Jun 15, 2024  
2023-2024 Academic Catalog 
2023-2024 Academic Catalog

The Academic Program

A look into the academic program at VMI, a military college in Virginia

Institutional Accreditation

The Virginia Military Institute is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award baccalaureate degrees. Degree-granting institutions also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of Virginia Military Institute may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (www.sacscoc.org).

Programmatic Accreditation

  • The Chemistry curriculum is approved by the American Chemical Society.
  • The Civil Engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, https://abet.org, under the commission’s General Criteria and the Program Criteria for Civil and Similarly Named Engineering Programs.
  • The Economics and Business curriculum is accredited by AACSB International, https://www.aacsb.edu/.
  • The Electrical and Computer Engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, https://abet.org, under the commission’s General Criteria and the Program Criteria for Computer Engineering, Electrical, and Electronics Engineering and Similarly Named Engineering Programs.
  • The Mechanical Engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, https://abet.org, under the commission’s General Criteria and the Program Criteria for Mechanical and Similarly Named Engineering Programs.


VMI is a member of the American Council on Education, the Association of American Colleges, the College Entrance Examination Board, and the Association of Virginia Colleges.

Academic Program Mission and Vision


The VMI Academic Program educates cadets in a rigorous academic environment that encourages life-long learning and develops citizens of character who anticipate, respond, and lead in a complex and changing world.


The VMI Academic Program includes:

  1. Curriculum
    VMI offers cadets a challenging four-year core curriculum and fourteen nationally recognized majors in engineering, sciences, and the humanities with an array of enrichment opportunities provided through the Institute Honors Program, undergraduate research, foreign study, internships, and the Institute Writing Program.
  2. Cadets
    VMI recruits, develops, and graduates cadets of exceptional talent, intellectual curiosity, and character, who possess a commitment to service and respect for others.
  3. Faculty
    Ninety-eight percent of the VMI faculty hold Ph.D.’s. Our faculty is renowned for teaching excellence, mentorship of students, scholarly engagement, commitment to service, and encouragement of undergraduate research. Small class sizes enable faculty to interact closely with cadets both inside and outside of the classroom.
  4. Environment
    The VMI environment includes state-of-the-art facilities, equipment, technologies, and instructional materials, first-class programs of academic support, and an organizational climate characterized by collegiality, cooperation, and respect.

Core Curriculum

The Core Curriculum develops foundational knowledge and skills that are essential to VMI’s academic and military missions. Designed thematically as “The Nucleus of Effective Citizenship and Leadership,” VMI’s Core requirements are organized into four components.

  1. Key Competencies
    1. Written Communication (ERH 101 - ERH 102) 6 hours1
    2. Oral Communication (ERH 103) 1 hour
    3. Scientific Analysis (approved BI, CH, or PY sequence) 8 hours
    4. Mathematical Reasoning (approved MA sequence) 6 hours
    5. Human Performance and Wellness (seven semesters) 4 hours
  2. Foundations of Citizenship and Leadership
    1. Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) 12 hours
    2. LEAD 344 - Leadership in Organizations 3 hours
  3.  Perspectives on Civilization and Human Achievement
    1. World History (HI 103 - HI 104) 6 hours 
    2. Civilizations and Cultures (two courses)2 
  4. Integrative Experiences
    1. Writing-Intensive Courses (two courses)3 
    2. Capstone Experience variable

1All activity must be passed with a grade of “C” or better.
2One of these courses may be replaced by a credit-bearing, Institute-approved Study Abroad experience.
3At least one of these courses must be in the major.

Degree Program

VMI believes that academic excellence is best maintained at a small college when the number of disciplines offering degrees is restricted. The choice between a course of study leading to a Bachelor’s degree is made before the cadet enters VMI. Transfer from one major field of study to another after matriculation is permitted based on the availability of the major and approval of the area department head.

A cadet may be awarded the Bachelor’s degree within the following areas:

Bachelor of Science Degree:      Applied Mathematics, B.S.  

                                                       Biology, B.S.  

                                                       Chemistry, B.S. - Pre-Medical Track  

                                                       Chemistry, B.S. - Research Track  

                                                       Civil Engineering, B.S.  

                                                       Computer Science, B.S. - Cybersecurity Track  

                                                       Computer Science, B.S. - Information Technology Track  

                                                       Computer Science, B.S. - Theory and Application Track  

                                                       Electrical and Computer Engineering, B.S.  

                                                       Mechanical Engineering, B.S.  

