VCU Bulletins

Engineering, Master of Science (M.S.)

General requirements


A number of full or partial teaching and research assistantships are available in the engineering, biomedical engineering and computer science programs. Assistantships are awarded based on academic performance. Full support assistantships are for a 12-month period and cover tuition, fees and a stipend. A brief description of financial aid based on demonstrated need is detailed in the chapter of this bulletin regarding financial aid. Need-based aid programs include National Direct Student Loan, college work-study and institutional loans.

The student adviser and the advisory committee

Both the thesis and non-thesis options of the M.S. degree require the appointment of a permanent adviser. Students receive guidance and counsel from the graduate program director prior to the appointment of the permanent adviser. The permanent adviser holds the primary responsibility for directing the development of the student in the program and providing the appropriate guidance and counsel essential to the scholarly development of the student. The successful completion of the requirements for the thesis-option M.S. includes an original research project, the progress of which is guided by a faculty adviser and monitored by an advisory committee. An advisory committee, appointed shortly after the permanent adviser is appointed, serves as an examining and consultative body. Its function is to assist the development of the student. Committee members hold a special responsibility as a source of counsel for the student. For details, students should contact either the respective graduate program director or the program chair.

Graduate degree requirements

All full-time graduate students are expected to register for a minimum of nine hours of graduate credits per semester and at least one semester hour during the summer, exclusive of audited courses. This requirement includes research.

At least half of the credits required in the student’s program must be those designated as exclusively for graduate students; that is, those at the 600 level or above.

Graduate students are required to remain in good academic standing through the course of their degree program. Unsatisfactory student performance includes:

A student whose performance is unsatisfactory must successfully petition the dean of the Graduate School to continue in the graduate program. Unsatisfactory performance also constitutes grounds for the termination of financial assistance to the student.

Students may not take the final oral examination for the M.S. degree if their overall GPA is below 3.0. The student’s advisory committee is the examining body for the administration of the final examination. In addition to these requirements and those set forth by the university, students must meet the requirements for specific degrees set forth in the School of Engineering program listings.

Enrollment information

Nondegree-seeking students

Students not admitted to a degree program must obtain permission from the program director and chair before being allowed to register for courses.

Termination of enrollment

The university reserves the right to terminate the enrollment of any student for unlawful, disorderly or immoral conduct or for persistent failure to fulfill the purposes for which the student was matriculated.


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Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, Virginia
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Last update: 8/4/2011

Created by VCU University Relations