Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center

Graduate Studies

The Virginia Tech Southwest Center provides working professionals complete graduate degree programs and classes from nationally ranked programs based on the main campus in Blacksburg . Typically, most courses meet in the evening one night a week for fifteen weeks. The following programs are currently available through the Center.

Agricultural and Life Sciences Information Technology
Career Transition-Vocational Special Needs Instructional Technology
Career & Technical Education Integrative STEM Education
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Mathematics Specialist
(K-8) Program
Engineering Natural Resources
Master of Public Health Political Science



Other Programs
Master's degree,  certificate,
and licensure options.

Residents may also take classes as Commonwealth Campus students without being formally admitted to a degree program.


Agricultural and Life Sciences

The Masters in Agricultural and Life Sciences program provides broad, scientific-based courses for professionals in agriculture, life sciences, and related fields. Upon successful completion of the program requirements, students will earn a master of science in agricultural and life sciences.

This program is intended primarily for place-bound working professionals that would like to pursue an advanced degree but cannot commute to Blacksburg to take daily or weekly classes. The unique program provides professionals the flexibility to earn a master's degree with a focus on a career-relevant area of specialization from the convenience of their own home.

Students are required to take a set of core courses and must select an area of concentration.

Five concentration options build upon a required core curriculum:

  • Biosecurity, Bioregulations, and Public Health
  • Education
  • Environmental Science
  • Food Safety
  • Plant Science and Pest Management
Delivery - Online, asynchronous
Award - Masters of Science
Major - Agricultural and Life Sciences

Contact Information:

Program Website:
Dr. Doug Pfeiffer, Program Director
ph: 540-231-4183   fax: 540-231-9131


Career Transition-Vocational Special Needs

An optional career transition endorsement in Vocational Special Needs is offered by Virginia Tech. This area of concentration evolved from vocational special needs and secondary special education. Transition services offer individuals with disabilities coordinated activities promoting movement into adult roles in employment, further education, community and independent living. Planning and delivery of these services involves students with disabilities, their families and teachers, and human service agencies.

Contact information:

Voice: (540) 231-8206


Career and Technical Education

The Master of Science (M.S.) degree program offered via distance learning is designed to develop instructional leaders in the field of Career and Technical Education (CTE). The program focuses on developing expertise in contextual learning, integration of CTE with core academics, philosophies regarding the role of CTE in public education, research application in the classroom, diversity, and instructional technology.

Delivery - Primarily interactive videoconferencing. Some online courses available.
Award - Master of Science
Major - Career and Technical Education

Contact Information:
Program Website:
Dr. Bill Price, Jr., Program Director
ph: 540-231-7390   fax: 540-231-9075


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

The Educational Leadership Program offers two programs at the Virginia Tech Southwest Center.

Program for the Preparation of School Principals and Supervisors Masters or EdS

Doctoral Program In Educational Leadership

Students who complete two years of study in the Preparation Program for School Principals and Supervisors (PPSPS) may earn either a Master of Arts degree or an Educational Specialist degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Courses are delivered in cohorts. An internship in a local school system is required. Along with successful completion of the School Leaders Licensure Assessment (SLLA), students qualify for licensure in Virginia as a Pre-K-12 school administrator or as a central office administrator.

Students who hold a master's degree or an Educational Specialist degree may enter a doctoral program cohort to earn a Doctor of Education (Ed.D) degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. The doctoral program involves two years of coursework, including a week of study on the Blacksburg campus during the summer after each academic year. In addition to the coursework, students must successfully complete and defend a dissertation or other capstone project, which typically requires an additional 12 to 18 months of research. Students who complete the program qualify for licensure as a division superintendent in Virginia.

.Contact information:
Voice: (540) 231-9728


The Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program (CGEP) is a distance learning graduate program of five universities in the State of Virginia. The CGEP offers qualified individuals the opportunity to earn a master's degree part time through on-site and televised graduate classes.

Delivery - Interactive videoconferencing
Award - Master of Science

  • Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering and Sciences
  • Transportation Infrastructure and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Systems Engineering
  • Engineering Administration (Master of Science in Engineering Administration)

Contact information:

Contact information:
Voice: (540) 231-9754

Information Technology

The Graduate Program in Information technology is a combined degree and certificate program offered collaboratively by Virginia Tech's College of Engineering, and Pamplin College of Business. The program is an innovative blend of coursework in four related IT modules: networking, software development, business information systems and decision support systems. Virginia Tech's IT faculty have real world experience combined with cutting edge knowledge of industry trends. Each module is updated regularly to reflect industry trends.

