Virginia Tech® home

Academic Guidelines

Beginning the program

Offers of admission to the AdvantageVT-Master’s program are generally valid only for the semester for which admission is offered. However, a start date can be deferred under exceptional circumstances, as when a student cannot obtain a visa in time to arrive before the beginning of her or his starting semester. Requests for deferrals should be directed to the AdvantageVT-Master’s program Admissions Office.

Program deposit

Seats in the AdvantageVT-Master’s program are subject to availability and allocated on a “first-come, first-served” basis. To secure a seat in the program, admitted students are required to pay a $1,000 deposit within 10 days of receiving their acceptance.  Students who fail to pay the deposit on time may lose their position if all available seats are filled before their deposit is received.

Admission status

A student admitted to the AdvantageVT-Master’s program must complete the program in its entirety to qualify for matriculation. The Graduate School authorizes provisional admission for AdvantageVT-Master’s students with the stipulation that such students successfully complete all levels in their AdvantageVT-Master’s program before being granted regular admission status. Students are not permitted to matriculate from the AdvantageVT-Master’s program to their graduate majors until this condition is met. 

Students failing to complete the AdvantageVT-Master’s program successfully will forfeit their graduate admission status and be dismissed from the university.   

Final undergraduate transcripts

Students who apply for admission to the AdvantageVT-Master’s program during the senior year of their bachelor’s degree program must submit final transcripts before a formal acceptance letter will be issued by the Virginia Tech Office of Graduate Admissions. Offers may be revoked for students who fail to maintain the minimum GPA requirement (see above) through to their undergraduate graduation.

Denial of admission

Virginia Tech reserves the right to deny admission to students who have been academically dismissed or suspended or to those convicted of a felony. Students have a continuing obligation to report to the Student Conduct at Virginia Tech any arrests or convictions that occur subsequent to signing their application form.

Program composition

The following is a sample breakdown of instruction in the AdvantageVT-Master’s program. Credit-bearing courses differ by department and program. Participating departments recommend those credit courses available to AdvantageVT-Master’s students each term.

  First Semester Second Semester Third Semester
English Language Classes English for Academic Purposes 600 English for Academic Purposes 700 English for Academic Purposes 800
University Preparedness Training University Success Seminars University Success Seminars  
Credit-Bearing Classes   One program-specific master's level course:
3-credit hour course
Two program-specific master's level 3-credit hour courses

Academic credit

Students successfully completing Advantage-Master’s will earn between 6 and 9 credit hours toward their master’s degree requirements.

Level placement

The standardized English language test (TOEFL or IELTS) score submitted for admission purposes determines a student’s placement level. Some participating master’s degree programs require three semesters of study. 

Additional courses

Students at Level 2 may be permitted to take an additional credit course at their own expense with departmental consent.  Additional credits a student may take beyond those included in the course price are charged at the university’s published price per credit hour.

Summer study

Some degree programs do not offer courses in the summer semester, which may cause a gap in studies for students in these majors.  Students in this situation may choose to take a summer vacation, work on campus or enroll in English language courses, if available.  Further information on vacations and work restrictions is available in the F-1 Immigration Regulations section of the Student Handbook.

Making academic progress

Grading policies and syllabi are course specific and will be explained at the beginning of each semester. All AdvantageVT-Master's courses include homework, tests, projects and other learning activities.  Students are expected to monitor their own progress, maintain open communication with instructors, and participate actively in course activities

Advancement and completion

In order to advance in the AdvantageVT-Master’s program from semester to semester, students must meet the following standards:

  • 3.0 or better GPA in credit-bearing courses
  • Minimum 70% proficiency (2.0 GPA) in English for Academic Purposes and University Success Seminar courses.

Maintained through the end of the program, these grades constitute successful completion of the AdvantageVT-Master’s program.

Students who fail to meet these requirements will be given the opportunity to repeat one semester in the program. Students who repeat a semester and still do not meet AdvantageVT-Master’s program progression requirements will be dismissed from AdvantageVT-Master’s program and from the university.

Program advising

Advising plays a very important role in developing confidence and individual responsibility. Program advising helps students understand the various components of the AdvantageVT-Master’s program, supports performance, and improves the overall experience.

Students are required to meet at least once during each semester with their assigned AdvantageVT-Master’s program advisors, more often if their advisors determine the need. Students who fail to meet with their advisors for required meetings may be removed from the AdvantageVT-Master’s program.

Group meetings and or individual meetings with Virginia Tech advisors in graduate departments will be periodically arranged. These advisors will give students valuable advice about course selection, preparation for intended programs and expectations once students begin their graduate studies.


