Enrollment Qualifications:

  • All new graduate students must complete the GTA Workshop (GRAD 5004, 1cr.)
  • International students with a 26 or below on the Speaking subtest of the Internet-based TOEFL must take either the SPEAK or TEACH test offered during graduate orientation.
  • Students on graduate assistantships must be enrolled for a minimum of 12 credits.
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 must be maintained both overall and for all coursework on the Plan of Study (minimum for any one course is C-).
  • Full time enrollment = minimum of 9 credit hours, maximum of 18 credit hours
    • Graduate assistants, fellowship and scholarship recipients minimum is 12 credit hours.


Degree Requirements:

  • Plan of study
    • All students must submit a Plan of Study meeting minimum degree requirements.
    • Plan of Study and Plan of Study Change Form must be approved by Advisor, Advisory Committee, Department Head, and Graduate School.
    • All courses on plan of study must be taken for a letter grade (A/F)
    • Grades below C- must be repeated.
    • Deadline:  prior to completion of the second academic semester of enrollment (as per Dairy Science guidelines).
    • No more than 50% of the graded credit hours needed to satisfy the minimum requirements for a Virginia Tech graduate degree may be transferred in from another accredited university.
    • A maximum of six credits of courses numbered 4000-level courses can be used on the Plan of Study.  Additional credits should be used as supporting courses.
    • Plan of Study Changes. A Plan of Study Change Form is necessary whenever changes are made to the course work on the Plan of Study.


Graduate Advisory Committee:

  • Advisory Committee approves Plan of Study, provides advice, and regularly assesses the students progress and accomplishments.
  • Size and Composition:
    • At least 4 faculty members (with a doctoral degree).
    • At least 1 faculty member from outside student’s major department – appropriate but not required.


Credit Hour Requirements:

  • 90 minimum total credits hours
    • Minimum of 30 credits of  Research and Dissertation (APSC 7994)
    • Minimum of 27 credits in 5000 or higher level courses
    • Minimum of 0 credits in 4000-level courses (Maximum of 6)
    • Maximum of 4 credits in Seminars
    • Maximum of 18 credits in 5974, 6074, 5984 and 6984



  • Students must be registered for the minimum of three credits in the semester/summer they take an examination or when a degree is completed.  If a dissertation is ready for defense by the beginning of a semester, students may qualify for Defending Student Status (contact the Graduate School for details).
  • Examinations must be scheduled through the Graduate School at least 2 weeks before the examination date requested.
    • Signed examination card must be returned to Graduate School within 1-2 days after the examination
  • Qualifying Examination – required of certain departments
  • Preliminary Examination
    • May be oral and/or written.
    • At least 24 hours of course work and/or research must remain to be taken.
    • Must be taken at least 6 months before the final examination.
    • Prior to completion of the third academic semester of enrollment (as per Dairy Science guidelines).
  • Final Examinations
    • Oral and/or written final examination is required
      • At minimum a defense of the dissertation
      • Scheduled no earlier than 6 months after successful completion of the preliminary examination.
  • To pass any of the required examinations, a graduate student is allowed at most 1 unsatisfactory vote.
    • 1 full semester (15 weeks min) must elapse before scheduling of 2nd exam.


Detailed information can be found under the policies section of the VT Graduate Catalog.  You are responsible to meet the requirements for the year that you began your graduate work.

Students and advisors are responsible for making sure that all deadlines and requirements are met.