Delivery - Completely online. Synchronous components.
Award - Master of Information Technology degree (30 credits) or Certificate only (12 credits)
Major - Software Development - Networking - Business Information Systems - Decision Support Systems (Three of these are required for a degree)

Contact information:

Program Website:
Cindy Rubens, VTMIT Advisor
ph: 703-538-8384  

Instructional Technology

The Instructional Technology (IT) Master's Degree program offered through the Department of Teaching and Learning at Virginia Tech is specifically designed to meet the needs of practicing professional educators as they confront the increasingly important role technology is playing within local, state, and national educational systems. The Instructional Technology Master's program (ITMA) is a rigorous graduate program designed to prepare you to be a professional instructional technologist. Because this is a distance program, all courses are offered electronically via the World Wide Web. Depending on the nature of the course, supporting materials may consist of Web-based tutorials, textbooks, CDs, or other appropriate materials.

Delivery - Completely online, asynchronous
Award - Master of Arts
Major - Curriculum & Instruction (Instructional Technology emphasis)

Contact information:

Program Website:
ITMA Staff: 
Phone: 540-231-9658  


Mathematics Specialist Program - grades K-8

The Mathematics Specialist Program is designed for in-service teachers in grades K-8. The program is a cohort program consisting of 33 hours of coursework focusing on mathematics education leadership and mathematics content specific to grades K-8. The Mathematics Specialist Program leads to a Masters of Education Degree (MAED) or Education Specialist Degree (EdS) in Curriculum and Instruction.

Contact information:
Voice: (540) 231-8326
Web: Mathematics Specialist

Natural Resources

The College of Natural Resources offers a professional, non-thesis Master of Natural Resources (MNR) degree. The MNR program is a 33-credit-hour professional degree open to students from a wide variety of undergraduate fields. The focus of the Natural Resources Program in Northern Virginia is urban ecology and sustainability of natural resources, with special emphasis on sustainable use of fishery, wildlife and forest resources in the rapidly changing rural-urban environment. The MNR degrees is usually a terminal, non-research degree, intended to give the candidate additional post-baccalaureate education in natural resources. This interdisciplinary program has a dual objective of training graduates for professional employment in natural resources and instilling conceptual and critical thinking necessary for lifelong learning and career development. Graduates are able to assume professional responsibilities in a wide variety of positions in public service or in the private sector.

Delivery - Completely online, asynchronous
Award - Master of Natural Resources
Major - Natural Resources

Contact information:

Program Website:
Dr. David Trauger, Program Director
ph: 703-538-3762   fax: 703-538-8337

Master of Public Health

Virginia Tech, in collaboration with the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine (VTCSOM), is pleased to announce the new Master of Public Health (MPH) Degree Program designed to produce public health leaders for Virginia and the nation.

The 42-credit professional degree program integrates and expands public health offerings at Virginia Tech and enhances the university's track record of addressing vital public health issues through learning, discovery and engagement. The program is administered through the Public Health Program of the new Population Health Sciences Department of the College of Veterinary Medicine. 

Contact information:

Program website:

Cris L. Thompson, Program Coordinator 
ph: (540) 231-3945 

Integrative STEM Education

 In Spring 2006, Virginia Tech (VT) became the first in the US to offer an Integrative STEM Education graduate program. These new graduate degree options develop 21st century K-16 STEM educators, leaders, scholars, and researchers prepared to investigate, teach, and disseminate new integrative approaches to STEM teaching and learning. Our focus on the investigation and application of new integrative approaches to STEM education uniquely sets us apart from other STEM programs. Integrative STEM Education is wholly consistent with, and is an exemplar of, the recommendations of the seminal STEM education reform publications of the past two decades, including Science for All Americans, Benchmarks for Science Literacy, Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, National Science Education Standards, Standards for Technological Literacy, and Educating the Engineer of 2020.

To be awarded the “Integrative STEM Education Graduate Certificate” students must successfully complete 12 semester hours of coursework offered by the Integrative STEM Education Program at Virginia Tech as follows: Complete the following two Integrative STEM Education courses: EDCI 5804: STEM Education Foundations (3 SH) EDCI 5814: STEM Education Pedagogy (3 SH) And two of the following 3-semester hour Integrative STEM Education courses: EDCI 5824: STEM Education Trends and Issues (3 SH) EDCI 5834: STEM Education Research (3 SH) EDCI 5854: Biotechnology Literacy by Design (3 SH) EDCI 5964: Field Study in [Integrative STEM] Education (3 SH)

Delivery - Completely online, asynchronous
Award - Integrative STEM Education Graduate Certificate
Master of Education (MAEd)
Education Specialist (EdS)

Contact information:
Program Website:
Mark Sanders, Program Director
ph: 866 / 791-4898 fax: 540 / 231-2079


Political Science

The Online Masters of Arts in Political Science is identical in course content, requirement, and work load to the widely respected and high-quality residential MA degree program that has been offered in Blacksburg since 1969. The M.A. degree program features a broad array of methodologically sophisticated, theoretically grounded, and empirically oriented graduate courses to new audiences anywhere in the world.

Delivery - Completely online and asynchronous
Award - Master of Arts
Major - Political Science

Contact information:

Program Website:
Graduate Coordinator
fax: 540-231-6078