School of Engineering and Applied Science
General Information  |  Degree Programs  |  Curricula  |  Course Descriptions  |  Faculty
Engineering at Virginia  |  Facilities & Services  |  Computers  |  Research & Development  |  Activities & Organizations  |  Honors, Awards & Scholarships

General Information

The mission of the School of Engineering and Applied Science is to achieve international prominence as a student-focused school of engineering and applied science that educates men and women to be leaders in technology and society and that contributes to the well being of our citizens through the creation and transfer of knowledge. 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.

Engineering at Virginia


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 profession itself.

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 Science
Thornton Hall
University of Virginia
351 McCormick Road
P.O. Box 400233
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4233
(434) 924-3164

Facilities & Services


The School of Engineering and Applied Science is located in a complex of buildings, the main one being Thornton Hall, named after the first dean of engineering. Thornton Hall houses the school's administrative offices, the Departments of Civil Engineering and Electrical Engineering; the Division of Technology, Culture, and Communication; and assorted research laboratories. South of Thornton Hall is Olsson Hall, which houses the Departments of Computer Science and Systems Engineering. Adjacent to these buildings are three buildings housing the Departments of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, and Chemical Engineering. The Department of Biomedical Engineering is located in Stacey Hall, which is part of the Health Sciences Center. The Aerospace Research Laboratory is located on Mount Jefferson.

The Science and Engineering Library is located in Clark Hall. It includes books and bound journals, current scientific periodicals and technical serials, and files of graduate and undergraduate theses and dissertations. Reference service is available to all parts of the University, to other educational institutions, and to industry by the library staff and, occasionally, by others on the professional staff of the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Close cooperation is maintained with the other University libraries, whose total resources of more than four million volumes are open to engineering students and faculty members.

The Office of Minority Programs, established in the School of Engineering and Applied Science in 1986, is available to help minority students by providing academic support, motivational activities, and financial assistance. The office provides counseling and other special services for both undergraduate and graduate students.

An Office of Career Services is available to help engineering students establish their career goals and develop strategies to achieve those objectives. The office provides resource material on career fields, job search strategies, interviewing techniques, and employment opportunities. It also coordinates on-Grounds interviews in conjunction with University Career Services, manages the Co-operative Education Program, and develops a broad range of summer job opportunities.



The School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), the Department of Information Technology and Communication (ITC), and the University Library provide a wide range of modern facilities and services to support student computing. Students use the facilities primarily for course work, projects, capstone design, and thesis research. SEAS and the University invest heavily in computer labs and multimedia facilities for student use. Nearly all students bring their own computers, although there is no computer ownership requirement. All dormitory rooms have been wired with network connections. For further information on personally owned machines, please see "Computers at U.Va.: a handbook for new students," available online at http://www.itc.virginia.edu/students/new.html.

A high-speed network (hardwired and wireless) provides access to all areas of the University, as well as the Internet, while supporting public computing labs, which contain over 700 networked PCs and Macs with fully configured software. The labs, available to all students, are located throughout the Engineering School and other on-Grounds locations, including some University dormitory buildings. Public labs with access to Linux & UNIX supercomputers are also available. These facilities are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Many are staffed with student consultants during the afternoons and evenings, while the help desk provides support by telephone (434/924-3731), e-mail (consult@virginia.edu), and in person (235 Wilson Hall) is also provided.

In addition to this technical support, ITC offers numerous training workshops and short courses. Public labs provide fee-based printing via high-speed laser printers. Other centralized services, including e-mail, disk storage, and web publishing are provided to all students. Some classrooms at the Engineering School are technology-equipped and have computers at students' desks. These computers permit students to learn by working a problem in the classroom, individually or as part of a team, and facilitate interaction between faculty and students. There are over 100 computers located in classrooms of this type throughout the University, in addition to the training rooms, media labs, and other centers containing specialized equipment and services. SEAS also maintains computer facilities, teaching labs, and design labs specifically for engineering and applied science students. These departmental labs contain over 250 PCs and Macs, and over 70 UNIX workstations and X-terminals. They provide access to discipline-specific software, high-end workstations, and a variety of peripheral devices. Specialized studios, such as our Internet Teaching Lab, allow hands-on experience with networking hardware, software, and related leading-edge technologies. For more information about computing facilities and services, please visit http://infotech.seas.virginia.edu/.

