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 South and paralleling the rise of the engineering
profession itself. Today, a total of 9 undergraduate and 31 graduate programs
are offered by 8 academic departments.
School of Graduate Engineering and Applied Science
A108 Thornton Hall
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 400242
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4242
The growth of applied science into a learned profession 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 study, 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 engineering physics.
In 1962, the name of the School was changed to the School of
Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) 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; and Systems and Information Engineering;
and the Department of Science, Technology and Society. The undergraduate program
in engineering science and the graduate program in engineering physics are administered
by the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Graduate Programs in
Computer Engineering are administered jointly by the Departments of Computer
Science, and Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Research Centers and Institutes
Interdisciplinary research is carried out through research
centers, laboratories, and consortia in which graduate students in two or more
disciplines work together on a research project.
Advanced Materials and Structures Laboratory conducts
thermomechanical testing with an emphasis on multi-scale approaches that establish
connections between size-scale and thermomechanical performance of materials
and structures. Together with conventional macroscale materials testing, this
facility has a state-of-the-art nano-indentation system that allows mechanical
testing on length-scales spanning from nanometers to millimeters. This system
has force resolution on the order of one billionth of a Newton, and displacement
resolution on the order of one angstrom; a unique capability is an environmental
temperature chamber, which enables testing in the range of -50oC
to 100oC. Current research is directed towards establishing connections
between nanoscale material features and thermomechanical stability in thin films
and MEMS, with an emphasis on compliant materials such as nano-porous ceramics
Aerogel Research Laboratory was established in 1996
to investigate fundamental properties as well as cutting-edge applications of
aerogels, which are the lightest solids ever produced. It is the only university-based
aerogel research program in the United States.
Aerospace Research Lab was established in 1986 to conduct
basic and applied research in advanced aerospace technologies. Research interests
have expanded to include high-speed mixing and combustion, aeroacoustics, structures
and materials, optical techniques, microscale heat transfer, and computational
Center for Applied Biomechanics is dedicated to vehicle
safety testing with a major emphasis on studying impact and injury biomechanics.
The focal point of the 10,000 square foot facility is a test sled mounted on
a 66-foot track which allows simulation of high speed automobile crashes. In
addition to the sled system, the CAB has a number of pneumatic and gravity driven
impactors as well as state-of-the-art high speed data acquisition and digital
video systems. Major research efforts at the laboratory include the study of
advanced occupant restraint systems including air bag and seat belt systems.
In particular, the CAB is establishing guidelines and criteria for the mitigation
of airbag induced injuries.
Applied Electrophysics Laboratories (AEpL) serves as
the University of Virginias center for research in solid-state materials,
devices, and circuits. AEpL was founded in 1967 and consists of the Semiconductor
Device Laboratory (SDL), the Laboratory for Optics and Quantum Electronics (LOQE),
and the Millimeter-wave Research Laboratory (MRL). These laboratories share
a 3,500 square-foot clean room facility for device fabrication and materials
growth, as well as a variety of other facilities for microwave and optical analysis
and device design and testing.
Atomic and Surface Physics Lab studies the interaction
of energetic particles (ions, electrons) and photons with surfaces. Its goals
are to understand the mechanisms leading to electronic excitations and how these
excitations evolve and lead to the emission of light (luminescence), electrons,
radiation, atoms and molecules (sputtering), and to radiation damage, chemical
changes or heat. The studies have applications in semiconductor processing,
nuclear fusion, gas discharges, biology, astrophysics, and space exploration.
A substantial part of the laboratorys work consists in modeling and simulations
of surface processes in icy satellites, planetary atmospheres and magnetospheres,
and interstellar grains. Projects are supported by NASA, NSF, and SWRI.
Cognitive Systems Engineering Laboratory develops decision-aiding
systems for operators and engineers in the domains of process control, medical
technology, and aviation. In all of these domains, teams of people work together
to solve problems in complex, dynamic environments. Typical tasks include monitoring,
diagnosis, control, scheduling, and planning, using both well-defined strategies
and ad-hoc reasoning to meet objectives while satisfying constraints like organizational
or industry-mandated objectives or rules.
Communications, Control, and Signal Processing Laboratory
(CCSP) conducts research and development in a variety of communications
and signal processing areas, including error control coding; data compression;
network protocols; detection and estimation theory; statistical signal analysis
(system identification, channel equalization, sensor arrays and image processing),
and optical communication. Research in CCSP is primarily of an analytical nature,
supported by computer simulations.
