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2013-2014 Undergraduate Course Catalog & Academic Policies

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University Academic Advising Center

Kimberly S. Smith, Ph.D., Director of Undergraduate Advising and University Studies
Elaine Matuszek, Associate Director
Advisors: J. Brogan; J. Chatham; C. Crawford; A. Fizzano; K. Gay; H. Goetz; J. Johnson; C. King; K. McGee
For further information: 540/231-8440

The University Academic Advising Center serves the university community in several ways. First, it administers the University Studies program for new undergraduate students who want to explore a variety of degree programs before they commit to one particular major. Students who enter Virginia Tech as University Studies students are not limited to pursuing a specific major in their first year. With the guidance of a professional academic advisor students research the full range of degree programs related to their interests and design programs of study that meet graduation requirements while providing the academic flexibility to pursue whichever degree program they ultimately choose. Second, the Advising Center assists new students who intend to reapply to competitive admission majors. Advisors work with these students in developing programs of study that meet the established criteria for admission into to their chosen major. For both of these student populations the University Academic Advising Center serves as both the college and department, providing administrative services, dean's office services, and academic advising until the students enter a specific major.

University Studies

    University Studies is a major but it is not a degree program. University Studies offers a structured advising program that provides students with the necessary support and strategies to investigate and compare academic disciplines so that they can make informed decisions about the degree programs they will pursue. Students can explore any major available at the university while completing course requirements toward a baccalaureate degree. To ensure that students graduate in a timely manner, University Studies requires all students to enter a specific degree program by the time they have earned 60 credits toward graduation (approximately the end of the sophomore year) or have attempted 72 hours.

Restricted Majors

    University Studies students can pursue any major offered at the university; however, students should be aware that some majors are competitive for internal transfer. These programs have established specific criteria and application procedures that students must fulfill in order to be considered for internal transfer into the major. In general, these criteria require students to demonstrate proficiency in designated core courses and, for some programs, in introductory major courses before they are eligible to apply. University Studies students enter and graduate from these restricted programs each year; however, since there is no guarantee of acceptance to these programs, students are encouraged to investigate alternative majors even as they prepare to enter a restricted program.


Restricted Programs for Internal Transfers:

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise

College of Architecture and Urban Studies:

Art and Art History - Visual Communication Design; Studio Art
Industrial Design
Interior Design
Landscape Architecture

Pamplin College of Business:

Accounting and Information Systems
Business Information Technology
Finance, Ins. & Business Law
Hospitality and Tourism Management

College of Engineering:

All majors

College of Science


Academic advisors in the University Academic Advising Center are familiar with the internal transfer criteria and procedures for all restricted programs and will assist students in fulfilling these requirements.


Curriculum for Liberal Education

    All undergraduate students at the university, regardless of their majors, are required to fulfill general education course requirements in English, mathematics, science, social science, humanities, etc. There is a standard set of these courses, the Curriculum for Liberal Education (CLE), that all degree programs incorporate in their graduation requirements.

    In general, CLE requirements are completed in the freshman and sophomore years. Some majors are flexible with regard to which CLE courses can be used to fulfill degree requirements; other majors designate specific CLE course selections. Academic advisors assist University Studies students in selecting courses that apply toward as many of the majors a student is considering as possible. Thus, students fulfill degree requirements for graduation while they are exploring majors and are usually able to graduate on time.

Typical First Year Program

First Semester Second Semester
Mathematics First-Year Writing
Natural science (lab-if required by intended major) Mathematics
Social science Natural science (lab-if required by intended major)
Humanities/elective Social science
Humanities/elective/major specific course
    For University Studies students, as for most students at the university, the first year is primarily devoted to fulfilling Curriculum for Liberal Education requirements. Of course, University Studies’ students’ programs of study vary depending upon the major or majors they are considering. Specific course selections are determined in individual consultation with an academic advisor.

Graduation Requirements

    The requirements to graduate in a specific major are determined by the department and college conferring the degree. In general, students are required to have a minimum 2.0 overall grade-point average and a minimum 2.0 grade-point average in their major in order to graduate. The number of credit hours required for a baccalaureate degree varies from 120 to 136 hours, depending upon a student's major and degree program.

The Honors Program

    Students with exceptional intellectual and creative abilities are encouraged to participate in the University Honors program. Through honors sections of regular courses, honors seminars, and independent study opportunities, the Honors Program offers students unique and challenging intellectual experiences. Entering students are invited to participate in the Honors Program if they 1) have a cumulative score of 1350 or above on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) (critical reading and mathematics) or a minimum ACT composite score of 30, and 2) have a cumulative GPA of 3.80 (as reported on their high school transcript). Current Virginia Tech students may apply to participate in the program if they have a 3.60 cumulative GPA or better (grade-point average) while enrolled as full-time and have at least four semesters remaining before they graduate.


Dean's List

    University Academic Advising Center students who demonstrate academic excellence are named to the Academic Dean's List and are awarded a Dean's List certificate. Students must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 graded hours (A-F) and must achieve a 3.4 GPA or higher in the fall or spring term to qualify.

Pre-Professional Advising

    Students who want to enter professional schools but who have not yet chosen an undergraduate major will find that the university offers a variety of degree programs that provide excellent preparation for advanced training in professional fields. Though some professional programs, such as medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine, require students to complete a minimum number of credit hours at the undergraduate level in chemistry, biology, mathematics, etc., professional schools do not dictate that students pursue specific undergraduate majors. Some examples of undergraduate majors that are frequently chosen as preparation for professional training appear below, but a student can pursue almost any undergraduate degree and be competitive for admission to a professional program.

Education Abroad

    Opportunities to study at institutions in other countries are available to all qualified students, regardless of their major. Study abroad offers students a unique opportunity to learn about other cultures and peoples while earning college credit. Students who intend to participate in an overseas study experience should discuss their intentions with their advisor early in their academic career.

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Virginia Tech 2013-2014 Undergraduate Course Catalog and Academic Policies