Research & Development


The School of Engineering and Applied Science currently conducts a thriving and diversified $35 million annual research program under the sponsorship of various federal agencies and private companies. Over 450 active research projects support faculty, professional researchers, and students. These projects span a variety of engineering disciplines and include biotechnology and nanotechnology microelectronics, advanced materials, biomedical engineering, information technology and environmental engineering. These programs provide an excellent opportunity for undergraduate and graduate training.

Under the School of Engineering and Applied Science, research has led to the creation of special laboratories in areas of particular interest, including the Aerospace Research Laboratory; Applied Electrophysics Laboratory; Injury Prevention Program; Center for Bioprocess Development; Communications, Control and Signal Processing Laboratory; Composite Mechanics Laboratory; Center for Advanced Computational Technology; Small Center for Computer Aided Engineering; Center for Electrochemical Science and Engineering; Center for High Temperature Composites; Intelligent Processing of Materials Laboratory; Internet Technology Innovation Center; Legion Meta-Computing Project; Light Aerospace Alloy and Structure Technology Program; Light Metals Center; Center for Magnetic Bearings; Mathematical-Computational Modeling Laboratory; Next-Generation Real-Time Systems Laboratory; Institute for Technology in Medicine; Networking Multimedia; Institute for Parallel Computation; Center for Risk Management of Engineering Systems; Rotating Machinery and Controls Industrial Program; Center for Semicustom Integrated Systems; Center for Survivable Information Systems; Center for Transportation Studies; Center for Engineering of Wound Prevention and Repair; Center for Genetic Engineering Targeting Vascular Disease; Institute for Microelectronics; and the Virginia Laboratory for Engineering and Automated Design.

Activities & Organizations


Engineering Council The Engineering Council serves as the student government within the School of Engineering and Applied Science. It is headed by a president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary and has representatives elected from each class and department. Members from Student Council, the Judiciary Committee, and the Executive Committee also have seats on the council.

The Engineering Council primarily serves as a liaison between students and faculty, coordinates student activities within the school, advises on matters of curricula, and promotes social activities.

Student Branches of Professional Societies Represented in the school are the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA); the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AICHE); Alpha Chi Sigma (AXE); the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE); the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE); the American Society for Engineering Management (ASEM); the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineering (ASHRAE); the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME); and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honorary fraternity, recognizes high scholastic achievement and honorable character in engineering students.

Note: Active groups of other honorary fraternities include Chi Epsilon (civil engineering), Eta Kappa Nu (electrical engineering), Omega Rho (systems engineering), Pi Tau Sigma (mechanical engineering) and Sigma Gamma Tau (aerospace engineering).

Theta Tau Professional Engineering Fraternity, founded in 1904, is the University's only national, professional, engineering fraternity. Since its establishment at the University of Virginia in 1922, Theta Tau has been bringing its members closer together through social service and professional activities. Theta Tau is a coed fraternity that strives for a diverse and enthusiastic membership.

Trigon Engineering Society takes pride in its members being well-rounded engineers. Trigon sponsors numerous service projects each semester, takes part in intramural sports, and sponsors many social events. Membership in Trigon is open to any undergraduate in the Engineering School.

The Omicron Xi Engineering Society, founded on January 21, 1987, is a service and social organization dedicated to promoting brotherhood between the engineering disciplines and performing good works within the school, the University, and the community. The society builds upon the University tradition of meaningful social interaction, sponsoring events for the University community in addition to a variety of intra-society affairs.

The Society of Women Engineers is a non-profit, educational, professional service organization dedicated to communicating the need for women engineers and encouraging young women to consider an engineering education.