Computational Laboratory for Environmental Bioremediation
(CLEB) complements UVas existing experimental Bacterial Migration
Laboratory-the only laboratory in the world equipped to measure bacterial transport
properties at both the macroscopic and the individual cell levels. This experimental
capability, combined with the CLEBs modeling and computational expertise,
which draws on analogies to statistical mechanical methods for molecular transport
phenomena, places CLEB in a unique position to substantially expand the state
of quantitative knowledge about bacterial migration and In Situ Bioremediation
(ISB), a powerful, cost-effective technology for restoring contaminated sites
by exploiting the natural degradative and migratory abilities of bacteria.
Computer Architecture Lab focuses on exploring computer
"microarchitecture" and the analysis techniques needed to study microarchitectural
questions. Three of our research thrusts are branch prediction, exploiting compiler
dependence relationships at runtime, and simulation.
Electrochemical Science and Engineering Center is a
multi-disciplinary research effort that incorporates the departments of Materials
Science and Engineering, and Chemical Engineering, as well as interactions with
Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computer Science, and Physics. It is one
of the nations leading research groups of its kind, and its research affects
the performance and reliability of most products manufactured in the world today.
Electron Microscope and Image Processing Facility, located
in the department of Materials Science and Engineering, is a comprehensive
service and user facility for biomedical research. Its services include Transmission
Microscopy, Scanning Microscopy and Confocal Microscopy. Equipment available
includes Transmission and Scanning Electron Microscopes; Laser Scanning Confocal
Microscope; High Resolution Vacuum Evaporator; Ultramicrotomes; Critical Point
Dryer; Sputter Coater; Freeze-substitution Unit and Gatan Cold Stage, and a
Embedded Computing Center explores means through which
faculty and staff at UVa can coordinate research on embedded computing technology
to produce the new intelligent devices that our society has come to expect.
UVa has a unique combination of abilities that offer great potential to advance
the state of the art in this field.
Far Infrared Receiver Laboratory (FIRLab) operates within
the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Physics at the University
of Virginia. The FIRLab is fully equipped to design, assemble and evaluate millimeter
and submillimeter wavelength mixers and multipliers at frequencies from microwave
to THz frequencies. Sources include two submillimeter wavelength gas laser systems
(300 GHz-4.5 THz) and a variety of millimeter wavelength sources, multipliers
and amplifiers. A Bruker IFS 66V Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer (200
GHz-225 THz) is available for materials and component evaluation, as well as
a variety of power meters, microscopes and probe stations.
High-Performance Low Power Laboratory (HPLP) focuses
primarily on original research in the field of low power and high performance
electronics, spanning digital VLSI and analog systems, architectures, circuits,
and algorithms. HPLP currently has eight active researchers, as well as a new
lab facility containing PCs and workstations donated by IBM and Intel.
Hyperpolarized Gas Imaging Research is a promising option
for medical imaging of air spaces and certain tissues in humans without exposing
patients to radiation associated with other methods (high resolution Computed
Tomography and V/Q techniques, for example.) Since spring of 1996, UVa Departmental
Research Team for Hyperpolarized Gases has been exploring and conducting research
in this field.
Integrated Sensing and Processing Laboratory (ISPL) merges
high functional density CMOS image/signal processing mixed-signal circuits with
integrated detection/transudation structures to achieve improved application
performance. Its current projects are in the areas of infrared imaging, adaptive
hyper-spectral imaging, bimolecular fluourescence detection, and adaptive ultrasonic
imaging. The laboratorys work is supported by the National Science Foundation,
the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Carilion Biomedical Institute,
and Agilent Technologies.
Intelligent Processing of Materials Laboratory (IPML) is
one of the nations premier centers for research on the processing of advanced
materials. Affiliated with the Universitys School of Engineering and Applied
Sciences, the laboratory incorporates both the synthesis and processing of materials
along with their modeling, sensing, and control. Goals of IPMLs research
include development of innovative process technologies, creating models for
predicting materials evolution during processing, designing advanced in-situ
sensors for tracking material changes during processing, and creating model-based
path optimization and feedback control.
Interdisciplinary Research in Contaminant Hydrogeology Center
is dedicated to investigation of the interplay between chemical, physical, and
biological factors that control the fate and transport of contaminants in the
subsurface. Its research is supported by teams of individuals from the departments
of Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Environmental Sciences.
Internet Commerce Group, InterCom, is a coalition of
university faculty and business leaders that promotes development of electronic
commerce in Virginia by providing technical and business software, training,
and consulting services to companies entering (or already participating in)
the electronic marketplace.
