This page provides information about admission into the DRRM Graduate Education Program, which is intended for current or prospective doctoral students at Virginia Tech. Please look under Student Opportunities above for information about the Graduate Certificate in DRRM.


Admission to the DRRM Graduate Education Program is open to all students who:

  • Have been admitted to or are currently enrolled in a Virginia Tech doctoral degree program in one of the DRRM Departments*:
    • Business Information Technology (BIT)
    • Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE [Environmental & Water Resources Engineering and Structural Engineering programs only for Fall 2018 start])
    • Engineering Education (ENGE)
    • Geography (GEOG)
    • Geosciences (GEOS)
    • Urban Affairs & Planning (UAP)/School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA)
  • Are conducting, or planning to conduct, research leading to a doctoral dissertation related to disaster resilience under the advisement of a DRRM Faculty Member*:
    • Anamaria Bukvic (GEOG)
    • Margaret Cowell (UAP)
    • Jen Irish (CEE)
    • Guney Olgun (IndependentCEE)
    • Roberto Leon (CEE)
    • Marie Paretti (ENGE)
    • Loren Rees (BIT)
    • Robert Weiss (GEOS)
    • Yang Zhang (SPIA/UAP)
    • Chris Zobel (BIT)

*Non-DRRM faculty and student teams may apply to be admitted to the program beginning with the Fall 2019 cohort, where the faculty advisor requests DRRM Faculty status at the time of the student’s application to the program. If the faculty advisor is not from one of the DRRM Departments, the faculty advisor should additionally request that their academic Department become a DRRM Department.

Selection Criteria for Admission to the DRRM Program

The following criteria are used to determine admission to the DRRM Program:

  • Applicant’s academic and professional qualifications
  • Applicant’s expression of interest in DRRM
  • Commitment from DRRM Faculty Advisor to advise the applicant and engage in the DRRM Program

DRRM Scholar Commitments

Students admitted into the DRRM Graduate Education Program are referred to as DRRM Scholars, and they commit to participating in all facets of the program from the semester of admittance until graduation, including the following:

  • Completing the DRRM Curriculum
  • Completing the DRRM Graduate Certificate (pending)
  • Including at least two DRRM faculty as dissertation or thesis committee members
  • Engaging in at least one DRRM Stakeholder Workshop
  • Engaging in DRRM Mentoring activities
  • Engaging in at least one DRRM Community of Practice Workshop

DRRM Faculty Advisor

DRRM Faculty are welcome to participate in any DRRM Program element. At a minimum, the DRRM Faculty Advisor commits to serving as the DRRM Scholar’s academic advisor, participating in DRRM Student Mentoring activities, and enriching the DRRM Program through participation in the following DRRM Program elements:

  • Leading a discussion in the team-taught course GRAD 5134: Interdisciplinary Study: Principles of Disaster Risk Management
  • Leading a discussion in one of the DRRM Transdisciplinary Thinking Seminars
  • Participating in at least one DRRM Community of Practice Workshop

DRRM Graduate Education Program Application

All applications to the DRRM Graduate Education Program require support from a faculty advisor. Applications are submitted online:

If you are applying for admission to Virginia Tech

Fill out an application through Virginia Tech’s Graduate School (http://graduateschool.vt.edu/admissions/how-to-apply.html):

  1. Apply to the appropriate DRRM home department; if prompted select the appropriate program option within the home department.
  2. Check the box “Disaster Resilience and Risk Management” in the “Supplemental Application” section. If “Disaster Resilience and Risk Management” is not an available choice in the “Supplemental Application”, or if there is no “Supplemental Application” section, send an email stating your interest and copy your application essay into the email.
  3. Use a portion of your application essay to express your interest in DRRM. It is strongly recommended you name in your essay the home department faculty member(s) you are interested in working with, since admission to the DRRM Program requires a commitment contract from a DRRM Faculty Advisor. Note: Students admitted to the DRRM Program in Fall 2018 must be advised by one of the current DRRM Faculty members.

Consideration of admission to the DRRM program commences after the applicant is accepted into adoctoral program in the home department and a DRRM Faculty Advisor has committed to advising the applicant.

Note that an additional application is required if you wish to apply for the DRRM Graduate Certificate or for a DRRM Graduate Assistantship or DRRM Fellowship.

If you are currently a doctoral student at Virginia Tech

Please email the following information to drrm@vt.edu:

  1. Applicant’s name and contact information.
  2. Faculty advisor’s name and contact information.
  3. Official application to the Virginia Tech Graduate School for admission to a doctoral degree program in one of the DRRM Departments.
  4. Applicant’s expression of interest in DRRM, presented as a 2000-character narrative essay. (The essay will need to be entered into a fillable field in the application form; thus, it is recommended the essay first be prepared in a word processor, then pasted into the fillable field.)
  5. DRRM Faculty Advisor’s commitment contract, submitted online directly by the faculty advisor (request is generated once application is submitted).

