Frequently Asked Questions
INSPIRING THE EXTRAORDINARY
The Honors College seeks to inspire and facilitate an extraordinary undergraduate education for a diverse student body of exceptional motivation. Utilizing a flexible curricular framework with a strategic array of experiences, opportunities, and facilities, the College pioneers progressive, innovative approaches to undergraduate education that can be scaled up across the university.
The Honors College is a way for students to enhance their overall learning and educational experience at Virginia Tech, in addition to their degree program. We offer the ability to interact with other like-minded students and guide your education in ways that are most meaningful to you. Students can take courses taught by top-ranked faculty on innovative topics, engage with other motivated students, have access to funding and grants to fuel their own aspirations, and contribute to the Honors College mission of inspiring and facilitating an extraordinary undergraduate education.
- An inclusive and active intellectual community
- Access to opportunities unique to the Honors College: experiential learning grants; courses focused on transdisciplinary collaboration, design thinking, and experimentation; and access to a world-class education abroad experience: Presidential Global Scholars
- Distinctive professional development programming
- Support from highly-trained honors students in the Honors Peer Advising Center (HPAC)
- Multigenerational and multidisciplinary honors residential communities, the Hillcrest Honors Community and Honors Residential Commons (HRC)
- Encouragement and training to pursue undergraduate research and independent study
- To break away from the check-list mindset and be inspired to individualize your education
- To build meaningful and sustained collegial relationships with the faculty that most inspire you both inside and outside of the classroom
- To get involved: train to be a Peer Advisor in the Honors Peer Advising Center, become a Peer Educator of an Honors course, or serve on the Honors Student Council to collaborate with the Dean of the Honors College
- To make an impact in your communities at Virginia Tech and beyond
Our academic position within Virginia Tech makes us unique in that we do not have a required curriculum. Instead, we offer many different ways a student can earn honors credit toward the completion of an honors diploma. Our honors diploma options provide an opportunity for a student to fully customize their honors experience based on their own goals for enriching and enhancing their Virginia Tech degree regardless of their major.
While the Honors College does partner with top-ranked faculty to offer exciting interdisciplinary collaboration courses and honors-specific sections of departmental courses, our goal is not to prescribe or replace the excellent offerings within major programs or general education at Virginia Tech. Instead, we support students in their efforts to explore within and beyond their major through undergraduate research, independent study, education abroad, and other opportunities that cannot be found in a traditional classroom.
Yes, the Honors College participates in each orientation session. Admitted Honors College students will receive information about how to attend these sessions.
If you’re visiting VT and want to sit down with a current honors student, you can schedule a Q&A session with one of our Peer Advisors. Q&A sessions are held at various times Monday through Friday. You can reach the Honors College by email (email@example.com) or call (540-231-4591) to sign up for a Q&A session.
There are 1700-1800 students in the Virginia Tech Honors College.
Most Virginia Tech Honors College students work toward an Honors Laureate Diploma. Some prospective first-year students may be invited to interview for the Calhoun Honors Discovery Program and work toward an Honors Collaborative Innovation Diploma.
Honors Laureate Diploma
Students have the option to select a focus area for their Honors Laureate diploma as inspired by the Virginia Tech Destination Areas. This is an additional opportunity to individualize and enhance an Honors Laureate diploma and is not a requirement.
The Four Elements of an Honors Education are the foundation of an Honors Laureate Diploma. The Elements are Honors Core, Disciplinary Depth, Transdisciplinary Capabilities, and Undergraduate Research & Guided Experiential Learning. There are particular ways to earn honors credit within each of the Elements. Students must complete at least thirty honors credits. Elements Two, Three, and Four each require at least six honors credits.
An honors diploma appears on the Virginia Tech diploma as “Honors Laureate” and is not a separate document.
Honors Collaborative Innovation Diploma
Some prospective first-year students may be invited to interview for the Calhoun Honors Discovery Program and work toward an Honors Collaborative Innovation Diploma.
The Honors College does not charge any fees for participation in the College or for its courses. The Honors College does not control pricing for its Living Learning Communities; You can refer to your housing contract information for pricing or visit the VT Housing and Residence Life website.
