Welcome New Graduate Students!
Welcome to Computer Science Department at the University of Virginia. Here, you will find information to help with your transition to graduate school and to Charlottesville. Please feel free to contact us and to ask questions!
When students arrive they will attend an informative orientation led by the department that will help them become familiar with all of the resources we have to offer here in the Department of Computer Science. This is also a time for new students to meet other students as well as faculty. Typically this orientation is held within a week prior to the first day of the fall semester. More information will be posted closer to orientation time.
Mandatory International Student ISO Orientation
All new international students holding all non-immigrant statuses are required to bring their legal documents and proof of the orientation quiz completion to the ISO upon your arrival in Charlottesville.This is required so that the ISO can determine your legal status and make copies for our records as required by U.S. law. You can find all of the information on this on the International Students & Scholars website.
Each student will receive (3) different ID's at the University. The first is your Computer ID which will also be your email address (followed by @virginia.edu). The second ID will be your University ID. This ID number will appear on your ID card and be the one you will use the most on grounds. The third ID number is your SIS ID which the administration will use for your class registration, grading, transcript, and other official functions. You can find all three IDs in your Student Center in SIS. You can obtain your University ID Card after you register at the ID Card Office, Observatory Hill Dining Hall, during normal business hours.
Activate UVA Email Account & Systems Access
You will need to follow the procedures listed here to gain access to your email account and other university systems such as UVA Collab and the Student Information System (SIS).
All UVA students must have health insurance and must complete the Health Insurance Hard Waiver. Students receiving funding will be provided with health insurance through the University. You will need to sign up for this once you arrive and need to sign up each year in August. If you are not receiving funding you may also sign up, but will have to pay for your premium. All students may add dental insurance that can be purchased separately. This premium is not paid by UVA. Visit the following links for more information and to sign up:
MTAs, GTAs, and GRAs.
In our department, we have three types of positions that are filled by graduate students: MTAs, GTAs, and GRAs.
MTAs are Masters students who are paid by the hour for tasks such as grading assignments, holding office hours to help students, etc. The current MTA hourly rate is $15. MTAs are scheduled approximately 10-20 hours per week. MTA positions offer no other benefits and do not waive or reduce the tuition costs – so tuition would still need to be paid in full by the MTA student.
GTAs are typically PhD students who are serving as Teaching Assistants, and GRAs are typically PhD students who are serving as Research Assistants.
In each academic year, the department expects to fulfill a significant number of MTA positions. Being an MTA can help a student reduce their overall cost of attendance. Being a MTA is a great way to learn a topic more deeply, and our current MTAs say that helping other students learn is a very fulfilling experience. While Masters students are certainly not required to be an MTA, our UVA CS community relies on this expertise, so Masters students are encouraged to apply.
All new PhD students are usually considered GRA's (even if your admission letter says that you are receiving a "CS Fellowship"). So, if you are an international student and expect to receive funding, then one of the first things you need to do when you arrive is to get your social security card. You must be in the country for 10 days and then go to the social security office: 1470 Pantops Mountain Pl, Charlottesville, VA 22911.
New students who expect to be an MTA, GTA or GRA must obtain a Social Security Card as soon as possible. If you are a PhD student, then some time after you arrive, you will receive information on your stipend and when you should expect to receive your payments. You will also receive a notification from Workday (the HR system) about completing your I-9 form. Here is more information about the I-9 process and the required documents you will need: https://hr.virginia.edu/compliance/i-9-and-e-verify If you are a Masters student, then you will apply to work and this is an hourly position. Details will be given once you are hired.
It may be as late as Oct. 1 before you receive a paycheck so try to bring enough money to last for 6 weeks. If you have questions about your funding you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Employment of Non-Citizens
As soon as possible, you will need to get a social security card by taking their passport to the address below. This will need to be done before you will be allowed to receiving any type of payment. All PhD students will need a social security card.
Social Security Office
1470 Pantops Mountain Place
Charlottesville, VA 22911
U.S. Bank Checking Account
You need a checking account at a U.S. bank in order to receive your stipend payments. Once you have a bank account, then you will need to set up direct deposit through your SIS account.
Direct Deposit directions.
English Language Exams
All International Students whose first language is not English are required to take the UVELPE test. Note that you cannot fail the UVELPE; based on the results, some students are recommended for writing or spoken English classes, designed to ensure a successful research and teaching career at the University of Virginia.
If you are going to be a MTA or a GTA in the Fall, you MUST take the SPEAK test. (UVELPE and SPEAK are two separate tests). All of the information on these tests can be found on the Center for American English Language & Culture website.