School of Engineering and Applied Science
A108 Thornton Hall
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 400242
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4242
For more than 150 years, the University of Virginia has proudly offered engineering study that paralleled the rise of the profession in the United States and world. Today, the mission of the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science is to make the world a better place by creating and disseminating knowledge and by preparing engineering leaders to solve global challenges.
The infusion of applied science into the learned professions was anticipated in the University’s founding. 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 from predominantly agricultural areas of the country, however; 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 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 and Environmental Engineering; Computer Science; Electrical and Computer Engineering; Materials Science and Engineering; Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Systems and Information Engineering; and Engineering and Society. The undergraduate program in engineering science is administered by the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Graduate and undergraduate programs in Computer Engineering are administered jointly by the departments of Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering.
The School Today
UVA Engineering’s vision is to be a leader among engineering schools in seizing opportunities to benefit humanity through bold research and world-class education. Faculty, staff and students pursue the school’s mission and vision while abiding by these core values:
- Societal Impact - Passion for making a positive impact on the world
- Educating Engineering Leaders - Dedication to imbuing students with technical and professional knowledge that is applied with integrity and wisdom, so they are fully prepared to be the leaders of the future
- Innovation - Determination to innovate, create knowledge and lead in teaching and research while abiding by the highest standards of ethics
- Excellence Through Diversity - Commitment to diversity, which we define as excellence expressing itself through every person’s perspectives and lived experiences
- Collegiality - Marked by collaboration, teamwork and support for each other’s success
UVA Engineering is a dynamic ecosystem of diversity innovation in which faculty, students and staff are thought leaders in the construction of new knowledge that is moving diversity into the mainstream of engineering research. The school believes that diversity is not about race, gender and issues of human representation alone. Diversity is excellence expressing itself through the intersection of perspectives and lived experiences. This expanded definition of diversity includes the many nodes of humanity and experience that make up the essence of who people are—their diversity—and is a foundation on which the UVA Engineering community lives throughout its work and culture. The goal is to nurture all persons within UVA Engineering to act on their connection and responsibility to the global communities of thought, research, learning, leadership and culture.
To that end, UVA Engineering’s research strengths are focused in the following areas:
- Engineering for Medicine - UVA Engineering researchers wholeheartedly believe that cures to devastating diseases and new treatments for illness and injury are within humanity’s grasp. In a host of disciplines, including injury biomechanics, biomedical data sciences, tissue biomanufacturing and medical imaging, UVA Engineering has programs that are among the best in the world.
- Engineering for the Cyber Future - Machine learning, cybersecurity, avalanche photodiodes and ultra-low-power chips are just some of the technologies essential to such next-generation projects as the Internet of Things, and they are just some of the areas in which UVA Engineering holds world-class expertise. The school has created initiatives such as an interdisciplinary cyber-physical systems lab to spur innovation and accelerate the translation of breakthroughs in theory into real-world application.
- Engineering Technologies for a Sustainable and Connected World - Engineering a better future will require the best work of researchers collaborating along the spectrum from the tiniest building blocks of materials through the complex workings of entire societal systems. With a strategic and collaborative approach, UVA Engineering researchers work at the micro- and nano-scale in fields like heat transfer, catalysis and 2-D materials to identify fundamental properties of matter. At the systems level, researchers harness these insights to create more durable, sustainable platforms in areas like energy, water use and transportation. And at the societal level, researchers examine those applications in the context of specific cultures and economic conditions that affect their adoption.
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 school’s administrative offices, the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Engineering and Society along with assorted research laboratories. South of Thornton Hall is Olsson Hall, which houses the Department of Systems and Information Engineering. Rice Hall houses the Department of Computer Science and other academic offices, classroom and laboratories. Adjacent to these buildings are four buildings housing the Departments of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, and Chemical Engineering. The Department of Biomedical Engineering is located in Building MR5, which is part of the Health Sciences Center.
The Charles L. Brown Science and Engineering Library located in Clark Hall, has research collections that support students and faculty in the Engineering and Environmental Sciences programs. The Brown Library has reservable spaces for collaborative study and teleconferencing. Brown also houses specialized research support — the Data Management Consulting group works with researchers who need data management plans for funded research, and the StatLab provides research consultations on data analysis and statistical methods.
The Center for Engineering Career Development provides comprehensive career development services for all engineering students. In addition to individual career advising appointments, the center serves as a resource for information on industry trends, the job market and recruiting results for engineering students, employers, parents, and faculty. The center also connects students with alumni and prospective employers via career fairs, networking events, the Virginia Alumni Mentoring program, employer information sessions, and on-Grounds interviews in collaboration with the UVA Career Center.