Internet Technology Innovation Center (TIC) assists
Virginias newest emerging industry and its growing base of Internet-related
businesses. The Internet TIC is tasked to nurture an entrepreneurial environment,
accelerate the creation and deployment of network-based information technology,
develop the hardware/software infrastructure that Virginia needs for the coming
knowledge-based economy, and expand Virginias high-skill workforce needed
to develop, support, and market Internet-based electronic products and services.
Internet TIC is funded by Virginias Center for Innovative Technology and
is a partnership among the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, George Mason
University, and Christopher Newport University.
Justice Information Systems, Virginia Institute, was
created to support the information technology needs of law enforcement agencies
throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia and on a national level. The Institute
is funded by national funding agencies including the Virginia Department of
Criminal Justice Services, and the National Institute of Justices Crime
Mapping Research Center.
Light Metals Center conducts a wide range of research
on light materials including alloy processing, mechanical properties and microstructural
characterization, deformation mechanisms and environmental effects of light
metals. The centers research advances knowledge of structural materials,
which have a high strength- and/or stiffness-to-weight ratio and at the same
time are able to perform satisfactorily in hostile environments.
Magnetic Bearings Center conducts applied research in
the area of magnetic bearings used to support a variety of machines. The Center
receives funding from the Virginia Center for Innovative Technology, government
agencies, and industry, and it places great emphasis on working with industry
to develop magnetic bearing technology for a wide variety of applications, particularly
in the area of turbomachinery. Many of the research results and computer programs
developed by the faculty and students are widely used in industry, and in some
cases are the industry standards.
Mathematical Computational Modeling Laboratory is dedicated
to research in mathematical modeling, computer simulation, and virtual prototyping
of various industrial technologies and industrial processing operations. Recent
research includes studies in high-speed gas flows, two phase flow with fibrous
material, rarefied gas flow, and dynamical motion of galaxies.
Microelectronics Institute serves as the Universitys
interdisciplinary microelectronics interface to outside organizations and within
the University itself. Acting as a focal point for microelectronics communications
at the University, the institute consists primarily of faculty volunteers. Through
organized cooperation they seek to maximize the impact of their educational
and research activities.
Microscale Heat Transfer Laboratory is dedicated to
developing new techniques to assist in measuring, understanding, and utilizing
microscale thermal phenomena. The laboratorys research is aimed at developing
a fundamental understanding of energy transport on ultra short time and length
Millimeter-Wave Research Laboratory focuses on building
communication and receiver components capable of operating at very high frequencies.
The devices have a host of applications, including communications, radar, atmospheric
monitoring, and radio astronomy.
Molecular Biomechanics Laboratory, part of the Department
of Biomedical Engineering, is dedicated to understanding the molecular mechanisms
by which cells move, and the application of this knowledge to the improvement
of American public health.
MRSEC Center for Nanoscopic Materials Design explores
new directions in the nanoscale design and control of self-assembled epitaxial
semiconductor quantum dots by providing new algorithms for understanding and
controlling the coupling of short, medium and long range order in these structures.
The Center collaborates with industrial, University, and government laboratories
to support and further materials research and education in this field.
Next Generation Real-Time Computing Lab is part of the
Computer Science Department at the University of Virginia. The laboratory studies
a wide range of issues in all aspects of real-time computing. Real-time principles
are becoming important for all systems since audio and video streams are being
utilized in many new contexts from control applications to the Next Generation
Optics and Quantum Electronics Lab conducts research
in photonics and optoelectronics. Current areas of interest include photonic
materials, novel optical devices, micro-opto-electro-mechanical systems (MOEMS),
and organic polymers like polypropylene and poly-dimethilsiloxane.
Risk Management of Engineering Systems Center develops
technology to assist in the management of risk for a variety of engineering
systems. Industry and government sponsors of research at the Center work closely
with faculty and students, contributing their unique strengths and interests
to the Center. The Centers areas of expertise include environmental impacts,
water resources and technology management, electronic, safety-critical systems,
computer-based systems, including hardware and software performance and reliability,
and reliability modeling of multiple failure modes in complex systems.
Rotating Machinery and Controls Laboratories (ROMAC)
conduct research in the areas of rotor dynamics, turbomachinery, structural
dynamics, magnetic bearings, automatic controls, turbomachinery flows, fluid
film bearings, and seals. The Laboratorys research is supported by a consortium
of industries through the ROMAC Industrial Research Program.
