May 29, 2024  
Undergraduate Record 2012-2013 
Undergraduate Record 2012-2013 [ARCHIVED RECORD]

School of Engineering and Applied Science: Academic Rules, Regulations, and Information

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Academic Rules and Regulations


Each student is expected to complete the undergraduate program in eight semesters (plus summers, if necessary). Exceptions may be made in certain cases.

Normal progress toward graduation consists of taking a minimum of 15 credits each semester and maintaining a cumulative grade point average of 2.000 or better. The minimum (15 credits) may not be satisfied with courses taken on a credit/no credit basis.

Academic Probation First-year students who receive a semester grade point average below 1.800 are placed on academic probation. Other students who receive a semester grade point average below 2.000 are placed on academic probation. Students who fail a required course twice are placed on academic probation.

Academic Suspension Students who have previously been on academic probation are suspended from the University following any semester in which both their current and cumulative GPA is below 2.000 (1.800 for first-year students). Students who fail a required course they have failed at least twice before are suspended from the University.

Application for readmission from suspension must be made by letter addressed to the assistant dean for undergraduate programs. In this letter the student should describe briefly his or her activities since suspension and his or her future academic goals. Academic credits taken elsewhere while on academic suspension are not accepted for transfer towards a UVa degree.

The term of the first suspension is one year. A second suspension is final and the student is not allowed to return.

Appeal of Academic Regulations In circumstances not covered by specific regulations, or in difficulties that cannot be resolved by the dean or the instructor concerned, a student has the right to petition the Committee on Academic Standards for redress of his or her grievance. The action by the committee on the petition is final inasmuch as it acts for the full faculty in these matters.

The petition must be signed and dated by the student and submitted to the Office of the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs. The petition must contain:

  1. the name of the student’s academic department (except first-year students);
  2. a clear and concise statement of the variance requested;
  3. adequate supporting evidence to enable the committee to render fair and proper judgment;
  4. a signed acknowledgment by the student’s academic advisor.

The petitioner will be notified by letter of the action taken by the Committee on Academic Standards.

Course Load

Normal The normal undergraduate course load is 15-18 graded credits, unless the student is on probation, in which case a course load of 12 to 15 credits is recommended. Any program of study requires the advisor’s approval.

Overload A proposed overload amounting to 20 or more credits must be approved by a faculty advisor and by the Office of the Dean. Demonstrated superior academic performance and clear career planning will be the major criteria for approval, including a grade point average of 3.600 or higher.

Underload A semester load of fewer than 15 credits (not counting CR/NC courses) must be approved by the advisor and the dean’s office.

Attendance Regular attendance in classes is a vital part of the educational process. At the University of Virginia, each student is expected to attend all lectures, laboratories, quizzes, and practical exercises, subject to absence penalties specified by the instructor.

Absences traditionally excused are those that occur because of illness or death in a student’s family, important religious holidays, or authorized University activities, such as field trips or University sponsored events.

Students who anticipate absence for cause should obtain permission from the instructor in advance of the absence; unforeseen absences resulting from sickness or other circumstances considered to be emergencies may be excused by the instructor, and arrangements may be made with the instructor to complete the assignments missed.

Engineering and Applied Science students taking courses in the College or other schools of the University are governed by the attendance regulations of the instructor in that division; unexcused absences from such courses are subject to the penalties prescribed.

Credit/No Credit Grades Students have the option of receiving the grades CR (credit) or NC (no credit) in place of the regular grades, A through F. This option may be selected when students register for courses. Instructors have the right to deny students permission to take courses on a CR/NC basis. If this occurs, students may change back to the regular grading option or drop the courses entirely. Courses taken for CR/NC may not be used for any major or degree requirements. Only courses that are not part of the degree program may be taken CR/NC. The deadline for selecting the CR/NC option is the same as the drop deadline.

Dropping a Course With the approval of the student’s advisor, a student may drop and void registration in a course any time up to the official drop date, unless such action reduces the number of graded credits for which the student is registered to fewer than 15. Permission to take less than 15 credits a semester must be obtained from the Office of the Dean.

Withdrawing from a Course After the drop date, a student must petition the Office of the Dean to withdraw from a course or change the grading option. Students will be granted one withdrawal for personal reasons. Subsequent requests to withdraw will be granted only when there are extenuating circumstances beyond a student’s control. A student who is permitted to withdraw from a particular course will receive a W for the course. Petitions must be signed by the course instructor and faculty advisor, and approved by the Office of the Dean.

Extension of a Course After the withdrawal date (two weeks before the end of the semester), a student can no longer withdraw from a course. If there are extenuating circumstances, and if it is feasible, a student may petition for a course extension. If approved, all work must be completed by the end of the next academic term and preferably before the start of the next term. Feasibility is determined after a review of the outstanding work, the availability of the instructor, the accessibility of laboratory facilities, and other practical considerations.