The National Society of Black Engineer's (NSBE) mission is to increase the number of culturally responsible African-American engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community. UVA's Chapter is recognized nationally for its accomplishments which include an academic excellence program, tutorial programs, group-study sessions, technical seminars and workshops lead by professional engineers, and very active outreach programs. NSBE's Pre-College Initiative Program (PCI) is highly dedicated to encouraging and mentoring area youth in pursuit of higher education. Nationally, the NSBE organization has a communications network, two national magazines, a host of professional newsletters, and sponsors annual national conventions, conferences, and career fairs.

The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) is the leading social-technical organization whose function is to achieve educational excellence, economic opportunity and social equity for Hispanics in engineering, math, and science. The SHPE chapter at UVA provides a network for Hispanic students to participate in regional and national conferences, technical seminars, and career fairs. SHPE members visit high schools and invite students on grounds to experience academic and social life at UVA in an effort to encourage them to pursue a higher education in engineering, math, or science.

Honors, Awards & Scholarships


The Rodman Scholars Program - named for Walter S. Rodman, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science from 1933 to 1946-is for talented, well-rounded students with a strong interest in the school's curricula. Rodman scholars are selected from the entering class on the basis of superior academic credentials and indications that the student can benefit from, and contribute to, the program; participation is by invitation only. Several courses have been set up for Rodman scholars' from physics, humanities, and design in the first year, to a special seminar in conjunction with the Rodman Eminent Scholars Series later in the curriculum. During their first year, Rodman scholars live in a selected dormitory with Echols scholars from the College of Arts and Sciences.

The Virginia Engineering Outstanding Student Award is made annually and given to a current SEAS undergraduate student who, has demonstrated outstanding academic performance, leadership, and service.

The Mac Wade Award is presented in memory of Freeman McMillan Wade, Class of 1952, who was killed in action in the Korean War. It is awarded annually to the group, faculty member, or student who has rendered outstanding service to the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Scholarships There are no scholarships for which newly admitted students can apply. Students whose families qualify for financial aid are automatically considered for certain scholarships as part of their aid package.

A limited number of endowed merit-based scholarships are awarded to incoming Rodman scholars. Selections are made prior to the offer of admission to the University, and the award offers are extended at the time students are invited to join the Rodman Scholars Program. Prospective students do not apply for either the program or the scholarship.

Regardless of financial need status, enrolled students who can demonstrate satisfactory progress toward their degrees have the opportunity to apply for a number of industrial or endowed scholarships. These have specific restrictions, such as GPA, major field, academic level, intended area of employment, geographic location, and demonstrated leadership. The scholarships are publicized to the student body in early spring for submission to the committee after the spring recess, usually around the third week of March.

Dean's List Full-time students who demonstrate academic excellence while taking a minimum of 15 credits of graded course work are eligible for the Dean's List of Distinguished Students at the end of each semester. Courses taken on a CR/NC basis may not be counted toward the 15-credit minimum. A current minimum grade point average of 3.4 is necessary to be eligible for the dean's list. Any student receiving an F, NC, or NG during the semester is not eligible to be on the dean's list.

Intermediate Honors Students who enter the University directly from high school or preparatory school and who, after four regular semesters, have completed 60 graded credits of course work and are in the top twenty percent of their School or College class, are awarded a Certificate of Intermediate Honors. The notation 'intermediate honors' is also placed on each student's official academic record. Beginning with the entering class of 2001, Intermediate Honors will be awarded to students who enter the University directly from high school and who, after four regular semesters, have completed at least 60 credits of course work and are in the top twenty percent of their class. The computation is based upon the cumulative grade point average at the end of the fourth semester.

Theses and Commencement Honors Students who have demonstrated high academic achievement in pursuit of their bachelor's degree are eligible for commencement honors.

Diplomas inscribed 'with distinction' are awarded to graduates who have earned a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.4.

Diplomas inscribed 'with high distinction' are awarded to graduates who have earned a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.6.

Diplomas inscribed 'with highest distinction' are awarded to graduates who have earned a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.8.

All students in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, whether or not they satisfy the requirements for commencement honors, are required to complete a senior thesis and take TCC 401 and 402, the six-credit thesis course.


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