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Academic Advising

Multiple Career Pathways are available to assist you with your selection of BSE, engineering topics, and technical electives, depending on your ultimate career interests:

For Students Graduating in 2022


For Students Graduating in 2023


For Students Graduating in 2024 or 2025


These pathways are recommendations only to help you plan your courses in the correct order to meet pre-requisites.  These are not degree options.  To receive a B.S. in Biological Systems Engineering, you ultimately must meet the requirements listed on the checksheet for the year in which you will graduate. You may also develop a personalized selection of electives, but be sure to do so with help from your academic advisor, as some courses are only offered once per year and others have multiple, sequential pre-requisites.  

Virginia Tech has a wonderful Career Services Center to help you find internships, co-op positions, and full time employment. Consult the Career Advisors website for help in finding a BSE faculty member involved in a particular field you would like to explore as a potential career area.

Most colleges and departments have their own policies for "force-adding" or adding students to sections that do not appear to have open seats. For safety issues, no department is allowed to add more students than the maximum room capacity set by the fire marshal. Departments can only force-add students into the courses that their own department is teaching, so to request a force-add, you must approach the department teaching the course you want to add.

Note that force-adds are NOT performed for convenience, to place you in the same section as a friend, or to switch to a different instructor. It is our goal to keep enrollments in the various sections of a course as balanced as possible to avoid overcrowding and to improve the learning experience of all students in the class. Your request for a specific CRN may be denied if there is space available in other less crowded sections.  

If you need to force-add a course in BSE, please follow these instructions:

  • BSE 2484: For safety reasons, no force-adds will be allowed.
  • BSE 3494: Class roster is determined by the Ware Lab. Please contact Ware Lab manager (Dewey Spangler, for more information.
  • All other BSE courses, please email and include the following: course title, 1st and 2nd choice of CRN, and the reason for your request.
  • BIOL 1105/1106: Email and indicate that you are a BSE major in your request along with your 1st and 2nd choice of CRN.

Checksheets define the requirements to earn a degree at Virginia Tech. Students must complete the requirements specified on the checksheet for the calendar year in which they are going to graduate. The checksheets also include the list of approved BSE, chemistry, engineering, and technical electives.

If the checksheet for the year in which you would graduate is not posted, the latest checksheet will give you a good idea of the requirements; typically, only minor changes occur from year to year.  

View  BSE Checksheets for your Date of Entry


Engineering students who are within 12 months of graduating are eligible to take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam, which is offered multiple times per year. Passing the FE exam is the first step in becoming a licensed professional engineer. Some employers may require that their engineers become licensed, especially those who work with projects involving public safety.

Per the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), most states recognize the Engineer in Training (EIT) certificates from other states (which are awarded once you pass the FE exam and graduate from an accredited engineering curriculum).

If you are not sure if you will need to become licensed for your future career, we strongly recommend you to take the FE exam during your senior year. The exam is based on material from your undergraduate courses and BSE students have a very high pass rate (about 90% of our students pass the exam on their first attempt). If you wait until after you graduate to take the FE exam, it is likely that you will need to spend more time studying to prepare for the exam. That exam is now online only and is administered by an outside testing service. You can find more information on the exam at the following URLs:

Virginia Tech offers a 2 credit, online, pass/fail review course for the FE exam, ESM4404, Fundamentals of Professional Engineering, which is offered during the spring semester. These credits will NOT count towards your engineering degree, as the course duplicates material you should have learned in other courses.

To become a “registered professional engineer” (which means you can “stamp” design drawings, testify in court, and own your own consulting firm), students take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, work for a specified number of years as an Engineer in Training (EIT) and then take the Professional Engineering (PE) exam for the state in which you wish to be licensed.  Assuming you pass both exams, you get to put “P.E.” after your name, be legally libel, and make more money.  Both exams are 8 hours. 

Professional registration is not required for all fields of engineering; however, licensure is important for BSE students who focus on watershed science and engineering or public health engineering.  Regardless of your focus area, all BSE students are encouraged to take the FE exam during or immediately after their senior year, as it is a notable professional accomplishment and is easier to complete when the material is relatively fresh.  BSE students typically take the CE - Environmental Engineering, CE - Water Resources Engineering, Chemical Engineering, or Other - General tests.  Students should review the material covered on each of these tests to determine which test they should take (

To make an appointment with the BSE Academic Advisor, log into the Student Success Platform: