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Graduate Advising and Resources

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Graduate school is a unique journey filled with its own challenges and triumphs, and we are here to support you every step of the way.

This page serves as your hub for all information pertinent to graduate student life in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction. If you can't find what you're looking for or have more specific questions, contact the Building Construction graduate program here.


Interested in Applying: Admission Information

The application to our graduate program is formally submitted through the Virginia Tech Graduate School Application Portal. Before submitting your application, please be sure to make yourself familiar with the submission format, including the Graduate Application Content.

All required documents must be received in the Graduate School by Building Construction's (BC) application deadline in order for the application to be complete. Please note that these deadlines are earlier than the latest possible deadlines listed on the Graduate School's website.

Term Degree(s) Application Deadlines Decision Deadlines
FALL MS BCSM + PhD EDP
Students for early decision funding January 1 January 15
Students seeking funding April 1 April 15
International students not seeking funding April 1 April 15
Domestic students not seeking funding July 1 July 15
SPRING PhD EDP only
Students seeking funding September 1 September 15
International students and not seeking funding September 1 September 15
Domestic students not seeking funding December 1 December 15

(*) Exceptions may be granted for military applicants to pursue a MS-BCSM Spring enrollment.

Eligibility Requirements

While an undergraduate degree in construction or related fields is not required, applicants must demonstrate relevant background and professional experience. They must also demonstrate the capability for undertaking advanced academic study. Students without an undergraduate degree in Building Construction from a U.S. university are encouraged to take additional supporting courses from the core undergraduate Building Construction curriculum to better equip them for success in the highly-competitive construction industry, depending on their individual background and experience. These additional courses can be completed concurrently with the student's graduate plan of study.

Test Scores

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are required for admission to the EDP PhD program. A minimum score of 1000 (scores prior to 2010) or 305 (exam scores after June 2010) of verbal plus quantitative is recommended for admission. GRE scores are no longer required for admission to the MS-BCSM program - since the graduate school application forms are only updated once a year, you can safely omit those in your application to the MS-BCSM program.

GRE EXAM DATE / SCORING TYPE MINIMUM SCORE
Graduate Record Examinations prior to 2010 1000
Graduate Record Examinations after June 2010 305
(verbal+quantitative)

Please send GRE scores directly to Virginia Tech. The Educational Testing Service Institution Code for Virginia Tech is 005859.

TOEFL Examination Scores (preferred) or IELTS are required from international students who do not have English as a first language. International applicants are exempt from demonstrating English proficiency if they have graduated from an accredited university where English is the language of instruction or if they are U.S. permanent residents ("green card" holders).

For applicants with language proficiency test requirements, the minimum scores to be considered for admission in the Department of Building Construction are listed as following:

TOEFL TEST TYPE MINIMUM TOTAL SCORE MINIMUM WRITING SCORE/TWE
Paper-based test 600 4.5
Computer-based test 250 4.5
Internet test 100 26

 

IELTS TEST TYPE MINIMUM TOTAL SCORE MINIMUM WRITING SCORE
IELTS Overall Band Score 7.0 7.5

More information for international students can be found in the Graduate Catalog section for International Applicants.

Along with your personal information it also requires the following content.

Candidate Statement

Provide a written candidate statement of no more than two pages, including the following subsections. Any references cited to support the candidate statement do not count against the two-page limit. The statement should include the following elements:

Motivation and Goals for Graduate Study: Concisely describe your reasons for pursuing a graduate degree from Virginia Tech. This statement should include a description of your experiences and reasons leading up to this decision, specific objectives you have with regard to earning your degree, and your career goals following successful completion of your degree.

Statement of Interest: 

  • Master (MS-BCSM) students have two options of study: the Research Track or the Industry Track. The Research Track requires independent research through a Project & Report or Thesis. In your candidate statement, if you are not interested in pursuing research please state so. If you do have research interests, please describe your previous research, if applicable, and describe an area of inquiry you would be interested in pursuing to complete your independent research requirement.
  • All Ph.D. (EDP) students are required to undertake independent dissertation-level research to complete their graduate degrees. It is recommended you carefully review the research areas of interest and past projects undertaken by faculty when formulating your statement and describe how your interests complement, support, or otherwise mesh with research initiatives already in place.

Statement of Industry Experience: If you have any relevant industry experience in one or more domains associated with design, delivery, construction, or operation/management of capital projects, please include this in your candidate statement. Include a description of your responsibilities for each position held.

Transcripts

While completing your online application and prior to submitting it, you will be required to upload one copy of your scanned official transcript from each institution from which you have earned or will earn an undergraduate or graduate degree. Do not send transcripts for community college attendance or from any institution where you enrolled in classes but did not earn a degree.

Please do not mail your official transcripts to us until you have received an offer of admission from Virginia Tech. Please review uploading transcripts from the graduate school.

Note: Domestic students with a GPA between 2.75 and 2.99 may apply for admission as a Commonwealth or Provisional student; see Admission Status for additional information.

Resume or Curriculum Vita

Submit a resume or CV including, at a minimum, information about past employment, previous education, and other accomplishments relevant for evaluating your merit as a potential graduate student.

Letters of Recommendation

It is recommended that the three letters of recommendation be submitted electronically. Applicants for the M.S. in Building Construction Science and Management program should have at least one of the letters from someone in the construction industry who has direct knowledge of your industry experience. At least one of the other letters should be from a faculty member who has knowledge of your academic capabilities. The applicant can choose the author of the third letter.

Test Scores

For more information on test scores please see the test scores section above.

If all application requirements are successfully met and the student is approved for admission to the Graduate School, he/she may be admitted to one of the following categories upon acceptance of the admittance offer.

Regular Student

An applicant who meets the required grade point average (GPA) over his/her last 60 semester hours (or equivalent) and whose academic background is relevant, current, and meets established requirements may be granted regular admission. The Graduate School requires a GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) or higher for this status. International students residing outside the U.S. are only considered for regular admission.

Provisional Student

Provisional Student status may be granted for domestic applicants whose GPA is between 2.75 and 2.99 and/or whose academic background is deficient or not current. Upon completion of 9 credit hours of course work, the student's graduate advisory committee and department head may recommend that the student be admitted to regular status. Provisional student status is allowed for no more than the equivalent of one semester (12 credit hours of course work is equivalent to one semester) during which time the provisional student must earn a GPA of at least 3.0.

