Applying to Virginia Tech

Students wishing to apply to Virginia Tech must apply through the Undergraduate Admissions Office (Apply). All questions about admissions requirements and decisions should be directed to the Undergraduate Admissions Office.

Freshmen entering the College of Engineering are placed in the General Engineering program under the Engineering Education Department for their first year of study. Students attend Information Sessions hosted by the various engineering departments during the fall semester so they can make an informed decision when selecting their major.  Students meeting incoming requirements for their major, including completing all freshman courses and having a competitive GPA, may transfer to their major after the spring semester of their freshman year.

Students entering the Mechanical Engineering Department through other programs, such as University Studies, must also complete all required freshmen courses and have a competitive GPA to transfer into the Mechanical Engineering Department.  These students are encouraged to attend an information session for students wishing to transfer into engineering.  All students must maintain an overall and in-major/extended in-major (ME + ESM courses) GPA of 2.0 to be eligible to remain in the Mechanical Engineering department.

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 Not Sure about a Major?

Many students that enter the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech and are not sure which specific branch of engineering they want to pursue. Our General Engineering program for freshmen allows students an extra year to choose their major without getting behind in their program of study. Freshmen are encouraged to:

  • talk to upperclassmen, professors, and career advisors from the departments of interest,
  • speak to potential employer during the two engineering job fairs held at Virginia Tech to find out what engineers do at their companies, and
  • attend student professional society meetings to learn more about their career choices.

Freshmen are given free membership to our American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) student chapter and are invited to attend meetings to meet some of our current students and to find out more about our department. The national ASME website has some good resources for pre-college students interested in engineering on their K-12 Student Resources page.

An excellent website for students to explore science and engineering careers is the Sloan Career Cornerstone Center, which has a wealth of information for middle school, high school, and college students. Students can compare the various engineering majors and find out more about what an engineer in each discipline does during a typical day.

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 Visiting Virginia Tech

You are encouraged to visit the campus, preferably while classes are in session. Please see the University’s Admissions website for details about Admissions information sessions, campus tours, campus maps, driving directions, and parking.

We also suggest that you attend a College of Engineering Information session, held weekdays from 11:15 AM to about 12:15 PM (normally in Hancock 212). Current engineering students discuss the freshman year and give an overview of the engineering program and the various departments. You must register for this session.

The Mechanical Engineering Department does not offer departmental information sessions or tours. Instead, we suggest that you arrange for a tour of the Ware Lab, where several of our senior design projects are housed. The Ware Lab website includes a link to request a tour.

If you have specific questions about the ME undergraduate program while your are on campus, you can stop by 113/113A Randolph during ME Undergraduate Advising office hours, 8am-noon and 1-4pm, Monday-Friday. If you have questions about the ME graduate program, please contact the ME graduate advisor, Cathy Hill .

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Mechanical Engineering Curriculum

For information on the Mechanical Engineering Curriculum, please visit our Course Selection page. Required courses are summarized in the Degree Path Sheet 2018 (flow charts showing prerequisites) and Check Sheets (tables summarizing degree requirements).

Students wishing to participate in the co-op program or in a military program can see alternate schedules that spread the courses out to 4.5 or 5 years.

A link to our list of approved Technical Electives can also be found on this page. To see the University’s approved list of Curriculum for Liberal Education electives, please see the CLE and Core Area Guides.

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Academic Support Programs

The College of Engineering’s Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity has some great programs for new students, including freshman mentoring programs, engineering learning communities (on campus housing), and a 5 week summer transition program. Please see their website for more information.

The Student Success Center offers free tutoring for select freshman and sophomore level courses and gives free study skills seminars throughout the academic year. The Student Success Center offers a variety of support programs including a transition seminar series for transfer students, UNIV1004 (a 3 credit academic success skills course), and Project Success (for students on academic probation).

Cook Counseling Center offers online study skills and time management modules for students who prefer to improve their time management, test taking, concentration, reading comprehension, and other skills on their own.

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Students with AP, IB & CLEP Credit

The Registrar’s website contains an AP, IB & CLEP Guide to show what courses students receive credit for based on the score earned on the various exams. Credits earned through these tests are treated similar to transfer credits. They count as credits earned at Virginia Tech, but they do not affect a student’s grade point average. If a student receives credit for an AP course, they may chose to retake that course at Virginia Tech, but will not be given extra credits for taking the same course again. If credits are earned for a course that is not required for a specific degree program, they are counted as free electives.

To see which AP, IB & CLEP courses count towards the Curriculum for Liberal Education requirements, please see the Curriculum for Liberal Education Guide. For the Mechanical Engineering program, undergraduates must select 6 credits from Area 2 (Ideas, Cultural Traditions & Values); 6 credits from Area 3 (Society & Human Behavior); 1 credit from Area 6 (Creativity and Aesthetic Experience); and 3 credits from Area 7 (Critical Issues in a Global Context).