Safety Critical Systems Center explores questions of
safety in industries where safety is a matter of life and death. The goal is
to make current systems even safer for the public. Projects include assessing
the safety of modern rail transportation systems and studying issues of safety
in the nuclear industry. The center has received support for related projects
from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Air Force.
Science and Engineering of Laser Interactions with Matter
graduate training program is designed to develop students with enhanced
mastery and appreciation of the knowledge and state-of-the-art technical skills
required for rapid advancements in modern science and technology.
Semiconductor Device Lab maintains a position of international
prominence for research on solid-state devices for millimeter and submillimeter
wavelength electronics. Research is focused on development of high-sensitivity,
ultra-low-noise Gallium Arsenide Schottky barrier diodes and superconducting
junctions for high frequency (150 Ghz and above) receiver applications. Research
topics include theoretical investigations of high frequency transport in ultra-small
semiconductor devices, fundamental limits to device performance, and optimization
of device design for specific applications.
Semiconductor Manufacturing Information Technology Center
is a partnership between Dominion Semiconductor Co. and Virginias Center
for Innovative Technology. The Centers goals are to improve productivity
at Dominions state-of-the-art chip fabrication facility, in Manassas,
while giving students hands-on experience with actual manufacturing data. The
center is located at Dominion but has a companion laboratory at UVa. Both facilities
are staffed by University students and researchers.
Semicustom Integrated Systems Center is an internationally
respected research group in the areas of computer engineering and digital systems.
The Centers ultimate missions are to accelerate economic growth, to improve
products and processes, and to integrate the results of academic research into
Very Large-Scale Integration (VLSI) industry developments. Its research and
education programs help satisfy the growing need for leading-edge design tools
and methods in the VLSI industry.
Smart Travel Lab is a state-of-the-art facility that
supports research and education in the rapidly emerging area of intelligent
transportation systems (ITS). Using the latest information technologies and
analysis and modeling techniques, researchers in the lab are developing prototype
systems and applications that promise to improve the effectiveness of ITS. The
distinguishing characteristic of the lab is the direct connection established
between the lab and transportation management systems operated by the Virginia
Department of Transportation. This connection provides researchers with direct
access to real ITS data and systems.
Space Physics and Surface Physics Theory Program studies
the physics and chemistry of energetic ion, electron and UV-photon interactions
with surfaces and gases. The processes of interest are desorption and sputtering,
as well as the radiolysis and photolysis of surfaces and gases. The motivation
for the programs research is to understand problems in space physics and
Surface Science Center provides services on surface
analysis, including modifying the surface layers of materials by ion implantation,
and surface characterization and depth profiling of sample compositions using
a Perkin-Elmer 560 system. Available techniques are Angle-resolved X-Ray Photoelectron
Spectroscopy (XPS or ESCA), Scanning Auger Electron Microscopy with sub-micron
resolution, and Ion Scattering Spectroscopy. Each technique can be combined
with the others and with sputter etching (using a differentially pumped ion
gun) to obtain composition depth profiles.
Survivable Information Systems Center studies the survivability
of critical information systems-air traffic control, telecommunications, nationwide
control of power distribution, and the financial system. Societal dependence
on these systems is growing and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
The Centers research focuses on designing software which can be tailored
to information systems to ensure the intended operation of their existing components.
Technology and the Environment, Virginia Institute,
develops environmentally sensitive technology and techniques to mitigate the
impacts of current technology on the environment. More than 25 participating
engineering faculty members support a broad range of research, including environmental
engineering, risk management, contaminant hydrogeology, environmentally sensitive
chemical manufacturing, hazardous waste management, alternative energy systems,
and the interrelationships of society, technology and the environment.
Transportation Studies Center focuses on issues and
problems related to the development, operation, and maintenance of a safe, efficient
intermodal transportation system for the Commonwealth of Virginia and the nation.
The Centers research program is noted for being responsive to emerging
challenges from the transportation sector and for continually probing into new
areas of transportation-related research, like intelligent transportation systems,
traffic simulation studies, applications of geographic information systems in
facilitating transportation planning and management, and decision support systems
using artificial intelligence.
Virginia Artificial Heart Center is a major research
facility for the design, development and testing of a magnetic bearing supported
artificial heart for human implantation. Several prototypes have been successfully
testing in pumping both water and blood. The current work is on a ventricular
assist version of the pump but future work will be on a total heart replacement.