Note: International students are not eligible for consideration for admission as provisional students. Students on provisional status are ineligible for financial aid.

Dual Student

Virginia Tech seniors who intend to receive a bachelor's degree, are within one semester of graduation, and have a GPA of 3.0 or better, may take graduate level course work to satisfy an advanced degree program as dual registrants. Such work may be used to satisfy graduate degree requirements only when it is not used for the bachelor's degree and with the consent of the graduate advisory committee. Students who file an application for the M.S. degree and complete the Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Degree and Course Designation Form (for obtaining Dual Status) will be accepted for Dual Status for the final semester of the undergraduate degree.

Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate (UG/GR) Student

Undergraduate BC students who have an in-major GPA of at least 3.5, an overall GPA of at least 3.3, have completed at least 90 credit hours toward their B.S. degree, and have applied for the Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate (UG/GR) program may be accepted for Accelerated UG/GR Status for the final two semesters of their UG degree. 

Students accepted into this program may "double count" up to 12 credits of graded coursework between their B.S. and M.S. degree programs. Students admitted to this program can typically complete all requirements for the M.S. degree in two additional semesters beyond the B.S. degree. Acceptance must occur prior to taking courses that will be counted for double credit.

Non-degree Student

Non-degree student status is available for applicants with a bachelor's or higher degree who qualify for admission to the Graduate School as a regular student but who do not wish to or cannot be listed as a degree candidate for one of the following reasons:

  • does not currently desire to work toward a graduate degree;
  • desires to transfer the credits for use toward a graduate degree at another institution; or
  • there currently is no higher degree available at the university other than the one the applicant currently holds in the department or field of study.

The university places no limits on the total number of hours that may be taken as a non-degree student. "Non-degree" graduate students are not eligible for graduate assistantships. Credits earned by students in either the provisional or non-degree status may be used in meeting degree requirements if recommended by the student's advisory committee and department head and approved by the Graduate School. All students in these admission categories should seek faculty counsel before any course work is taken.

Commonwealth Campus Student

Qualified students who wish to enroll in selected graduate courses may do so as part of the Commonwealth Campus Program. Examples of students who seek admission into the Commonwealth Campus Program include in- or out-of-state students who

  • may qualify for regular admission but do not currently wish to work for a graduate degree;
  • do not qualify for admission because of a poor undergraduate record but who have several years of appropriate professional experience and wish to improve their credentials;
  • require graduate courses for professional certification; or
  • are not U.S. citizens and are in a visa status that does not prohibit enrollment.

This classification is open to individuals who hold an earned baccalaureate or higher degree from an accredited post-secondary institution. Students may take up to 12 hours of course work if they remain in good academic standing (students may petition to be allowed to take more courses). Students may not earn a graduate degree while enrolled in the Commonwealth Campus program. If rejected for a degree program, applicants are not eligible for Commonwealth Campus status.

Those students enrolled in courses as Commonwealth Campus students who later decide to pursue a graduate degree from Virginia Tech must make formal application for admission to the Graduate School. Students seeking to pursue graduate course work in the Commonwealth Campus program must complete the Application for Graduate Study and submit a transcript (unofficial is sufficient) or a copy of their diploma for the highest degree attained.

A determination of the applicability of any courses and credits earned while enrolled as a student in the Commonwealth Campus program will be made following admission. The acceptability of any courses and credits toward a degree is at the discretion of the department.

Graduate students pursuing an degree in construction may have the opportunity to receive financial assistance in one of several forms. Three major types of university funding exist for graduate study:

  • Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs),
  • Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs), and
  • Graduate Assistantships (GAs).

For more information on these funding mechanisms, see the Graduate Assistantship Information for Students page on the Graduate School website.

Fellowships

Fellowships to support graduate study are available from sources outside the university such as the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Energy, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. To learn more about these opportunities, students should search each agency’s web site for the graduate fellowship appropriate for the degree being pursued. Deadlines for such fellowships are typically annual, and the student is responsible for meeting all eligibility and application requirements. It is often helpful to work directly with the major advisor to develop a strong application package for external fellowships, and applications nearly always require letters of recommendation from faculty that attest to the strengths and qualifications of the student. Students interested in pursuing funding under an external fellowship should plan ahead in developing a relationship with the faculty so that they can support efforts in pursuing these opportunities.

Other Types of Financial Aid

Other types of financial aid such as subsidized loans, scholarships, and grants may be available based on the specific qualifications and needs of the student. Some of these types of aid such as loans must be repaid at the conclusion of the degree program, while others do not require repayment, such as scholarships or grants. For more information about other types of Financial Aid, contact the Virginia Tech Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid by phone at (540) 231-5179 or online at www.finaid.vt.edu.

The Department of Building Construction is pleased to participate in the Graduate School's Undergraduate/Graduate Degree Program. Students who complete the accelerated undergraduate/graduate degree program will earn a Master’s of Science in Building Construction Science & Management (MS BCSM) in addition to their undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Building Construction degree.

For general information please consult the Graduate School's information on the Accelerated Master Programs page.

Admission Criteria and Requirements

  • Completion of courses associated with the first six semesters of the eight semester undergraduate Building Construction curriculum.
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3 and an in-major GPA of 3.5
  • A written statement of Academic and Professional Goals including:
    • Motivation for graduate study
    • Career objectives
  • A resume/curiculum vitae describing:
    • Work/Research Experience
    • Academic Achievements
    • Honors/Awards
    • Related Courses/Skills
    • Minors and/or Specialty Areas
    • Professional Organizations/Affiliations
  • Two letters of recommendation from Primary Faculty in the MLSoC

Course Credits

The number of credits to be double-counted towards Undergraduate and Graduate Degrees:

  • Up to 12 credits of graded coursework may be counted towards both degrees

Process

  • Academically eligible students will be notified of their eligibility for the Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Degree Program at the end of their junior year of study.
  • Applicants will be required to identify and meet with an interim faculty advisor, who will typically be one of the authors of the student’s letters of recommendation who has identified the student as having academic promise.
  • Applicants may later choose a different faculty advisor and committee germane to their research interests and area of inquiry if pursuing the research track of the MS BCSM degree.
  • Prior to the semester when you plan to start double-counting courses (typically 3 semesters prior to graduation), you must apply to the Graduate School and submit the Accelerated Status form.

