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Getting Started as a Student

This guide will help you navigate what you need to know and do as a new graduate student.   "*" denotes mandatory actions, policies or deadlines for students at the specified campus location(s). Please also review the new student checklist for important information.


Please let us know if you will accept our offer of admission by completing the Offer of Admission Reply form found on your application student portal page.

All newly admitted students must provide an official final transcript(s) indicating that your prior degree work has been completed before you enroll at Virginia Tech. 

You may have your prior institution send the final official transcript electronically to or send it by postal mail to: Graduate Admissions | 155 Otey Street | 120 Graduate Life Center | Blacksburg, VA 24061-0325.

Alternatively, you may bring your official transcript in person to the Graduate School for submission upon arrival for your first semester of  enrollment.

After accepting the admission offer, visit the New International Students page of the Cranwell International Center to learn how to obtain your I-20/DS-2019. 


Please refer to the academic calendar as you prepare for your arrival on campus. Pay special attention to the dates that the university is closed, as there will be no services or staff available to assist you during that time.

Student Identification

Once you’re accepted by the Graduate School, the first thing you should do is create your PID and password and set up 2-factor authentication, a high security login process. This will give you access to online services like:

You’ll use your Hokie Passport to access buildings, library materials, athletic events, and the Blacksburg Transit bus system. It can also be used as a debit card in retail establishments on and off campus. Carry it with you as identification to present to university officials upon request.

To receive your Hokie Passport, you must be registered for at least one course. Take a picture ID with you to the Hokie Passport Office in the Student Services Building, Suite 100, to get your photo taken and receive your card.

Students in the greater Washington, D.C. metro area should visit the D.C. Area website and the Hokie One Stop page for more information.



Find contact information for your academic department to ask about meeting with your graduate advisor, funding opportunities, class schedules and registration, and orientation requirements, if any.

Consult with your graduate advisor or graduate coordinator about what classes to take in your first semester. You can register for classes during two windows of time: course request and drop/add period. Dates are posted on the Registrar's website.

During the course request or drop/add period, you can choose classes on Hokie SPA: select Registration and Schedule, then follow the commands to select your classes. Hokie SPA will not allow you to enroll in classes that are full or restricted. You may continue to change your course schedule by dropping and adding courses until the published deadlines.

Students on assistantships or fellowships are required to register for a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester; all other students may register for 9 credit hours to qualify for full-time status. There is no additional increase in tuition beyond 9 hours.

Access this registration tutorial to learn how to prepare for registration, search for classes, and add/drop classes.

Keep track of the deadlines for academic progress so you’ll know when to notify us of your intended graduation date, when to complete your final exam, and when to submit your thesis or dissertation.

Registration, add/drop, and withdrawal deadlines are listed in the academic calendar.

You can find the books that are listed for your classes by visiting the University Bookstore on campus, online, or at its University Mall location. You can purchase these books from the bookstore or from any other retailer.

Health and Medical Requirements

All  students must turn in an immunization history form, Tuberculosis risk assessment form, and medical history form in order to register for classes. Schiffert Health Center has set the following deadlines for submitting health forms.

  • Forms for fall semester are due by June 30.
  • Forms for spring semester are due by Dec. 31.

Learn more about requirements at the health center's Incoming Students webpage.

International students should view this orientation to healthcare session video.

The Graduate School encourages you to purchase medical insurance for yourself and your family. If you are an international student, you are required to purchase health insurance for the duration of your stay.

If you’re a full-time graduate student, you have the option to enroll in the university-sponsored Aetna insurance program. The Student Medical Insurance Office can provide detailed information about the insurance plan, coverage costs, and effective dates. You can purchase the plan online or in person at the Student Medical Insurance Office.

If you have a graduate assistantship of at least 10 hours per week (50%) between August 10 and May 9, you’re eligible for a subsidy on the premium of the university-sponsored plan. For more information, visit the health insurance benefits page .

