StudentsReview :: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University - Graduate (MS/PhD) Ratings
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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Total Grad Surveys 10
Females 1
Males 9
Avg years at University 3.1
Research Quality A- (8.5)
Research Availability A (9.6)
Research Funding B+ (7.7)
Graduate Politics A- (8.6)
Errand Runners A- (8.7)
Degree Completion A (9.0)
Alternative pay [ta/gsi] A+ (9.8)
Sufficient Pay A (9.0)
Competitiveness A- (8.8)
Education Quality A (9.0)
Faculty Accessibility A (9.4)
Useful Research A (9.5)
"Individual" treatment A (9.1)
Friendliness A (9.2)
Safety A (9.2)
Campus Beauty A (8.9)
Campus Maintenance A- (8.8)
University Resource/spending A- (8.8)
Extracurriculars A- (8.3)
Success-Understanding A- (8.4)
Surrounding City B- (6.3)
Social Life/Environment B+ (7.8)
Surrounding CityB-
Alternative pay [ta/gsi]A+
I chose Virginia Tech because everybody in the physicsNov 11 2015Physics
I chose Virginia Tech because everybody in the physics department was very friendly and welcoming, and it is still the case. After six years here, however, I have noticed several problems with the university's operations and it seems the comradery I had first experienced within the department has been a necessity to withstand these injustices. For example, Virginia Tech takes 61% (higher than the national average of 52%) of any grant proposal I help my adviser write and directs these funds towards "hot research" topics like nano-materials, bioinformatics and neuroscience. My adviser's share of his own grant is not even enough to support me with the RA that I need. Our building is in desperate need of major repairs and even a complete renovation, but Virginia Tech focuses all of its building finances into renting cheap and showy complexes like the Corporate Research Center (CRC) instead of taking care of existing academic buildings. I need to run the AC in my office (that I had to buy myself after I passed out from heat exhaustion during the summer in my office) during the winter to cancel out the uncontrollable heater that connects three different rooms in the building. This leads to my next comments about the environmental nightmare that is Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech's environmental goals and achievements are completely hypocritical. I joined an environmental student group on campus called "Beyond Coal" that initially tried to convince Virginia Tech to upgrade its 90+ year-old coal (yes, coal) plant to partially use biomass for fuel. By the time I left the group, our goals had shifted instead to including the word "coal" on Virginia Tech's webpage which describes their power plant. They wouldn't even do that. Virginia Tech also considered destroying a 400+ year old-growth forest on campus (i.e. Stadium Woods) for a new indoor athletic facility next to the stadium so that the athletes "didn't have to walk as far" to get to the stadium. Regardless of the public uproar from the students and community protesting this plan, the only group that convinced Virginia Tech to keep Stadium Woods was the ROTC, an equally large organization who practice drills in the forest. Virginia Tech still has not approved the policy to protect Stadium Woods from future development, football players are still given special privileges to park their cars on the roots of the forest, and the facilities department continues to mow the grass under the forest canopy while landscaping with highly invasive species around campus. Virginia Tech's biggest environmental awards are due to its sustainability initiative to "reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050". This is a goal that is entirely impossible due to Virginia Tech's current rate of construction and they've been milking the awards for all they're worth until they're exposed in 2050.

The new president of the university is determined to make Virginia Tech the fastest growing university in the state. Virginia Tech was already too large to function, and the explosive growth we are going through is far from sustainable, either environmentally or economically. If you attend Virginia Tech, expect your mandatory student fees to heavily increase while the corresponding services provided by the university become over-crowded or reserved for specific types of students. Student parking passes have been increasing in price to "encourage" students to use the environmentally-friendly albeit over-crowded bus service. Even with a parking pass, I had to pay to park on the weekend of a football game just to pick up some lab reports from my office. I have now ranted about three problems I have fought to correct at Virginia Tech. I have tried to address a total of thirteen such problems during my time here by meeting with Ombudspersons, Deans, Chairs, Provosts and Presidents of the university to raise awareness of these injustices. Some listen and reply with "there's nothing we can do" while others talk over me, reciting university policy as though it was their autobiography. I'm just a graduate student; I shouldn't have to deal with university politics, research funding or building repairs. Despite the student fees I pay and the research fees my adviser pays instead of me, Virginia Tech does not provide the research environment it advertises. I have no rights, privileges, protection or voice among the hordes of undergraduates, alumni, investors and sports fans that Virginia Tech exclusively caters to.