Course List

The following is a tentative listing of courses to be used for Graduate Plans of Study for Students in the Program. See the current Plan of Study listing for the M.S. in Building Construction Science and Management for the most recent requirements.

  • 4xxx-level courses counted for both degrees, up to a maximum of six credit hours, include:
    • BC 4434: Construction Principles I (3 hours)
    • BC 4444: Construction Principles II (4 hours; 3 hours counted)
  • Two elective courses for undergraduate track, ordinarily taken at the 4xxx level for undergraduate-only students, will enroll qualifying undergraduate students at the 5xxx level and count for both degrees. These courses include:
    • BC 4334: Sustainable Building Performance Management (enroll in BC 5134: Sustainable Facility Systems)
    • BC 4314: Building Performance & Energy Management (enroll in BC 5314: Applied Building Sciences)
    • BC 4114: Building Information Modeling in Design & Construction (enroll in BC 5114G: Building Information Modeling in Design & Construction)
    • BC 4124: Digital Construction & Manufacturing (enroll in BC 5124G: Digital Construction & Manufacturing)
    • Other cognate choices or free electives at the 5xxx level

Students wishing to pursue the Masters degree in Building Construction Science and Management concurrently with a graduate degree in a related discipline may be admitted simultaneously to both degree programs, with selected courses counting toward completion of both degrees. Students pursuing graduate degrees in Architecture, Civil Engineering, or similar disciplines with a construction focus who are interested in this option will work with faculty advisory committees in both programs to develop plans of study that overlap courses in one program that meet requirements for the other:

  • No more than 50% of appropriate graded course work requirements may be common to both degree.
    No Research or Project and Report credits from one degree may be counted toward the other degree.
    No credits can be triplecounted.

While students do not have to go through the Graduate School Application System to be considered for a simultaneous degree in the Department of Building Construction, students must submit the following items directly to the Graduate Program Team in the department:

For additional information and guidelines please consult the official Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs in the Graduate Catalog and its section on:

Direct transfer to the Ph.D. program in Environmental Design and Planning from the MS in Building Construction Science & Management requires, at a minimum, the following three items of documentation to be provided to the department:

REQUEST FOR CHANGE OF DEGREE STATUS FORM

The Request for Change of Degree Level Form requires endorsement by the student’s committee chair, and thus the student must have completed the M.S. Plan of Study and have an approved graduate committee in order for the committee chair to be officially recognized as able to endorse this form.

LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION FROM M.S. COMMITTEE CHAIR

The Letter of Recommendation should review the student’s qualifications, the Graduate Chair in Building Construction requires a letter of recommendation from the student’s committee chair outlining the case for admissions to the Ph.D. program. The committee chair should also indicate in the letter his or her willingness to serve as the student’s Ph.D. committee chair.

RECOMMENDATION FROM M.S. COMMITTEE

The members of the student’s approved graduate committee must vote on the fitness of the student for admission to the Ph.D. program based on their evaluation of the student’s capabilities and performance in the M.S. program. The outcome of the vote should be documented in the letter of recommendation from the M.S. Committee Chair. A majority affirmative vote is required for departmental approval of the transfer, with a commitment of three faculty to serve on the student’s Ph.D. advisory committee. If only two M.S. advisory committee members are willing to continue, the student must obtain agreement from a third faculty to serve on the committee and obtain their signature as part of the committee recommendation.

All documentation requires that the student have an approved graduate committee and committee chair, and thus at a minimum the student should have completed the official M.S. plan of study and received endorsement from a minimum of three faculty who agree to serve as members of the advisory committee. A brief statement of intent regarding the student’s intended area of research is typically required to obtain the commitment of faculty to serve on the advisory committee.

If the student is approved for transfer to the Ph.D. program, the advisory committee will work with him or her to transition the M.S. plan of study to a Ph.D. plan of study. The committee, at its sole discretion, may also require that the student prepare and defend a proposal, project and report, or thesis as a condition of recommending his or her transfer. The student should meet with the committee chair and advisory committee to determine what requirements will be imposed in each specific case.

All documentation should be submitted as a package to the Graduate Program Coordinator, who will obtain the review and signature of the Graduate Chair. The student will be informed by letter of the outcome of the review.

With satisfactory academic performance, the student may elect to continue in the M.S. program to complete the M.S. degree as per his or her original admission into the program. If the student successfully completes all requirements for the M.S. degree, he or she may also apply directly for admissions to the Ph.D. program without committee approval. Please consult the Ph.D. admissions guidelines for current application requirements in this case.


You're In: Accepted and Current Students

Our advising team is here to help you succeed. Contact us using the information on our bio pages or send a message to us via email here.

All graduate programs at Virginia Tech are governed by the policies established by the Graduate School and set out in the Graduate Policies and Procedures and Course Catalog. The information within the Myers-Lawson School of Construction website supplements but does not supersede any Graduate School requirements.

Access forms for admissions, enrollment/registration status changes/student record updates, tuition status requests, academic progress, and graduation via the Graduate School website. 

Welcome to our Graduate Program!

This page provides a list of activities you must undertake to get started towards your degree requirements. While not exhaustive, this list and the consecutive checklists for your program will explain key degree milestones and the schedule by which they must be completed.

For exact dates each semester please check the applicable Academic Calendar.

Before First Semester

MILESTONE TIME FRAME NOTES
Accept Admission   Follow the instructions in your offer letter to confirm that you will be attending.
Procure computer    See our Computer Requirements page for specific requirements. You will receive the Required Software Bundle when you arrive on campus
Arrive on campus

Week before classes start

You should plan to arrive on campus in time to secure housing and take care of other check-in requirements (see http://graduateschool.vt.edu/admitted). We recommend arriving at least one week before the start of classes.
Attend orientation

Week before classes start

Orientation includes separate sessions for the MLSoC and Department of Building Construction. You must attend both of these sessions. You may also wish to attend the general Graduate School orientation or other activities the week before classes. You will receive a schedule for these events the summer prior to your start date.
Register for classes After orientation During orientation, you will be advised on what classes to take. Register for those classes using the online HokieSpa system. Contact the Department of Building Construction if you have any problems.