Tuition and Financial Aid

You must register for classes before you can pay your tuition and fees. After you register, an electronic bill will be generated, including tuition, comprehensive fees, and other charges you may have incurred. Check your account status and pay online through Hokie Wallet, located in HokieSpa; you will not receive a paper statement. Pay any outstanding charges on your student account before the payment due date to avoid late fees and other penalties.

View your financial checklist and learn how to read your bill.

Graduate students who are Virginia residents do not automatically receive in-state resident status upon admission, even if they were in-state undergraduate students at Virginia Tech.  All applicants wishing to be considered for in-state tuition must submit the In-State Tuition Request form. If you are a current student being charged out-of-state tuition and the Commonwealth Facility and Equipment fee and wish to be considered for in-state rates, please submit this form and supporting documents.

If you have an assistantship, find out how that will affect your tuition. Generally, comprehensive fees are not covered by assistantship benefits, but in-state and out-of-state tuition may be covered in full or in part. Graduate assistants may also sign up for a payment plan on Hokie SPA to pay their comprehensive fees in installments.

If you’re looking for financial support, learn more about graduate funding sources. lists available student wage jobs year-round, and Career and Professional Development offers tools and advice to help you with job searches.

Housing and Transportation

Virginia Tech offers campus housing for graduate and professional students that provides privacy, convenience, and an atmosphere where you can learn and get work done. Campus housing is only available for individuals, not spouses/partners and other family, and requires the purchase of a major meal plan. 

The Virginia Tech Off-Campus Housing Service has information about off-campus housing, rentals, subleasing, roommates, transportation, utilities, and more for students in the Blacksburg area. The site includes a searchable database where you can specify criteria you are looking for in an apartment or roommate.

Student Legal Services provides free and confidential legal advice to currently enrolled Virginia Tech students at the Blacksburg campus, regarding but not limited to leases, contracts, consumer issues, and more.  

Students in the Greater Washington D.C. area should visit Students in the greater Washington, D.C. metro area should visit the D.C. Area website and the Hokie One Stop page to learn about housing options in that area.

Information about traveling to the Blacksburg, Va. campus by car, plane or bus can be found on the university's main directions website.

Parking services offers several parking permit options, including a graduate student permit. Information about the different permits and pricing can be found on their website.  

Refer to this parking map to see where you can park!

There are many ways to get around campus and Blacksburg if you do not have a vehicle, such as using the Blacksburg Transit bus system, bicycling, o renting a Zipcar. Check out the alternative transportation website for ideas. 

Orientation and Welcome Activities

Check out the beginning of the semester events and activities  to welcome new graduate students to Virginia Tech's Blacksburg campus. Visit the GLC Weekly blog to learn about events througout the year.  Though these events are designed with Blacksburg students in mind, all graduate students are welcome to attend.

Students in the greater Washington, D.C. metro area should visit the D.C. Area website and the Hokie One Stop page to learn about events happening in that area.

Participate in Graduate Student Orientation. Attendance is optional, but encouraged. Register here.

Students in the greater Washington, D.C. metro area should visit the D.C. Area website and the Hokie One Stop page to learn about orientation on that campus.

Virtual students and students unable to attend our Blacksburg orientation are invited to review our orientation slide show.

All new international graduate students must complete a mandatory check-in process after arrival. Visit the Cranwell International Center website to learn more. 

Expectations and Policies

A variety of policies govern academic activities and student life, including the Graduate Honor System that sets standards of academic integrity, and the Code of Student Conduct that describes prohibited acts on campus.   Learn about various policies and standards of student conduct, including your responsibilities as a graduate student and the resources designed to help you navigate them, such as the graduate ombudsperson.

Be familiar with the policies and procedures that apply to you during your time here as a student, including the graduate student policies in the Graduate Catalog, university policies, and the Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Prevention policy. Academic programs/departments also have a set of departmental expectations and standards for students -- contact your graduate coordinator to learn about these.