                                                       Physics, B.S.  

                                                       Psychology, B.S.  

Bachelor of Arts Degree:             Biology, B.A.  

                                                       Chemistry, B.A.  

                                                       Economics and Business, B.A.  

                                                       English, B.A.  

                                                       History, B.A.  

                                                       International Studies, B.A.  

                                                       Modern Languages and Cultures, B.A.  

Cadets may declare a double major if they meet specified academic standards and have the approval of both department heads. Only one bachelor’s degree is awarded, but the cadet’s academic transcript notes the double major.

To be graduated from VMI, a cadet must have a conduct record that is satisfactory to the Superintendent, must be confirmed by the Academic Board, must have completed all requirements for his or her major(s), must have attained a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00 (with no rounding up), must have attained a cumulative major GPA or at least 2.00 (with no rounding up) as determined by courses identified by the major department, and must have been in residence at VMI for a minimum of six full-time semesters (see Academic Regulations to determine qualifying criteria).

Academic Minors and Concentrations

Cadets may also declare a minor and/or concentration in certain academic areas. The cadet should declare the minor or concentration as soon as possible and no later than the beginning of the first class year. A permit must be submitted to the Registrar, bearing the approval of the cadet’s academic department head and the head of the department that offers the minor or concentration.

A 2.0 GPA must be maintained in the required course work and the cadet must meet any other criteria set by the department offering the minor or concentration. Official notice of the completed minor or concentration appears on the academic transcript and the graduation program. A cadet may drop a minor or concentration by sending an email to Registrar@vmi.edu and requesting that it be removed from their degree audit.

Minors/concentrations are available in the following areas. Details are available under “The Curricula” in this catalog. 


Sponsoring Department Area
English, Rhetoric, and Humanistic Studies Art History and Visual Culture Minor  
International Studies & Political Science Asian Studies Minor  
Physics and Astronomy Astronomy Minor  
Economics and Business Business Minor  
Chemistry Chemistry Minor  
Computer and Information Sciences   
Electrical and Computer Engineering Computer Engineering Minor  
Computer and Information Sciences Cybersecurity Minor  
Economics and Business Economics Minor  
Biology / Human Performance and Wellness Exercise Science Minor  
History History Minor  
International Studies & Political Science International Studies and Political Science Minor  
Psychology Leadership Studies Minor  
English, Rhetoric, and Humanistic Studies Literary Studies Minor  
Applied Mathematics Mathematics Minor  
History Middle Eastern Studies Minor  
History Military History Minor  
Modern Languages and Cultures Modern Languages Minor - Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Spanish  
International Studies & Political Science National Security Minor  
English, Rhetoric, and Humanistic Studies Philosophy Minor  
Physics & Astronomy Physics Minor  
Psychology Psychology Minor  
English, Rhetoric, and Humanistic Studies Rhetoric and Writing Minor  


Sponsoring Department Area
Mechanical Engineering Aerospace Engineering Concentration  
English, Rhetoric, and Humanistic Studies Art History and Visual Culture Concentration  
Biology & Chemistry Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB) Concentration   
Biology  Ecology, Conservation, and Organismal Sciences (ECOS) Concentration  
Economics and Business Concentration in Decision Analytics  
Economics and Business  Concentration in Financial Analysis  
Economics and Business Concentration in Global Business  
English, Rhetoric, and Humanistic Studies Literary Studies Concentration  
History Military History Concentration  
Mechanical Engineering Nuclear Engineering Concentration  
English, Rhetoric, and Humanistic Studies Philosophy Concentration  
English, Rhetoric, and Humanistic Studies Rhetoric and Writing Concentration  

Special Programs

VMI offers a number of exciting special programs that enhance the primary academic experiences provided in our majors and minors, demonstrating the Institute’s full commitment to educating the whole man and woman. For more information about these and other special programs, please visit our website: http://www.vmi.edu/specacadprog.

Institute Honors Program. The Institute Honors Program was developed to enrich the academic experience of VMI’s outstanding cadets through activities that encourage an affinity for intellectual inquiry and develop the capacity for sophisticated engagement of issues and problems, whether ethical, civic, or professional. In all of its elements, the program stresses peer leadership, strong oral and written communication skills, and the highest standards of academic integrity and excellence. The Institute Honors Program recognizes a broader range of achievement than honors earned in a particular major. Attainment of Institute Honors is viewed as the highest academic achievement at VMI. The program is open by application to any cadet with a 3.5 or higher GPA. For further information about the program, see the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, 210 Smith Hall.

