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Student Experience

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A campus and community unlike any other.

Virginia Tech is a place where you hold the door open for the person behind you. It's where ambition meets encouragement, where service is taken seriously, and where acquaintances become lifelong friends. The College of Architecture, Arts, and Design is where you come to find your role in the world.

No matter how you spend your time on campus, you'll find an environment that promotes learning and growing, to help you become a Hokie ready to change our world for the better.

A group of students hangs out in the quad outside the dorms.

This is Home

Living on campus, you'll be immersed in a dynamic residential campus with award-winning dining options in an environment committed to well-being.

Among the campus housing options, there are also Living-Learning Communities (LLCs) and Residential Colleges for students from every academic college and every class year.

The newly-established Creativity and Innovation District (CID) boasts three LLCs in which students will benefit from a vibrant community where individuals working across disciplines come together, explore, and create. College of Architecture, Arts, and Design students are particularly drawn to two of these CID LLCs:

  • Rhizome, which explores the roles architecture, the arts, design, construction, planning, and analytical interventions have in shaping the built and natural environment and bringing about change.
  • Studio 72, which encourages creative approaches to problem solving, with an emphasis on collaborative art-making outside of the classroom.

LLCs each have their own particular theme, host specialized programming and events, and boast state-of-the-art creative and collaboration spaces within the residence halls to catalyze relationships with peers and faculty at Virginia Tech.

While many living–learning communities are primarily for first year students, the Residential College model deliberately places first-years, sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students under the same roof. Members actively take part in lectures, discussions, social events, and other collective activities that create a sense of shared tradition around their community.

Residential Colleges are also open to all students and majors, and many students in AAD gravitate toward the Leadership & Social Change Residential College.

School of Visual Arts student
Two students and one faculty member in Burchard looking at laptop together.

Learning from Ideation to Implementation

At Virginia Tech, you'll fortify your artistic vision and skills and learn to apply them to a service-minded mission. Students in the College of Architecture, Arts, and Design can expect a rigorous and challenging education that prioritizes hands-on learning and practical skillbuilding. Graduates of our programs walk away with the confidence and ability to tackle pressing problems of all scales.

Many of our students should expect to spend time in studio, the foundational course undergraduates in most of our programs take each semester. Students typically spend about 12 hours per week in the course, but additional hours are optional.

Regardless of program of study, around 200 faculty in our college steward growth in our students by opening their intellectual horizons, championing creative exploration, and deepening students' understanding of their discipline. Students are expected to take responsibility for their own education with the guidance of the faculty, with tight-knit support from peers, and within a holistic framework.

Female student with safety glasses on holding a curved piece of wood in one hand and a pencil in the other. Drawings of tools up on the wall behind her and tools stuck to a pegboard next to her.

Round Out Your Student Experience

Across campus, you'll find a host of interdisciplinary opportunities designed to leverage and complement curricular learning.

Undergraduate and graduate students have opportunities to participate in research with faculty and develop their own research projects. The college offers a Student-Initiated Research Grant oppportunity which supports student research projects that are mentored by a faculty member. Through the Office of Undergraduate Research, students can gain authentic research experience in all areas of scholarship, and can find data and programmatic support for grant-sponsored research programs.

You can also enjoy valuable extracurricular experiences through any of the more than 700 student organizations across the university. The College of Architecture, Arts, and Design has numerous organizations specific to disciplines within our college, XYZ Student Art Association,  the National Organization of Minority Architect Students, and many more.

small student group eating ice cream

An Idyllic Campus Experience

Beyond academics and extracurriculars, prepare for a vibrant social scene. Virginia Tech is known for its friendly community, boasts rich history and traditions, and is regularly ranked highly for our exceptional quality of life and happy students.

Whether you're jumping up and down to "Enter Sandman" at a football game, playing table tennis in the Breakzone, grabbing lunch with friends from one of our award-winning dining establishments, partaking in rec sports, or hammocking on the Drillfield, there's plenty to do on campus. And if you like to be outside, you're in the right place: Southwest Virginia offers great hiking and biking, scenic lakes and drives, and all kinds of festivals.

Students pose for a photo in the desert in Dubai, UAE.

Develop Global Literacy

Imbuing students with a global understanding is critical to the mission of the College of Architecture, Arts, and Design.

Our faculty and students hail from more than 30 countries around the world and bring their experiences and perspectives into the classrooms. Faculty research and outreach projects also extend far beyond the borders of the United States, embodying Virginia Tech’s global Land Grant mission.

The college has a long-standing tradition of encouraging students to become global citizens. International opportunities in the college include active student exchanges, outreach, and education abroad, as well as individual trips. In fact, 62% of undergraduate students from our college travel abroad — the highest percentage at Virginia Tech!

Providing diverse learning experience is an integral part of the college’s pedagogy, including an emphasis on providing international learning opportunities around the globe through semesters abroad, wintermester and spring break trips and summer trips through travel abroad programs to six continents. Recent destinations have included Japan, China, India, Egypt, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, and countries throughout Europe.

A group of graduating students tossing their caps into the air at a commencement ceremony in Lane Stadium.

Preparing for Life after Virginia Tech

It may seem a bit early to think about life after commencement, but when you're ready, we're here to support your plans, or to help you figure them out.

Set yourself up for post-graduation sucess by utilizing the career planning resources at your disposal in AAD and at the university. Work closely with your school advisor, explore co-ops, internships, and jobs, and attend career fairs to open doors that align with your career aspirations.

Once you're an alum, you can still be an active part of the Hokie family: Virginia Tech has hundreds of thousands of living alumni that can be found in all 50 states and many countries all over the world. Alumni networks regularly host meet-ups and networking opportunities.