Virginia Tech® home

Summer Start Tracks


Each Summer Start track consists of 2 classes (6 college course credits) and is limited to 24 students.

With more than a dozen to choose from, there is a track for everyone's interest and curiosity. Tracks also look at challenges beyond the classroom, giving you the desired skillsets that employers are seeking. View this table to determine how your proposed track may relate to Pathways to General Education.

Tracks enable you to form close relationships with your classmates and instructors. According to our alum sources, friendships developed in the tracks tend to be the strongest you'll make during Summer Start. 

2023 Summer Start Tracks

TRACK 1:  Healthy Hokies

Virginia Tech was named the fittest campus in America! This track introduces students to holistic strategies for developing healthy relationships, minds and bodies, while taking on the challenges and demands of a university experience. In this track, students will explore useful concepts leading toward health promotion and building quality relationships.

EDCO 2004:  Healthy Relationships: Understanding Self & Others, 3 credits
PHS 1514: Personal Health, 3 credits

TRACK 2:  Communicating in a Complex World

Learning to communicate well is an essential skill in all professions. In the 21st century, we are bombarded with technological influences in how we communicate. In this track, students will examine sociological implications of speech and technology in academic settings, social media, and the public square while enhancing their professional communication skills.

COMM 2004: Public Speaking, 3 credits
SOC 1004:  Introduction to Sociology, 3 credits

Students in the Department of Communication may not enroll in this track.

TRACK 3:  Chemical Problem Solving

This track is designed to prepare students to be successful in introductory level chemistry courses. Students will be developed in the following skills upon the completion of this track:  understand the language of chemistry; the meaning and use of the mole, atomic theory and structure; the periodic table; chemical bonding, chemical reactions and equations; set up and solve word problems; familiarity with exponents and logarithms.

CHEM 1014: Calculations In Chemistry, 3 credits
Course 2: Choose any summer course that fits your program of study. Please consult your academic advisor.

TRACK 4:  Architecture and Design

Are you an aspiring architect, interior designer, landscape architect or industrial designer? If so, this track has been designed specifically for you. The two combined courses provide a total immersion experience into the world of architecture and design.

In this track, you will be introduced to the learning environment and activities characteristic of Foundation Design Lab ARCH 1015. You will also be exposed to ways of perceiving and recording the built and natural environment through travel around the region, as well as transforming your findings in ways that enhance design education.

ARCH 1024: Design Thinking: Defying Preconceptions, 3 credits
ARCH 1034: Seeing Design: Transforming Observations, 3 credits

This track is recommended for architecture, interior designer, landscape architect, industrial designer majors, Explore CAUS, and University Studies students desiring to transfer to the architecture degree program.

TRACK 5:  Superpowers, Sweatshops, and Sovereign States

The world is as it has always been—a precarious place.  Since the end of the Cold War, a new set of challenges, dynamics, and threats have emerged within the international system, transforming it theoretically as well as practically. This track provides an introductory look into contemporary world politics, international relations, global poverty, and human rights.

PHIL 2304: Global Ethics, 3 credits
PSCI 2054: Introduction to World Politics, 3 credits

TRACK 6:  Interdisciplinary Engineering

This track is open only to students in the College of Engineering. In consultation with faculty and staff, participants choose 6-7 credit hours from the following list of courses:

CS 1114:  Introduction to Software Design, 3 credits
CS 2114:  Software Design and Data Structures,  3 credits ** (PRE: CS 1114)
ENGE 1215:  Engineering Foundations, 2 credits
ENGE 1014: Engineering Success Seminar, 1 credit
ENGL 1105:  First Year Writing, 3 credits
MATH 1214:  Preparation for Calculus, 3 credits
MATH 1225:  Calculus of a Single Variable, 4 credits*
MATH 2204:  Introduction to Multivariable Calculus, 3 credits** (PRE: MATH 1226)
CHEM 1035:  General Chemistry, 3 credits*
CHEM 1045:  General Chemistry Lab, 1 credit*
Pathways 2, 3, or 6a, 3 credits

*Students must successfully complete ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning Assessment to participate in this course. ALEKS helps identify students’ best starting point to ensure their success in math and chemistry.

**Students must meet the course pre-requisites.

TRACK 7:  Nutrition, Foods, Exercise, and Sport

Our society is continually confronted with the dynamic nature of human health.  This track introduces you to the foundational principles of health and wellness. You will also develop an understanding of the exciting fields of nutrition and sport science.

