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You & Your Degree

Majors
Think of your major as your academic specialty. It’s part of your degree that you choose to focus on, often with a particular goal or goals in mind. Majors at Virginia Tech are housed within 8 different undergraduate colleges. They can be between 40-80 credits. Majors will cover topics both broadly and specifically and provide you with a particular set of knowledge in an area. Virginia Tech offered over 150 majors and options to choose from. You don’t even have to limit yourself to just one, learn about double majors and dual degrees!

Minors
A group of courses, fewer than the number required for a major, students take in order to pursue an interest in a subject in addition to their major. Most often, specific courses must be completed and range between 15-24 credits. Minors are optional, but some majors do require students to have a minor. See contact information for each minor.

Components of Degree
A degree at Virginia Tech is made up of multiple components, Pathways to General Education, major requirements, and free electives. Every student will complete requirements for Pathways to General education which make up 43-45 credits of a degree. Student’s major requirements will vary, but are specific to the major in which the student is pursuing. Lastly free electives are courses that will round out the degree to earn the required minimum 120 credits, even though there are some degrees that require more than 120.

Exploring your Major options
The Majors: Explore @ VT resource will help you learn about the majors and fields associated with them. Your choice of a major can fall into place once you pinpoint your career goals and areas that spark your interest. Mentally note which courses you enjoyed in high school (and college if you've already had any college courses). It is likely that this exercise will lead you to a choice of major - or simply confirm the choice you've already made. 

Interested in changing your major and need assistance with this process? Meet with a Transitional Advisor. Incoming new students need to meet with their assigned advisor first prior to scheduling with a transitional advisor.

Restricted Majors
Restricted majors require you to meet specific requirements before applying. These requirements may include taking specific courses, achieving a specified minimum grade point average (GPA), completing an application, appearing for an interview, auditioning, attending one or more group meetings, or applying to transfer to the major during a specified time period. In some cases, meeting the minimum requirements for application DOES NOT guarantee your acceptance into the major; some majors also have limits on the number of transfers they can accept, so only the applicants with the best qualifications are accepted (best performance in major related courses, best overall GPAs, etc.). Acceptance into these majors is very competitive. Most majors require that you complete specific coursework prior to applying. Consult your advisor about applying to a restricted major. You will use the Change of Major Application when you are eligible to apply.

Changing your Major
Virginia Tech has 3 common change of major times every year, with an online process through Hokie Spa.   

  • Incoming New Students are able to change their major following their first term of enrollment which will begin in December 2021.
  • Continuing students are able to change their major during these times found on the University Registrar website.

This process only applies to a student's primary major. For second majors or degrees, students should meet with departmental representatives for the desired major or college for directions.

What is an academic plan?
An academic plan is an outline of how you plan to spend your time at Virginia Tech. It includes major and minor courses, general education requirements, and co-curricular activities. Typically, an academic plan includes 15 credit hours per semester to stay on track towards graduation. Every academic plan is unique to each student, and should be used as an adaptable guide to and through graduation.  

Why is an academic plan important?
Having an academic plan helps to ensure an on-time graduation. While there are many factors in your graduation timeline, a plan helps you to take control over that timeline. Academic planning allows for the exploration of “what-if” scenarios if your interests grow, develop, and change during college. You can explore other majors and understand how your experience will look as you add or change your classes. Planning helps students visualize progress towards their goal. Academic planning can also help you plan around internships, co-ops, and study abroad programs to ensure you get the best academic experience while staying on track in your coursework. Lastly, academic planning can save you money on tuition and ensure you begin your career sooner.

How do I create an academic plan?
You can start by meeting with an Advising Ambassador! Advising Ambassadors are current undergraduate students trained and ready to assist you in developing your academic plan. The Ambassadors host weekly workshops filled with information about using Hokie Graduation Plan for Success (GPS), Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS), checksheets, and other academic planning tools. Attend a workshop and receive 1-on-1 assistance with your plan, and other helpful advising tips!  

I’ve created an academic plan, now what?
Now that you have a semester-by-semester academic plan, make sure to share it with your academic advisor to get their feedback. Revisit your academic plan each semester to make necessary adjustments, and take into consideration the course planning dates

Tools to help create an academic plan:  

  • Hokie Graduation Plan for Success - Hokie GPS is an academic planning system for Virginia Tech undergraduate students. Hokie GPS receives degree information from DARS and allows students to put together a semester-by-semester plan based on the degree and catalog year.
  • Degree Audit Reporting System - The Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS) is a computer generated report for undergraduate and associate level students that matches the requirements of a degree program with a student's completed or in-progress coursework. The audit can be used by students and advisors to determine which major/minor requirements still need to be completed.
  • Checksheets - Requirements for graduation based on date of entry and students’ degree-granting majors. 
  • Timetable of Classes
  • Historical Timetable of Classes - The historical timetable uses the information from previous academic years to list what courses were offered. This is helpful context when planning classes that may only be offered in certain semesters. 
  • Pathways to General Education Guides

As undergraduates, students complete a bachelor’s degree. The most common degrees are Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.). Beyond the B.A. and B.S., some colleges offer specific types of bachelor's degrees related to the industries that they represent.

If you are pursuing more than one degree or major, be sure to work with your advisor to learn about the processes and forms required for accomplishing this goal.

Double Major: If you  want to complete major requirements for multiple programs can do so in one or multiple colleges; this is considered a double major.  Only additional courses for the additional major need to be complete and you must complete the requirements for both majors within the same term.  Students will receive a diploma for their primary major (degree) and a double major certificate for your secondary major (double major).

Second Degree: If you are pursuing two types of degrees in one or more colleges this is considered a second degree. You complete all of the major and degree requirements for both programs.  You must complete an additional 30 credits in-residence over the minimum required for their first degree.  You may complete the second degree in a later term, and will receive a separate diploma for each degree.

At some point during your undergraduate career, you may need to complete a university form to request updates for your student record. You can find forms relating to many things, such as:

  • Academic appeals
  • Authorization to take courses elsewhere
  • Course withdrawal
  • Exam Change
  • Over hours
  • Pass Fail option
  • Student withdrawal/resignation
  • Experiential learning forms

Talking to your academic advisor is a good way to learn how to fill out the form and get your questions answered. Advisors can be helpful when making sure you are completing the right form for the specific goal you have in mind. Some forms even require you to meet with an advisor. Please find the your appropriate college below to find the correct form you should be completing:

Congratulations, it’s time for you to start preparing for graduation!

There are several procedures that you must complete in order to be cleared for your degree, participate in commencement, and receive your diploma.  Follow these guidelines to take care of those details.