Virginia Tech graduate students are expected to be honest, ethical, contributing members of the campus community. This includes in areas such as making progress toward their degree, research and ethics, teaching and training, professional development, assistantships and financial support, and community. Learn more about expectations for graduate students via the Graduate School website.

All graduate students using University resources are required to be continuously enrolled during the academic year, unless on an approved leave of absence or in absentia status. Find more information on course enrollment and changes, registration, schedule adjustment, forced additions, late adds and drops, graduate withdrawals, resignations and withdrawals, maintaining continuous enrollment, leaves of absence, in absentia status, and more on the Graduate School website.

Remember, it is your responsibility to verify your enrollment and make necessary changes in a timely manner. If you have any questions or need further assistance, feel free to contact the Registrar's Office.

The Academic Advisor and the Advisory Committee play a significant role in shaping each student’s graduate experience. The academic advisor is a member of the Advisory Committee and serves as its chair. The purpose of the Advisory Committee is to support each student in achieving his or her goals of study through working with the student to design and approve a Plan of Study, providing advice, conducting required examinations, and regularly assessing the student's progress and accomplishments. Advisory Committee members indicate their commitment by signing the student’s Plan of Study.

  • At the M.S. level, a student’s choice of track (Industry or Research) determines who will serve on their Advisory Committee and the role of the committee in working with the student.
    • Industry Track students are advised by a standing faculty committee.
    • Research Track students select and recruit a committee customized to support their specific research interests.

Specific requirements for either track can be found under the following section of the Advising and Resources page for the Master of Science in Building Construction and Management:

At the Ph.D. level, students are paired with a faculty champion who commits to serve as their advisor during the admissions process. The advisor and the student then work together to identify and recruit members of the Advisory Committee to support the student’s choice of topic and research methods. Specific requirements can be found in the following section of the Advising and Resources page for the Ph.D. in Environmental Design and Planning:

Committee Selection Requirements and Conflicts of Interest

Learn more about the roles, composition, and functions of Virginia Tech's Graduate Advisory Committees. These bodies guide students through their graduate programs, helping to design study plans and assess progress. Committee members are primarily Virginia Tech faculty, but can include external expertise when necessary. Detailed information can be found via the Graduate Advisory Committee page of the Graduate School website.

All graduate students must submit a Plan of Study that meets the minimum Graduate School and Departmental requirements for the designated degree. The Plan of Study must be approved by the student’s Advisor and Advisory Committee, the Graduate Chair of Building Construction, and the Graduate School. All courses on the Plan of Study, including supporting courses, must be taken on a letter grade (A/F) basis except for those courses approved to be graded on a pass­fail (P/F) basis only. Audit courses cannot be included on the Plan of Study. After approval by the student's Advisory Committee and the Graduate Chair, the Plan of Study should be entered and sent electronically to the Graduate School for approval.

Format for Plan of Study

Plans of Study must be submitted as a single package of documentation containing all required justifications and forms to the Building Construction Graduate Coordinator. Documents may be submitted in hard copy to the Building Construction Graduate Coordinator, or electronically as a single pdf file. Documentation should include:

  • Plan of Study template with appropriate committee signatures.
  • Independent study forms and supporting information, if applicable.
  • Transcripts to support transfer credits from other institutions, if applicable, along with justifications and course descriptions for courses being transferred.
  • Course Justification Request for “old” coursework, if applicable.

If physical signatures cannot be obtained for all committee members, electronic signatures will suffice as long as documentation is provided as evidence to support the committee member’s approval. A printout of an email from the committee member sent to the chair of the committee will suffice in lieu of a physical signature.

Plan of Study Limitations on Elective Courses

Students should discuss their interests with their committee chair and advisory committee to identify electives that will best fit their career goals and capabilities. All elective courses must meet minimum Graduate School Plan of Study requirements to be included on the Plan of Study, including the following limitations:

  • No course less than a 4xxx-level may be included on the Plan of Study
  • No more than six (6) hours of 4xxx-level courses may be included.
  • The number of credit hours in 5974, 5984, and 6984 courses must be less than or equal to the limits required for the student’s degree type.
DEGREE MAX. NUMBER OF CREDIT HOURS COUNTED
M.S. (Non-Thesis) 9 credit hours (+3 credits of seminar)
M.S. (Thesis) 6 credit hours (+3 credits of seminar)
Ph.D. 18 credit hours (+4 credits of seminar)

 

Submittal Process and Timeline for Plan of Study

Multiple steps are required for final approval of a student’s Plan of Study. Approvals must be obtained from the student’s advisory committee, the BC Graduate Chair, and the Graduate School (in this order) before the Plan of Study is considered official. The BC Graduate Coordinator plays an important role in this process by providing administrative review to ensure all degree requirements are met.

Research Track M.S. and Ph.D. students are encouraged to consult first with their academic advisors and committees and second with the Graduate Chair and/or Graduate Coordinator to answer questions regarding courses and requirements for the Plan of Study. Industry Track students should consult first with the Graduate Chair and/or Graduate Coordinator during the semester, and with the Industry Track Advisory Committee at the end­of­semester meetings to address any questions.

Regular Graduate Students are also required to submit a draft Plan of Study to the BC Graduate Coordinator for administrative review. This review will flag any problems that need to be addressed by the student prior to full committee review and approval. Draft Plans of Study should be submitted via email to the BC Graduate Coordinator, who will review and respond with any problems identified. The student will then revise the Plan of Study to address any issues prior to meeting with their committee.

The following timelines apply:

PROGRAM DRAFT DUE TO GRADUATE COORDINATOR APPROVED PLAN OF STUDY
Accelerated UG/GR M.S. Students
  • Not applicable
  • When completing the Accelerated UG/GR Degree and Course Designation Form.
  • Prior to being admitted to the program
Regular M.S. Students
  • No later than the semester break of their second semester
  • No later than the end of their second academic semester, or
  • Before the completion of 12 credit hours of study.
Ph.D. Students
  • No later than the semester break of their third semester
  • No later than the end of their third academic semester

Coursework for a graduate degree can include a variety of construction-related courses (BC, CNST, CEE 5XXX) from departments across campus. Visit the Graduate School website to see descriptions of currently approved courses related to construction.

