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How do I apply?

You can apply to the program through the graduate school website. On your application, select Civil and Environmental Engineering and then Sustainable Land Development. With questions about applying please contact Sarah Martin. Once you have submitted your application, please also email the coordinator, Dr. Tripp Shealy at

Do I need an undergraduate degree in civil engineering to apply?

No. You can apply without an undergraduate degree in civil engineering. Although, you will likely be required to take several additional prerequisite courses. For a list of the pre-requiste courses see our current Plan of Study.

What if my degree is from another discipline of engineering?

If your undergraduate degree is outside of engineering you can still apply but the number of prerequisite courses required considerably extends the time to degree completion. These are handled on a case-by-case basis. We encourage you to contact us for more information, please contact the program coordinator.

Do I need to take the GRE?

We do accept the GRE. You can submit a GRE score if you believe the score improves your application package.

Is a thesis required for the M.S. degree?

There are three exit options for students in the Bowman Sustainable Land Development Program. Students who complete the course work only track (Option 1) are required to complete an oral exam that covers course material. Students who complete a Project and Report (Option 2) or Thesis (Option 3) will work directly with the allied Sustainable Land Development faculty.

How does my plan of study change if I have already taken some (or all) of the required courses for my undergraduate degree?

If you have already taken the concurrent undergraduate classes (CEE 4254, 4264, 4274, 4304), you may not take the graduate level concurrent classes towards fulfilling your course requirements. You are still required to have a minimum of 5 CEE classes in your Program of Study, excluding the courses taken at the undergraduate level.

Are there other electives at Virginia Tech or other universities that qualify towards the M.S. degree beyond what is listed on the plan of study?  How are those approved?

Yes. The list of electives on the plan of study are just suggested. Additional courses are approved by the program coordinator and/or your committee. 

What are the deadlines for applying?

See the graduate school deadlines.

Do you offer fellowships and scholarships?

Fellowships and scholarships are offered through the department, not at the program area level. See the departmental website more information about fellowships and scholarships .

What are the job prospects with a degree in SLD?

The current placement for students in our LDDI undergraduate program is 100%. This includes more than 1,000 students over more than 15 years. We anticipate a similar job placement rate from our graduate students.

Do part-time enrollment or other, non-traditional paths of study exist for individuals wishing to broaden their professional expertise without committing to full-time enrollment?

Yes, part-time enrollment is an option. However, currently courses are only offered at the Blacksburg, VA campus. You can take up to 50% of the graded coursework hours at other universities as part of the degree program.

We anticipate more options for part-time and non-traditional paths of study will become available soon. So, if you are interested in a non-traditional path please reach out to the program coordinator. 

Do virtual or remote learning opportunities exist within the program curriculum?

Currently courses will only be offered at the Blacksburg, VA campus but up to 50% of the graded coursework hours may be taken at other universities as part of the degree program.

Does the program curriculum provide direct opportunity or guidance on attaining professional certifications such as LEED AP, ENV SP, and others?

Many courses cover these professional certifications but do not include or require you to register for the certification. We also often include speakers to discuss projects that have been verified using one of these programs to measure sustainability. Affiliate programs like LDDI also often include information sessions about these programs. For example, this LDDI meeting about Envision

If you have additional questions that were not answered please see the departmental FAQs.