In order to help AdvantageVT-Master's participants become independent researchers and leaders in their fields, we have developed a curriculum that prepares them for the academic rigors of top-ranked American university graduate programs while also helping them improve their English language skills. AdvantageVT-Master's also provides the skills students will need to succeed at a top-tier American research university.
All AdvantageVT-Master’s students are required to take advanced English for Academic Purposes classes, as well as participate in University Success Seminars. All AdvantageVT-Master’s students are required to take their English for Academic Purposes courses on the main Blacksburg campus.
Level 3 placement
For students placed at Level 3, English for Academic Purposes 600 and University Success Seminar make up the first semester of AdvantageVT-Master’s. One credit-bearing course pertinent to students’ intended majors is introduced in the second semester. Students will also take English for Academic Purposes 700 and part two of the University Success Seminar during the second term. In their third semester, students placed at Level 3 will take two credit-bearing courses and English for Academic Purposes 800.
Level 2 placement
Students placed at Level 2 begin taking credit courses relevant to their degree program in their first semester. One credit-bearing course makes up half of their first semester program, with English for Academic Purposes 700 and the University Success Seminar making up the balance. In their second semester, Level 2 students will take two credit-bearing courses plus English for Academic Purposes 800.
Level 1 placement
Students who place at Level 1 will have one semester in the pathway program. Over the course of this term, they will take two credit-bearing courses, English for Academic Purposes 800, and the University Success Seminar.
Preparatory Course Descriptions
English for Academic Purposes (EAP) 600 (Level 3)
Advanced English for second-language students focusing on the four language skill areas (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) and the academic preparation that are required for success in masters level university courses. Content language focus will be in the areas of engineering, science, urban policy, and business. Key outcomes upon completion of EAP 600 include significant improvement when speaking with peers in a specific field of study, increased articulation in everyday language, accurate grammar usage, familiarity with common idioms, and increase in fluency. Students will be able to deliver individual and group presentations and produce a well-developed short research paper using proper citation style (18 contact hours per week).
Introductory University Success Seminar (Level 3)
Modules exploring university culture in general and policies and resources at Virginia Tech in particular. Participants will become aware of opportunities and responsibilities regarding student life, effective study habits, research resources, and self-management. There are weekly projects and assessments (3 contact hours per week).
Advanced University Success Seminar (Levels 3-2-1)
Advanced English for students of English as a second language that develops the language skill areas of graduate-level listening, speaking, writing and reading and promotes academic skills including the following: analytical, critical, and creative thinking; interpersonal communication; research skills. Key outcomes upon completion of EAP 700 include significant improvement in confidence when speaking with peers in a specific field of study, increased articulation in everyday language, accurate grammar usage, familiarity with common idioms, and improved fluency overall. Students will be able to deliver individual and group PowerPoint presentations and produce a well-developed research paper using proper citation style. Team as well as individual activities are incorporated (9 contact hours per week).
University Success Seminar 700 (Level 2)
This seminar provides the knowledge and skills necessary for international students to successfully navigate their transition to living and studying in the United States. Participants will become familiar with the opportunities, resources, and responsibilities of master’s degree students at Virginia Tech (VT). The course explores American university culture in general and policies and resources at Virginia Tech in particular.
English for Academic Purposes 800 (Level 1)
Advanced English for students of English as a second language which further develops the language skills of graduate-level listening, speaking, writing and reading and cultivates research skills including the following: reflective thinking and problem solving; teamwork and leadership; information literacy; and writing for publication. Key outcomes of level 800 include the ability to conduct in-depth academic research and produce papers of 20 pages, employing excellent composition and citation skills. Students will be able to present, discuss, and debate topics related to their specific field of study with their classmates, colleagues, and professors. Upon completion of EAP 800, students will be fully prepared for full matriculation into a Virginia Tech master’s degree program (9 contact hours per week).
University Success Seminars topic listing
- Navigate the University Learning Management System
- Understand the university’s policy on Acceptable Use
- Explore Virginia Tech’s research centers
- Understand immigration regulations affecting graduate students
- Identify and prepare for postgraduate work opportunities
- Abide by the Graduate Honor System
- Devise and execute strategies to overcome common academic challenges
- Work in groups to produce effective presentations, summaries, and analyses
- Write professional, culturally appropriate emails
- Present academic and personal information in a clear and effective manner
- Provide an overview of their specific master’s degree completion requirements
- Describe and evaluate progress toward degree using a checklist for graduation
- Demonstrate the ability to successfully negotiate differences in a team scenario
- Analyze validity of sources of information
- Identify VT resources supporting better academic performance
- Utilize the University Libraries and web and research resources at Virginia Tech
- Explore Virginia Tech’s student organizations and clubs
- Discover the university’s athletic and health resources
- Understand Virginia Tech’s Principles of Community
- Explore the history and culture of Virginia Tech