Apply for a DRRM Graduate Certificate

All students admitted to the DRRM Graduate Program also complete the DRRM Graduate Certificate

Apply for A DRRM Travel Scholarship

Travel scholarships to partially support conference travel will be made available to DRRM Scholars beginning in 2019. Students must be in the DRRM Graduate Education Program to be eligible to apply for a DRRM Travel Scholarship. More information will be available shortly.

Apply for A DRRM Internship

DRRM Internships with government and industry will be made available to DRRM Scholars beginning in 2019. Students must be in the DRRM Graduate Education Program to be eligible to apply for a DRRM Internship. More information will be available shortly.

Apply for a DRRM Fellowship

The DRRM Fellowship program is intended to financially support outstanding DRRM Students in their pursuit of new and innovative breakthroughs in disaster resilience and risk management. All DRRM Fellows are fully supported for a minimum of two years using a combination of DRRM Fellowship funds and funds from other sources. In the first year, DRRM Fellows will be fully supported on traditional Graduate Assistantships provided by their home Department and/or College or on other scholarships or fellowships. In the second year, DRRM Fellows will receive support for stipend, tuition, fees, and health insurance. Although preference is given to new applicants, DRRM Fellows pursuing doctoral degrees may reapply in their second fellowship year to be considered for one additional year of DRRM Fellowship support following one additional year of committed financial support from other sources.

Eligibility Requirements

The DRRM Fellowship competition is open to U.S. Citizens or permanent residents who are DRRM Students or who have met the eligibility requirements for and have applied to be admitted to the DRRM Graduate Education Program.

The DRRM Fellowship is intended to complement financial support provided by the DRRM Student’s home Department, home College, DRRM Faculty Advisor, and/or external fellowship or scholarship support. To be eligible for the DRRM Fellowship, a commitment of full support in year one is required (see DRRM Faculty Advisor Commitment below).

Tuition support is based on Virginia Tech’s current in-state tuition rate. Out-of-state students are encouraged to make preparations in advance to comply with in-state residency requirements 1) must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, or hold a certain visa (Graduate Assistantship positions automatically qualify); 2) demonstrate an intent to establish domicile in VA. Must submit clear and convincing evidence: tax return, a driver's license, vehicle registration, and voter registration. Note: there is a one calendar year waiting period from the date the last act of domiciliary intent was completed before you can become eligible for in-state tuition rates. Students selected for Graduate Assistantship positions, including international students, will automatically qualify for the in-state tuition rate. The Graduate School's policy for in-state tuition can be found here.

Selection Criteria for Selecting DRRM Fellows

DRRM Fellowship applicants will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Applicant’s academic and professional qualifications
  • Applicant’s expression of interest in DRRM
  • Faculty advisor’s expression of commitment to the prospective DRRM Fellow
  • Diversity of the DRRM Fellow cohort

DRRM Fellow Commitments

In addition to meeting DRRM Student commitments, DRRM Fellows are expected to remain in good academic standing and make satisfactory progress towards their dissertation or thesis. In year(s) supported by traditional Graduate Assistantships, DRRM Fellows are expected to satisfactorily perform the teaching and/or research duties associated with their Graduate Assistantship. Each DRRM Fellow’s performance will be evaluated annually, with continuation of funding for the next year contingent on satisfactory performance. DRRM Students are considered DRRM Fellows from the time of acceptance into the Fellow program through graduation.

DRRM Faculty Advisor Commitments for Fellows

In addition to meeting the Program’s DRRM Faculty Advisor commitments, advisors of DRRM Fellows are required to demonstrate a commitment to fully support the DRRM Fellow during year one. In the case of doctoral applicants, the DRRM Faculty Advisor is also encouraged to identify support beyond year two. The full support in year one may comprise institutional support (e.g., Graduate Teaching Assistantships), sponsored program support (e.g., Graduate Research Assistantships), and internal and/or external fellowships received by the DRRM Fellow. If the DRRM Fellowship applicant is a currently enrolled student in the DRRM Faculty Advisor’s department, prior financial support MAY be credited toward this year one commitment. The committed support must be used in the first year, where the DRRM Fellowship supports the second year.

DRRM Fellowship Application

All applications for a DRRM Fellowship should be prepared in collaboration with the applicant’s faculty advisor. Applications are submitted online via the DRRM Application Form.

The DRRM Fellowship application includes the DRRM Graduate Education Program application plus a letter from the faculty advisor that serves both as a letter of recommendation and as a letter of commitment of matching funds. The faculty advisor letter shall detail how the full support in year one will be (has been) achieved.

The applicant will need to enter basic information for both the applicant and the DRRM Faculty Advisor, as well as the applicant’s expression of interest. A request for the DRRM Faculty Advisor’s letter is generated once the application is submitted. The DRRM Faculty Advisor subsequently submits the letter via an online form. The application and faculty advisor letter must be submitted by the application deadline.