Frequently Asked Questions

What degrees do you offer in Civil & Environmental Engineering?


What are the minimum requirements to be considered for admission your graduate program?

Admission for graduate study in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech is granted by the Graduate School, upon recommendation of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department through a departmental review committee and/or the Department Head. Admission normally requires a bachelor’s degree in engineering from an ABET-accredited engineering program.

For a regular student status, a student with a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) for the last 60 semester hours may be granted regular admission status.  A higher GPA is expected of doctoral candidates; please contact the specific program area of interest for more information.

Occasionally, a domestic graduate student is admitted on provisional status if the GPA for the last 60 semester hours is between 2.75 and 2.99.  Upon completion of no fewer than 9 credit hours of coursework, the Program Area Coordinator and/or Department Head may recommend that the student be admitted as a regular student. Provisional student status is allowed for no more than 12 semester credit hours.  While on provisional status, a student must earn a GPA of at least 3.00.  Students on provisional status are ineligible for financial aid from the department.  International students are not eligible for provisional status.

All other required materials must be provided with the application:

Official Transcript 

UPLOAD a copy of an official transcript to the online application

Two (2) Letters of Recommendation

PLEASE request ONLINE letters of recommendation through the online application. When you are in the application you will see the recommendation section, please follow the instructions. ALL non-electronic letters of recommendation should be sent directly to the department address:VT-CEE department750 Drillfield Dr.200 Patton Hall, MC: 0105Blacksburg, VA 24061

General GRE

All applicants must provide a GRE score.
TOEFL(for international students only) Waivers of the TOEFL score can only be granted by our Graduate School office, (not the department office). An IELTS test of 6.5 or better can substitute for the TOEFL. All international applicants must provide a TOEFL score. Our departmental minimum is 90 (internet-based). Further, TOEFL scores of 20 or greater in Listening, Writing, Speaking, and Reading subsections are required. Please do not apply if your score is below the minimum. Your application will not be reviewed by the faculty.

What is your university code for me to use on my GRE and TOEFL tests? 

Our university code is 005859. If you have your official scores sent to our university code, the Graduate School and the department will have access to the scores at the same time.

Can the TOEFL be waived (for international applicants only)?

The TOEFL can only be waived by our Graduate School. Many circumstances are an automatic waiver such as students with a conferred degree from a U.S. institution. The IELTS test may substitute for the TOEFL. Email for more information.

Can the GRE be waived?

The GRE test is a departmental requirement. Our department does not waive the GRE test.

Sometimes the CEE deadlines are different from the Graduate School deadlines, whose do I follow?

You should be aware of the application deadlines for both. Often our deadlines are not in conflict but appear to be in conflict since they are deadlines for different things. The most misunderstood deadline is the Graduate School’s deadline for admission concerning international students. Each academic semester the Graduate School has a cut-off deadline for international to be admitted so that the paperwork for SEVIS can be completed. Please read carefully. IF the deadline on a Graduate School webpage is about being admitted, then it is too late to apply by that date. Admittance requires that all materials have been received, reviewed and a recommendation given by the faculty. Please see our guideline for deadlines below.

Does your department admit applicants for a spring semester?

Yes, except for the Construction Engineering and Management program area.

See below:

Deadline for international applications for Fall*While the department may accept an international application after this date, there is no guarantee that all processing can be completed in time for the Fall semester. January 15* all supporting materials should arrive byJanuary 31
Suggested application submission for U.S. citizens/permanent residents for Fall January 15
Deadline for international applications for Spring*While the department may accept an international application after this date, there is no guarantee that all processing can be completed in time for the Spring semester.(The Construction Engineering Management program area does not accept any applications for Spring. All other areas do accept Spring applications.) September 1* all supporting materials should arrive by September 30
Suggested application submission for U.S. citizens/permanent residents for Spring.(The Construction Engineering Management program area does not accept any applications for Spring. All other areas do accept Spring applications.) September 15


Can I apply if my undergraduate degree is not in Civil or Environmental Engineering?

