International Students

What are the TOEFL requirements for SBES?

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 VT Graduate School, and a photocopy should go to the SBES Graduate office.

If I am accepted, who will mail my I-20?

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.

Specifying your name on the Application:

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.

I’m an international student.  Under what circumstance can my TOEFL or IELTS scores be waived?

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, New Guinea.  If you think the school you attended qualifies you for a waiver, but you’re not certain, you should contact the VT Graduate School at

If I need to discuss my TOEFL requirement, whom do I contact?

You will need to contact the VT Graduate School at

Am I eligible to apply for your program even if my TOEFL score is less than 100 as stated on your website?

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.  That being said – you should realize that English language communication skills (spoken and written) are critical in the pursuit of an engineering graduate degree in the U.S.  So hopefully, your score is not too far below the 100 mark.

As an international student, I don’t yet have a social security number.  Is it acceptable to leave that information blank on the application.  Do I need this number to apply?

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