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New Student Frequently Asked Questions

This page is intended to answer some common questions from students newly admitted to one of our graduate degree programs. Most of these answers apply to students attending the Blacksburg campus.

For answers to questions related to special circumstances for Fall 2020 related to COVID-19, see the COVID-19 FAQ page.

Before Arriving

I just got admitted. What should I do next?

Generally, the first two things to do are:

(1) Make sure that the Grad School knows your decision. You should see buttons to accept or decline at the application portal ( Or you can send email to

(2) Get your Virginia Tech PID (email address), see

I am still looking for funding. What should I do?

For details information about funding, see here. The short answers are: MEng students are not normally funded by our department. Most MS/PhD Grad students on support either get a Graduate Research Assistantship directly from a faculty member, or a Graduate Teaching Assistantship from the CS Department. GRAs are between you and the faculty member. If you want to apply for a GTA, see Be aware that we make funding offers right up to the start of classes, and sometimes even during the first week of class. Unfortunately, new students on the wait list are not likely to be given an offer until after they arrive in Blacksburg.


Getting Started

Where can I find more information about tuition and fees as well as information concerning types of assistantships and compensation and insurance?

For all information related to Tuition and Fees, please visit the Bursar’s page ( Please note that tuition and fees and subject to change at any time by the appropriate University authority.


For information related concerning types of assistantships and compensation and insurance, please see the Graduate School’s Graduate Assistantship Information for Students page (

When should I arrive on campus?

There are orientation sessions and events throughout the week prior to when classes start. So you need to be on campus and ready to attend by Monday prior to the first week of class. A CS New Graduate Student orientation is typically held on Wednesday afternoon prior to the start of class, and you need to attend if you are a new student.

How do I sign up for classes? How many should I sign up for? Or any question similar to that.

For students being admitted for Fall semester, we arrange an opportunity prior to classes begin for you to give us your list of classes that you would like, and we arrange to add you. After that process is complete, then you would just add/drop classes online in the usual way for enrolled students. If the class is full or you are blocked for some reason, there is a mechanism ("force-add") to ask to be added to the class. The exact process for doing force-adds changes each semester, instructions will come shortly before classes start each semester.

For details on mechanics of adding/dropping courses online, see here

We discuss how many classes you should take during orientation. But to give you a bit of an idea on what to expect: For MS/PhD students on support, a full time class load is two regular (3-credit, for a grade) courses. Do not plan to take more than that, and there is no need to take more than that. To reach full-time status (12 credits), you can sign up for things like a credit of grad seminar or the Grad School GTA training 1-credit course, and then fill out your schedule with research hours (5994 and 7994) as needed. MEng full-time students will typically take three or four courses per semester.

What is the deadline for adding classes?

Your last day to add classes is the Friday at the end of the first week of class.

Where can I get more information?

See the Grad School's new student FAQ.