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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is my advisor?

An academic advisor works with students on their academic progress, course selection, career and major options, and navigating the academic process. He or she is either a member of the teaching faculty or a college professional. Your advisor will be assigned to you at the beginning of your first semester at Virginia Tech (usually by the end of the first week of classes) or as soon as possible after changing majors. You can find the name of your advisor by logging on to Hokie Spa and going to the General Student Information section.

If you have questions about your advisor assignment, please contact Cathy Barker ( in 138 Cheatham Hall, phone (540) 231-3486.

When do I meet with my advisor?

Students in CNRE are required to see their advisor at least once each semester, prior to registration for classes. Students should see their advisor with any academic questions, concerns about classes, career planning, etc. In most cases advisors do not contact students unless there is a problem. You should feel free to contact your advisor any time.

What should I do before meeting with my advisor about course request?

Think about where you are, where you would like to go, and how you plan to get there. To help you with these big-picture questions, complete the form Constructing your Field of Study.

Next, look at the Graduation Requirements (Checksheet) for your major and option and the Timetable of Classes. Identify courses that you might be interested in taking next semester, and write down a possible schedule of classes.

What happens in the meeting about course request?

You and your advisor will discuss your progress, career goals, and concerns. You will discuss potential classes for you to take next semester, as well as any other possible opportunities (like study abroad or undergraduate research). The schedule that you drafted before the meeting will serve as a helpful starting point, but try to be open to suggestions and recommendations from your advisor.

Request classes in Hokie Spa using course request before seeing your advisor. You can fine-tune your requests after your advising meeting. See Registration for more information on that part of the process.

What is the advising process in other Virginia Tech colleges?

Read about the advising process throughout the university at the Undergraduate Advising site. See this list of Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

How do I request a course substitution?

In a course substitution, an alternate course is approved to substitute for a required course due to extenuating circumstances. Such a substitution must go through an approval process before it is reflected on the Degree Analysis Report. The Substitution Request form must be completed electronically to facilitate review by the student's advisor, department, and dean. See your advisor about questions related to the process and possible substitutions.

  1. Complete the Substitution Request form. The more thorough your explanation and attached supporting materials, the more likely your substitution request will be given serious consideration. Substitutions for convenience are not granted. Save a copy of the completed form, print the form, and sign the hard copy.

  2. Take the signed form (with any supporting materials attached) to your advisor for discussion and possible signature.

  3. Send the saved electronic copy of your completed substitution request and supporting material to your department's Curriculum Committee Chair or Head (see list below by department). Hand-deliver the hard copy signed by you and your advisor to the same person.

  4. If your Department Curriculum Committee Chair or Head approves your request, they will send the signed form to 138 Cheatham Hall for final review and signature by the Academic Dean.

  5. A few weeks after your signed substitution request has been forwarded to the Academic Programs Office, check your Degree Analysis Report to see if your substitution request has received final approval and has been processed. If you have completed the course you are using as a substitution or have registered for the course, that area on your Degree Analysis Report should show as completed.

Curriculum Committee Chairs:
Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation
  •     Headshot of Valerie A. Thomas
  • Valerie A. Thomas
  • Associate Professor
  • (540) 231-0958
  • Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation
    307-A Cheatham Hall (0324)
    Blacksburg, VA 24061
Sustainable Biomaterials
  •     Headshot of Audrey Zink-Sharp
  • Audrey Zink-Sharp
  • Professor & Associate Dept Head
  • (540) 231-8820
  • Sustainable Biomaterials
    230 Cheatham Hall (0323)
    Blacksburg, VA 24061
I want to take a class but the class is full. Can I force add the class?

If you would like to force add a class within our college, please come to 138 Cheatham and pick up a force add form. You will need to fill it out and have the instructor sign it. The form can then be returned to 138 Cheatham. For courses outside of the college, you will need to visit the department who is teaching the course.

What do I need to do if I want to take classes elsewhere?

If you are taking courses elsewhere, you must fill out an Authorization of Transfer Credit Form and submit it to Stephanie Hart in 138 Cheatham. Please view the transfer equivalency guide to see what the equivalent course is at Virginia Tech.

How do I change my major?

Information on changing your major can be found here.

How do I apply for graduation?

Once you reach junior standing (60 credits), you should apply for your degree.  Log into HokieSPA and go to Degree Menu » Undergraduate Student Degree Menu » Application for Degree; and complete the form.

What is the different between a dual degree and double major?

A dual degree means that a student completes an additional 30 credits over the minimum required for the first degree. The student will receive a separate diploma for each degree. He/she may choose to finish both degrees in the same term, or finish the second degree in a later term. A double major means that a student has completes the requirements for two degrees, but did not complete an additional 30 credits. He/she will receive a diploma for the primary major and a certificate for the second major.

Can I drop a course past the drop deadline?

Under Virginia Tech policy, a maximum of 6 hours may be dropped beyond the normal six-week drop deadline date during a student's academic career. The request for withdrawal must be submitted to your undergraduate academic dean's office no later than Friday of the last full week of classes of the term enrolled for the course. Courses with a status of CW will appear on HokieSPA after final grades and will appear on your transcript with a W grade, but will not count in your GPA hours or in any GPA calculations. The hours will remain on your record as hours attempted, but not as passed hours, and your financial aid may be impacted.

If you decide to proceed with this option, you will need to complete the Late Drop Request form, available from the Academic Programs Office (138 Cheatham Hall). Complete the student information page of the form and then make an appointment with the instructor of the course you want to drop to find out exactly where you stand in the course and to discuss your request for withdrawal. Next, discuss the withdrawal with your advisor, and obtain his or her signature if you decide to withdraw from the class. Finally, meet with the Associate Dean, Dr. Stauffer, for final approval and signature.

What is the Dean's List?

Any undergraduate students who attempt at least 12 credit hours with all credits graded on the A-F option and who earn a 3.4 GPA for either spring or fall semester will be on the Dean’s List. There is no Dean’s List for the summer sessions.

HokieSPA says I have not met the foreign language requirement. What do I do?

Students can view their Foreign Language requirement under View your General Student Information in HokieSPA. Foreign Language requirement will be updated in mid-October of each year. Students that have completed two (2) years of a single foreign language in high school have met the Virginia Tech Foreign Language requirement. Students that have not had two (2) years of one language in high school will need six (6) credits of Foreign Language in college. These credits will not count towards a degree.

I decided I no longer want to attend this semester but I am unable to drop all of my courses on HokieSPA.

Students wishing to drop all of their courses need to complete the resignation/withdrawal form. Students wishing to drop all classes may withdraw through the first day of classes. A dean’s signature is not required. Students wishing to drop all classes after the first day of classes must resign. A dean’s signature is required.

How do I reschedule my final exam(s)?

If you have three exams within a 24-hour period, you may request an exam change for one exam. If you have four exams within a 24-hour period, you may request to change two exams. Student should fill out the Request to Change Final Exam form. Please be aware of the deadline as listed on the academic calendar.

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