Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Updated August 7, 2020

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University is a school that offers liberal arts and professional degrees while staying true to its roots as an agriculture and mechanical college. The school was founded in 1872 as Virginia's white land grant college. The black land grant college was Hampton Institute. The colleges were established with funding obtained through the Morrill Act. In 1970, Virginia approved university status for the school. Virginia Tech is classified as a research university, which means that a significant amount of its budget is devoted to research. The main campus is in Blacksburg and there are six satellite campuses located throughout the state. Virginia Tech maintains a study-abroad campus in Switzerland as well. The school offers 225 undergraduate and graduate programs through eight colleges to a student population of just under 30,000. The US News and World Report ranks Virginia tech as #70 of National Universities, and #6 for biological and agricultural programs. Most classes at the university have fewer than 50 students.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Accreditation Details

The university is accredited through the Southern Association of the Higher Learning Commission. In the Life Sciences Department, the dietetic programs are accredited by the American Dietetic Association. Other accrediting organizations are:

  • ABET
  • The American Psychological Association

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Application Requirements

If you are applying as a first-year freshman, you will need to complete the online form available on the school website. Although it is possible to print out and submit a paper application, Virginia Tech prefers students use the online portal. There is a non-refundable $60 application fee. In addition, the university asks students to have their SAT Reasoning or ACT Plus Writing scores sent to Virginia Tech. The school would also like a copy of your mid-year high school grades, your final grades and your official high school transcript. The Virginia Tech website cautions students to remember to fill in their social security number and correct date of birth. Transfer students should also complete the online application and submit their $60 application fees along with all college transcripts and their high school transcript.

Tuition and Financial Aid

The instate undergraduate tuition at Virginia Tech is $12,485 per year. Non-resident tuition is $29,129. In addition, average residence hall and meal plan charges are $8,226, making a total in these areas of an estimated $20,711 for residents and $37,355 for non-resident students. The actual totals depend upon which residence hall and meal plan you decide upon. Online programs cost an average of $745 per credit hour for instate students and $1,452.25 for out-of-state students. In addition, some departments assess additional charges. There are also costs associated with books and supplies as well as fees and other costs. Most students need financial assistance to pay for their college educations. Many take on years of financial debt. There are programs that defray as much of that expense as possible. If you need financial aid, the first step you should take is filling out the FAFSA form. This should be done as soon as possible; you don't have to be accepted at the university to apply for federal help, but you will have to be a student at the school before the funds are awarded. The Free Application for Student Aid program looks at the financial information you have submitted to determine how much you can afford to contribute toward your educational costs. That amount, subtracted from the actual cost of attending the university, is your financial need. The government then qualifies you for grants such as the Pell or SEOG, subsidized and unsubsidized loans and work-study opportunities. Virginia tech also uses the FAFSA information to determine your eligibility for needs-based school funding. The State of Virginia offers the Commonwealth Grant and the Guaranteed Assistance Grant, among others. Virginia Tech has several grants as well; some are direct funding while others come in the form of guaranteed tuition costs, to protect students against rises in tuition during their years at the university. There are also academic and departmental scholarships as well as athletic scholarships and finding offered to students who qualify on the basis of ethnicity, affiliation with organizations and career aspirations. Corporations and private individuals often fund scholarships to students who meet varied requisites as well. All of these can be researched online. Student loans are another source of assistance. They are low-interest loans that defer repayment, usually until after graduation. Loans through the government can be unsubsidized or subsidized, which means the government pays the interest.

Online Degrees Offered

Virginia Tech offers several masters' programs online. These are: master's degrees in urban affairs and planning; education, curriculum and instruction; foreign language and cultures; information technology; ocean engineering; political science; natural resources; computer engineering and in agricultural and life sciences. The life sciences degree is of interest because it is diverse and can be concentrated in several areas. It also is a degree that centers in Virginia Tech's forte of applying research and knowledge to solving life-sustaining biological and ecological issues. The available areas of concentration are education; environmental sciences; food safety and biosecurity; leadership studies and plant science and pest management.

The 30-credit-hour degree program requires six credit hours in research methodology; international agriculture or agricultural business and in research ethics. There are 12 credits in the concentration and six hours of electives, as well as a five-credit final project and report. Students who apply to the degree program should have an undergraduate degree in a related field and a cumulative GPA of 3.0. If you are one of the students in the master's degree in agriculture and life science, you have a great resource in the Fralin Life Science Institute. This research facility, a merger of the Fralin Biotechnology Center and the Institute for Biomedical Public Health Services, has four "flagship" buildings that house many research projects at once. Students have the opportunity to work with professional scientists and the availability of Fralin Institute resources as they work on real-world problems like AG issues, obesity, infectious disease, cancer and other issues.

This brief article is a valuable tool to someone researching degree programs in Virginia. If you are interested in the Life Science degree program, or any of the degrees offered at this school, you should visit the website for Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

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