Prospective Transfer Undergraduate Students
Starting as a New Transfer Student at Virginia Tech
Transfer students will be assigned an ME advisor after they matriculate. The advisors will work with new students to make long-term course plans and with with class registration for the first semester. Once students move to mechanical engineering from general engineering, they will retain that same advisor for their career in ME.
Transfer students should develop long-term course plan(s) by the time they leave orientation showing when they plan to take all remaining courses needed to graduate. Plans might include the quickest way out, a co-op schedule, and/or spread out course plans. An academic advisor should sign off on these plans after checking to make sure that: (1) all graduation requirements are covered, (2) all prerequisites requirements are met, and (3) courses will be offered in the terms the student intends to take them.
Students with questions about their long-term course plans or intended major are encouraged to contact the academic advisor in their intended engineering department. They should try to ask questions and meet with an advisor well in advance of deadlines. Students should try to avoid seeking advice during the first week of classes and should ask questions earlier if possible. Mechanical Engineering advisors are available all summer.
New General Engineering transfer students are able to take major-restricted courses from their intended degree-granting department (like Mechanical Engineering) during their first semester provided they meet all prerequisite requirements. Students will need help from their academic advisor to add major-restricted courses. ENGE advisors will work with advisors in the degree-granting majors to get the appropriate major-restricted courses added to a student’s schedule. After the first semester, transfer students must switch into their new major to continue taking major-restricted courses in their intended major.
Students should consult their academic advisor before dropping or withdrawing from classes to make sure they understand how this would affect their long-term plans.
Suggested Course Plans for Mechanical Engineering Students
Official checksheets summarizing graduation requirements can be found on the Registrar’s website. We prefer to use degree path sheets to show the relationships between the various prerequisite courses. Students starting as General Engineering freshmen would follow one of these degree path sheets:
Transfer students come to Virginia Tech with a variety of credits, and their path is not always easy to visualize. All students should meet with an academic advisor during orientation to finalize course plans which outline when all remaining courses will be taken.
Students should consider the following when making course plan(s):
- Students should start with at least 15 credits during their first term so they can drop a class and still have the 12 GPA hours needed to enter a degree-granting major.
- Students should not plan to take more than 15-16 credits of technical courses during any term.
- 12 credits is considered to be full time for financial aid reasons; tuition is the same for 12 credits or above.
- Engineering-related work experience is highly valued by employers; some will not consider hiring students with no relevant work experience, so we recommend that students leave room in their plans for work experience prior to graduation.
- Not all courses are offered every term.
- Senior courses are only offered once per year, and senior design must be taken during consecutive Fall/Spring semesters starting in the Fall.
Students coming to Virginia Tech with a VCCS associates degree have about 5 semesters of courses left. We strongly recommend a co-op schedule, which leaves time for work and has a reasonable course load each semester:
Co-op Plan for Transfer Student with AS Degree in Engineering
This plan, which assumes that students have completed the courses in the white boxes, might also work well for students coming from a college offering a “3-2” engineering programming. Co-op jobs are easier to find and tend to be higher paying than internships. This co-op plan also saves on tuition compared to the spread out plan below, and the student could drop down to part time status if desired during their last semester to save on tuition.
Students with a VCCS associates degree who prefer to take a lighter course load can follow this plan instead:
Spread Out Plan for Transfer Students with an AS Degree in Engineering
This plan leaves room for summer internships and results in more tuition charges than the co-op schedule above. Not all terms are full time, which could cause financial aid issues.
If unsure which plan to follow, we suggest starting off with the co-op schedule, then meeting with an advisor if the course load is too heavy. Students have only 1 week to add classes, but have 7 weeks to drop them, so we recommend starting with a slightly heavier load and cutting back if necessary.
Requirements for Entering Mechanical Engineering from GE
General Engineering students may switch into Mechanical Engineering after they complete the following courses and have a competitive GPA with at least 12 GPA hours at Virginia Tech:
- CHEM 1035 & 1045 (General Chemistry & Lab)
- ENGE 1215 (formerly ENGE1024) & ENGE 1216 (Fundamentals of Engineering)
- ENGL 1105 & 1106 (Freshman English)
- MATH 2114 (Linear Algebra) (not required for major change, but needed to stay on track)
- MATH 1225 & 1226 (Calculus)
- PHYS 2305 (Foundations of Physics I & Lab)
Please see the Engineering Education website for policies for major changes into degree-granting engineering departments. General Engineering students with a 3.0 cumulative overall grade point average (GPA) are guaranteed entrance into Mechanical Engineering. Entrance of non-engineering students into Mechanical Engineering is dependent on available space and is not guaranteed, regardless of GPA.
Students who do not meet the 3.0 cumulative GPA requirement are still encouraged to submit a change of major request to transfer into their intended major, as the GPA required to enter the various majors fluctuates from semester to semester.
Advice for New Transfer Students Not Accepted into Their First Choice of Engineering Major
If a student either doesn’t meet the 12 GPA hour requirement to switch into a degree-granting engineering major or if they are below the 3.0 cumulative GPA cutoff to ensure a first choice of major, they should meet with an academic advisor to determine a strategy for moving forward.
Some of the strategies suggested for students wishing to pursue an ME degree who didn’t meet the minimum requirements depend on the student’s situation:
- For students who are unable to make progress in mechanical engineering due to major restrictions and are just below a 3.0 GPA, we suggest taking one or more online courses from Virginia Tech while gaining paid engineering-related work experience in a co-op position. Median hourly rates for co-op students were over $19/hour in 2017. Students can enroll in an optional 0-credit co-op class (~$75 per semester) to maintain full time student status if needed for student loan or other purposes. Please consult an academic advisor for more information.
- For students who are well below the 3.0 GPA cutoff, suggestions include:
(1) considering a less competitive major,
(2) continuing to take courses counting towards an ME degree if not impeded by major restrictions, or
(3) retaking math transfer courses at Virginia Tech to improve math skills to be more successful in future engineering courses.
Students well below a 3.0 GPA are not encouraged to take “easy” non-technical classes to artificially inflate a low GPA, as these students don’t tend to do well once entering Mechanical Engineering. The best approach is to improve fundamental knowledge so the student is starting at the same knowledge level in prerequisite classes and won’t be at a disadvantage in future classes.
Disclaimer: 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.