VMI Center for Undergraduate Research. The mission of the VMI Center for Undergraduate Research (VCUR) is to promote and facilitate faculty-mentored undergraduate research and foster the development of a culture of undergraduate research at VMI. VCUR operates on the premise that some of the most enduring, meaningful academic experiences of college students come through opportunities to be mentored one-on-one by faculty outside the classroom, while also believing in the merit of research and other inquiry-based experiences within a more traditional classroom setting. Programs include an annual Undergraduate Research Symposium held on post; the Summer Undergraduate Research Institute; cadet travel grants to present at professional meetings or conduct research in the field; and the Wetmore fund for supplies for cadet academic year research. For more information, contact the Director for Undergraduate Research, 600 level Preston Library.

Institute Writing Program. The Institute Writing Program seeks to equip cadets for both academic success and participation in the full range of rhetorical occasions they will encounter in their lives as citizens and professionals. The program links three important components of the VMI curriculum: our rigorous core curriculum sequence in first-year composition (ERH 101 and ERH 102); a thriving Writing Across the Curriculum initiative, which requires cadets to complete two additional “writing-intensive” courses prior to graduation; and an interdisciplinary minor in writing for those who wish to pursue advanced training in rhetoric, technical, professional, or creative writing. Cadets’ study in the writing curriculum is enhanced by consultants in the VMI Writing Center, who consult individually with cadets at any stage of a writing project. The program sponsors annual writing contests for cadets, local workshops, a nationally regarded symposium for professors of rhetoric and composition, and several presentations on post each year featuring writers in all genres. For more information, see the Institute Director of Writing, 434 Scott Shipp Hall.

Office of Global Education.  In line with VMI’s Mission , Global Education (GE) seeks to facilitate the development of global/cultural competence required to “produce educated, honorable” graduates “prepared for the varied work of civil life [and] imbued with love of learning”. Providing opportunities for future leaders and citizen-soldiers to broaden their global perspectives, increase their cultural awareness, and develop competencies necessary to succeed in an interconnected and interdependent world is the core mission of GE. To accomplish this mission, GE (a) provides opportunities to study, intern, and conduct research abroad; (b) supports international students enrolled at VMI, including maintenance of immigration status; (c) advises for international scholarship/fellowship/grant programs, including Gilman, Gilman-McCain, the Critical Language Scholarship, Boren, Project Global Officer, and Fulbright; (d) hosts international visitors; and (e) serves as the repository for all Institute international travel. For more information, please visit GE in Old Hospital 101.

Internship Program. VMI works actively to assist cadets in any major who seek internship experiences that will allow them to apply/test career interests and demonstrate their abilities to prospective employers. Internships are available in all geographic areas of the United States. Some are eligible for academic credit, and many of them include stipends for work completed. For more information, contact the Office of Career Services, 311 Carroll Hall.

Summer Session. The VMI Summer Session facilitates cadet progression toward degree completion by offering courses for academic credit during the summer, consistent with the Academic Program Mission. The program is designed to enhance cadet retention, to optimize graduation rates, to provide opportunities for cadets to enrich their education, and to enable cadets to attend the Summer Session and also attend ROTC summer camps, engage in internships, and earn income. It provides the opportunity for cadets to meet curricular, scholarship, athletic, or readmission standards, by enabling them to earn credit for subjects in which they stand deficient or by receiving credit for courses in advance of their class. Summer study allows cadets to broaden their education by earning a double major or minor and facilitates transfer from one curriculum to another. In addition to traditional course offerings, the Summer Session also coordinates with the Summer Undergraduate Research Institute, the Summer Study Abroad Program, and the Summer Transition Program to offer a variety of academic opportunities. VMI cadets, graduates of accredited secondary schools, and students in good standing at other colleges may attend. For details about scheduling and other admission requirements, please contact the Director of the Summer Session, 213 Cormack Hall.

Research and study abroad opportunities at VMI

Academic Support

VMI offers proactive and innovative programs of academic support for cadets at all levels.

Advising. According to the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education, “Academic advising is an essential element of a student’s collegiate experience.”

The mission of the Institute Academic Advising Program is to guide cadets through the exploration and clarification of their academic, career and life goals to help them develop skills and strategies that will contribute to their academic success and enable them to achieve a balanced engagement in co-curricular and academic activities. Faculty advisors both support and challenge cadets in an effort to increase each cadet’s confidence and self-sufficiency until graduation.

