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Frequently Asked Questions From SBES International Students

For international applicants to SBES, minimum TOEFL score requirements are 600 (paper-based), 250 (computer-based), and 100 (Internet-based).

SBES also accepts IELTS test scores, which can be used in place of the TOEFL. The acceptable minimum score for this test based on equivalency to the TOEFL is band 7.0. Official scores must be sent to the Virginia Tech Graduate School, and a photocopy should go to the SBES graduate office. 

If you are accepted, the I-20 will be issued by the Graduate School of your "home" campus. You will need to contact them for further information.

Because of different naming conventions among nations, it is essential that you clearly specify what you intend to use as your last name (family or surname), middle, and first (given) name on all documents. It is also important that you be consistent in their use.

If we cannot determine your name accurately in our records, your application materials could become separated, misfiled, or lost. For Chinese applicants the most common problem results when the family and given names are switched somewhere during the application process. For applicants from India the most common problem results from inconsistent use of abbreviated forms (initials) of the name among various application documents.

If you are an international student, but you have a degree from an Anglophone university (English is the language of instruction), your TOEFL requirement will be waived. Normally this pertains to schools in English-speaking locations like the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Virgin Islands, Ghana, American Samoa, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and New Guinea. If you think the school you attended qualifies you for a waiver, but you’re not certain, you should contact the Virginia Tech Graduate School at

You will need to contact the Virginia Tech Graduate School at

The scores we publish are what we normally see as ‘averages’ in the students we admit—and they represent what we like to see. However, since our standard is higher than that of the graduate school, a score slightly lower than 100 will not automatically prevent you from being accepted into graduate school here.

As a department, we do not have a hard "cut-off" policy whereby we refuse to consider applicants with lower scores. All applications we receive are assessed. However, English language communication skills (spoken and written) are critical in the pursuit of an engineering graduate degree in the U.S. 

You do not need a social security number in order to apply to our program. Leave that item blank on the application. If you are accepted and offered a type of financial assistance for which you have to work, you’ll then be required to apply for one.