The Center for Diversity in Engineering (CDE) supports the recruitment, retention and engagement of students historically underserved in engineering. Women, people of color, and international graduate students receive tools to enhance their academic experience through mentorship, academic support, professional development, and community activities.
The University computing environment consists of resources funded and maintained by the University’s central information technology organization - Information Technology Services (ITS), the Vice President for Information Technology, the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, the School of Medicine, the University Library System, individual departments, research labs and centers, and students.
The ITS organization focuses its efforts on key elements that are available to the University at large. They include the network backbone and telephone infrastructure, broadband cable and IP video, centralized data systems, high-performance research facilities, networked services including e-mail, central file storage, wired and wireless Internet access, web publishing, front-line Help Desk support, training, R&D, computer-equipped classrooms, and specialized consulting.
Engineering School resources include departmental computing labs and classrooms, the support of discipline specific software packages, school-wide and department computing support staff including full-time, part-time and graduate teaching assistants.
Engineering School departments and research groups deploy workstations, peripherals such as high-speed printers, scanners and plotters, several clusters and workgroup servers featuring specialized, discipline-specific software, and the Rapid Prototyping Lab. Access to this equipment and software is provided to students enrolled in the Engineering School’s courses and research programs. Our students use these facilities for a variety of computing activities including course work, projects, capstone design, and senior thesis and graduate-level research.
Some classrooms at the Engineering School 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.
ITS also provides a 1 TB allocation of disk space per student on UVa Box, a cloud-based storage and collaboration service. Access to UVA-licensed engineering, math and science software is made available via virtual machines to students’ laptops http://its.virginia.edu/hive/. A Microsoft Campus Agreement provides the Office Suite and Windows upgrades http://its.virginia.edu/software/studentoffice. Some departments are members of the Microsoft Imagine Program which makes additional Microsoft software available for their courses http://imagine.microsoft.com. ITS distributes a variety of application software for students, faculty, and staff, ranging from antivirus to research software http://its.virginia.edu/software. The Responsible Computing Handbook for Students covers training on IT policies, copyrights and security http://its.virginia.edu/pubs/docs/RespComp/rchandbook.html.
UVa spaces including classrooms, labs, study rooms, and dormitories have wireless Ethernet coverage. A distributed set of high-speed, B&W and color printers with page print charges are also available that can be wirelessly accessed.
Students also have on-grounds access to an authorized repair center for leading brands of computers and printers through UVa’s computer reseller, Cavalier Computers.
Direct support of students, faculty and research professionals in engineering and science for education, outreach, and curriculum development is provided through the UVa Advanced Research Computing Services http://arcs.virginia.edu/ and the UVa Sciences, Humanities, and Arts Network of Technological Initiatives (SHANTI) http://shanti.virginia.edu/.
ARCS supports research computing across disciplines. It facilitates training in computational science and high-performance computing (HPC) and works with researchers to boost their computations to the next level. SHANTI promotes innovation in the humanities, social sciences and arts through supporting the application of advanced technologies in research, teaching, publication and engagement across the entire community.
A centralized Linux cluster and mounted software are available on a shared-access basis. Rivanna hosts over 6,300 cores and over a Petabyte of short-term working storage dedicated to computational research. Long-term storage is available on a yearly lease basis for use with Rivanna as well as with individual researcher systems. Rivanna supports a wide variety of research-oriented software packages. For researchers who need more HPC resources than UVA can provide, assistance with getting started using the national supercomputing centers is available.
Specialized facilities include the ARCS VizLab containing a Viz Wall, graphics processors and software http://arcs.virginia.edu/viz-lab. The VizLab is also a resource for users who need Windows systems with higher performance than the typical desktop can provide. The Scholars’ Lab in the Alderman Library supports the digital research and scholarly analysis needs of faculty and advanced students in humanities and social sciences http://scholarslab.org/; the UVa Library also offers the Robertson Media Center, the Digital Media Lab, GIS and mapping services, and Makerspace which focus on the creation of digital media, digital imaging, audiovisual production and post-production, physical interactivity, 2D/3D animation, mobile technologies, visualization, the delivery of media content, desktop fabrication, and augmented reality. Each of these facilities has expert support staff.
The UVa Help Desk is available 24x7 and provides support by telephone: 434-924-4357 or toll-free at 866-469-4866 and by e-mail: email@example.com The Help Desk can be also be reached on the web at: http://its.virginia.edu/helpdesk/.
The Engineering School also provides students with central, shared access technology-equipped collaboration rooms throughout Rice Hall (the Information Technology Engineering Building), CAD-workstations in Lacy Hall (Experiential Center) and desktop workstations and equipped conference spaces in Thornton Hall (The James H. Aylor Collaboration Center).