Upon entry into VMI, each cadet is assigned a faculty advisor who, unless the cadet subsequently changes academic major, will work with the cadet until graduation. During the first year there is extensive contact between the advisor and cadet in order to facilitate the transition into VMI culture, assist in mastering the academic policies and regulations, and assist the cadet in coordinating the demands of a multi-faceted academic and co-curricular experience. Upper class cadets have one mandatory contact with advisors each semester but are strongly encouraged to meet with advisors more often in order to benefit from their field-specific expertise, life experience, and curriculum knowledge. VMI also sponsors the Cadet Athlete Development Program to help scholar-athletes keep their focus on academics.

For information about the VMI Academic Advising Program, contact the Miller Academic Center at 540-464-7661, 202 Carroll Hall.

Career Services. The Office of Career Services provides a wide array of career planning, employment, internship and graduate/professional school services. Centralized career planning services include career exploration and decision making, career information, vocational interest assessment and career related programs. Employment services include job search guidance, resume assistance, interview skills training, employer information, and recruitment programs. Graduate education support includes information on graduate/professional school admissions testing. Visit the Office of Career Services in 311 Carroll Hall.

Center for Cadet Counseling.  The Center for Cadet Counseling (CCC) offers a range of services designed to develop awareness, values, knowledge and skills necessary for cadets to make healthy choices, meet future challenges and lead meaningful lives. Services include educational programming, individual assessment and counseling, psychiatric services, crisis intervention, and consultation. Counseling services are confidential and conducted by licensed mental health professionals. Health and wellness programs are provided throughout the academic year on topics such as building psychological resilience, maintaining emotional wellness, stress management, substance abuse prevention, nutrition, sleep hygiene, and healthy relationships. For more information, please call 540-464-7667; 2nd Floor VMI Health Center or visit our website: http://www.vmi.edu/counseling.

Office of Disabilities Services.  The Office of Disabilities Services (ODS) is committed to meeting the ethical and legal responsibilities to ensure equitable educational access for cadets with documented disabilities. We support cadets’ personal growth and development of academic, life and leadership skills in a manner that encourages self-awareness, self-determination, and self-advocacy. ODS also serves as a resource to the VMI community by promoting awareness and understanding regarding disability issues in higher education.

Cadets with documented disabilities are encouraged to schedule a meeting with the Director of ODS as early as possible to allow adequate time for review of documentation, to allow for a thorough assessment of academic needs, and to familiarize new cadets with administrative procedures.

For more information, please call 540-464-7667; 2nd Floor VMI Health Center or visit our website: www.vmi.edu/ds.

Information Technology. The mission of VMI Information Technology is to serve and support the technology needs of the Institute and facilitate creativity in teaching, learning, and communication for cadets, administration, faculty and staff. VMI IT provides many services for cadets, including computer labs, hardware and software recommendations and installations, and help desk support. VMI IT is responsible for the VMI network, and can provide access upon request. For more information, please contact the VMI IT Help Desk, help@vmi.edu, 315 Nichols Engineering Building.

Mathematics Education Resource Center (MERC). The primary goals of the MERC are to formulate a comprehensive picture of the mathematical experiences and capabilities of cadets, and then provide support and reinforcement. The MERC’s primary resource is the Open Mathematics Lab (OML). Its design allows cadets to freely seek and find as much help as needed for any of VMI’s mathematics course curriculum courses as well as precalculus, differential equations, matrix algebra, and multivariable calculus courses. OML tutors are trained, knowledgeable, and current on the specific techniques and problems taught by VMI mathematics teaching faculty. The OML is meant to complement and support, but not replace, course activities within the VMI mathematics curriculum.

The MERC is located at 618 Preston Library. For more information, please contact 540-464-7927 or visit https://www.vmi.edu/academics/support/math-resource-center/.

Miller Academic Center. The mission of the Miller Academic Center is to provide academic and advising support to cadets at every stage of their time at VMI.   The Group Study Session program remains the most widely used academic support service in the Center.  Trained cadet facilitators work with cadets to supplement course lectures and learning with discussion and guided practice.   Workshops and private consultations on time management, goal setting, and study strategies are also available through the Center. For more information, contact the Director of the Miller Academic Center, 202 Carroll Hall.

The MAC is located at 202 Carroll Hall. For more information, please visit http://www.vmi.edu/mac or contact us at 540-464-7661 or mac@vmi.edu.

Preston Library.

