….Syllabi for ….5984 (Special Studies) courses should be submitted to the Graduate School office at least 10 days before the end of the semester preceding the semester the course is to be offered. All 4984, 5974, and 5984 syllabi must be approved by the department head and the college before being submitted to the Graduate School. The course syllabi should contain a distinctive title, not simply "Special/Independent Study."

Additionally the Graduate School has prepared and updated a Request for Special Study Form that was revised February 2008. This revised February 2008 Form must accompany this Special Study request. Please purge your departmental files of older versions of the Request for Special Studies forms as approvals now are only processed with the expanded and newer version of this form.  It is located at the following Graduate School web address: under “Academic Progress…Request for Special Study”.

 Thanks for your cooperation.

Graduate School 2008-09 Awards: 

Friday, February 6, 2009 at 4:00 PM is the deadline for the following 2008-09 Graduate School award nominations:

  • Outstanding Graduate Alumni Achievement Award
  • Outstanding Dissertation in math, sciences and engineering–$1000 award
  • Outstanding Dissertation in social sciences, business, and humanities–$1000 award
  • Graduate Student Service Excellence–$1000 award
  • Graduate Student Teaching Excellence–$1000 award
  • Graduate Man and Woman of the Year– $500 award each
  • Outstanding Graduate Student by college at the (a) master’s and (b) doctoral level–$500 award each
  • Outstanding Graduate Student in Interdisciplinary Programs (doctoral)–$500 award
  • Graduate Man and Woman of the Year–$500 award each  
  • Outstanding Graduate Alumni Achievement Award — presented during the 2009 Spring Commencement ceremony.

Additional information on the specifics and requirements for each nomination can be found at the following Graduate School web address:

We encourage departments and faculty to nominate all qualified candidates as soon as possible.  Thanks for your cooperation.

CGS&P updates

CGS&P discussions this semester have focused on issues of fair use and copyright for ETDs.  Modifications to the process and paperwork will be forthcoming.  Other topics have included support for interdisciplinary research and graduate education, strategic enrollment management, the implementation of the change in policy regarding 4000 level courses for graduate credit and conjoint courses and the importance of library to graduate education and research.  Defending Student Status and bachelors/masters programs will be discussed in January.

Please do not write on transcripts.  The Graduate School wishes to maintain the integrity of transcripts and is scanning them in.  Any items written on the transcript (e.g. Student ID number, dates, calculations, etc.) hinder the ability to keep the original document in tact.  Should you need to share information with the Graduate School, please use a post-it note.

Graduate Preview Weekend Nominations
2009 Graduate Preview Weekend Graduate Preview Weekend nominations are being accepted. To access the registration page, you will need to enter your Virginia Tech PID and password. A department may nominate up to three prospective students. The nominated individual should have submitted an application for graduate study and be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident residing in the United States. Graduate Preview Weekend is February 19-22, 2009. For more information, contact Marilyn Kershaw, Director of Graduate Student Recruiting, at 1-2494 or at