Virginia Tech College of Science

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Virginia Tech College of Science
Motto Ut Prosim (Latin)
Motto in English
That I May Serve
Type Public University
Established 2003
Parent institution
Virginia Tech
Dean Lay Nam Chang
Students 4,355
Undergraduates 3,741
Postgraduates 614
Location Blacksburg, Virginia, U.S.
Colors Chicago maroon and Burnt orange[1]          

The College of Science at Virginia Tech contains academic programs in biology, chemistry, economics, geosciences, mathematics, physics, psychology, and statistics. In 2010-11, the College of Science consisted of 339 faculty members and 4,370 students.[2] The college was established in July 2003 after university restructuring split the College of Arts and Sciences, established in 1963, into two distinct colleges. Lay Nam Chang has been acting dean of the College of Science since its inception in 2003.[3]


The College of Science at Virginia Tech gives students a comprehensive foundation in the scientific method. Award winning faculty members teach courses and conduct research in biological sciences, chemistry, economics, geosciences, mathematics, physics, psychology, and statistics. The college offers programs in cutting-edge areas including, among others, those in energy and the environment, developmental science across the lifespan, infectious diseases, computational science, nanoscience, and neuroscience. The College of Science is dedicated to fostering a research-intensive environment that promotes scientific inquiry and outreach.[4]


The College of Science contains eight departments for undergraduate and graduate study. In addition to these eight departments, the college also offers degrees through the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' Department of Biochemistry, which offers undergraduate students a bachelor of science in biochemistry and graduate students a master of science or doctoral degree. The college also houses Virginia Tech’s two largest undergraduate degree-granting programs, biology and psychology.[5]


U.S. News & World Report Graduate Science Rankings
Paleontology 28
Earth Science 28
Clinical Psychology 47
Statistics 53
Economics 58
Physics 60
Mathematics 60
Chemistry 60
Biological Science 93

Virginia Tech's Graduate Science Program are highly ranked and is one of a handful of core recruiting schools for some of the world's most selective firms. Listed below are rankings by the U.S. News & World Report for the graduate programs:

  • The Clinical Psychology program ranks No. 47 overall and according to U.S. News & World Report.[6]
  • The Statistics program ranked No. 53 overall.[7]
  • The Economics program ranked No. 58 overall.[8]
  • The Physics program ranked No. 60 overall.[9]
  • The Mathematics program ranked No. 60 overall.[10]
  • The Chemistry Program ranked No. 60 overall.[11]
  • The Biological Sciences program ranked No. 93 overall.[12]
  • According to the U.S. News & World Report’s “America Best Graduate Schools 2012,” the paleontology and earth sciences graduate programs rank ninth and 28th in the nation, respectively. Both of these programs are part of the Department of Geosciences, which has been consistently ranked among the best overall geosciences graduate programs in the nation for the past 20 years.

Biological Sciences[edit]

As of 2010, the Department of Biological Sciences contained the largest undergraduate degree-granting program on campus. Undergraduates in this department can earn a Bachelor of Science and have the option to specialize in Microbiology and Immunology. Graduate students can earn a Master of Science or Doctor of Philosophy degrees.[13]


The Department of Chemistry is located in Davidson Hall, Hahn Hall North, and Hahn Hall South. The department consists of approximately 300 undergraduate majors, 30 professors, eight instructors, and 40 staff members. Undergraduates can earn either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science in chemistry, and graduate students can earn either a master of science or doctoral degree.[14]


The Department of Economics is based in both the College of Science and the Pamplin College of Business. Undergraduates can earn a bachelor of arts in economics. Graduate students can earn a master of science or doctoral degree.[15]


The Department of Geosciences offers undergraduates a bachelor’s degree in geosciences by way of four options: geology, geochemistry, geophysics, and earth science education. Graduate students can earn a master of science or doctoral degree. The Department of Geosciences’ graduate program has two top-ranking programs: paleontology and earth sciences.[16]


In the Department of Mathematics, undergraduates can earn a bachelor of science in mathematics. Graduate students can earn a master of science or doctoral degree. The Department of Mathematics also offers a mathematics education option, in which students can earn master or doctoral degrees in education.[17]


The Department of Physics is housed in Robeson Hall and Hahn Hall North. The department also often uses labs in Derring Hall. Undergraduates can earn a bachelor of science or bachelor of arts. in physics. Graduate students can earn a master of science or doctoral degree. Graduate students can also participate in an internship program that leads to a master’s degree in applied and industrial physics.[18]


The Department of Psychology is located in Williams Hall. In 2010, the department’s undergraduate program in psychology was the second largest degree-granting undergraduate program on campus. Undergraduate students in this department can earn a bachelor of science in psychology. Graduate students can earn a doctoral degree in three areas: clinical psychology, biological psychology, and industrial/organizational psychology. (Students can earn a master of science en route to a doctoral degree, but the department does not offer a terminal master’s degree). The clinical psychology doctoral program is fully accredited by the American Psychological Association and is a member of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science Programs.[19]


The Department of Statistics is located in Hutcheson Hall. Undergraduates in this department can earn a bachelor’s degree in statistics, and graduate students can earn either a master of science or doctoral degree.[20]

Academy of Integrated Science[edit]

The College of Science also houses Virginia Tech's Academy of Integrated Science, which supports interdisciplinary degree-conferring programs. These include:

  • Computational Modeling & Data Analytics (CMDA)
  • Nanoscience
  • Systems Biology
  • Science, Technology & Law.[21]


Burruss Hall

The College of Science received $31.94 million in funding from government agencies and private corporations in 2010. This money was used to fund research opportunities for students and faculty in the college. As of 2010, 57 percent of undergraduates graduating from the College of Science participated in research for credit.[5]

Virginia Tech has numerous interdisciplinary research institutes available for use by the faculty and students of the College of Science, including:

  • Institute for Advanced Study
  • Fralin Life Science Institute
  • Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS)
  • Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment (ISCE)
  • Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute (VTC)

Notable Alumni[edit]

  • Benjamin Rubin (M.S. biology 1938) invented the bifurcated vaccination needle to deliver tiny amounts of smallpox vaccine. The needle is credited with helping to eradicate smallpox.
  • Robert C. Richardson (physics 1958, M.S. 1960) won the 1996 Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering how helium-3 can transform itself into a liquid that flows without friction at temperatures near absolute zero.
  • Roger K. Crouch (M.S. physics 1968; Ph.D. 1971) twice served as the scientific astronaut with the Columbia space shuttle in 1997.
  • Jim Buckmaster (biochemistry 1984) is CEO of Craigslist, a centralized network of online urban communities that features free classified ads and forums on multiple topics.[22]
  • Mark Embree (mathematics and computer science 1996) became Virginia Tech’s second Rhodes Scholar in 1996. Dr. Embree was professor of computational and applied mathematics at Rice University until 2013.[23] He is currently professor of mathematics at Virginia Tech, Leader for the College of Science's Computational Modeling & Data Analytics division, and Associate Director of the Virginia Tech Smart Infrastructure Laboratory.[24]
  • Roger Craig (biology 1999, biochemistry 1999) became the highest one-day total winner on the game show “Jeopardy!” in 2010. He won $77,000 in one evening, surpassing the previous record of $75,000. His seven-day total winnings of $231,200—amassed before his run as the show’s champion ended Sept. 21, 2010—was third highest for the show, excluding tournaments.


External links[edit]