The Calhoun Honors Discovery Program combines a structured disciplinary education with an open-ended, collaborative, and transdisciplinary discovery process. You can learn more about the program and its requirements here.
Yes. The Honors College has students from every academic college, many different majors, and a variety of programs. Part of the Honors College’s mission is to facilitate an extraordinary undergraduate education for a diverse student body, and to utilize a flexible curricular framework with a strategic array of experiences, opportunities, and facilities. The Honors College understands that you will have competing demands during your undergraduate career to prepare yourself for life after college, and your journey to earn your Honors Laureate Diploma works in conjunction with those efforts.
As an incoming first-year student or transfer student:
A first-year or transfer student applicant to Virginia Tech will indicate on their Virginia Tech Undergraduate Admissions application if they wish to be considered for admission to the Honors College. There is no separate deadline to be considered for the Honors College. Students transferring from another post-secondary institution must have a cumulative GPA of 3.60 or better to be eligible.
As a current Virginia Tech student:
A current Virginia Tech student may apply to the Honors College at the end of fall and spring semesters provided they have a cumulative GPA of 3.6 or better. The application will be available on our Admission to Honors page at the end of each semester.
First-year and transfer students admitted to Virginia Tech who meet the criteria for admission to the Honors College will receive a separate Honors College decision notification soon after the Virginia Tech admissions decision.
Current Virginia Tech students accepted into the Honors College will receive their decision (usually electronically) within several weeks of the application deadline.
If you receive notification that you have been invited to join the Honors College, please follow the instructions in that notification to accept your invitation. Accepting your VT admissions offer will not serve as accepting your invitation into the Honors College. Additionally, you should accept your VT admissions decision prior to accepting your Honors College invitation.
While we hope you will accept your invitation into the Honors College, as we seek to provide you with an extraordinary undergraduate education and have many benefits and opportunities for our students, you are not required to accept your Honors College invitation. Additionally, this decision will not affect your Virginia Tech admissions decision.
Yes. A current Virginia Tech student may apply to the Honors College at the end of a fall or spring semester provided they have a cumulative GPA of 3.6 or better. The application will be available on our Admission to Honors page at the end of each semester.
Due to our application volume, we cannot accept reconsiderations for Fall 2020. Any student not invited to the Honors College for Fall 2020 can apply after their first semester at VT. The student must earn a 3.60 or better GPA in the Fall 2020 semester, and can then apply for admission into the Honors College beginning in Spring 2021, or after any traditional semester, as long as the student has a 3.60 or better cumulative GPA and at least four semesters remaining at VT at time of application.
Students are expected to maintain consistent progress toward the completion of their Honors Laureate Diploma. To help students complete their plan to earn an Honors Laureate Diploma, we strongly recommend students use our Course of Study Planner (COSP). More information about the HLD plan and access to the COSP is available in the Honors Credit Tracker in Canvas.
Students may choose from any of the available ways to earn honors credit, and are not required to take Honors Core courses. However, students are required to follow the guidelines of the Four Elements that make up the Honors Laureate Diploma to earn at least 30 total honors credits. If students are completing an Honors Laureate Diploma in a Focus Area, there are certain course requirements that must be met and those are outlined in the Focus Area checksheet on the Earning an Honors Laureate Diploma page.
There are many ways for students to earn honors credit toward their Honors Laureate Diploma. Students can earn honors credit for courses taken for the major or minor, by utilizing Faculty-Student Agreements. Student can also earn honors credit by taking Departmental Honors courses, which are offered within certain academic departments and have an "H" at the end of their course number. Additionally, students can take any of the courses offered by the Honors College (UH courses), and they can earn honors credit for internships, undergraduate research, study abroad, and Corps of Cadet experiences. More information and a complete list of the ways students can earn honors credit is available here.
