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Undergraduate Systems Engineering

The undergraduate program in Systems and Information Engineering is designed for students interested in bringing people and technologies together to dramatically improve an organization’s productivity and effectiveness. Students receive exposure to a wide range of topics, including the economic, political, managerial, environmental, and technical aspects of large scale systems design and implementation. To complement this diverse course of study, students are provided with ample opportunities for hands-on experience with real-world situations and problems. A systems engineering background offers students a variety of career choices in engineering and management, and also provides excellent pre-med, pre-business, and pre-law preparation.

Our mission is to achieve excellence as a student-focused Department of Systems and Information Engineering that educates men and women in the analytical tools and methodologies that will enable them to become leaders in technology and society and to contribute to the well-being of our citizens through the creation and transfer of knowledge.

The primary objectives of the Systems Engineering program are to graduate students who will:

  1. Engage in development, implementation, and optimization of systems that include humans, data and information, hardware, software, and natural and technology resources.
  2. Embark on sustainable, productive careers in systems engineering, applied science, and technology management.
  3. Excel in the practices of analytical modeling and integrative systems engineering.
  4. Seek and succeed in lifelong professional education that includes advanced schooling and mentoring.
  5. Contribute to the profession of systems engineering and to human welfare through professional societies, public service, and civic activities.

The systems engineering undergraduate curriculum is more flexible than many traditional engineering programs. In addition to the courses specifically required in the curriculum, students are able to take nine credits of unrestricted electives, nine credits of electives tailored to an application area, and six credits of technical electives.

The application area electives, or the application sequence, allow students to pursue a specific area of interest within the broad framework of systems engineering. The following areas are available as application sequences: biomedical systems, communication systems, computer and information systems, control systems, economic systems, energy and environmental systems, financial systems, human factors, intelligent transportation systems, management systems, and mathematical systems. An appropriate sequence of ROTC courses may be counted as an application area in military systems. Additionally, there are opportunities for students with special interests and abilities to design their own unique application sequences.

The undergraduate program culminates in a capstone design project, spanning both the fall and spring semesters of the student’s fourth year. Students working in small project teams under the direction of a faculty advisor are matched with a client from the public or private sector. Each team is assigned an open-ended design problem, and they apply the perspectives, methods, and tools of systems engineering that they learn in the classroom to the resolution of the client’s problem.

A degree in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia confers employability in a wide range of industries, governmental agencies, and non-profits. The award-winning Department is one of the largest systems engineering programs in the United States, and graduates of the program receive consistently higher salary offers than the national average for other systems programs and other engineering disciplines. The program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (http://www.abet.org)  and received the Board’s first award for Curricular Innovation. The program also received the Outstanding Educator Award from the Boeing Company, which recognized the Systems and Information Engineering Department for its potential to “develop leaders prepared to shape the future.”

Due to the overwhelming student demand for the major in recent years, enrollment in the Systems and Information Engineering program is limited. Admission is based on space availability, academic performance, and extra-curricular activities. Our most recent enrollment and graduation data is available at: http://www.seas.virginia.edu/about/stats.php.

ABET Program Outcomes for Systems Engineering Major

To reach the objectives for graduates referenced above, our curriculum has been designed to address the following program outcomes.

a)  an ability to apply knowledge of (1) mathematics, (2) science, and (3) engineering

b)    an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data

c)    an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability

d)    an ability to function on multidisciplinary teams, split into

·      an ability to appreciate differing perspectives from multiple disciplines in a team environment

·      an ability to function on a team

e)    an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems

f)     an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility

g)    an ability to communicate effectively

h)    the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context

i)      a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning

j)      a knowledge of contemporary issues

k)    an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice