Engineers and applied scientists use the knowledge
of mathematics, the sciences, and computer science to design and
build physical devices, processes, structures, and systems that
satisfy society's growing dependence on technology for health,
safety, and prosperity. Today's graduates will spend their careers
in an evolving global market filled with unprecedented challenges
and opportunities. The School of Engineering and Applied Science
therefore seeks to prepare and motivate its students to excel
in their chosen endeavors by instilling in them the necessary
attributes of knowledge, creativity, inquisitiveness, leadership,
confidence, awareness, and ethical values.
Graduates must have a firm understanding of
the fundamental principles of their discipline, the knowledge
to design a system, component, or process to meet desired ends,
and the ability to adapt innovative, ethical solutions to the
problems of society. Because engineering and applied science graduates
enjoy a broad range of career opportunities, it is also important
that they understand research methods, have the ability to integrate
broad interdisciplinary considerations, and have the confidence
to pursue new professional activities. They must be capable of
working in teams and leading them. In addition, they must be skilled
in oral and written communication and in the use of computer tools
and laboratory instruments appropriate to the discipline. Above
all, they should acquire self-study habits in order to enjoy a
rich, life-long learning experience.
While most graduates move directly into professional
careers in industry and government, many others seek further academic
preparation for careers as Ph.D. researchers or university faculty
in engineering and applied science. Some use the degree to prepare
for graduate programs in other areas, such as business, law, and
medicine. The Office of the Dean welcomes inquiries, via phone
or letter, from prospective applicants who have questions about
career possibilities, program options, high school preparation,
and other concerns.
The University of Virginia takes pride in
its continued development of modern engineering education and
research. For over one hundred fifty years, the University has
offered regular study in engineering, coinciding with the industrial
development of the nation and paralleling the rise of the engineering
The infusion of applied science into the learned
professions was anticipated in the founding of the University.
As early as 1825, the Rector and Visitors formally indicated that
instruction in military and civil architecture would be a part
of the education program of the University. Such courses were
offered starting in 1827. Notable members of the early engineering
staff were Charles Bonnycastle, trained in military engineering
in England, and William Barton Rogers, later co-founder of the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering instruction
was not sought widely by young men in the predominantly agricultural
South, however; and by 1850, it was announced that the engineering
program would be discontinued.
A new and more successful beginning was made
in 1865 under the direction of Professor Charles Scott Venable,
and by 1869 the University awarded its first degrees in engineering.
Instruction was offered in civil and mining engineering until
the 1881-1882 session, when engineering became a professional
department. William Mynn Thornton became the first dean of Engineering
in 1905. Under his leadership, three new degree programs were
added: mechanical engineering in 1891, electrical engineering
in 1897, and chemical engineering in 1908.
Between World War I and World War II, the
engineering curricula were revised and strengthened to provide
a broader program of studies, including the humanities. During
both wars the school offered engineering instruction to members
of the armed forces, and ROTC programs for the Navy, Army, and
Air Force were introduced during and after World War II.
Reorganization following World War II led
again to an extensive revision of all curricula and to the graduate
studies now offered. In 1955, two new branches of engineering
study were recognized by degrees: aeronautical and nuclear engineering.
In the same year, the first doctoral programs were instituted
in chemical engineering and in engineering physics.
In 1962, the name of the school was changed
to the School of Engineering and Applied Science in anticipation
of the establishment of the Department of Materials Science (1963),
the Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science (1964),
and the Department of Biomedical Engineering (1967). The Department
of Systems Engineering was established in 1975, and in 1984, applied
mathematics and computer science became separate departments.
Further reorganization has led to the present school academic
structure with its Departments of Biomedical Engineering; Chemical
Engineering; Civil Engineering; Computer Science; Electrical and
Computer Engineering; Materials Science and Engineering; Mechanical
and Aerospace Engineering; Systems and Information Engineering;
and the Division of Technology, Culture, and Communication.
The undergraduate program in engineering science
and the graduate program in
engineering physics are administered by the Department of Materials
Science and Engineering.
School of Engineering and Applied ScienceThornton
University of Virginia
351 McCormick Road
P.O. Box 400233
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4233