 

Please be sure to check HokieSpa for construction-related special studies courses in these departments that are identified by the course number 5984. Special study courses are cutting-edge classes on current topics that can count towards your degree, but have not yet gone through the formal university approval process. There is a limit on the number of credit hours of special studies you may take, depending on your degree option. Please check the Plan of Study requirements for more information on these limitations, or consult with your faculty advisor.

Nineteen hours of core coursework is recommended for all MS students. Students who have taken equivalent courses elsewhere may substitute other electives pending approval from their advisory committee and the Graduate Chair.

Incoming students without a U.S. construction background may be encouraged or required to take supporting courses dependent upon their academic background and work experience. These courses may or may not count toward degree credit requirements. Specific supporting course requirements will be identified by the student’s academic advisory committee during the first semester of study.

Research students are required to take CNST 5084: Methods in Construction Research to support the design of their independent inquiry, and CNST 5424: Construction Research Presentation before presenting the final results of their work.

Students signing up for research credits (BC 5994/EDP 7994) must have the approval of a supervising faculty member, typically their faculty advisor, and are responsible with that faculty member for agreeing upon expectations for research activities during those hours. The supervising faculty will assign a grade at the end of each semester based on how well students meet those expectations.

Masters students should only enroll in these hours if they have elected to take the Research Track, and should consult with their committee regarding how many hours are appropriate. Typically, Project & Report students may count only three (3) credit hours of research on their Plan of Study, and Thesis students may count only six (6) credit hours. Students may enroll for more than these minimums to maintain minimum credit hour enrollment requirements, but credits beyond the minimum will not count toward the requirements of the Plan of Study.

Students may take a variety of additional courses on topics of interest, including electives from the Department of Building Construction or the Myers-Lawson School of Construction, electives from other departments at Virginia Tech, study abroad and service learning courses, independent study courses, and special study courses. Graduate students are permitted to choose electives subject to the minimum requirements set forth in the Plan of Study and any course prerequisites required for individual courses of interest. Descriptions of courses that can be potentially counted as electives for graduate credit are listed by department in the graduate school catalog. Note that this listing shows all courses that are currently approved to be taught by the university, but not all of these courses are necessarily offered on a regular basis by each department. Students should consult directly with the offering department for courses of interest to determine the semester(s) in which those courses will be taught when developing their Plan of Study.

Students wishing to learn about topics not covered by available courses at Virginia Tech may enroll for independent study hours as part of their plan of study. Independent studies require a commitment from a faculty member with expertise in that topic to monitor and evaluate the student’s learning. Students interested in independent studies should identify an appropriate faculty and discuss their interests to determine whether an independent study is appropriate.

Working with the faculty, the student must submit a Request for Independent Study form for approval that describes the title and scope of the proposed study, learning objectives, materials and methods to be used, and method of evaluation. Upon approval, this form represents an agreement between the student and supervising faculty that establishes criteria for the student’s grade on the independent study and specific deliverables that must be produced to provide evidence of student learning.

Independent study requests must be reviewed and approved by the student’s advisor, supervising faculty, the Graduate Program Chair, and the Department Head. If included as part of the student’s plan of study, the request form and all supporting documentation must be provided at the time the plan of study is submitted to the department for approval. Up to the limit per degree (see the Plan of Study section above), students may work with faculty to design one or more independent studies on different topics, worth different numbers of credit hours, to count toward their degree requirements.

No more than 50% of the graded credit hours needed to satisfy the requirements for a Virginia Tech graduate degree may be transferred in from a regionally accredited university. All such credits must have earned grades of "B" or better, have been earned while in good standing in graduate status, and must have been graduate courses (numbered 5000 or higher) at the institution where the student took the courses. Grades of "S" or "P" are not acceptable for transfer credit. All transfer courses must be acceptable to the student’s Advisory Committee and the Graduate Chair. For transfer coursework more than five years old, a Justification of “Old” Course Work form must be filed with the Plan of Study.

Credits from other universities are transferred to a Virginia Tech graduate degree at the time the Plan of Study including those courses is approved by the Graduate School. Transferred courses count only as credit hours and are not included in the calculation of the Virginia Tech GPA. Official transcripts are required before transfer course work can be approved for the Plan of Study.

Research, Project and Report, Practicum or Internship credit hours may not be transferred in from another university to meet Virginia Tech graduate degree requirements (i.e., they cannot be included on the Plan of Study). Credits taken while in undergraduate status or for an undergraduate degree cannot be used as transfer credit for a graduate degree.

A student’s Plan of Study should consist of graduate coursework not older than five years at the time of filing the plan with the Graduate School. In some cases, graduate coursework older than five years may be included on the plan. Justification for inclusion of such coursework should be provided by the student’s advisor using the Course Justification Request form, with the support of the student's advisory committee, at the time of Plan of Study submission. Justification should consist of an explanation of how the student will achieve currency in the subject matter of the old coursework during the time in degree. Examples of how this may be achieved include:

  • Taking related courses in the same subject area
  • Work experience that requires currency in the subject area
  • Certification or professional credentials in the relevant domain that require education for credential maintenance
  • Reading original literature in the area as needed for the thesis/dissertation
  • Other strategies deemed appropriate by the advisory committee.

Once the Plan of Study is approved, no further justification is required for active graduate students. If a student becomes "inactive" (i.e., is on a Leave of Absence or does not register for a calendar year or more), the student must apply for readmission to the degree program. If readmission is recommended by the Department of Building Construction, the Plan of Study must be reviewed to determine if its content is still appropriate for the degree, and all old coursework must be re­justified at that time.

Students may audit a course if they wish to experience the benefit of the course content without receiving a grade for work in that course. Auditing a course requires approval of the instructor for that course and the student's graduate advisor, and is subject to the discretion of the instructor and availability of space and resources for the course. Auditing of laboratory work is not permitted. Students should note that many courses in the Building Construction curriculum require significant team projects and may have extensive in­class team exercises. Auditing courses such as these requires considerable commitment on the part of the auditing student and should be discussed carefully with the instructor to ensure that the auditing student will receive benefit without disrupting the course for other students. Not all courses are appropriate for auditing.

