Oct 19, 2018  
Undergraduate Record 2016-2017 
Undergraduate Record 2016-2017 [ARCHIVED RECORD]

Engineering and Society

Return to: School of Engineering and Applied Science: Departments/Programs  

University of Virginia
Thornton Hall
PO Box 400744
Charlottesville, VA 22904

Programs/Course: Minors in the Department of Engineering and Society   

The Department of Engineering and Society brings together a set of innovative programs that touch engineering students in all fields and majors. The Department engages in activities that contribute to the SEAS’ mission to produce engineers who have excellent technical skills as well as the breadth of understanding that will make them leaders and innovators with entrepreneurial mindsets.  The Department undertakes research that advances understanding of the social consequences of technology and the ways in which individuals, groups, and societies create and use technology.

The Department of Engineering and Society is responsible for core courses that all undergraduate engineering students are required to take: Applied Math (APMA); Science, Technology and Society (STS); and general engineering (ENGR).  These core courses ensure that UVa engineering graduates have an in depth understanding of mathematics and science, and a broad appreciation of social, ethical, and global issues.

The Department is a locus for interactions across engineering fields, across the Schools of the University of Virginia, and outside the University.

Applied Mathematics


The Applied Mathematics Program coordinates and administers mathematics instruction through its APMA courses to students in all departments of the School of Engineering and Applied Science. The mathematical tools and expertise developed are essential to the professional development of the future engineer and applied scientist. This instruction forms the core of the analytical-mathematical component of an engineering education and lays the foundation for ongoing professional development.

All SEAS students are required to take the following courses:

Other required APMA courses vary with the major.
Placing out of APMA course requirements:
A score of 5 on the AP BC calculus exam will be accepted as credit for APMA 1110.



ENGR courses educate students about critical elements of engineering practice, most especially how technical engineering design interfaces with broader elements of commerce to determine the success or failure of product developments. ENGR courses consistently challenge students to consider technical engineering design within the broader context of the societal factors that also determine a new solution’s impact upon the world. ENGR courses are taught by faculty with significant engineering education and/or professional engineering work experience. They also draw upon other, valuable mentors to provide students with the most complete educational mentorship possible.

Experiential Learning


Experiential Learning provides opportunities for students who wish to practice the engineering profession in a variety of contexts. These include national and international competitions in programs like the Society of Automotive Engineers Mini Baja event, the Department of Energy’s Solar Car racing, and the Virginia Genetically Engineered Machine team’s creations in synthetic biology. These activities bring together students, faculty, and technologists from a number of different institutions, industries, and agencies providing experiences that are not available in the traditional classroom. These events clearly add to the existing formal engineering classes being offered at UVa and provide subject matter for senior theses and departmental capstone projects as well while providing hands-on opportunities that bring insight to the many topics taught in the engineering curriculum. Experiential activities help students to recognize their true passion in engineering and give them a head-start when entering their careers. For more detailed information please go to the following website: http://www.seas.virginia.edu/students/experiential/.

Office of Online Innovations


The Office of Online Innovations (OOI) harnesses the power of real-time, synchronous communication systems to support education in SEAS. Unlike MOOCs or instructional videos, OOI’s technology allows on-grounds and off-grounds students to participate live, immersively, and seamlessly in the UVa academic community. This technology is uniquely geared for synchronous distance education, co-instruction with partner universities, and global education. OOI supports economic development in Virginia through distance learning programs including the Engineers PRODUCED in Virginia initiative, the Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program (CGEP), and their respective industry partners.

Science and Technology Policy Internship


Second- and third-year undergraduates in SEAS are eligible to participate in the school’s Science and Technology Policy Internship Program. The program helps place interns in Congress, executive agencies, and non-government organizations (such as think tanks) in Washington, D.C., to work on science and technology policy for 10 weeks each summer.  Admission is competitive.  Those selected take a supporting course which, together with the internship, provide academic credit.  Depending on funding availability, the program provides financial support (including housing and a stipend) for some interns during the summer. The program functions with a similar endeavor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Interns from the two schools share dormitory rooms, attend a speaker series, carry out service projects, and socialize together.

You can contact the Policy Internship Program
Science, Technology, and Society Program
School of Engineering and Applied Science
University of Virginia
PO Box 400744
Charlottesville, Virginia, 22904-4744

Science, Technology and Society


The Science, Technology, and Society Program (STS) advances understanding of the social and ethical dimensions of science and technology. STS provides instruction in subjects that are essential to the education of professional engineers. This instruction forms the core of a liberal education and lays the foundation for ongoing professional development. It ensures that students have seriously considered the moral and social aspects of their future life’s work.

All STS courses emphasize the relationships among science, technology, and society; ethics; and oral and written communication. STS courses are supplemented with course work in the College of Arts and Sciences through the Humanities and Social Science (H & SS) requirements.

STS Requirements
All SEAS students are required to take the following four courses:

Placing Out of STS Course Requirements:

  • STS 1500: All SEAS students are required to take this course. Students who have had an equivalent STS course at another university may petition the STS Program for transfer credit.
  • STS 2000/3000 level requirement: Transfer credit is occasionally given for an STS 2000 level course. Transfer courses must include STS content and involve substantial oral and written communication. The decision to accept a transfer course for STS 2000 credit is made on a case by case basis when the student submits a petition to the Department Chair.
  • STS 4500-4600: No transfer credit or substitutions can be made for STS 4500-4600, nor is there any possibility of placing out. Students must be in residence to take these courses. Students are not permitted to take STS 4500 and STS 4600 simultaneously.

Senior Thesis: In their senior year, all engineering undergraduates undertake a senior thesis project. Students work with a faculty member in their major and with an STS faculty member teaching STS 4500-4600; students produce a thesis portfolio that includes a technical report and an STS research paper.

SEAS International Programs


More than any other profession engineers work internationally. SEAS International Programs (SEAS IP) facilitate international study, work and service experience for all SEAS students, undergraduate and graduate. SEAS IP can help you find out which program and location is best for you, whether it be a semester abroad at one of SEAS’ many partner universities worldwide, a research internship, a summer engineering program, a January term course, or engineering in community project. The key to successful integration of education abroad is to start your planning early. Visit the SEAS International Programs website: http://www.seas.virginia.edu/admin/intlprograms.php, and the University International Studies Office (ISO) website: http://www.virginia.edu/studyabroad/ for more information. Contact Prof. Dana M. Elzey (dme2j@virginia.edu), SEAS IP Director, or your departmental study abroad advisor, for information and advising.