Enforced Withdrawal From a Course With the approval of the dean, faculty may impose enforced withdrawal with a notation of W on the transcript as a penalty for habitual delinquency in class, habitual idleness, or any other fault that prevents the student from fulfilling the purposes implied by registration in the University.

Laboratory Courses To register for or attend any laboratory course, a student must be registered or have credit for the associated lecture course. If the associated courses are taken concurrently and the lecture course is dropped, the laboratory course may be continued for credit only with permission of the laboratory instructor or the dean.

Completion of Prerequisite Courses The sequences of required courses leading to various engineering degrees are carefully arranged to ensure that a student who enters any course may be expected to receive maximum benefit from the course. A student who failed a course may not normally enroll for any course that lists the failed course as a prerequisite before satisfactorily completing that course. Under unusual circumstances, exceptions may be made. Exceptions require written permission from the instructor of the failed course, all instructors of the subsequent course, and approval by the dean.

Repeating Courses A student who has received D grades in fundamental courses may be required to repeat those courses as his or her departmental faculty may direct. A course in the School of Engineering and Applied Science passed with a grade of D may be repeated once. Courses passed with higher grades are not normally open to a student’s repeated registration. Both grades for a repeated course are used in the computation for the grade point average.

Graduate Courses Undergraduates may be granted permission to take 6000-level series courses in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Qualifications include fourth-year standing and a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.200. 5000-level courses are open to all fourth-year undergraduates.

Required Courses Courses specified in each degree curriculum are required, and changes or substitution are not ordinarily permitted. Any student who either drops or fails a required course must register anew for that specific course (or for its successor in case the original is no longer offered) and repeat the content in its entirety.

Elective Courses The curricula include elective courses designed either as “humanities/social science (HSS) elective,” “technical elective,” or “unrestricted elective.”

  1. HSS electives are selected from an approved list (available in A122 Thornton Hall) of humanities and social science offerings of the College of Arts and Sciences or other schools of the University, or from elective offerings of the Science, Technology, and Society Program in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Communication courses in the student’s native or first language, regardless of their level, may not be used to satisfy this requirement.
  2. Technical electives are chosen from engineering or applied science, science, or mathematics courses not normally required in the student’s curriculum.
  3. Unrestricted electives may be chosen from any graded course in the University except mathematics courses below MATH 1310, including STAT 1100 and 1120, and courses that substantially duplicate any others offered for the degree, including PHYS 2010, PHYS 2020, CS 1010, CS 1020, or any introductory programming course. Students in doubt as to what is acceptable to satisfy a degree requirement should obtain the approval of their advisor and the dean’s office, A122 Thornton Hall. APMA 1090 counts as a three-credit unrestricted elective.

Students are expected to consult with their advisor to arrive at an acceptable overall program of electives. All electives should be chosen to meet an objective rather than at random. This program, signed by the department head or advisor, must be filed in the dean’s office.

Absence From Examinations Unexcused absence from an examination incurs an automatic failure in the course with a grade of F. Absence from a final examination for any course offered in the School of Engineering and Applied Science may be excused only by the dean, and then only when accompanied by evidence of arrangement with the instructor for a deferred examination, to be taken within ten days after the regular examination. An emergency that justifies extension of this period will be considered only when supported by satisfactory documentation submitted immediately after the period of emergency. After the ten day period, or its extension if granted by the dean, the temporary grade of IN (incomplete) will officially become a grade of F unless the deferred examination has been completed. Absences are excused only for sickness on the day of the examination or for other providential cause acceptable to the dean. An excused absence may be absolved by taking a special examination at a time mutually satisfactory to the instructor and the student concerned. Special examinations are not granted for reasons other than those stated above.

Degree Requirements To qualify for a baccalaureate degree, a student must have received credit for all required and elective courses included in their program. In addition, the student must have maintained a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.000.

Regular programs leading to the various degrees are detailed under the departmental listings. The student should become familiar with the requirements of his or her chosen area of study. Students are expected to apply to a major area of study at the end of the second semester but may change majors at a later date.

Special Requirements for Non-native English Speaking Students Students who are still developing their skills in English as a second language will fulfill the first STS requirement with a two semester sequence of STS 1000 Introduction to Technical Communications for Non-native Speakers (Fall semester) and a special section of STS 1500 (Spring semester). Students required to fulfill the first STS requirement with the two semester sequence will be identified by the Admissions Office, and the STS department.

Course Enrollment Except for students in extended programs or for special arrangements approved by the dean, each student in the School of Engineering and Applied Science must enroll for all courses required by the curriculum of the department in which he or she is enrolled. Substitutions of courses completed elsewhere by students entering with advanced standing must be approved by the dean (in consultation with the departmental faculty concerned when necessary).

Students making normal progress toward their degree may graduate under the curriculum in force at the time they entered the school. However, because curricula change to keep pace with evolving technologies and new disciplines, students may be required to substitute courses that the faculty designate as equivalent.