The mission of Preston Library is to provide library materials and services of the highest quality; to teach skills needed for academic inquiry and lifelong learning; to support faculty and undergraduate research; to provide access to and promote the use of Institute historical materials; and to offer library services to the community at large.

Named for Colonel J. T. L. Preston, the library was dedicated in 1939, enlarged in 1972 and renovated in 1996 and again in 2021. Preston Library offers a variety of individual and collaborative study areas throughout the building including a library instruction room, an open computer lab, group study rooms, carrels, study tables, whiteboards and galleries with comfortable seating. Workstations with access to the Internet, the library’s online catalog, discovery tools, databases, digital resources, Microsoft Office and local network drives are available. The library’s e-resources can be accessed online from on post as well as remotely by current VMI cadets, faculty, and staff. Wireless network access and wireless printing are available throughout the building. Two multimedia-equipped conference rooms are located in Preston Library.

The library’s collections include books and journals in print and electronic formats, non-print items such as DVDs, and databases covering a wide range of academic fields. Preston Library is a selective depository of U.S. government publications. The VMI Archives offers patrons access to primary sources including rare books, photographs, Institute historical records and digital archives.

Cadets may check out books, videos, and other materials for their research and study needs and can access materials on course reserves. Preston Library offers cadets and faculty free interlibrary loan service, which provides access to materials not owned by our library. Cadets and faculty may also borrow materials on a walk-in basis from more than 40 VIVA (Virtual Library of Virginia) member libraries, including the libraries at nearby Washington and Lee University.

Instruction in locating and evaluating research materials and in using research ethically is offered by librarians, who provide assistance face-to-face as well as virtually through Zoom, Teams, online chat service and email. Personalized research consultations are available by appointment or on a drop-in basis. Librarians offer course-related instruction and create online guides tailored for individual courses by faculty request, as well as develop discipline-specific guides to direct cadets and faculty to the most suitable resources for their research.

Writing Center. The VMI Writing Center helps cadets with a full range of activities to improve their writing, at any level and in any discipline. Professional and trained peer tutors, work with cadets in one-on-one conferences on every aspect of the writing process, from planning a paper to finishing the final draft. Tutors are available by appointment or on a walk-in basis in 215 Carroll Hall.

Academic Policies

Academic Regulations. The VMI Academic Regulations are maintained by the Office of the Deputy Superintendent and Dean of the Faculty online at https://www.vmi.edu/academics/support/registrar/institutional-information/. Among other information, the regulations include current VMI definitions and policies on:

Academic Delinquency
Academic Probation
Academic Recognition
Admissions Requirements
Advanced Placement Credit
Auditing of Courses
Change of Grade
Change of Major
Class Attendance
Classification (academic)
Course Load
Drop-Add Period
Final Examinations
Grade Reporting
Grading System
Graduation Requirements
Repeating Courses
Students with Disabilities
Substitution of Curricular Requirements
Transfer Credit
Work-for-Grade Policies

Please contact the Assistant Dean for Administration and Planning, 210 Smith Hall, if you have questions about the VMI Academic Regulations.

Current Academic Requirements. Annually each fall, the Registrar publishes the current academic requirements, including minimum academic standards. The standards can be found online at www.vmi.edu/AcademicStandards.

Work for Grade. Principles of academic integrity in all work for grade are stressed in every course taught at VMI. Cadets and faculty alike are reminded of the institutional statements and definitions regarding work for grade as expressed in the Academic Regulations. Work for grade policies are printed in the syllabus of every course taught at VMI.

Written Work. Every cadet is expected to use the English language clearly, correctly, and thoughtfully. Any cadet who through carelessness, indifference, or lack of preparation submits substandard written work in any course should expect to receive a reduced grade. Extremely poor writing may result in a failing grade. A cadet whose command of English is deemed inadequate may be required by his/her curriculum head to submit additional written work in order to earn a degree from the Virginia Military Institute.

Academic Administration

The Academic Program is directed by the Deputy Superintendent for Academics and Dean of the Faculty, whose principal subordinates are the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; the Associate Dean for Planning and Administration; the Registrar; the Head Librarian; the Directors of Career Services, Center for Undergraduate Research, Institute Writing Program, International Programs, Math Education and Resources Center, Miller Academic Center, and Sponsored Programs, in addition to the heads of the Institute’s fifteen academic departments. The Deputy Superintendent for Academics and Dean of the Faculty’s Office is located in 210 Smith Hall. For contact information, see https://www.vmi.edu/about/governance/administration/dean/.