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College of Science


Lay Nam Chang, Dean
Associate Dean for Curriculum, Instruction and Advising:
Sheryl Ball
Associate Dean for Administrative and Faculty Affairs: Jack Finney
Associate Dean for Research, Graduate Studies and Outreach: Nancy Ross
Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Studies: Jerry W. Via

Science student


    The College of Science at Virginia Tech gives students strong training in analytical skills and a comprehensive foundation in the scientific method. Outstanding faculty members conduct research and teach courses in nine disciplines leading to baccalaureate and advanced degrees. Coursework from the College of Science also provides a foundation of knowledge of a number of fundamental subjects for students in all colleges. The College of Science also offers academic advising and appropriate preparatory coursework for students interested in pre-medicine, pre-dentistry, pre-veterinary medicine and patent or intellectual property law.

    Students may major in the following disciplines:

Biochemistry Biological Sciences Chemistry
Economics Geosciences Mathematics
Physics Psychology Statistics

    In addition to traditional majors, the college offers programs in nano-scale science and technology as well as information science, and supports research centers--in areas such as biomedical and public health sciences, and critical technology and applied science--that encompass other colleges at the university. Allied disciplines emphasize the study of behavioral science as well as economic and strategic decision making. The college is committed to providing research opportunities for interested students at all levels.

Degree Programs

    Specific degree programs include:

    • Biochemistry (B.S.; options in Biochemistry and Biotechnology)
    • Biological Sciences (B.S.; options in Bio-Business, Biotechnology, Food Science and Technology, Ecology, Clinical Laboratory Science, Microbiology/Immunology, and Pharmacy)
    • Chemistry (B.S. or B.A.)
    • Economics (B.A.; specializations in Business Economics, Macroeconomics and Finance, Economic Theory, Econometrics and Empirical Economics and Public Policy)
    • Geosciences (B.S.; options in Geology, Geochemistry, Geophysics and Earth Science Education)
    • Mathematics (B.S.; options in Traditional Mathematics; Applied and Computational Mathematics; Applied Discrete Mathematics and Mathematics Education)
    • Physics (B.S. or B.A.)
    • Psychology (B.S.)
    • Statistics (B.S.)

    The college offers minors in all of the majors listed above. A leadership minor is available to members of the Corps of Cadets. Students are encouraged to include a minor in their program and should consult an advisor for help in choosing one that will advance their career goals.

General Requirements for Graduation

    A student in the College of Science must complete at least 120 hours for an undergraduate degree as well as satisfying the following requirements:

    • achieve a minimum overall Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0 for all hours attempted
    • achieve a minimum overall GPA of 2.0 for all hours attempted in all work applied to the major
    • complete all other requirements established for their degree by the major department
    • complete all college and Curriculum for Liberal Education (a.k.a. University Core Curriculum) requirements

    No course required for graduation or in the major/minor may be elected to be taken on a pass/fail basis (i.e., pass/fail may be used for free electives only). This excludes courses that are offered P/F only.

College Core Curriculum

    A description of the Curriculum for Liberal Education (a.k.a. University Core Curriculum) may be found in the Academics chapter of this catalog. Requirements specific to the College of Science are available on the college website or from individual departments.

Satisfactory Progress

    In addition to the university and to the departmental criteria (see specific departments in this chapter), all students in the College of Science are evaluated for continued enrollment at Virginia Tech. The two College of Science criteria for satisfying progress toward degree state that:

      Students who have attempted 72 semester hours must have completed their foreign language requirement by the close of the academic year (Spring Semester)

      Students must have completed all credits for the Curriculum of Liberal Education (a.k.a. University Core Curriculum) by the time 96 semester hours have been attempted.

The Honors Program

    The University Honors Program is available to students in the College of Science. These programs provide an enriched environment for qualified students who are highly motivated and possess outstanding scholastic ability. Specific requirements for the three possible honors degrees are available from the honors program and participating departments.

    Students who have GPAs of at least 3.5 are also eligible to apply for five year BA/MA degrees in Chemistry, Economics and Physics and five year BS/MS degrees in Biochemistry, Biological Sciences, Geoscience, Mathematics and Statistics.

Dean's List

    A student enrolled in the College of Science for 12 hours or more for grade (A-F) who earns a GPA of 3.4 or higher during the fall or spring semesters is awarded a Dean's List certificate.

Pre-Professional Training in the College of Science

    The College of Science provides pre-professional career advisors for all disciplines. Pre-dentistry, pre-medicine, and pre-veterinary medicine advisors are available in the biochemistry, biological sciences, chemistry, and psychology departments. Advising for students interested in patent or intellectual property law careers is available in the college advising center. The College of Science offers a program in patent and intellectual property law in cooperation with the University of Richmond Law School.

      Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine: Students preparing for these fields customarily complete the biochemistry, biological sciences, or chemistry curriculum.

      Law: Students interested in patent or intellectual property law need a major or two minors in biochemistry, biological sciences, chemistry, geoscience, physics or engineering. Other law specialties are open to students in all majors.

      Pharmacy: Students preparing for pharmacy customarily enter the biochemistry, biological sciences, or chemistry curriculum.

Phi Beta Kappa

    Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest and most prestigious honor society dedicated to recognizing excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. Students in the College of Science who have exhibited outstanding academic ability in eligible coursework may be eligible for election to Phi Beta Kappa.


    A number of scholarships are available for outstanding students enrolled in the College of Science. Descriptions and deadlines are available on the college website.

    Students who are interested in applying for financial merit-based aid should contact Financial Aid.

Undergraduate Research

    Research experience can play an important part in undergraduate training in science. College of Science departments have a variety of research opportunities in which students may choose to participate. Individuals interested in undergraduate research should contact the department where they wish to conduct research for details.

Internships, Co-op Opportunities and Enrichment Programs

    Students are encouraged to participate in Internship and Co-op opportunities to gain relevant work experience prior to graduation. Career advisors in the college advising center as well as department career advisors can help students identify opportunities. In some cases students can receive credit for qualifying work experience. Enrichment studies include field station opportunities, study abroad and summer laboratory experiences outside of the university.

Career Advising

    Career advising is available from a number of sources. The university offers centralized career services and on-campus interviewing. The College of Science works with employers interested in hiring students with degrees from the college and organizes employer panels and information sessions. The college also co-hosts two career fairs each year, one in the fall semester and one in the spring semester. Every major has a departmental career advisor who specializes in guiding students from their field towards career success. Information about upcoming events is available at www.cos.vt.edu/career/index.asp.

Graduate Programs in Science

    College of Science departments all offer graduate degrees at both the Master's and Ph.D. levels. Complete information on these programs including descriptions of graduate courses can be found in the Graduate Catalog.