Frequently Asked Questions
All upper division (3000+) courses in BIT are generally restricted to BIT majors only. Exceptions are occassionally made with permission from the department head. Departments and majors that have listed BIT courses as approved electives have done so without consulting the Department of Business Information Technology.
Yes. Applications to transfer from Pamplin students are treated the same as applications from other business majors.
BIT is a restricted major and applications to transfer into restricted majors are administered by the college's Undergraduate Programs Office in Pamplin 1046. Application forms to transfer are available in Pamplin 1046 or from the college website (www.pamplin.vt.edu). Completed forms must be submitted to Pamplin 1046. The sole criteria for admission are grades in required courses in ACIS, BIT, ECON and Math. About half the applicants for transfer are accepted. The average GPA in the required courses for those accepted is approximately 3.20 and the average GPA for those not accepted average is approximately 2.65. All application decisions are made in the Pamplin 1046 office; the Department of Business Information Technology is not involved in the application or transfer process, or in the decision-making process. All inquiries about applying to the BIT major and requirements for acceptance into the major should be made to Pamplin 1046 (540-231-6602).
In general, all upper division (3000+) courses in BIT are restricted to BIT majors only. Exceptions are sometimes made for qualified students who have met all course prerequisites, but permission must be obtained from the department head.
All upper division (3000+) courses in the DSS option of BIT are restricted to BIT majors only. Exceptions to this policy can only be granted by the department head. Non-business majors can take BIT 2405, 2406 and 3414, however these courses are restricted to business students only during the pre-registration periods in October and March. This restriction is removed several weeks after pre-registration is completed for the drop-add periods in November and April.
No. Course offerings are subject to the availability of faculty to teach them and are thus limited in the summer. If your planned program of study includes taking courses over the summer then careful advance planning is required. Some of the required courses in the DSS option are offered during the summer and a few of the electives that will meet the DSS elective requirement are offered. Typically only one section of each course is offered, and many courses are scheduled at the same time. For example, BIT 4444 and 4454 are scheduled at the same time during first summer session so that DSS option majors can take only one during the summer. None of the required OSM option courses are offered during the summer. For a complete list of summer course offering please contact the departmental office in Pamplin 1007 (540-231-6596), or Hokie Spa.
Yes, a number of students each year double major in BIT and some other Pamplin college major. In general, the required courses in one major serve as electives in the other major and, given proper planning, both majors can be completed within the normal time frame for one degree. Students who double major typically have some specific career path in mind in which the two majors complement each other. For example, a popular double major is Finance combined with BIT wherein a student may want to work in the information technology area of a financial institution like a bank or brokerage.
In general, the department does not give course credit for summer or other work experience. However, the department will give credit for a special study course under the direct supervision of a BIT tenure-track faculty member that may include summer work.
Yes, students sometimes take the required courses in both options. A few courses overlap while others serve as electives for the other option – like a double major. Students typically do this as a ‘hedge’ in the job market. Both options broaden the student’s background and opportunities to interview with different companies. In addition, the two options complement each other very well, so in many ways seeking both options is a more logical objective than a double major.
I am a BIT major but I am behind in my schedule to graduate when I would like to. I could get back on the schedule I want if I could take some of the upper division (3000+) BIT courses without first taking the course prerequisites or taking some courses simultaneously with the prerequisites. Is this possible?
No, it is not possible to take any BIT upper division courses without having first taken all prerequisites. This policy is strictly enforced and no exceptions are made.
No. The department has no means or testing procedure to give course credit for job or other experiences, or exceptional intelligence.
No, the Department of BIT does not accept any transfer courses from other schools for upper division (3000+) BIT courses required in our major.
No, this is not an available option.
Since BIT is a very popular major with employers, there are also many opportunities for summer internships and to participate in the Cooperative Education (CO-OP) program. Internships are administered by the Career Services Office (540-231-6241), which also sponsors an annual career fair just for internships and CO-OPs in February. The CO-OP office in Career Services in the Smith Career Center administers all CO-OP opportunities for BIT majors (540-231-6241).
After years of not enforcing prerequisites the faculty unequivocally determined that the teaching and learning environment in our classes was greatly enhanced if all students in the classes have the same academic course background, i.e., everyone is ‘on the same page.’ Students who have not had the required prerequisites slow down classes and are detrimental to group activities, i.e., they are a “weak link.” This is especially true if they are part of a project team, which is very common in our courses. If all students in a class have the same required course background, it allows the instructor to progress at the desired pace and cover more material at a more advanced level, thus benefiting the great majority of our students. Unfortunately strictly enforcing prerequisites delays a small number of our students in their desired progression toward their degree. Thus, all students, especially those who transfer into our major, are strongly encouraged to plan ahead to see how long the completion of their degree requirements will take. Students who believe the completion of the requirements for the BIT degree will take a longer period of time than they have available should consider another major. However, under no circumstances will course prerequisites be waived.
