This handbook presents the policies and procedures of the graduate program in the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech. Every graduate student needs to be familiar with the material presented for their degree program along with the contents of the Administrative section. Students will also benefit from reviewing the Graduate School's Expectations for Graduate Study.

Be aware that the set of rules and constraints for your degree program are actually a combination of policies defined by the CS Department, the Graduate School, and sometimes other entities such as the Registrar's Office. This handbook presents these rules and constraints as you must satisfy them, without directly referencing who is the ultimate authority for any given one.

It is possible that you will seek an exemption to some rule or requirement. This is when it becomes important to find out who "owns" that rule. In general, the Graduate School defines a framework for a degree program, and a Department fleshes this out. For example, the Graduate School requires that all PhD students take a Preliminary Exam and a Final Exam. The Department is free to define the mechanics of these exams, but not their existance, nor the scheduling process. So for example, it is a Graduate School rule that there must be a certain minimum amount of time between a Preliminary Exam and a Final Exam. So only the Graduate School would be able to grant an exemption (if they were so inclined).