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Starting in Other Departments

If you were not admitted directly to General Engineering during the admissions process it is strongly encouraged that you consider other institutions where you have been admitted directly into engineering.

Due to the large number of students admitted to Virginia Tech as non-engineering majors who attempt to transfer into the College of Engineering, the University has found it necessary to place additional restrictions for internal transfers into engineering.  Students who are admitted into non-engineering majors, such as University Studies, Physics, Mathematics, and Chemistry, can no longer transfer into General Engineering.  Instead, they must apply to transfer directly into their desired degree-granting engineering major (like Mechanical Engineering).

The requirements for non-General Engineering majors to switch into a degree-granting department are more harsh than those required of General Engineering students.  Depending on their major, non-engineering students are not guaranteed seats in the required first year engineering courses (including general chemistry, calculus, fundamentals of engineering, etc.).

There is no guarantee that a non-engineering major can switch into their desired degree-granting engineering major, even if they have a very high grade point average and have completed all required courses.  This is especially true for students wishing to switch into departments like Mechanical Engineering, which have been consistently above their capacity.

For the current rules on entering an engineering major and major change procedures, please see the Engineering Education Department’s Change of Major Information website.  This site also contains a schedule of information sessions for current Virginia Tech students wishing to transfer into engineering majors.

Non-engineering majors are not encouraged to come to Virginia Tech if they would not be happy pursuing and earning a degree in the major listed in their offer of admission.

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Transfer Students

You are STRONGLY encouraged to carefully plan your program BEFORE you start taking classes at another college. Careful planning can help save you a year or more in completing your degree at Virginia Tech.

Students from some Virginia Community Colleges (like New River and Virginia Western Community Colleges) typically finish their BSME degrees in 2-3 years at Virginia Tech. However, many transfer students come here missing key freshman level courses and can expect to be here for 3 or more years completing their degree, even though they may have already earned an associates degree.

All transfer students are admitted to the General Engineering major.  In order to transfer into Mechanical Engineering you must have completed the following courses as well as generate a competitive Virginia Tech GPA after 12 hours of applicable coursework.

  • CHEM 1035 & 1045 (General Chemistry & Lab)
  • ENGE 1215 (formerly ENGE 1024) & ENGE1216 (formerly ENGE1114) (Engineering Exploration)
  • ENGL 1105 & 1106 (Freshman English)
  • MATH 1225 & 1226 (Calculus)
  • PHYS 2305 (Foundations of Physics I & Lab)

No transfer student may transfer into Mechanical Engineering until all required courses above have been completed and the competitive VT GPA of applicable coursework is generated.  Please see the Engineering Education website for the most up-to-date information and policies on changing into an engineering major.

The University’s Transfer Guide has more information for transfer students. Included is a link to the VT Transfer Equivalency Database, which allows students to find the equivalent VT course number for courses taken at other schools. There is also a link with suggested courses for students transferring from the Virginia Community College System – be sure to navigate to the latest version.

Due to the large number of transfer students applying to Virginia Tech, transfer credits will not be evaluated for equivalency until after a student has accepted an offer of admission.  To expedite the evaluation of transfer credits for those courses that are not already listed in the Transfer Equivalency Database, students should gather copies of their detailed course syllabi (which should include the name of the textbook used and a list of the chapters/topics covered, homework assignments) for new courses they wish to have evaluated. Copies of the course syllabi should be sent to the Dean’s Office once a student has accepted an admission offer.

To see which transfer courses count towards the Curriculum for Liberal Education (CLE) requirements, please see the Curriculum for Liberal Education Guide. For the Mechanical Engineering program, undergraduates must select 6 credits from Area 2 (Ideas, Cultural Traditions, & Values); 6 credits from Area 3 (Society & Human Behavior); 1 credit from Area 6 (Creativity and Aesthetic Experience); and 3 credits from Area 7 (Critical Issues in a Global Context). If a student receives an eligible associates degree from a VCCS school, these requirements are considered to be met.  Eligible associate’s degrees are Associate of Science, Associate of Arts & Sciences,  plus the credit earned for that degree must be “native” (all credit applying towards that associate’s degree must be taken within the VCCS system and/or AP credits).  An Associate of Applied Science is NOT an eligible associate’s degree for waiver of the CLE courses.  If humanities courses transfer into VT with an “XXX” in the course number, the student may request that the courses be evaluated for CLE elective credit by sending a copy of the syllabi with their request to the Dean’s Office.

The associate department head will consider requests by GE transfer students to enroll in a limited number of ME credits before they switch into Mechanical Engineering. Please see our website for new transfer students for more information.

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