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George Washington Carver Program for Graduate Students

picture of George Washington Carver
George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver Assistantships are awarded annually to encourage students from historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, tribal colleges and universities, students from the Appalachian region, and nontraditional students to enroll in a graduate program in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech. The assistantships are awarded to students who have demonstrated excellence in academic achievement, scholarship, and community service.

Recipients are students seeking master’s degrees or doctorates who aspire to a career in higher education or in the agricultural or life sciences industries.

The graduate program was established in honor of Carver, a noted American educator, scientist, innovator, and servant of mankind.

The assistantship award recipients receive full tuition and competitive graduate student stipends for their first academic year. Master’s candidates may renew their scholarships for one additional year; doctoral candidates can add two more years. Students are also eligible to participate in funded research projects during the summer months.

The awards are renewable contingent on satisfactory progress in the student’s academic program and availability of funds.

Applicants must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien.
  • Be in the final year of an undergraduate program or they must have received their first undergraduate degree no more than five years prior to applying for a Carver assistantship.
  • Be from a group that is under-represented in the chosen field of study or interests.
  • Have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher from their undergraduate studies.
  • Be eligible for admission to a graduate program in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech.
  • Be willing to participate in and contribute to programs and activities in the college that promote and enhance diversity.
  • Demonstrate superior academic achievement and scholarly abilities.

Students who wish to be considered for a Carver Scholarship must complete a three-step process:

  1. Visit the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences website to determine the department(s) they will apply to.
  2. Submit an application to the Virginia Tech Graduate School State that you were recruited by the George Washington Carver Program (CALS) in one of the “Academic and Professional Goals Statements” on the application.
  3. Submit a PDF file to the program coordinator (see contact information, right). The file must include the following documents:
    • a. Curriculum vitae (use as the cover sheet for the PDF file). 
    • b. A statement of purpose. 
    • c. Three letters of recommendation. 
    • d. Transcripts and GRE (graduate record exam) scores if required by the specific program of interest. 
    • e. An essay (800 words or fewer) describing their leadership style, work experience, service experience, or other significant involvement with social, ethnic, socio-economic, or educational communities that have traditionally been under-represented in higher education. Explain how these experiences would promote a diversity of views, experiences, and ideas in the pursuit of research, scholarship, creative excellence, and service.

The program coordinator must receive applications by April 30 for fall semester entrance. Students must attend all program events.

The graduate committee of the relevant department will review applications for admission. The following criteria will be used to determine who will receive assistantships:

  • Academic and scholarly achievements as demonstrated by the grade point average.
  • Potential for successful participation in research projects or awards and recognitions.
  • Ability to conduct research in their area of interest.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with diverse groups of students, staff, and faculty members.
  • Commitment to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree.
  • Record of extracurricular activities and service to others (individuals, groups, and communities).

Recipients must:

  • Be enrolled and maintain good status as a master’s or doctoral candidate in a degree-granting graduate program in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
  • Register as a full-time student for the fall and spring semesters.
  • Maintain satisfactory academic and scholarly performance, progress, and work performance, as determined by the standards of the major department.
  • Submit an academic progress report and meet with their coordinator each semester.
  • Adhere to Virginia Tech’s Student Code of Conduct.


Chevon N. Thorpe
Assistant Dean of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity
1350 Litton-Reaves Hall, Virginia Tech
175 West Campus Drive
(540) 232-8702

Lesley Mitchell
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
110 Hutcheson Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061
(540) 231-6986

Faculty member and student working in lab