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This page presents special information related to the COVID pandemic for Fall 2021. The official University policies are posted at Policy changes rapidly with events, and any information posted at takes precedence over information posted here.


Is anything special happening in Fall 2021?

The Virginia Tech will be operating more-or-less as normal, with significant modifications to operating details (such as reduced face-to-face room capacities, use of masks, etc). There will be a number of online courses. All students are permitted to defer to Spring 2022 or Fall 2022. International students who are unable to come to campus have the opportunity to take Fall semester as a "virtual" student, and then transition to on-campus in Spring. For details, see


What is the deferral policy?

All students admitted for Fall 2021 may receive a deferral. You may defer to Spring 2022, or to Fall 2022. If you want to start your graduate program sometime beyond that, then you will need to re-apply.

To request a deferral, simply email, and indicate which semester you want to start your graduate program. We will inform the Graduate School.


What about virtual enrollment?

Students who were not able to arrive for the Fall semester have the option of doing an online semester. In no way would this be a "remote degree", but rather an exceptional semester done remotely. We do want to have as many people as possible moving forward productively. We expect to have a good number of courses available online. For a pricing schedule, see

If you would like to do Fall 2021 as a "virtual" semester, send email to We will inform the Graduate School.


I was offered an assistantship by the CS Department. If I defer or take a virtual semester, how does this affect my funding?

We are never able to pay people (either through assistantship or other means) who are not physically in the United States.

If we made a funding promise for some amount of time, then we intend to honor it for the stated time period. This means that if a person was promised a year, and defers one semester, we intend to honor funding in the second semester. Or if they were promised two years, and they defer a year, we intend to honor funding in the second year.


I was offered an assistantship by the CS Department, but I am having trouble getting a visa. What are my deadlines?

From our side, it is critical that our GTAs have arrived to campus and are ready to work by the beginning of the semester. Following Grad School policy, you must have attended your consulate appointment, or have a firm schedule for your apoointment, by July 15. Regardless of your appointment schedule, you must have received approval for your visa by August 10. You should keep us informed of your progress toward receiving your visa.


What about CPT/OPT?

Federal regulations require that students on an F-1 visa must be in the U.S. for at least 9 months before they can be authorized for off-campus employment (CPT or OPT). So students who enter the U.S. in January would not be able to seek off-campus work authorization in that summer.