HNFE 1004: Foods, Nutrition, and Exercise, 3 credits
HNFE 1804:  Fundamentals of Sport Science, 3 credits

This track is recommended for students in Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise.  HNFE 1004 is required for all HNFE majors; HNFE 1804 can be used as a controlled elective for HNFE majors who choose the Science of Food, Nutrition and Exercise option and as a free elective for HNFE majors who choose the Dietetics option.

TRACK 8:  Personal Financial Management

This track examines the basic fundamentals of personal financial planning and decisions of young professionals. You will develop an understanding of establishing credit, good vs. bad debt, charting personal savings and expenditures. 

AAEC 2104:  Personal Financial Planning, 3 credits
AAEC 1005:  Economics of the Food and Fiber System, 3 credits   

TRACK 9:  Public Health

Students will examine public health through principles of evidence-based programs and tools including health communications, informatics, applications of social and behavioral sciences, policy, law and ethics. Students will investigate methods for addressing communicable and environmental-related diseases. 

PHS 1514:  Personal Health, 3 credits
PHS 2004: Introduction to Public Health, 3 credits   

TRACK 10:  Business in Society

In this track, you will investigate the forces of business that operate in today’s society. After completing this track, you will understand the basic insights of business information systems, as well as security and software applications.

ACIS 1504:  Introduction to Business Information Systems, 3 credits (Required of all business majors with the exception of FinTech and Big Data Analytics)
SOC 1004:  Introduction to Sociology, 3 credits *

* Recommended course for business majors.

TRACK 11:  Animal and Poultry Sciences

Explore the interconnections between the agriculture that feeds us, the arts that sustain us, and the society in which we live through these exciting classes in Agriculture, Arts, and Society. In this combination of courses, you will be introduced to foundational principles and practices associated with the animal sciences, and how they impact the world and our own communities.

APSC 1454: Intro to Animal and Poultry Science, 3 credits          FST 2024: From Raw to Burnt: Exploring Science and Society Through Food, 3 credits

This track is recommended for students interested in careers in the animal sciences, veterinary medicine, biological or food sciences, and companion animals. The APSC course is required for animal and poultry science majors.

TRACK 12:  Software Design

Be exposed to the fundamental concepts of programming from an object-oriented perspective. In this track, students will study basic software engineering principles and programming skills in a programming language that supports the object-oriented paradigm. Simple data types, control structures, array and string data structures, basic algorithms, testing and debugging are other topics of study in this track.

CS 1114: Introduction to Software Design, 3 credits
STS 1504: Introduction to Science Technology and Society, 3 credits

TRACK 13:  Humans and the Living World

Understanding foundational biological concepts both unique to humans and shared with other organisms is essential to appreciate issues and interactions within human society as well as the impact of humans on the diverse living systems with which we interact.  In this track, students will learn about underlying biological principles that humans share with a diversity of species, and how those principles help form unique interactions.This track also serves as an introduction to service learning and community engagement.

BIOL 1106: Principles of Biology, 3 credits
BIOL 1116: Principles of Biology Lab, 1 credit
UAP 1024: Leadership, Service and Public Problem Solving, 3 credits

TRACK 14:  Virtual Hokies

This track provides first year Hokies the option to design a personalized track to meet their specific academic needs. In consultation with academic advisors, students will choose courses among existing Summer II virtual courses in Time Table of Classes. For financial aid consideration, students must enroll in a minimum of six credit hours. This track is available to students who do not plan to be in Blacksburg for the in-person Summer Start experience.

TRACK 15:  From the World to Blacksburg

Virginia Tech is excited to welcome a new cohort of international students, and this track provides insider knowledge as you make this transition. Pair any Summer Start course with SOC 2984, Fostering Success, Skills, and Identities in the U.S., which will give you local insight while also exploring concepts such as socialization,  social institutions, and social inequality by class, race/ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation.

SOC 2984: Fostering Success, Skills, and Identities in the U.S. - 3 credits (meets Pathways Reasoning in the Social Sciences). The course also incorporates field trips to local sites, which will help orient you in your new home away from home and gain insights to the U.S. culture through experiential learning.

Course 2: Choose any summer course that fits your program of study. Please consult your academic advisor.

TRACK 16:  Individualized Interdisciplinary Track

In consultation with academic advisors, Track 16 provides first-year and transfer students the option to design a personalized track to meet their specific academic needs. For financial aid consideration, students must enroll in a minimum of six credit hours.