When are Courses Offered?

If you follow the suggested schedule on the ME degree path sheets, all required courses will be offered when you need them. (See degree path sheet for your graduation year) If you plan to deviate from the suggested path, please be aware that NOT ALL COURSES ARE OFFERED EVERY TERM!

If you get off schedule or are planning to drop a course, please consult your advisor (Sarah Deisher, last names A-L or Linda Vick, last names M-Z) to find out what impact this might have on your graduation plans. If you are a military student or wish to spread out your courses over 5 years for other reasons, please see a sample 5 year plan and a sample 4.5 year plan.

Special note to seniors: *** Required senior courses are only offered once per year, so it is important that you catch up on all prerequisite courses by the end of your junior year or you may graduate an entire year later! ***

The ME Department updates a Course Calendar each fall showing which courses we plan to offer during that academic year. Required ME courses are offered the same terms every year, but technical elective offerings may change from year to year. Course calendars are subject to change due to enrollment or resources issues, so please check the current timetable for the most up-to-date list of course offerings.

If you are interested in finding out when elective courses may be offered by other departments, we suggest that you contact the department offering that course to find out about their plans. You can also get an idea of when courses might be offered by looking at the historical timetables posted online. Departments tend to offer courses during the same terms from year-to-year, but don’t rely on this information alone!

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Course Request

Students are strongly encouraged to sign up for courses during the one-week course request period. Students enter the Course Request Numbers (CRN’s) for their desired courses through Hokie SPA. Students can see which courses are being offered and can look up CRN’s by going to the online Course Timetable.

Course request allows the departments to adjust course capacities to match projected enrollments. When students fail to pre-register for courses, departments may not be able to accurately plan for the coming term. To avoid a shortage of seats in the courses you need, please sign up for courses during course request!

Students may pre-register for up to 19 credits of courses. However, a student may petition to add more courses during the drop/add period by filling out a course overload request form.

If you fail to pre-register for courses, you must wait until the Drop/Add period opens to sign up for courses. You are much less likely to get the courses you need, as your choices are limited to sections that have leftover seats. Some departments, like Math, will not allow a student to force-add a course simply because they forgot to pre-register during the course request period.

Course request for spring courses is typically held during the middle of October, while course request for fall courses is during the middle of March. Course request for summer courses is for a two month period between December and February.

For specific dates and deadlines for course request, drop/add, grade mode changes, resignation, and withdrawal for the current & upcoming terms, please click on the “Important Dates and Registration Information” links on the Course Timetable.

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Drop/Add Process

Students may drop or add courses to their schedule by using the Drop/Add function in Hokie SPA. For instructions on how to drop or add courses, please go to the Drop/Add help page. The drop/add period opens after students have received their original class ticket for the coming term.

For specific dates when drop/add is active, please click on the “Important Dates and Registration Information” links on the Course Timetable. The deadline to add courses is usually at the end of the first week of classes (or the third day of classes during a summer term), while the drop deadline is at the end of the sixth week of classes (or the end of the second week of classes during the summer).

Note you are unable to drop your last credits for any term through Hokie SPA. Instead, you should complete the Resignation/Withdrawal form. If you resign after the start of classes, you will be penalized financially and will need to get a signature from the Engineering Dean of Student Affairs Office in 212 Hancock. Please see the Registrar’s website for more information on Resignation and Withdrawal.

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Registration Errors

You may encounter several types of errors when trying to register for or add courses. The two most common errors are major restriction and prerequisite errors.


Major Restriction Errors: A major restriction error means that the department offering the course has restricted the course (or sometimes specific sections) of the course to specific major(s). To view the majors allowed to freely sign up for that section, you can click on the course request number (CRN) on the Timetable.

Some major restrictions are firm – for example, the Physics Department reserves certain sections of PHYS2305 and PHYS2306 to Physics majors only. Other major restrictions are there to help control enrollment and ensure that students requiring the course have seats before they allow non-majors into a course. This is true for some technical electives, such as AOE and CEE courses.

To find out if a department is willing to allow you to enroll in a major restricted section, please contact the academic advisor for the department offering the course. Please see the list of engineering academic advisors who can help answer questions about major restrictions on courses offered by their department.

Prerequisite Errors: A prerequisite error means that your transcript does not show that you have passed (or received the minimum required grade in) a prerequisite course. To view the list of prerequisites for a course, you can click on the course request number (CRN) for a section of the course on the Timetable.Some departments choose to wait until the start of classes to enforce prerequisite checking.