Registration for audit may not be changed to credit, or vice versa, after the last day to add classes without the signature of the instructor, student's major advisor, and the dean of the Graduate School. At the end of the course period, the instructor will determine if an audit is "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory" based on participation and other expectations set forth at the beginning of the course period. Audited courses do not count toward full­time enrollment and do not count as part of the Plan of Study. In order to follow the governance directive that unsatisfactory audits do not appear on transcripts, the Graduate School drops (on request) any NRs awarded. Therefore, the GPA is not affected. Students are assessed the same rate for tuition and fees for auditing courses as for courses taken for credit.

GPA Requirements

Students must obtain a 3.00 GPA, both overall and for courses on the Plan of Study. All courses on the approved plan, including supporting courses must be completed with a grade of "C-" or better (see Graduate Degree and Certificate Requirements section below).

Probation due to Unsatisfactory Grades

Students whose cumulative GPA falls below a "B" (3.00 GPA) will be placed on probation by the Graduate School. Enrollment for one semester of probation normally is permitted to remedy an unsatisfactory GPA. If the student does not achieve a 3.0 GPA within one semester after being placed on probation, the Graduate School will consult with the department about dismissal of the student from Graduate School. For more information on probation and possible appeal options please check the Graduate Catalog.

Satisfactory Progress toward a Graduate Degree

All graduate students are required to have an Annual Review of Progress at least once a year by their Advisory Committees. Students who do not yet have a Plan of Study and an Advisory Committee will be reviewed by the Graduate Program Chair or Graduate Program Coordinator. If a student fails to make satisfactory progress toward degree requirements (coursework, grades, research, projects, examinations, and other requirements), permission may be denied to continue in the degree program. This decision may be reached by the student's Advisory Committee, the Graduate Program Chair, or the Department Head, and will be communicated to the Graduate School. The Graduate School will dismiss the student for unsatisfactory progress following the recommendation by the department. A departmental recommendation for dismission will typically include

  • documentation of at least one review indicating unsatisfactory progress,
  • communication to the student about what was needed to reestablish satisfactory progress, and
  • evidence that the student's progress continued to be unsatisfactory (second review).

During Your Studies: Program-Specific Information


Other Information: Changes, Leave, Future Professoriate Certificate

If necessary, students may make changes to their approved Plan of Study for various reasons., ranging from changes to the semester in which courses are taken, to changing the student’s exit option, track selection, advisor, or committee members. All changes to the Plan of Study must be requested and approved using the Plan of Study Change Form.

This form must be signed off and approved by the student’s advisory committee members, the BC Graduate Chair, and the Graduate School. Specific scenarios include:

Change in Dates for Approved Courses

Changes to the schedule of courses happen frequently, and all students should regularly review their Plan of Study to determine whether it is still accurate in terms of dates courses were actually taken. The Plan of Study Change Form for this type of change can generally be approved at the next advisory committee meeting of the student. Often, students will wait to file this form until early in their final semester, to cover all changes that occur over time with a single change form.

Change in Courses Taken

Occasionally, a course specified by a student on a Plan of Study will not be offered or will conflict with other offerings, making it impossible for the student to complete that course. In this case, the student should discuss the course with his or her committee and determine an appropriate substitute. The Plan of Study Change Form for this type of change can generally be approved at the next advisory committee meeting of the student.

Once a course on the Plan of Study has been taken for a grade, it must remain on the Plan of Study. Students may not change their Plans of Study to substitute another course for a course in which they received a poor grade.

Students who wish to change their exit option or track may do so, subject to limitations. The Graduate School allows M.S. students to change between Thesis and non­-Thesis options (and vice versa) no more than one time. The Thesis Option Change Request form is required for this change.

Changing from Thesis to non-­Thesis also requires a decision about whether to remain in the Research Track and complete a Project & Report, or switch to the Industry Track and graduate with an exit examination.

Changes within the non-Thesis option do not require special approval from the Graduate School, but must still be approved by the student’s advisory committee and the BC Graduate Chair. This choice requires significant changes in the courses that must be taken to complete the degree. For example, students may change between Research and Industry Tracks, but must meet all course requirements for their new track as specified in the required course list. Track­specific courses (CNST 5084 and CNST 5124) are generally offered only once per year, so a student may need to wait an entire year or obtain special permission to substitute another course in order to meet these requirements.

Students considering a change to their exit option should meet with the BC Graduate Chair as soon as possible to discuss the implications for their degree completion plan. Students who are uncertain about which track is right for them may be able to choose a plan of study that minimizes risk if changes are made later. For instance, required courses for the Industry Track (CNST 5124: Construction Company Management and Business Elective) may be taken as electives by students in the Research Track, and required Research Track courses (e.g., CNST 5084: Methods in Construction Research) may be taken as electives in the Industry Track.

Changes to the advisor or Advisory Committee will be granted only on approval of all committee members, new and old, and on recommendation by the BC Graduate Chair.

The Change of Committee or Advisor form must be filed with signatures from all current and proposed committee members, and new members may require explanation or information at their discretion about the student’s Plan of Study and research plans before approving.

Changes to the Advisor or Advisory Committee may be prompted by

  • changes in the student’s Track choice (M.S. only),
  • changes in the research interests or methods used by the student,
  • unavailability of an existing committee member to serve, or
  • conflicts within the existing student­-committee relationship.

The purpose of the Advisory Committee is to support each student in achieving his or her goals of study through working with the student to design and approve a Plan of Study, providing advice, conducting required examinations, and regularly assessing the student's progress and accomplishments. Advisory Committee members indicate their commitment by signing the student’s Plan of Study, and changes to the Advisory Committee therefore also require review of the Plan of Study and approval by all new committee members.

Please Note: All Industry Track students are by default advised by the same Industry Track Advisory Committee, a student wishing to switch from the Industry Track to the Research Track will also likely need to change his or her advisor and/or committee members to support the research topic of interest to the student. Likewise, students switching from Research Track to Industry Track will also need to change their committee composition to be the standing Industry Track Advisory Committee members.

In the case that one or more members does not approve the change in the membership of the Advisory Committee, an appeal may be made by either the student or a faculty member to the BC Department Head. If the Department Head considers the appeal to have merit, he/she may then ask the Graduate School for an exception to all members signing the form

Additional guidelines and requirements for committee member selection and service can be found on the Graduate School Policy Manual under Graduate Advisory Committees.