Honors College students take many of the same courses as non-Honors College students and can earn honors credit for these courses by completing a Faculty-Student Agreement (FSA). Another option for students to earn honors credit are through the Honors Core (Element 1) and Departmental Honors courses (Element 2 or 3). Each semester certain academic departments offer these Departmental Honors courses, which are designated by having an “H” at the end of their course number, and are a way to automatically earn honors credit after completion of the course. These courses are designed within the department offering the course and are generally smaller than other non-honors sections and may be taught in a unique way.
Taking an Honors Core course is not required to earn your Honors Laureate Diploma. However, these courses offer a great opportunity for students to engage with Honors College faculty and students while taking compelling courses that focus on real-world problems.
After you’ve completed a course or experience for honors credit, you can submit the information or corresponding form into the Honors Credit Tracker in Canvas.
The Honors College does not have specific advisors for each student, as all VT students have an advisor within their academic department or college. However, we do have Honors College Peer Advisors who can offer one-on-one advising to help you with your Honors Laureate Diploma plan and Course of Study Planner (COSP), answer questions about honors credit, and offer guidance to current VT students who are considering applying to the Honors College.
There are two honors living-learning communities (LLCs), the Hillcrest Honors Community and the Honors Residential Commons. The honors LLCs are multidisciplinary and multigenerational, housing freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. An honors LLC is an academically passionate community where students can supplement their honors experience with an active and robust intellectual community, while building relationships that last a lifetime. Upperclassmen are available to answer questions, give advice, listen to concerns, and direct others to faculty and classes that will enhance their experience at Virginia Tech. Faculty members are available for connections to the academic and professional community. Learn more about Honors Housing.
No. We love when honors students get more involved through our living-learning communities, but you are not required to live in a certain residence to be an honors student, unless you have a recruitment scholarship requirement.
The following Honors College scholarships require residence in either Hillcrest Honors or the Honors Residential Commons for a minimum of two consecutive academic years:
- Stamps Scholarship
- Alumni Presidential Scholarship
- David L. Calhoun ‘79 Scholarship (note: This is not the Calhoun Discovery Program)
- McNamara Scholarship
The Pamplin Leader and Pamplin Scholar awards do not require Honors housing.
The Virginia Tech Honors College offers recruitment scholarships to select incoming first-year students and other opportunities to receive merit-based scholarships at several points in a student’s academic career. See the Scholarship Opportunities page of this website for more detail.
Yes! The Presidential Global Scholars program (PGS) is a collaborative living-learning and research community in which ambitious Honors students work together with award-winning faculty, to discover, commit to, and act upon a compelling personal interest in a pressing transcultural issue.
Students in the PGS program reside in the elegant Villa Maderni at Virginia Tech's Steger Center for International Scholarship amid the beauty of the Swiss Alps. You can find more information about PGS here.
The Honors College provides its students access to distinctive professional development programming, which helps set them apart in competitive scholarships, graduate school applications, and job opportunities after graduation.
These opportunities include mentor programs with the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine (VTCSOM) and Deloitte, partnerships with the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine (VA-MD Vet Med) and Service without Borders, as well as seminars, and national scholarship opportunities.
More information about these opportunities is available on our Professional Development Page.
The Honors College doesn't directly offer internship opportunities to our students, but we do receive information on available opportunities from organizations and companies all over the world. We continually update our Honors College blog with these opportunities and more to keep our students informed.
We also encourage students to reach out to Virginia Tech's department of Career and Professional Development to find out more about internship, externship, co-op, and job opportunities.
Yes. The Honors College offers a variety of leadership opportunities to its students to help further their leadership capabilities. These opportunities include:
- Serving on the Honors College Student Council, which represents the greater Honors College student body and serves as an advisory group to the Dean of the Honors College.
- Serving as a Peer Advisor in the Honors Peer Advising Center or becoming an Honors Peer Educator to lead an Honors Reading Seminar centered on a compelling topic of your choice. Students interested in these roles receive training and support through the Honors Peer Education Practicum course, and can earn credit toward their Honors Laureate Diploma.
- Getting involved in our Living-Learning Communities by serving on the Commons Council within the Honors Residential Commons (HRC) or the Hillcrest Hall Council within the Hillcrest Community.