Wound Prevention and Repair Center explores the principles
governing mechanical and biological events in chronic skin wounds, developing
the necessary monitoring and prevention techniques to eradicate chronic wounds
in hospital settings. At the same time, the Center applies these principles
to accelerating the repair of acute skin wounds caused by trauma, and improving
therapies for skin flap procedures, intestinal ulcers, and neurological injuries.
Facilities and 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 schools administrative offices,
the Departments of Civil Engineering, and Electrical and Computer Engineering,
the Department of Science, Technology and Society and assorted research laboratories.
South of Thornton Hall is Olsson Hall, which houses the Departments of Computer
Science, and Systems and Information Engineering. Adjacent to these buildings
are three buildings housing the Departments of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering,
Materials Science and Engineering, and Chemical Engineering. Wilsdorf Hall,
under construction, will link materials science and chemical engineering and
will be ready for occupancy by 2006. The Department of Biomedical Engineering
is located in Building MR5, which is part of the Health Sciences Center. The
Aerospace Research Laboratory is located on Mount Jefferson.
Computers The School of Engineering and Applied Science
and the Department of Information Technology and Communication (ITC) provide
a wide range of modern facilities to support student computing activities. Students
use these computing facilities for a variety of applications including, course
work, special projects, research, word processing, spreadsheets, and electronic
These facilities are open 24-hours a day, seven days a week,
and are staffed with student consultants during the afternoons and evenings.
Over 500 workstations of various models are housed in these public labs, all
of which are connected to the University networks and can be used independently,
or to access other computers at the University or world-wide. Some facilities
house high-performance Unix workstations that can be used for specific courses
To supplement the public facilities, many departments and research
groups operate their own computing facilities which are used for specific courses
and research projects within those departments. Computer facility equipment
ranges from PCs and Macintoshes, to general purpose Unix workstations, high-performance
graphics workstations and specialized processors for vision and sound research,
to highly advanced parallel processing engines.
The Science and Engineering Library located in Clark
Hall, includes more than 240,000 volumes, 1,500 current serial subscriptions,
and 1 million technical reports. A full range of information services is available,
including an online catalog with remote access, reference assistance, computerized
literature searching, and inter-library loans and document delivery.
The Office of Career Services is available to help engineering
students establish their career goals and develop strategies to attain those
objectives. In addition to individual appointments, the office provides resource
material on career fields, job search strategies, interviewing techniques, and
employment opportunities. The office also coordinates on-Grounds interviews
in conjunction with University Career Services.
The Office of Minority Programs, established in the
school in 1986, is available to help students by providing academic support,
motivational activities, and financial assistance. The office provides counseling,
peer counseling, and other special services for both undergraduate and graduate
students. The office and student societies sponsor numerous activities to support
The Virginia Transportation Research Council is sponsored
by the Virginia Department of Highways in cooperation with the University, and
its offices and laboratories are located in the Shelburne Building about one-half
mile west of Thornton Hall. The council has two primary objectives: providing
training in the fundamentals of highway engineering; and carrying out research
programs to improve the economic design, construction, maintenance, and operation
of highways. The council operates laboratories that study problems of highway
aggregates, geological engineering, concrete, bituminous materials, soils, bridge
structures, and traffic and safety.
The Virginia Transportation Research Council also provides
financial assistance for graduate students whose thesis or dissertation research
is in an area of interest to the council.
The Virginia Microelectronics Consortium (VMEC), a group
of colleges and universities including George Mason University, Old Dominion
University, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and the College of William
and Mary that offer a world-class program in microelectronics education and
research. VMEC was created in 1996 to serve the microelectronics industry in
the Commonwealth and to exploit our diverse industry and educational microelectronics
resources to our mutual benefit.
The National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) at Langley
Research Center (LaRC) is a world-class research and education institute created
to do cutting edge aerospace and atmospheric research, develop new technologies
for the nation and help inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.
The NIA consists of six founding universities Georgia Tech, North Carolina
A&T, North Carolina State University, University of Maryland, University
of Virginia, and Virginia Tech as well as Hampton University, Old Dominion
University, The College of William & Mary., and the AIAA Foundation.
The NIA acts as a strategic partner working with LaRC to enhance
its world-class aerospace and atmospheric research capability. The Institute
complements Langleys research creativity and expands research and technology
development opportunities, and represents the creation of a significant new
research and education asset for the nation. The Institute will also be a catalyst
for economic development by stimulating the commercialization of new intellectual
property and facilitating the growth of new business opportunities.