If you are an engineering major, then VirginiaApr 30 2010Urban Planning
If you are an engineering major, then Virginia Tech is a world-class school for you. Right up there with MIT, GA Tech, and others. For everything else, it is probably average to above average, but definitely worth the in-state tuition. The campus is open and mostly beautiful, especially the Drill Field, War Memorial, and Burress Hall with its surrounding gothic Hokiestone buildings. Students are friendly and approachable - basically nice people from a diverse background. The campus is very laid back. Campus transportation is good. Newman Library is only marginal. Athletics - especially football - are incredible and the school's maroon & orange spirit is great. The main downside is the surrounding town of Blacksburg (WalMart in Christianburg is the upscale shopping spot) and the generally conservative subtext of the university. If you are progressive or, God forbid, an activist liberal, this is the wrong place for you. Blacksburg is, after all, in the middle of the Virginia Bible belt (However, the university does deserve credit for trying, with its various diversity outreach programs). The excellent, but few, progressive-thinking faculty seem to keep their opinions to themselves and choose to simply enjoy the tenure of VT and the Virginia countyside. Overall, a great university if you have the opportunity to attend.
Basically, they'll admit a group of students intoMar 10 2010Biology
Basically, they'll admit a group of students into their pH D programs based on how many slots they "think" they need filled, give all of the students funding for a year, and then discard the ones they don't like or don't have long-term funding for with little ceremony.

Completely cruel, and self-serving view towards students by many of the Biology sub-departments (Microbiology, Molecular Plant Sciences, and PPWS are especially bad). Ultimately, you are a dreadful little inconvenience that gets in the way of their hard-hitting research.Apply elsewhere if you can!

Feels like a great environment conductive of researchOct 27 2008Computer Science
Feels like a great environment conductive of research and learning. I have met a lot of very smart and friendly people. However a lot of my time has been with other graduate students. I get the feeling the undergraduate student body is what you'd expect. A decent number of well off kids with over extravagant cars. However there are cool pockets of people all over the place. Its not hard to meet some of them and connect to others.

Some classes seem to forget that they're not the majority of my semester goal (I still have other classes and research!). Although the workload reflects this the grades at the end of the semester seem to keep in mind you can't give the class 100%.Research has been great, faculty is very interesting in doing research with almost any student and most have money for assistantships! If not the TA assistantship package is nice too!

The clinical program is excellent and a greatMar 27 2006Psychology
The clinical program is excellent and a great choice for students interested in a research career. The faculty has had a positive and vast impact on behavioral research and has improved the lives of their research participants and the surrounding community in addition to generating research findings that have improved understanding of behavior. The faculty and faculty-student publications are high impact and often cited because they are well done and in areas of importance. The faculty members hold important positions in the profession of clinical psychology-producing text books, serving on boards of important associations-They are the movers and shakers of the field and yet they are nice people. A great behavioral (broadly defined) program! You will not regret making a choice to attend this program. Good resources, decent community, beautiful clean unspoiled environment. Students can complete the program in a reasonable amount of time (4 years plus internship from BA to PhD). Faculty dedicated to generating research that improves quality of life for all of us. The faculty have had such a great impact on the local schools, hospitals, agencies and the town/community itself. Faculty members are "household names" within psychology circles. They have held tightly to their original goals and still have a strong commitment to the bridging practice and science. What more could you want. Those holding offers should not let one from VT go!
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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