The Mechanical Engineering department has chosen to enforce prerequisite checking during course registration for most courses and to recheck prerequisites for all courses again at the beginning of the semester.You may get a prerequisite error even if you have or will have the prerequisites completed prior to registration. Please consult the academic advisor from the department offering the course in the following situations:

  • You received transfer credit for a prerequisite, but the course number is not showing up properly on your unofficial transcript. Example – You took an a physics course at a community college and needed a module to receive PHYS2305 or PHYS2306 credit, and the course shows up as PHSY2XXX on your transcript.
  • You took, or are scheduled to take, a transfer course to satisfy a prerequisite, but it is not yet showing up on your VT transcript. Note: Transfer credits will not show up on your VT transcripts until several weeks after your other school sends our Registrar’s Office an official transcript showing your final grade for that course.
  • You believe that you have satisfied the prerequisite for the course by taking an alternate course. Example – The prerequisite course listed is Elementary Calculus with Trigonometry, but you have taken a more advanced engineering Calculus course that exceeds the material covered in the required prerequisite.
  • You have taken the proper course and met any minimum grade requirements, but you still get an error. This may have resulted due to an error in the way the prerequisites were entered into the registration software. Example – The prerequisite course is MATH 2214, but the software is not recognizing the honors version of the course, MATH 2214H.

If you did not receive a prerequisite error during registration, this does not mean that you will be allowed to stay in the course. If you do not have the prerequisites (or corequisites) for a course, you may be removed from that course without warning and this might possibly happen after the last date to add courses. Please consult the academic advisor in the department offering the course if you have concerns about prerequisites.The Dean’s Office maintains a list of engineering academic advisors who can help answer questions about prerequisites and prerequisite enforcement for courses offered by their department.

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Force-Adding Courses

If you are a student in GE (General Engineering) ME will NOT force add major restricted courses.  You must complete the courses needed to transfer into ME, complete the application for change of major and then add those courses via drop/add once your major reflects ME. 

Most colleges and departments have their own policies for “force-adding,” or adding students to sections that do not appear to have open seats. For safety issues, no department is allowed to add more students than the maximum room capacity set by the fire marshal. Departments can only force-add students into the courses that their own department is teaching, so to request a force-add, you must approach the department teaching the course you want to add.

Note that force-adds are NOT performed for convenience, to place you in the same section as a friend, a more convenient time, or to switch to a different instructor. It is our goal to keep enrollments in the various sections of a course as balanced as possible to avoid overcrowding and to improve the learning experience of all students in the class. Your request for a specific CRN may be denied if there is space available in other less crowded sections.

The College of Engineering posts a generic force add form that can be used in the absence of a special form that may be required by department performing the force-add. Listed below is force-add information for departments teaching courses required by ME students:

  • ME Department – Sarah Deisher (last names A-L) and Linda Vick (last names M-Z) handle all force adds for the ME department. Email your advisor with your initials, ID#, and the course that you need. We will not force add for convenience.
  • For all other force add procedures please visit this site

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Course Withdrawal

Students are allowed to withdraw from up to 3 courses (regardless of the number of credits) their entire time at Virginia Tech. Course withdrawal can be done after the drop deadline and up until 5 PM last day of classes. Instead of receiving a grade for the course, a “W” will appear on your transcripts indicating that you withdrew from the class after the drop deadline, and the course will not affect your GPA.

Course withdrawal credits should be saved for emergencies, like when you know that that you will fail a course or will need to repeat the course to better understand the material. Don’t be afraid to ask you instructor about the grade they would expect you to receive if you were to continue with that course.

To withdraw from a course, you must fill out a Course Withdrawal Request Form and have it signed by an advisor (Sarah Deisher; last names A-L or Linda Vick last names M-Z).  Be sure to ask your advisor how withdrawing from this course will affect your schedule for the following terms and whether or not it will affect your planned graduation date.

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Students may chose to resign, or to drop ALL courses during a semester. If the student resigns before the start of classes, there is no financial penalty. If the student resigns after classes start, but before the resignation deadline (about 9 weeks into the semester), there will be a financial penalty and a signature from the Engineering Dean of Academic Affairs Office (212 Hancock) is required. For more information, please see the Registrar’s Resignation/Withdrawal Information page.

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Information on this website is unofficial. University catalogs and other official documents take precedence over the information that is available here. The material presented here is to aid you in planning your academic program to best fit your interests. Ultimately you are responsible for making sure that you fulfill the graduation requirements. We present these aids to help you achieve your goal of a degree in mechanical engineering.