Yes. Students with non-engineering backgrounds can be admitted for graduate study.  These students will be expected to either complete courses or show proficiency by examination in certain fundamental areas such as mathematics and engineering mechanics.  Specific background course requirements are established by each Program Area within the Department. A table can be found in the appendix section of our Graduate Policies and Procedures.

Can I pursue a degree in your department part-time?

Yes. Part-time students are not eligible for financial assistance from the department. Ph.D. students would have to meet the residency requirements set forth for research. Please see the Graduate Catalog online at

How long will it take to complete my degree?

Our master’s program is a 30 hour program. Our Ph.D. program is a 90 hour program. For information about the specific requirements and transfer credit information, go to our Graduate Policies and Procedures.

What is the difference between an M.S. degree and a M.Eng.?

While both programs are 30 hour programs, the exact breakdown of those 30 hours differs. We prefer to admit students to the M.S. program to begin. After the first semester, the faculty will help the student decide which specific program is best for them.

What are program areas?

When applying to our graduate program, an applicant must choose which program area that they want to work within. The applicant’s application is reviewed by the faculty in the program area of choice. If admitted to the graduate program, it would only be to specific area within our department. If a student later wanted to change program areas, the faculty for the new program area would have to review the student’s file.

For Environmental Engineering and Environmental Sciences and Engineering degrees a student will automatically be in the EWR (Environmental and Water Resources Engineering) program area. Civil Engineering degree applicants can choose any one of our program areas. To get more information about our program areas, click here.

What will it cost to be a graduate student at Virginia Tech?

Tuition and fee information can be found at our Bursar’s website. Please look for the correct year and choose “graduate” for Blacksburg campus, or choose “extended graduate” for those at campuses other than the main campus.

What kind of financial aid is available?

Our department offers a variety of financial opportunities. We have many assistantships and many different fellowships available. All applicants are reviewed for possible funding in our department. Applicants that meet requirements for available fellowships are nominated by the faculty. It is important to apply early since financial offers begin many months before the beginning of the semester. Other financial aid might be available through the Scholarship and Financial Aid office.

What is an assistantship?

An assistantship is a contract where a graduate student works for pay. Most assistantships also cover tuition payments related to the amount of hours you are contracted to work each week. A graduate student is considered full time in the department if you work 20 hours per week. For a full time assistant, the department would pay for the base in-state tuition amount, the technology fee, the library fee and the engineering fee in full. Student awarded assistantship from departments not in the College of Engineering may have to pay their own engineering fees.

Graduate Research Assistantships are awarded by individual faculty members who have received research projects (e.g., from government agencies). The availability of GRA’s and the amount of the award varies, depending on the projects that have been obtained and the funds allotted for GRA’s in those projects. Typically, research carried out by a graduate student on a GRA becomes part or all of the research for the student’s thesis or dissertation.

For Graduate Teaching Assistantships, each program area in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is allotted a number of GTA’s to award to graduate students. The amount of the assistantship varies, depending on the duties and number of hours associated with it. The duties may involve grading of homework for courses or supervising an undergraduate laboratory course.

What is a fellowship?

A fellowship is basically income for the student to help with cost of studies. Fellowship pay is not earned income like an assistantship. Many times a fellowship is combined with an assistantship. Sometimes promised income is part assistantship and part fellowship payments. Graduate fellowship payments are must often paid out over the academic year in small bi-monthly payments.

As an out-of-state student, will I become in-state if I have an assistantship?

No, but if you earn $2000 in one semester, the out-of-state portion of the tuition can be complimentary waived by the Graduate School.

How do I become an in-state student?

Graduate students are encouraged to look into in-state status. IT is strongly suggested that you begin this process before the start of the first academic semester. A form and guidelines can be found at our Graduate School website: International students are not eligible to become in-state students.


Sarah Hoyle Martin (Blacksburg and NCR Campus)