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Preparation + Requirements

SPIA undergraduate students attend a lecture in the New Classroom Building

A Foundation for Success: First-Year Applicants

A challenging college preparatory curriculum is your foundation for success in the College of Architecture, Arts, and Design.

To be a first year applicant to Virginia Tech, you must complete:

  • 18 units of high-school course work
  • 4 units of English
  • 3 units of math (includes algebra I, geometry, and algebra II)
  • 2 units of laboratory science (chosen from biology, chemistry or physics)
  • 2 units of social science (one must be history)
  • 3 additional academic units (foreign language is highly recommended)
  • 4 elective units

Some majors have other requirements, such as an additional year of advanced math or lab science. 

All admissions decisions are made centrally, through VT Admissions. Questions about first-year admissions requirements can be directed to

Undergraduate Admissions offers a helpful checklist to make sure you have everything you need to apply.

Architecture, interior design, industrial design, and landscape architecture (in the School of Architecture and in the School of Design) are restricted majors, and enrollment is limited due to space constraints in the design labs. Studio art, creative technologies, and graphic design in the School of Visual Arts are also restricted majors. 

Unsure of which major you’d like to pursue? Consider Explore AAD, a unique major which serves as a gateway to the college’s different degree programs. You’ll take classes across the college while exploring and preparing to transition to an AAD major such as Architecture, Interior Design, etc.

More Information About Admissions and Your Application

Portfolios are not required for admission to any major within the College of Architecture, Arts, and Design. While students can submit digital attachments along with their application, VT Admissions staff will not review these files. All admissions decisions are made centrally by VT Admissions, not by faculty in the College of Architecture, Arts, and Design.

Auditions are required for admission to the music major in the School of Performing Arts. To apply to the music major, you must first submit an application to apply to Virginia Tech. The music audition form will be sent to you automatically after applying to Virginia Tech and will allow you to select the preferred audition date or plans to submit a video recording. Additional details about the audition process will be emailed. All admissions decisions are made centrally by VT Admissions, not by faculty in the College of Architecture, Arts, and Design.

Admissions directors use a holistic approach throughout the application review process. Many factors are considered, with the most important being rigor of academic program and grades in academic courses.

Other factors may include:

  • Ethnicity
  • First-generation
  • Leadership and service
  • Legacy
  • Requested major
  • Participation in Virginia Tech pipeline programs
  • Personal statements
  • Disciplinary record
  • Residency

You can find more information about general admissions requirements on the Office of Undergraduate Admissions website. 

Courses of study will vary greatly among majors in the College of Architecture, Arts, and Design. There are certain university core requirements that all students must fulfill, usually during the first year: English, math, science, and a program-specific requirement.

If you have more questions about what your first year might look like within any AAD major, reach out to the appropriate program advisor, who can provide helpful guidance and let you know what to expect. 

Using the links below, you'll find some additional helpful information about undergraduate admissions at Virginia Tech. Still have questions? Reach out to AAD director of academic advising, Rob Jacks