Students wishing to change admission status while remaining in the same major must submit a Change of Degree Status form. This form can only be used if a student is remaining in the same major, has not missed more than two semesters excluding summer, and only desires an admission status change. Specific cases include:

  • Provisional students (Masters only):
    Students enrolled as Provisional Students must maintain at least a 3.00 Grade Point Average in their first 12 hours of graduate coursework, and must seek to change their admission status using the Change of Degree Status form after the completion of one semester of study or equivalent (12 semester hours) or be dropped from the program. If approved, students must consult with the Graduate Chair to review their plan of study, select a track, and establish a faculty champion to serve as their advisor for the duration of their degree. Coursework taken while on provisional status may be included on the plan of study for the degree at the discretion of the student’s advisory committee.
  • Commonwealth Campus students:
    Students enrolled as Commonwealth Campus students must seek to change their admission status after the completion of one semester of study or equivalent (12 credits), or be dropped from the program. Students must apply for admission to the department using the online application system and must submit all necessary documentation. If approved, students must consult with the Graduate Chair to review their plan of study, select a track (M.S. students only), and establish a faculty champion to serve as their advisor for the duration of their degree. Courses taken while classified as a Commonwealth Campus student will be evaluated by the Graduate School for applicability to the student’s graduate degree when the plan of study is submitted.
  • Change from M.S. to Ph.D. program:
    A student seeking to change from M.S. to Ph.D. programs may apply directly for the Ph.D. online, or may request the change using the Change of Degree Status form. Students changing from non­degree to degree seeking status must apply online. Typically, a request to change from M.S. to Ph.D. status without completing the M.S. degree requires demonstration of exceptional performance in the initial phases of the Research Track (Thesis option) M.S. process. For more information on how to convert to the Ph.D. program without formally applying online please see the Transfer from MS to PhD under the Admission Information section.

 

Resignation/Withdrawal

A student may resign/withdraw without academic or tuition penalty by completing an official Virginia Tech Resignation/Withdrawal form on or before the first day of the semester/summer session (see dates on the Timetable for that semester).

Resignation/withdrawals received at the Registrar's office after 5 pm on the first day of the semester result in partial tuition and fee charges. Resignation/withdrawal after the specified date for withdrawing without grade penalty (see Timetable for date for that semester) requires permission of the Graduate Dean and is only permitted because of extenuating circumstances. The student's grade report and transcript will show that he/she was enrolled for the term and that he/she resigned on the specific effective date.

Resignation/withdrawals may have consequences for assistantship and scholarship awards as well as visa status, so these considerations should be investigated prior to completing the forms. Resignation/withdrawals do not affect the student's ability to enroll in the subsequent semester.

Students sometimes experience situations in which they cannot be continuously enrolled (e.g., health, family emergency, change in parental status, military service, financial hardship, personal or academic reasons, or other reasons). A student may request a time­limited leave of absence to address these situations and suspend activities associated with course work or thesis/dissertation research without the need to reapply to the program. Students on leave of absence are not entitled to use University resources not normally available to the public or alumni (e.g., may not consult with advisors or work on courses or research).

Students anticipating a need to interrupt their studies should consult with their academic advisor and the Graduate Chair to discuss their options and develop a plan for the leave as well as subsequent re­enrollment or re­admission. The Leave of Absence Request form must be submitted two weeks before the beginning of the semester for which the leave is requested. The leave of absence must be approved by the student’s advisor and the Graduate Chair for the Department of Building Construction before submission to the Graduate School. If the leave of absence request is approved, the continuous enrollment requirement will be relaxed during the period of leave. The Leave of Absence form indicates when the student will return to the program and any conditions the department or the Graduate School may stipulate for the student’s readmission within that time. Leaves of absence may be granted for up to one year at a time. If a leave longer than one year is required, students will need to apply to the Graduate School for readmission.

International students should consult an immigration advisor in the Graduate School before requesting a leave of absence. All students undertaking a leave of absence must notify the department and return any university equipment they have borrowed. They must also relinquish assigned space in the Graduate Studio and return keys to the Department.

Re­enrollment/Re­admission following Leave of Absence

Upon return following an approved leave of absence, students should check in with the Graduate Coordinator and Graduate Chair of Building Construction to discuss any necessary revisions to their plans for completing their degree. A Re­admission Application must be submitted when a student has not been enrolled for more than two semesters, excluding summer. This form should also be used when returning from a leave of absence. The Department of Building Construction requires that a student who is planning to re­admit to the program meet with the Graduate Chair and Graduate Coordinator prior to submitting the application for readmission.

The Future Professoriate Program aims to prepare future faculty and academic leaders by exposure to concepts that break the mold of existing practices in higher education. Many leaders in the academic and business communities have recently challenged colleges and universities to embrace change in order to ensure the viability of the higher education enterprise. Rather than settle for the status quo and witness a probable decline in sustainability, most argue that it is time to create new models and new methods of training for the future professoriate, who will become the faculty and academic leaders of tomorrow.

The Future Professoriate Certificate is part of the overarching theme "Transformative Graduate Education", or TGE. Interconnecting components all serve to better prepare the next generation professoriate or professional. Graduate students wishing to earn the graduate certificate in Future Professoriate must be currently enrolled master's or doctoral students in any discipline or major. These individuals must have satisfied all admissions requirements to be admitted and must remain in good academic standing.

Graduate students can earn the Future Professoriate graduate certificate and can be recognized as a Citizen Scholar or elected as a member of the graduate honorary society, Alpha Epsilon Lambda (AEL). Leadership opportunities as GLC Resident Fellows and Graduate Ambassadors and through graduate student organizations are also available.

In order to qualify for the Future Professoriate graduate certificate, students must successfully complete GRAD 5104: Preparing the Future Professoriate and GRAD 5114: Contemporary Pedagogy. These courses satisfy 6 of the 9 credits required for the certificate. The following courses can be taken to satisfy the additional 3 credits:

  • GRAD 5004: GTA workshop
  • GRAD 5954: Study Abroad Future Professoriate Global Perspectives
  • GRAD 5204: Citizen Scholar Seminar
  • Other individually approved Special Study, Independent Study or Internship graduate courses

Selected graduate courses taught by departments (e.g., Engineering Education, School of Education, Sociology, Human Development) may also be used. Please contact the Graduate School regarding specific requirements for the graduate certificate.