Tutoring is available upon request or upon recommendation of program instructors or academic advisors. Individual or small-group tutoring sessions address challenges in academic work and are intended to help students successfully manage their coursework.

Attendance, probation, and dismissal

Students are expected to attend classes regularly, do all assigned homework and turn in assignments on time, participate in class activities and discussions, and otherwise actively engage in learning experiences.

Failing to attend classes can have a significant impact on class grades. Instructors determine whether students will be permitted to make up work or tests missed due to absences. Students are expected to make academic progress in addition to attending all classes.

At least 85% attendance and a final grade of 70% or above is required in English for Academic Purposes classes and University Success Seminars. Students who fail to meet these requirements will be placed on probation for the following semester.

Written warnings will notify students of their probationary status. Students on probation will be dismissed from the program if they fail to correct attendance or performance issues.

All students are expected to adhere to the university’s Graduate Student Code of Conduct. Appropriate conduct is expected at all times. Improper behavior such as disrupting a class, interrupting others, speaking a language other than English in class, being rude to teachers or fellow students, harassing others, or instances of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Inappropriate conduct may be grounds for disciplinary action up to and including expulsion (see Graduate Honor System).

Performance report and transcripts

Performance reports that summarize grades earned in courses are issued to students at the conclusion of each semester. Grades are determined according to standards stated in course syllabi. 

Results for all semesters are summarized on transcripts, one transcript for credit-bearing courses and another transcript for the EAP and University Seminar courses. The first is available for download (in an unofficial form) through the Virginia Tech website, and the second is available upon request from the AdvantageVT-Master’s program director.

Grades for English for Academic Purposes courses are determined on the following scale but do not appear on the Virginia Tech graduate transcript. English for Academic Purposes courses do not carry university credit or count toward graduation requirements: 



Percentage Range







Above average













Below 60










Students are required to provide copies of transcripts for credit-bearing courses to their AdvantageVT-Master’s program advisors at the end of each semester of study and at the end of the program. 

Withdrawals and incompletes

AdvantageVT-Master’s program policies concerning withdrawals and incompletes are as follows:

W – Withdrawal

A grade of withdrawal (W) is given in EAP and University Seminar classes only in instances when a registered student has departed prior to the end of classes in a given semester, and then only in serious and compelling cases where the cause of withdrawal is clearly beyond the student's control and the assignment of a final grade is not possible. 

With regard to credit-bearing courses, withdrawal follows the Virginia Tech policy, available in the Graduate Catalog for the relevant academic year.

A withdrawal from any course constitutes total withdrawal from AdvantageVT-Master’s program, and therefore a student who has withdrawn must reapply for admission if he or she seeks to return. A grade of withdrawal may be assigned only by the AdvantageVT-Master’s program director.

I - Incomplete

A grade of "incomplete" (I) is assigned in AdvantageVT-Master’s program classes when a student has been doing satisfactory work in a course, but for unforeseen reasons is unable to complete course requirements within the required time frame for end-of-semester grading. Such reasons must be judged appropriate by the AdvantageVT-Master’s program director and the instructor. With this understanding, an agreement must be reached between the instructor and the student as to when remaining course requirements must be satisfied, not to exceed 30 days from the end of the semester. The instructor is responsible for assigning a final grade upon completion and evaluation of the agreed upon work. An incomplete grade (I) remaining on the student's record more than 30 days will automatically become a failing grade (F) and will be counted as such in determining grade-point averages.

Students not meeting AdvantageVT-Master’s program completion requirements

Students not meeting AdvantageVT-Master’s program progression or completion requirements have the option to transfer to other institutions; the assistant director of student services can help with transfers. Credits earned in the AdvantageVT-Master’s program will be transferrable to most U.S. universities.

Academic integrity

All students in the AdvantageVT-Master’s program are expected to know, understand, and adhere to the Virginia Tech Honor Code and the Graduate Honor System Constitution. The Honor Pledge, which summarizes that code, states: “As a Hokie, I will conduct myself with honor and integrity at all times. I will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor will I accept the actions of those who do.”

Cheating, plagiarism, falsification, fabrication, multiple submissions, and complicity are the violations of the Honor Code. These violations are defined in the graduate honor code, available at the link above. 

The consequences for violations of the Honor Code are described in the section of “Academic Dishonesty Sanctions”; the decision about which consequences will apply to any particular violation are generally decided by the VT Graduate Honor Review Panel, and may include expulsion from the university. 

Further expectations with respect to student conduct are available in the LCI Student Handbook and the Code of Conduct.