The BIT program in the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech has an international reputation and it is one of the highest ranked information technology programs in business schools in the country. ComputerWorld magazine has included our degree program among the top four IS programs in the country along with Arizona State University, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Texas, and our program was ranked by employers among the top ten IT programs in the country. In a survey of MBA programs around the world by the Financial Times of London, our IT program was ranked 7 th in the world. In general we perceive our program to be more computer-intensive and technologically rigorous than similar programs at other universities. Our program has been ranked 18th among university IS programs in the U.S. (and 12th among public universities) by the U.S. News and World Report.
BIT is the largest major in the Pamplin College of Business with approximately 900 majors. Each year approximately 200 BIT majors graduate from the Pamplin College. Class sizes in upper division (3000+) BIT courses average between 30 and 40 students.
The Pamplin College publishes a set of minimum computer requirements and specifications for entering freshmen each year. These requirements can be obtained from the college’s website (www.pamplin.vt.edu), usually by April 1 each year. BIT has no additional computing requirements beyond the college requirement. However, as a result of rapidly changing computing technology and software, the content of our courses changes frequently. Thus, there is no guarantee that a computer purchased during the freshman year will be sufficient for class needs in BIT over a four-year period. (If you have questions about the computer purchase, you will have an opportunity to talk with the Pamplin College’s Director of Computing at the July orientation).
BIT is a restricted major within the university, and thus transfer is not automatic. If you decide to apply to transfer into BIT your application will be considered in a competitive process with many other Virginia Tech students who annually seek to transfer into BIT. As such, your application will be evaluated based on your academic performance to date at Virginia Tech. Currently students transferring into BIT must have above a 3.2 GPA in a group of selected required courses, which the college uses as indicators to evaluate prospective transfer students. About half of those who apply are accepted.
The BIT major does not require any additional course preparation beyond the academic entrance requirements for Virginia Tech and the Pamplin College of Business; no computing background beyond these general requirements is expected in our courses. However, any high school computer or information technology courses such as programming courses, courses in information systems, or computer science are good preparation for the BIT major. It is also a positive characteristic if students have a general aptitude and affinity for computers and computing as well as strong quantitative skills (but it is not a consideration in the university admissions process).
The Decision Support Systems (DSS) option is the largest of our two BIT options with approximately 70 percent of our majors. It focuses on teaching our majors how to develop computer systems that will help businesses and managers solve problems; e.g., systems development. As such, it is very applications oriented; i.e., the application of information and computer technology to solving practical business problems. Computer systems developed to solve such business problems often require the use of mathematical models. It is a very computer-intensive degree program that includes information technology tools such as networks and telecommunications, computer simulation, computer programming, database management, security, information systems, client/server applications, visual interface design, object-oriented systems, and Internet and e-business systems. The Operations and Supply Chain Management (OSM) option is the smaller of our two options with about 30 percent of our majors. All organizations, business or otherwise, have “operations”, the business processes that get things done in an organization. The US Department of Labor has listed operations management as one of the top ten growing occupations in this decade. This option teaches students to occupy management positions in operations, often in a departmental or supervisory position, or in a staff position. Topics in this option focus on supply chain management and include quality control and process improvement, enterprise planning and control, logistics, inventory control, scheduling, resource allocation, production planning and project management. It is less computer-intensive than our DSS option, yet it still uses computers and information technology for the analysis and solution of operational problems.
BIT majors are annually among the most sought after graduates by employers at Virginia Tech. During the past five years BIT majors have consistently ranked among the top five majors in the university in terms of on-campus interviews. Our majors also annually are among the top five majors for the greatest average number of job offers and the highest average starting salaries in the college of business. The single largest type of employer that recruits our students are large consulting firms such as Accenture, KPMG and Price-Waterhouse. However, over 100 companies and government organizations recruit our students each year including banks, hospitals, manufacturing firms, software and system development firms, computer companies, hotels, schools and government agencies. Additional information is available from the Pamplin College’s Director of Undergraduate Career Services, Mr. Stuart Mease (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Computer Science (CS) is a degree program within the College of Engineering. It focuses more on the mathematical and theoretical aspects of computing, and specifically on the development of computer programs and operating systems. The freshman math courses for CS are more rigorous than the math courses for a business degree, and the computer programming requirements are significantly greater in CS. BIT is more of an “applied” program in which the computing tools of information technology and systems development are applied to the solution of practical business problems. This requires an extensive background in the various business functions including accounting, finance, management, and marketing that BIT students receive in their first five semesters of study.