Each student is responsible for the selection of his or her own program, the fulfillment of prerequisites, and the scheduling of all courses required by his or her curriculum. The dean and faculty will assist, but the duty of enrolling in and completing the full degree requirements rests primarily with the student.

Accuracy of Students’ Records It is the student’s responsibility to check the accuracy of his or her enrollment records each semester and to call any error to the attention of the instructor and assistant dean for undergraduate programs. After one semester has lapsed, the student’s record is considered permanent.

Residence Requirements A recipient of a degree in engineering or applied science must have been in residence for two academic years in this University, and registered in the School of Engineering and Applied Science during the semester in which he or she receives a degree.

ROTC Programs The regular curricula can be supplemented to include Air, Military, or Naval Science courses. Depending on the ROTC branch and degree program, such a curriculum may take more than eight semesters to complete.

Minors The School of Engineering and Applied Science offers minors in aerospace engineering; applied mathematics; biomedical engineering; chemical engineering; civil engineering; computer science; electrical engineering; engineering business; materials science and engineering; mechanical engineering; science and technology policy; systems engineering; the history of science and technology; and technology and the environment. Minors in specific engineering disciplines are described below in the appropriate department listing; interdisciplinary minors are described in the Department of Engineering and Society listing. Minors in these areas, or in areas offered by other academic units of the University, are not required for any of the Engineering degree programs.

Major/Minor in the College Engineering students may earn a major or a minor in the College of Arts and Sciences. Prior admission must be obtained from the chair or director of undergraduate programs of the College or department in which a student is seeking the major or minor. Note that engineering students can earn at most one College major and one College minor. Multiple majors or minors in the College are not permitted.

In pursuing the above, students will not receive two degrees from the University. They receive a B.S. from Engineering and a major (or minor) appearing as degree information on the official transcript.

Students are responsible for completing the major or minor form (available in the College departments) and for obtaining the signature of the chair or director of the undergraduate programs. Forms are submitted to the SEAS Undergraduate Office, which monitors the satisfactory completion of requirements.

Undergraduate Handbook Further guidance for undergraduates in the School of Engineering and Applied Science is available in the Undergraduate Handbook, available on-line at

Degree Programs


Admission Inquiries regarding admission to the School of Engineering and Applied Science should be addressed to the Dean of Admission, University of Virginia, P.O. Box 400160, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4160 or by e-mail at

International Student Admission International students who apply to SEAS must meet the Language Requirements that UVA mandates for all international students. For this reason, applicants whose native language is not English and who have not already demonstrated sufficient English language proficiency through strong SAT or ACT scores or through evaluation of admission essays or recommendations must provide an acceptable score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Testing System (IELTS) exam. A score may not be more than two years old. While the majority of admitted students attain a total score of at least 250 on the TOEFL, the scores of successful applicants generally range from 225 to 300. The University anticipates that applicants who provide a score on the new iBT TOEFL will likely earn a total score of at least 90 or IELTS a score of 7 is required.

All scores must be official; no self-reported scores will be accepted. Students without scores on the tests listed above will not be admitted to SEAS.

Requirements The first and second years of study at the engineering school are spent garnering a solid background in the sciences and mathematics. The student takes courses in chemistry, physics, computer programming, mathematics, and various courses in engineering science, as well as social science and humanities courses.

During the first year, students apply for admission to a major in one of ten programs in engineering or applied science. The last three years are spent specializing in a chosen area and taking further courses in the general field of engineering. Successful graduates can expect a wide range of career opportunities in engineering, business, law, and medicine.

In the event a particular major is oversubscribed, admission may be limited. Admission to such programs is based on space availability, academic performance, a personal essay, and extra-curricular activities.

Bachelor’s-Master’s Program Outstanding students may be admitted to the combined Bachelor’s-Master’s Program at the end of their third year. After admission, students take a mixture of graduate and undergraduate courses and work on a sponsored research project in the summer and academic year. This program encourages the best and brightest students to enter into research in the various engineering and applied science fields.

Graduate Degrees are offered in all of the school’s areas of specialization. For information on these programs and inquiries regarding admission, contact the Office of Graduate Programs, School of Engineering and Applied Science, P.O. Box 400242, Charlottesville, VA 22904-0242.

Admission As a Special Student In certain circumstances, individuals may be permitted to enroll in a maximum of two School of Engineering and Applied Science courses through the School of Continuing and Professional Studies as a part-time undergraduate.

Special students who wish to become degree candidates must apply through the University Office of Admission for undergraduate admission or through the School of Engineering and Applied Science for graduate admission.

Advisory System Faculty members and upper class students in the School of Engineering and Applied Science aid entering students in the transition to college life and in furthering their academic and career interests. Each first-year student consults with his or her faculty advisor about course and major selection, and other academic requirements.

Toward the end of the second semester, the student applies to a major in engineering and is then assigned an advisor in the department administering the degree program. The departmental advisor helps the student plan a curriculum and serves as a counselor for other academic matters and career interests.