The Finish Line: Graduation Information

Graduate students must be registered at VT for at least the minimum number of credits (3 credit hours) in the semester or summer session when they take an examination required by Graduate School Policies and in the semester when a degree is completed. Students who have a thesis/dissertation ready for defense by the beginning of a semester, may schedule that defense early in the semester and qualify for Start of Semester Defense Exception (SSDE, 1 credit).

Start of Semester Defense Exception (SSDE)

SSDE is a special enrollment category for students who have fulfilled all requirements, including advisory committee review and agreement that the thesis or dissertation is ready for defense, and are registering only to take the final oral examination. To qualify for start of semester defense exception, a student must have:

  • completed all requirements (including passing grades on all courses on the plan of study), except for the final exam and
  • submitted the final copy of the thesis/dissertation to the advisory committee within the first three weeks of the semester and at least two weeks before the defense and
  • received permission from the advisory committee, who have read the document and consider it ready for defense (to the extent that the student can make corrections and submit the ETD within two weeks of the defense) within the first three weeks of the semester and
  • been enrolled in at least three credit hours the preceding semester and
  • submitted the SSDE form to the Graduate School by the Friday of the third week of classes or no later than three weeks prior to the defense, whichever date comes first

If a student registers for SSDE, his/her enrollment status will be less than full time, which may affect the following:

  • financial aid or loan deferments
  • employment opportunities (not eligible for assistantships or fellowships)
  • visa status (for international students)

Students should consult with the Graduate School and/or Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid to understand the consequences and additional requirements that may result from enrolling under start of semester defense exception.

Students planning to graduate must file an Application for Degree to have their names appear in the Commencement program and to obtain a diploma. The fee for the Application for Degree can be found on the Graduate School’s web site.

The Application for Degree form must be submitted electronically through HokieSpa in accordance with Graduate School deadlines. Deadlines vary based on whether you intend to participate in commencement during your final semester or in a subsequent semester.

Ph.D. students unable to meet deadlines for degree completion in time to participate in commencement during their final semester will have their degrees officially awarded by the Graduate School at the end of the following semester, and may participate in commencement exercises during a subsequent semester of their choosing. M.S. students do not receive diplomas during commencement and can therefore participate in the ceremony even if they have not completed all requirements by the specified deadlines.

Deadlines exist for the following major milestones:

  • Application for Degree in HokieSpa (Ph.D. and M.S.)
  • Final defense/final examination (Ph.D. and M.S.)
  • Submission of Electronic Thesis/Dissertation (Ph.D. and M.S. Research Track-Thesis option only)

All deadlines must be met for a given semester to be awarded your degree in that semester. Students who file an Application for Degree but are unable to complete all requirements in time are responsible to submit a new Application for the appropriate term.

All graduate students (both Ph.D. and M.S.) must undergo a final examination administered by their advisory committee. This examination must be scheduled by the student with the Graduate School at least two weeks in advance by submitting a Request to Admit Candidate to Final Exam through the Electronic Signature System.

Depending on the type of degree and options pursued, the requirements and nature of the final exam differ. For a more detailed break down of the requirements and processes please consult the following sections of the appropriate pages:

M.S. BCSM - Industry Track

M.S. BCSM - Research Track (Thesis and Project & Report)

Ph.D. EDP - All Students

M.S. Research Track and Ph.D. students only

After successfully completing the final defense of research, all research students must submit final revised copies of their written work for archiving by the University. For M.S. Thesis and doctoral students, when the final exam is approved, an ETD archiving fee will be assessed to their student account. No fee will be assessed for students archiving their Project & Report in the departmental archive.

M.S. Thesis-Option and all Ph.D. students will submit their work using the Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD) option within the Electronic Signature System. Following the exam of the thesis/dissertation, students must upload their thesis or Dissertation within 2 weeks of the final exam. Any applicable supporting documentation for the ETD (such as copyright permission letters to reproduce items, IRB approval or exemption notices, UMI form, Survey of Earned Doctorates) must also be submitted to the Graduate School within 2 weeks of the exam as well.

M.S. students completing the Project & Report option must submit their work into the Departmental VTechWorks archive within two weeks of the final examination. VTechWorks is Virginia Tech’s Google Scholar-indexed electronic repository. Work such as reports, papers, presentations, and other intellectual products not restricted by publisher copyright can be archived in VTechWorks and are accessible and easily found by anyone searching for scholarly works in Google Scholar. Instructions for submitting to the departmental archive are available here.

The following items will be verified by the Graduate School to clear graduate students for graduation (see the GS Graduation Clearance Requirements):

  1. Students must be enrolled at Virginia Tech in the term in which the degree is awarded.
  2. Filing of Application for Degree, payment of fee. This form makes an individual degree completion checklist available to the student on Hokie SPA. It must be submitted prior to the last day of classes of the term in which the student intends to graduate.
  3. Submission of the Request to Schedule Final Examination, two weeks before the proposed examination date for students who have been enrolled during the last year. For those who have been out of residence for more than a year, and require Readmission, the Readmission process should be completed before requesting the Final Examination.
  4. Taking Final Examination.
  5. Submitting the final version of the thesis or dissertation, approved by the student's Advisory Committee through the Electronic Signature System, as an Electronic Dissertation or Thesis (ETD) within two weeks after the defense.
  6. Submitting any applicable supporting documentation for the ETD (e.g., copyright permission letters to reproduce items from other publications, Institutional Research Board approval or exemption notices (if appropriate), UMI form, Survey of Earned Doctorates).
  7. Payment of the archiving fee which is required of students at the time the ETD is submitted.
  8. Degree Completion requires ETD approval by the Graduate School and completion of all other requirements for the degree.

The following items will be verified by the Department to clear graduate students for graduation:

  1. Students with graduate studio space must return keys/equipment to the department administrative assistant.
  2. Students with checked out equipment must return items to the department administrative assistant.
  3. Students must complete a department exit interview, usually held during last week of classes.